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The Chiricahua Desert Museum (CDM) has established the Barney Tomberlin Herpetological Field Research Grant for undergraduate and graduate students engaged in field research on reptiles or amphibians of the United States. Professionally, Barney is remembered as co-owner of Western Zoological Supply in Monrovia, California, and owner of Hatari Invertebrates in Portal, Arizona. He also served as Fire Captain of the Monrovia Fire Department. After retiring from the department in the 1980s and settling in Portal, Arizona, Barney worked tirelessly to help establish Portal Fire and Rescue and served as a fire fighter on roster until 2010. As a resident of Southeastern Arizona, Barney became a regional expert on herpetological fauna and supported the research endeavors of students, faculty, and researchers from around the world. He supplied live demonstration species for the Chiricahua Desert Museum and the U.S. Forest Service’s Cave Creek Visitors Information Center, his efforts assisting with the educational endeavors of both CDM and the Friends of Cave Creek. Additionally, for many years and up until the time of his sudden passing, he was committed to supplying venomous snakes for venom research and antivenom production. To those who knew him well, Barney was a loveable curmudgeon with a wry sense of humor and a passion for World War II history. A regular at the Portal Peak Lodge Store & Café, Barney was also one never to turn down an invitation to dinner, often gathering with friends in the Portal-Rodeo area. It was his friends and colleagues who established this memorial grant to support ongoing herpetological field research in his memory and encourage students whose research focuses on amphibians and reptiles.


Applications for the Barney Tomberlin Memorial Grant for Herpetological Field Research (BTMGHFR) are invited from current undergraduate or graduate students who are enrolled in full-time studies at accredited colleges and universities and who are engaged in field research of reptiles or amphibians in the United States, preferably in the Southwest. 

Applications will be reviewed and considered for support by the Scientific Advisory Board of the CDM. Areas that we are particularly keen to support are:

Natural History
Proposals in this category should address original field research in areas such as population distribution, behavioral ecology, and life history of amphibians and reptiles occurring in in the United States, preferably in the Southwest.

Conservation Biology
Proposals in this category should address original field research on endangered or threatened amphibian or reptile species or the phenomena that affect the maintenance, decline, and restoration of their natural habitats.

Maximum annual grant request should not exceed $500.00 U.S. Smaller value awards may be given to multiple projects annually. The total number of grants awarded per year will depend solely upon the balance of the dedicated grant fund in any given year.


BTMGHFR applicants must be current undergraduate or graduate students who are enrolled in full-time studies at accredited colleges and universities and who are engaged in field research of reptiles or amphibians in the United States, preferably in the Southwest.

While there are no eligibility restrictions on the nationality of the applicants nor a requirement that the student must be enrolled in the United States, the student must be able to provide a certified copy of their academic transcript to allow for verification of enrollment in an accredited institution of higher education.

Applicants who have received funding from the BTMGHFR and are engaged in ongoing research are eligible to reapply for funding in subsequent years. Any additional application for funding must be submitted according to the application Guidelines and include a Progress Report for the previous year’s research. 


The documents of the Application Package should be formatted as PDF files in English and clearly labeled—i.e., cover sheet, narrative, curriculum vitae, letter of recommendation, academic transcript(s), and optional supporting documents—and submitted in a single email sent to the CDM. Applicants should not send multiple emails from separate sources but may submit more than one email on the same day if they encounter file size limitations of their email client. 

While the CDM Scientific Advisory Board will evaluate Application Packages based on merit and not on grammar and spelling, applicants are strongly encouraged to run grammar and spell checks to ensure information on their research is relayed as clearly and completely as possible.

  • Email the completed application package containing only PDF files to Dr. Kaye Holman at

  • In the subject line, write CDM BTMGHFR Submission

  • Postal mail or faxed applications will not be accepted.




A minimum of five (5) documents must be included in the Application Package—i.e., cover sheet, narrative, curriculum vitae, letter of recommendation, and academic transcript(s). Optional supporting documents—e.g., literature cited—may additionally be included. All materials must be submitted as PDF files in English and have clearly labeled file names.

