Sue Wells Research Grant

High Country Audubon Society has established a grant of up to $500 in support of HCAS’s mission statement, which is to encourage beginning birders and experts alike in our five-county area to enjoy birds and bird-watching and to engage in conservation, education, and research for the benefit of the birds of western North Carolina.

The purpose of the Sue Wells Research Grant is to provide high school or university students with financial assistance for research concerning birds of the North Carolina High Country. The application requires a statement that describes how the research is related to birds of this area.

Funds must be used in support of research or field work in ornithology or in an area of study that will directly benefit birds or bird habitat. The applicant should provide a written description of the proposed research, a time schedule, and a budget showing how HCAS funds will be spent. Only high school students or undergraduate or graduate students currently enrolled in degree-seeking programs may apply. High school and undergraduate students who are graduating seniors must plan to complete their research prior to graduation.

 Authorized Expenses:

  1. Travel to and from a research site.
  2. Supplies and equipment specific to the proposed project not generally available in an institutional research laboratory.

Expenses Not Reimbursed:

  1. Travel to scientific meetings or symposia.
  2. Educational programs, tuition, room and board, textbooks, curriculum development.
  3. Purchase of supplies and equipment considered standard and normally available in an institutional research laboratory (i.e. common laboratory chemicals, Petri dishes, agar, pipettes, glassware, etc.).
  4. Salaries or stipends for applicants or assistants.
  5. Manuscript preparation and publication costs.
  6. Indirect costs or institutional administrative fees.

The student who receives the grant will be expected to present his/her findings at a High Country Audubon Society meeting within one year of the completion of the research. We also ask that the grant recipient acknowledge this grant in papers, presentations, etc. that come out of the research.


The grant application is available HERE.


Applications must be received by Saturday June 17, 2023. The award winner will be announced by June 30, 2023. Funds will be provided by July 15, 2023.

Contact Bob Cherry at if you have questions.


About Sue Wells

The late Sue Wells was a driving force in the creation of High Country Audubon Society and served on the Board of Trustees until 2010.

Sue was born in St. Cloud, MN in 1938. She moved to Northbrook, IL in 1963 where she and her husband raised their three children. They later maintained a home in Sugar Mountain, NC, and became involved in HCAS activities.

All who knew Sue appreciated her as a woman of warm spirit and great wit who lived her life “looking for a string of small satisfactions, tossed like sequins on the fabric of everyday life,” as her favorite quote so poignantly expressed. She loved birds and Beethoven, gardens and dogs, Scrabble and Spain, poems and odes, golf and grandchildren, family and French horns, motherhood, scholarship, friendship and being married to Ralph for 51 years.

In 1989 Sue was instrumental in creating the National Bird-Feeding Society and led the movement to help make backyard bird feeding the successful hobby it is today.