Southern Appalachian Raptor Research (SARR) is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization funded primarily through grants and private donations. Work is conducted in cooperation with the U.S. Forest Service, Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission, and the U.S. Bird Banding Lab.


In 2018, SARR was awarded a grant for the seventh consecutive year from the Revitalization of Traditional Cherokee Artisan Resources initiative of the Cherokee Preservation Foundation through a partnership with Mainspring Conservation Trust. This grant supports the  MAPS projects at Cowee Mound and Welch Farm, including education programming for local school and summer students. SARR also receives support from the Cherokee Natural Resources Fish and Wildlife Management program for a MAPS project at the Kituah Mound site in Swain County.

The autumn 2018 Big Bald Mountain Bird Migration Project is generously funded though a grant from the  Appalachian Trail Conservancy (North Carolina License Plate Grant Program) for the seventh consecutive year.

SARR also received a Creating New Economies Fund (CNEF) grant from The Conservation Fund’s Resourceful Communities program. This grant will provide opportunities to more than 350 students and teachers from area schools to learn about regional bird ecology at the Big Bald Mountain Bird Migration Project. The CNEF grant will also help fund summer camp scholarships at Vacation Bird School, internships for local high school and college students, and a teacher workshop on birds and the environment.

Student volunteers at Big Bald Hawkwatch

SARR appreciates the grants and foundation support over the past 6 years from the following organizations:

  • The Charles and Betti Saunders Foundation
  • The Community Foundation of Western North Carolina
  • The Hughes-Cunningham Fund
  • The Tennessee Ornithological Society
  • Elisha Mitchell Audubon Society
  • Madison Rotary Club, Madison County, NC,
  • GlaxoSmithKline
  • The Franklin Bird Club