Cover Sheet - Maximum two (2) pages, Times New Roman, 12-point font, single-spaced

1.    Project Title:
2.    Student’s Name:
3.    Student’s Faculty Advisor:
4.    College or University:
5.    Abstract/Project Summary (not to exceed 150 words):
6.    Research Project Timeline:
7.    Research Project Location:
8.    Amount Requested (up to $500 U.S.):
9.    Total Project Budget (in U.S. $):
10.    Student Contact Information:

a.    Address (include state, zip/postal code, and country):
b.    Telephone:
c.    E-mail:

Narrative - Maximum three (3) pages, Times New Roman, 12-point font, single-spaced


  • INTRODUCTION - Explain the research project rationale, goals and objectives, and hypotheses to be evaluated. 

  • BACKGROUND/REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE - Clearly explain any Natural History and/or Conservation Biology contexts for the research. Include sufficient information such that reviewers who may not be familiar with the subject matter will be able to understand and evaluate the project request. 

  • METHODS/PLAN OF ACTION - Describe data collection methods, sample size, and a detailed timetable including project start and completion dates, as well as the plan for dissemination of findings. If appropriate, include an experimental design. You must clearly explain the field research-related aspects of the project and speak to any required permits that have been obtained or are in process of being obtained. All studies must comply with local, state, tribal and federal laws, as applicable.

  • ITEMIZED BUDGET – Include a detailed budget with a description of how the grant funds will be used to support research in the field. List amounts and sources of in-kind support as well as direct monetary support already obtained and being sought from other sources. Clearly indicate the amount being requested, up to $500 U.S.

Curriculum Vitae – Maximum two (2) pages, Times New Roman, 12-point font

Letter of Recommendation – One letter of recommendation from the student’s faculty advisor who is overseeing the research must be submitted. Please limit the length of the letter to a maximum of two (2) pages and ensure the letter is submitted on college/university letterhead.

Academic Transcript(s) – The student’s academic transcript(s) detailing academic history and showing the record of current course enrollment must be submitted.

Literature Cited – Optional Literature Cited of no more than 25 references from the Narrative may be listed on one (1) page in Time New Roman, 12-point font.

Attachments – Optional supporting information, such as photographs or map images, may be included as Attachment(s). Any Attachment(s) submitted must be formatted as PDF(s), referenced in the Narrative, and clearly labeled.

Progress Report – Only required in the application package if reapplying for grant funding, as detailed under the ELIGIBILITY and CONDITIONS OF ACCEPTANCE sections, a Progress Report on the grant-related research already completed must be included in the Application Package.


  • All research must abide by local, state, tribal, and federal laws, as applicable. 

  • Research involving live animals must adhere to USDA Animal Welfare Act regulations.

  • A Progress Report on the scope of research completed—including methods used, data collected, and preliminary/concluding findings—must be submitted to the CDM Scientific Advisory Committee by the end of the calendar year in which the grant funds are received. The Progress Report should additionally include a summary of expenses detailing how BTMGHFR monies were spent.

  • The CDM will be acknowledged as a sponsor of the student’s research in any printed materials produced as a result of the project—including research posters, slides presented in oral presentation slides, articles, reports, theses, or dissertations. (A copy of the CDM logo is available upon request)

  • At a minimum, a synopsis of the research project will be published on the CDM website. Information shared online will be coordinated with the grant recipient in advance to ensure confidentiality of research information, as appropriate.


January 31, 2024 – As detailed under GUIDELINES FOR SUBMISSION and APPLICATION PACKAGE, application packages consisting of a cover sheet, narrative, curriculum vitae, letter of recommendation, academic transcript(s), and any optional supporting documents must be received at the CDM through email. A Progress Report on the scope of research completed under previous CDM grant awards must also be submitted for any applicant who is reapplying for funding. Application Packages that arrive after the due date or that are incomplete will not be reviewed.

March 1, 2024 – CDM Scientific Advisory Board completes review of the applications and determines grant awards to be distributed.

December 31st – For grant recipients who are not applying for additional grant support, a Progress Report on the status of the research as detailed under CONDITIONS OF ACCEPTANCE should be submitted by the end of the calendar year in which the grant funding was received.

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