WAZA Nature Connect Grants

Applications Now Open!

WAZA is excited to announce the launch of its new Nature Connect Grants to develop initiatives that inspire kids and their families to connect with nature and take action to support its conservation.

These grants are made possible through the generous support of the Disney Conservation Fund and also the expertise of the International Zoo Educators Association.


Applying for a WAZA Nature Connect Grant

WAZA would like its global community of member organisations to create innovative ways to enhance the connection that kids and their families have with the natural world. We want you to come up with projects that will begin to build and encourage a lifelong commitment to nature conservation – these are the sorts of projects we want to fund!

WAZA grants are for initiating new projects rather than funding established programmes – think of them as seed money for you to try new ways of connecting families and communities to Nature (for example: helping non-nature orientated families become more comfortable or excited about Nature, initiating a community based conservation project).

Only current WAZA members are eligible to apply for funding - but if you have a great project, don't let this discourage you. Find a WAZA member in your area and explore working in partnership with them - we are keen that this grant supports the formation of new partnerships and links between WAZA Zoos and Aquariums and their local communities.

NOTE: Projects must be undertaken outside the USA - for AZA members with USA based projects see: https://www.aza.org/nature-play 

NOTE: Applicants that are both AZA and WAZA members are not eligible to apply to both grants for the same project.

The sorts of community conservation project we are looking for might include: setting up family nature clubs that hold regular outdoor events, running community clean up and habitat restoration projects that support the continued care and enjoyment of local natural spaces, taking kids and their families to local parks and nature reserves so that they can get to know and appreciate their local wildlife, running play and art events in nature, holiday clubs for families that focus on playing in and learning about local nature, projects targeting the barriers to kids and their families spending time in nature in your local area, etc. etc.

The key thing to remember is that all initiatives should involve direct experiences of Nature. We are not interested in projects based in classrooms, lecture halls or online. This initiative is about learning what works and what doesn’t so we will be expecting you to build in evaluation steps and to be making adjustments to your project as you learn. You should also consider how your projects could be extended and built upon once the WAZA grant comes to an end.

We will expect regular updates and a report on completion of the project.

We will use your reports to publicise your work in WAZA publications and at the annual conference. We want everyone to hear about and be inspired by the great work you, the membership, are doing in connecting people to Nature!

Full application details can be found here:

Deadline for receipt of applications is 24:00 GMT 20th March 2018 - this will be for projects undertaken between May and November 2018.

A further round is funding will be available (opening in May 2018) for projects undertaken between August 2018 and April 2019. 


Resources for Applicants

WAZA has put together a number of resources to inspire you:

Past Recipients WAZA Nature Connect Grants.

Click on the video above to view the sort of projects that we are looking for.

Other Round 1 awardees include: 

  • Africam Safari, Mexico
  • Cali Zoo: Colombia
  • SAAMBR: South Africa
  • Ocean Park: Hong Kong
  • Paris Zoo: France
  • UWEC: Uganda
  • Wroclaw Zoo: Poland
  • Zoo Liberc: Czech Republic
  • Zoos Vicotria: Australia
  • ZSL: UK

AZA Nature Play Resources:

Disney has been working with the American Zoo Association since 2014 on their Nature Play Begins at Your Zoo & Aquarium initiative. AZA has produced a number of useful resources to inspire zoo professionals including tool kits and webinars. And for more inspiration, click here for a list of zoo projects they have funded. 


#NatureForAll is an IUCN led coalition of partners, including WAZA, who represent a variety of sectors — health, urban, protected areas, communications, technology, education, arts, tourism, science, youth, and more. The aim of this global movement to inspire a new generation of thinkers and doers across all sectors of society to connect with nature and take action to support its conservation. At its core is a very simple idea: the more people experience, connect with, and share their love of nature, the more support there will be for its conservation.Click here to access a number of #NatureForAll resources

The Children & Nature Network:

The Children & Nature Network is a global movement to connect all children, their families and communities to nature through innovative ideas, evidence-based resources and tools, broad-based collaboration and support of grassroots leadership. Their website is packed with inspiration including relevant literature, tools, infographics, webinars and training events.

Do you have any questions or comments about the WAZA Nature Connect Grant?

We would love to hear from you. Click here to send us an email.