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 2017, SARR was awarded a grant for the sixth 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 over 200 local students.

The autumn 2017 Big Bald Mountain Bird Migration Project was funded though a grant from the  Appalachian Trail Conservancy (North Carolina License Plate Grant Program) for the sixth consecutive year.  In 2016, SARR also received support  from the Madison County Unrestricted Endowment, a component North Carolina Community Foundation. SARR was also the recipient of a grant in 2016 from the Hawk Migration Association of North America (HMANA) in support of on-going raptor education work during the Big Bald Mountain Bird Migration Project. Funding support from HMANA assisted in the purchase of binoculars for student hawkwatchers at Big Bald.

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