The American Wildfire Experience’s Wildland Fire Digital Storytelling Micro-Grant initiative
The 2020 Wildland Fire Digital Storytelling Micro-Grant application is now closed.
At The American Wildfire Experience, we want to encourage and promote quality wildland fire storytelling that helps tell the story of wildland fire and shines a light on our human relationship with wildland fire. That’s why we started our Wildland Fire Digital Storytelling Micro-Grant initiative.
It is our hope that these grants will encourage thoughtful wildland fire storytelling by active fire practitioners, improve the production value of our grantee’s creative works by providing digital storytelling equipment/tools, and that this will help begin to build a cadre of wildland firefighters developing engaging content well aligned with AWE’s mission. Each year we offer a handful of micro-grants to international applicants at $500.00 (USD) each.
If you’re interested in applying next year, consider checking out the resources below. Your project application should demonstrate a clear and thoughtful vision, defined deliverables, compelling reason why we should fund you, and a specific objective.
- Click here to see the full list of questions and an example application from the 2020 application cycle.
- Click here for information about 2020 project eligibility.
Here is an off-the-cuff video answering common questions about the grants and the application process. It’ll give you an idea of what the grants are all about and the general application process itself.
Interested in checking out some successful 2019 micro-grant projects? Take a look at this multimedia project by videography grant winner Amanda Monthei about the pioneering women of the Zigzag Hotshots, this photography project exploring mental health of wildland firefighters by photography grant winner Lucy Grainger, or this writing project to launch her Thoughtfire Media Boots in Both Worlds initiative by writing grant winner Krysal Hazen-McCreary.
What is digital storytelling?
At The American Wildfire Experience, we define digital storytelling as the process of coupling personal stories with broader public issues (like wildland fire) by leveraging digital technology and media to showcase stories and the storytellers. We consider digital storytelling to be a process of community building and an integral part of educating the public about wildland fire.
Digital storytelling can take many shapes – such as a thoughtful series of photographs with creative captions posted on Instagram, a short video with interviews, fireline footage, and/or narration shot on your smartphone and shared on Vimeo, or a blog-post that showcases writing and artwork from the fireline. These are just a few examples of digital storytelling that wildland firefighters are creating every season. Put simply, at The American Wildfire Experience, we want to encourage and promote quality wildland fire storytelling that helps influence public perceptions about wildland fire and shines a light on our human experience with fire.
What are Micro-grants?
Micro-grants are simply small grants in terms of funding amount. In our case, we offered $500.00 grants with the hope that these grants would encourage thoughtful wildland fire storytelling by active content creators on social media, improve the production value of our grantee’s creative works by providing digital storytelling equipment/tools, and will begin to build a cadre of wildland firefighters developing engaging content well aligned with AWE’s mission.
The 2019 and 2020 grants were made possible through the generous support of MYSTERY RANCH and WATERAX, and through private donations from Peter and Jane Carpenter and Bethany Hannah. If you are interested in donating to our 202o grant cycle, you can learn more here!
Get involved outside of the grants:
If you are a wildland fire digital storyteller (e.g., love to capture the story of fire through fireline photography, film, or writing), we intend to offer another micro-grant cycle for the 2021 fire year, with applications opening this winter. If you’d like to apply, we encourage you to tag us in your social media posts this fire season using the hashtags: #wildfireexperience, #AWEfirestories, #thesmokeygeneration, and #lifeonthefireline to shine a spotlight on your work.
Another way to get involved is just to start sharing the story of wildland fire in a responsible and creative way through your normal outlets — when you post images on social media, take the time to describe what’s going on, what the fire is doing to improve or harm the landscape within which its burning, what you have to do in order to complete your assignment/task/etc. Take the time to compose photographs and videos that show different sides of the same story to bring awareness to the nuances and complexities of wildland fire. Showcase the human element – the camaraderie, the joys, the shared misery, the hardships, and the triumphs. Telling your story is important and powerful — become a champion of the story of fire and you’ll have a far-reaching impact on how the public perceives what we do as wildland firefighters (and why it’s important). Have a safe and creative fire season!