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Joan Mosenthal DeWind Award

The Xerces Society is now accepting applications for two awards to support students pursuing education and research into Lepidoptera conservation. Award amounts are determined annually, but are a minimum of $3,750 each.



DeWind Awards are given to students who are engaged in studies and research leading to a university degree related to Lepidoptera conservation and who intend to continue to work in this field. All proposals must be written by the student researcher. Proposed research should have a clear connection to Lepidoptera conservation and must be completed within one year from receiving funds. Applicants may be graduate or undergraduate students; however, please note that all but one awardee, to date, have been pursuing graduate research. Applications from countries outside the United States will be considered but must be written in English and international applicant work cannot involve work in the United States.


Submission Deadline for 2020 Awards

The submission deadline is Sunday, January 5, 2020, at 11:59 PM PST. Award winners will be announced by March 31, 2020, with initial awards payments by May 2020.


Instructions for Submitting the Proposal

All proposals must be submitted by email to [email protected]. The proposal should be attached as a single file in PDF format. The subject line of the email should read "DeWind Award Proposal 2020."


Proposal Format

All text should use 12 pt font and one inch margins.

1. Cover page (1 page)

a. Title. List the title in Bold.

b. Contact information. Provide the name and contact information for the applicant and their major advisor. Include institutional affiliations, complete mailing address, and country. Also provide an email address and telephone number (include country code if outside the United States).

c. Abstract. Include a project summary immediately following the title and contact information. The summary should be limited to 100 words and should not exceed one paragraph.

2. Proposal body (2 pages). Begin with a clear statement of the problem or objectives, follow with a clear methods section, and end with a substantial conclusion. The proposal should include a discussion of potential conservation applications and results, and what products, if any, will result from this work.

a. Introduction and overview.

b. Statement of conservation relevance. Why or how is the proposed work relevant to the conservation of Lepidoptera?

c. Hypotheses or questions to be addressed. Can include explicit predictions.

d. Methods. Including experimental design, data collection, and approach to analyses.

e. Expected outcomes and communication. Discuss possible results and how they will be communicated to land managers, other scientists, and the general public.

3. Additional information. On separate pages, please include all of the following information: cited literature, project timeline, and a short (2 pages or less) CV.

Awards are paid as a qualified scholarship, which may be used for qualified or non-qualified education expenses as defined by the IRS. This allows recipients to avoid taxation on the grant if used for qualified education expenses. Recipients may use the award for other purposes which support them in completing their education or research.

Awards are made payable only to the recipient of the scholarship, and cannot be paid to an institution or other third party.

Recipients accepting the award will be asked to submit a brief report on the results of their research project.

4. Please include all of the materials as a single PDF attachment. No other attachments or supporting materials should be included.


For more information about the award, please visit our Frequently Asked Questions Page.

2019 Joan Mosenthal DeWind Award Recipients

Niranjana Krishnan – Iowa State University

Assessing the risk of insecticides to monarch butterflies

Both the western and eastern monarch populations are in severe decline. To stem this decline, it is essential to establish milkweed breeding habitat across different land cover types. This includes agricultural landscapes, where foliar and systemic insecticides are used. This research project will evaluate the toxicity and exposure of agricultural insecticides to monarch eggs, larvae, pupae, and adults. Mortality and sublethal effects will be estimated at different distances from treated fields and incorporated into a landscape-scale model to predict monarch population numbers. Results from this project will help identify ideal locations for milkweed placements in agricultural landscapes. 

A smiling young woman with an Iowa State University T-shirt sits in a lab, with a sprig of milkweed with monarch eggs in one container on the counter, a monarch chrysalis in another container, a monarch caterpillar in the next, and an adult monarch butterfly in the final container.

Molly Wiebush – Florida State University

The importance of small-scale fire refugia for butterfly communities in an old growth longleaf pine savanna

Prescribed fire can be an important tool for maintaining the early seral stage habitats needed by butterflies and many other pollinators. While the effects of timing and frequency of fire on pollinators and their host plants have been studied, the effects of fire heterogeneity on butterflies is less well known. This research project will examine how the butterfly community in an old growth longleaf pine savanna responds to unburned patches within prescribed burns, including how adults use unburned patches, survival of larvae and pupae within these patches, and whether unburned patches change how butterfly flight periods and floral resources overlap. This information can improve the use of prescribed fire as a conservation tool for Lepidoptera and other species.


A smiling young woman wearing sunglasses and an NRCS hat stands in a forest.

Joan Mosenthal DeWind's Legacy

Joan Mosenthal DeWind was a pioneering member of the Xerces Society. A psychiatric social worker by profession, she was also an avid butterfly gardener and an accomplished amateur lepidopterist. Her contributions of time, organizational expertise, and financial support were essential to the early growth and success of the Xerces Society, and helped found a robust organization that continued to expand in the decades since and become a conservation leader. Joan also had a keen interest in young people, supporting what became the Young Entomologists’ Society. In Joan’s memory, Bill DeWind established this student research endowment fund. The Xerces Society administers two $3,750 awards each year for research into Lepidoptera conservation.