Western National Parks Association Accepting Nominations and Applications for Annual Awards, Grants & Scholarships Starting October 2

TUCSON, Ariz.—October 4–Western National Parks Association (WNPA) will open this year’s submission cycle for its awards, grants, and scholarships starting October 2. With multiyear research grant opportunities, as well as awards and scholarships for teachers, students, and unique supporters of national parks and public lands, applicants and nominees have a variety of opportunities to participate in this robust program. All submissions must be completed electronically through the WNPA website. 

“National parks preserve our shared natural and cultural heritage. Public lands thrive when people from every generation and diverse cultural backgrounds connect with the complex stories and precious ecosystems that parks protect,” says Marie Buck, WNPA President and CEO. “As a researcher, you can help ensure that everyone sees themselves in a national park.”

She adds, “We honor and support individuals who have devoted their lives to advancing our national parks in myriad ways and seek careers with the National Park Service and like organizations.”

Submission information for all categories is provided below.

Marie Buck and Stephen LaBlanc
Steven A. LeBlanc, receiving the 2022 Emil W. Haury Lifetime Achievement Award (courtesy of Brad Sutton).


Each year, WNPA honors individuals and organizations that spread awareness of WNPA and national parks, conduct exceptional research in parks, and engage the public in the national park ideals through high-quality educational and interpretive materials and programs. Award nominations are accepted from October 2 through December 31, 2023. Recipients will be notified the week of January 22, 2024.

Rianne Kravitz
Rianne Kravitz, recipient of the 2022 James E. Cook Nature’s Classroom Grant (courtesy of Rianne Kravitz).


The Nature’s Classroom grant increases access to national parks for underrepresented K–12 youth. This grant aids educators in bringing the national parks to their classrooms and their students to national parks. The deadline for submissions is December 31, 2023. Recipients will be notified the week of January 22, 2024.

Students inspect owl droppings
Volunteers dissect sterilized owl pellets to identify what owls have eaten (courtesy of VSPYCC, Flickr).


WNPA supports research by providing grants for projects that benefit national parks’ management, preservation, and interpretation. Multiple awards in varying amounts are available in this category. Grants are awarded on a first-come, first-served basis and will remain open through February 29, 2024, or until funds are exhausted.

Grant projects must originate in one of the more than 70+ WNPA-affiliated parks in Arizona, California, Colorado, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas, and Wyoming. Visit the website for a list of affiliate parks—for assistance connecting with a national park, complete the Connect Me to a Park form. WNPA will work to facilitate the relationship between lead investigators and national park staff. All fields of scholarly research are supported, including

  • Anthropology
  • Archaeology
  • Botany
  • Citizen Science
  • Ecology
  • Geology
  • History
  • Natural Story
  • Social Science
  • Zoology

Callum Cintron
Callum Cintron, recipient of the 2022 Ernest Quintana and Marty Sterkel Education Scholarship (courtesy of Callum Cintron).


This educational scholarship supports young adults pursuing careers that increase diversity in the workforce. Scholarships are awarded to those working with the National Park Service, similar government agencies, and nonprofit heritage conservation organizations. This scholarship continues Quintana and Sterkel’s dedicated work bringing diverse communities to national parks across the country. Two scholarships valued at $2,500 each will be awarded. The deadline for submission is December 31, 2023.

About WNPA

Western National Parks Association helps make the national park experience possible for everyone. As a nonprofit education partner of the National Park Service, WNPA supports parks across the West, developing products, services, and programs that enhance the visitor experience, understanding, and appreciation of national parks. Since 1938, WNPA has worked to connect new generations to parks in meaningful ways, all with one simple goal: create advocates who want to preserve and protect these special places for everyone, for all time. Learn more at www.wnpa.org.