The J. Larry Landers Student Research Award is a Gopher Tortoise Council competitive grant program for undergraduate and graduate college students. We will award 1-2 grants of up to $3,000 each annually. This is an excellent opportunity for undergraduate and graduate students to access funding for their research on Gopher Tortoise biology/ecology or any other relevant aspect of upland habitat conservation and management within the range of the Gopher Tortoise. The next application deadline is February 3, 2023. 

Please click here for more information on eligibility, reporting requirements, and application guidelines and format.

Please send submissions and questions to:

Betsie Rothermel
Archbold Biological Station
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Year Name Institution Project
2022 David Tevs Georgia Southern University Influence of unpaved roads on demographic and epigenetic characteristics of the Florida scrub lizard in two imperiled upland habitats.
2022 Michael Brennan Georgia Southern University Effects of forest management practices in the Ocala National Forest on a rare endemic lizard.
2021 Alexandra Brown University of Georgia If you build it, will they come? Snake occupancy of restored southeastern pine savanna habitats.
2021 Arik Hartmann University of Georgia Assessing community-level pathogen spillover in longleaf pine associated herpetofaunal communities. 
2021 McKayla Susen University of Georgia Examining the reciprocal relationship between habitat structure and the gopher tortoise (Gopherus polyphemus). 
2020 Catherine Shadduck Florida Gulf Coast University Gopher tortoise surveys of state parks in southwest Florida. 

The Environmental Education Grant was established to support educators and organizations committed to developing educational projects about the gopher tortoise and the fascinating world in which it lives. The grant also honors Donna June Heinrich, an environmental educator, whose life was dedicated to conserving wildlife and their associated habitats. To apply, please submit the Environmental Education Grant Application. Grant amounts awarded vary from year to year (with a maximum of $2000 per proposal), depending on the amount of donations received. A project summary for “The Tortoise Burrow” newsletter or either a presentation or poster at the following year’s GTC annual meeting will be required.

The deadline for proposals each year is September 30.


Year Recipient Purpose
2020 Lee Co. FL Parks and Recreation Conservation 20/20 For materials that will help educate students/public on gopher tortoise and upland habitat conservation. 
2020 Loggerhead Marinelife Center For materials that will help educate the public on gopher tortoise habitat, ecology, and conservation. 
2019 Friends of Okeeheelee Nature Center  For educational materials including a gopher tortoise activity book, a gopher tortoise mural, and other materials for use during quarterly “Gopher Tortoise Celebration” days 
2019 University of Florida/IFAS Nassau Co. Extension Establishment of a community-built Gopher Tortoise Garden habitat which will be used to host educational events in concert with sustainable gardening to feed exhibit animals 
2018 Flint RiverQuarium To create a gopher tortoise enclosure in concert with sustainable gardening to feed exhibit animals
2018 Manatee County To create a crawl through fabric tortoise burrow and tortoise and commensal puppets

Bob Herrington, a long-time member of the Gopher Tortoise Council, who served as chair of the GTC’s J. Larry Landers Student Research Award Committee for more than 20 years, passed away in April 2016. His leadership and service to the Council will be sorely missed. In recognition of Bob’s contributions to the Council and his dedication to 30 years of teaching and mentoring students at Georgia Southwestern State University, the Executive Committee has voted to rename the Council’s student travel award in his honor.

This award provides financial assistance to students wishing to present their research at the Annual Gopher Tortoise Council meeting and is funded through GTC membership fees. Students must reside greater than 60 miles from the meeting venue to qualify.

To apply, please indicate in your abstract submission email that you would like to be considered for the Bob Herrington Student Travel Grant. Please note your location and university affiliation. Instructions for abstract submission, registration, and meeting details will be available on our Annual Meeting page. Recipients will be selected randomly from among those who submit applications by the deadline for abstract submission. Winners will be notified before the meeting and awards will be presented at the meeting.


Year Recipient Institution
2019 Emma Cutkomp Florida Atlantic University
2019 Allison Kelley Marshall University
2019 Andrew Marx University of Florida)
2018 Heather Gaya University of Georgia
2018 Caitlyn Jones Florida State University
2017 Thomas Radzio Drexel University
2016 Heather Gaya University of Georgia
2016 David Lucien Florida Atlantic University
2015 Carolyn Reiland-Smith Florida Atlantic University