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Paddon/Gellhorn Wilderness Research Grants

Each year since 1998, the Indian Peaks Wilderness Alliance (IPWA) has awarded graduate and undergraduate research grants with a focus on ecological impacts in alpine and sub-alpine environments. The research topic should provide a better understanding of the ecology of Colorado high country. 


These grants honor David Paddon and Joyce Gellhorn.

David Paddon was an English exchange student in the Geography Department at the University of Colorado who did research in the Indian Peaks Wilderness. He died in a weather-related climbing accident in the Indian Peaks in May 1990.

Photos of IPWA board members and grant recipients

Joyce Gellhorn was an IPWA volunteer, board member and a long-time chair of the IPWA’s scholarship committee. Joyce was a dedicated educator whose passion was the ecology of the Colorado high country, which she shared in her books: Song of the Alpine: The Rocky Mountain Tundra through the Seasons, White-Tailed Ptarmigan: Ghosts of the Alpine Tundra and Aspen Dreams: A Memoir. She held a Ph.D. in botany with a specialty in plant ecology, and taught classes for over twenty-five years to students ranging in age from four to eighty-four at the Boulder County Nature Association, University of Colorado’s Mountain Research Station, Boulder Valley Schools, Rocky Mountain Nature Association, Keystone Science School and Teton Science School.  Joyce passed away in 2012.



Three IPWA Paddon/Gelhorn Research Grants are available for up to $2,000 each. Applications are due by March 12th and awards will be announced by April 10th, 2023.



Applicants must be undergraduate or graduate students attending any Colorado university and conducting research with a focus on issues affecting Colorado alpine and sub-alpine environments, with preferred study focus/areas in the Indian Peaks or James Peak Wilderness Areas or adjacent, such as at Niwot Ridge/CU Mountain Research Station. The research topic should help provide a better understanding of the ecological environment and/or wise management of the Colorado high country. The grants will be awarded based on the quality and merit of the research proposal and on the recommendation of faculty advisors.


In October of the funding year, recipients must submit a three to five minute video (with audio) summarizing research results. Alternatives to the video can be discussed prior to awarding the grant.




Interested applicants should send the following materials to the Indian Peaks Wilderness Alliance at

1)  A letter of application:


Indicate your name, local address, phone number, e-mail address, university, college department, current degree program, and the name, phone number, and e-mail of your faculty advisor.​​


2)  A research proposal:


State clearly and concisely, in no more than two pages, the research objectives, study area, overall experimental design, and the potential significance of findings. Tables and figures are discouraged. 


NOTE: It is essential that the grant request be written in a language understandable by the general public. Reviewers should not have to rely on explanations provided by faculty advisors to understand the concepts and goals contained in the grant application.


3)  A proposed budget:


Detail how you would spend the grant award.


4)  A letter of support from your faculty advisor.


See the 2023 Call for Research Grant Proposals Announcement PDF.


We look forward to receiving your applications!

Previous Recipients and Area of Study