Prairie Biotic Research (PBR) is an all-volunteer, Wisconsin nonprofit established in 2000 to foster basic biotic research in prairies and savannas. One way that they do this is through a competitive Small Grants Program that funds grants up to $1000 to individuals for the study of any grassland taxon anywhere in the USA, and this includes both natural history and experimental science.
They are especially eager to support independent researchers (those lacking institutional support), but anyone having a U.S. Social Security number may apply. Since 2002, they have awarded 184 grants worth $176,441 to people in 33 states to study insects, plants, mammals, reptiles, slime molds, mycorrhizal fungi, spiders, snails, amphibians, birds, fish, invasive species, effects of management, and the human dimensions of conservation. Many of these grants supported graduate student research. In 2015, they expect to fund at least 15 grants of up to $1000 each with the donations they have received, including some restricted by donors to support research in IA, IL, MI, MN, ND, SD, or WI
If you are interested in applying for a grant, visit their website (prairiebioticresearch.org) to learn more. Here you will be able to download the proposal form and instructions, as well as find a copy of a sample researcher agreement form that winners of the competition must sign. Check out the history and overview files in the Small Grants section of the website to see what sorts of proposals have won funding in the past. Review the reports submitted by researchers of past years.
Your proposal must be received through the mail before December 31, 2014. Those who won funding in 2014 are ineligible for this funding in 2015, but those who won funding longer ago are welcome to submit proposals to further that same work or to support a new project.