Education: Garden Club of America Wetlands Scholarship
The Garden Club of America provides an Award in Coastal Wetlands Studies. This scholarship originated in 1966 when the Rockefeller Fund was established for the purpose of promoting environmental education. In 1999, Mrs. Edward Elliman, a member of the Rockefeller family and the Hortulus Garden Club chose to promote wetlands conservation through the support of young scientists in their field work and research. It is administered by the Center for Coastal Resources Management, Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS) at the College of William and Mary and open to graduate students pursuing advanced degrees in coastal wetlands science.
The award is a one-year scholarship for graduate studies in coastal wetlands and carries a $5,000 award to support field-based research (see application requirements for more detailed information.) The goals of the Garden Club are to promote wetlands conservation through the support of young scientists in their fieldwork and research. Applications are reviewed by a selection committee of practicing wetlands scientists.
For the purposes of this scholarship, coastal wetlands are defined as those tidal or nontidal wetlands found within coastal states, including the Great Lakes. Applicants should be enrolled in a graduate program (M.S. or Ph. D.) at a university within the United States. A student may only apply to one GCA Scholarship per year.
Selection criteria is based on technical merit of proposed work and the degree to which the work is relevant to the Garden Club objective of promoting wetlands conservation. There is a preference for
students who are early in their degree programs and have field-based research that occurs in coastal wetlands of the U.S.
Applicants must provide the following by January 15, 2013:
A resume or curriculum vita.;
A completed 2013 GCA application form (Word 97-2003 version)(Word 2007 version); and
A letter of endorsement from the applicant’s graduate faculty advisor.
GCA Wetlands Scholarship Award Recipients in 2013
Anna E. Braswell, a Ph.D. student at Duke University is researching marsh age and past use at sites along the eastern seaboard by correlating historical data to sediment cores. Data gathered will help illuminate the vulnerability of coastal ecosystems and be shared with coastal managers and other scientists for planning marsh management as climate change influences sea level rise.
Rachel K. Guy, a Ph.D. student at the University of Georgia will study estuarine sites and several barrier islands along the coast of Georgia to determine if red drum and blue crabs may be adversely affected by loss of saltmarsh due to saltwater inundation.
Megan J. Haserodt, a Master's student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison is assessing roadway impacts on groundwater movement in the Kenai Peninsula Lowlands in Alaska. These wetlands or peatlands provide nutrients and maintain groundwater recharge to the many salmon streams. She will work where risk of development, and therefore more roads, is high.
GCA Wetlands Scholarship Award Recipients in 2012
LEE SCHOEN is a MS candidate at Central Michigan University, having received a BA in Biology with aquatic emphasis from Grand Valley State University, MI. His research involves highly technical scientific methods and instrumentation. He is studying the carbon isotopes from tissue samples of fish to estimate the proportion of diet coming from wetlands food sources. Additionally, he will study the otoliths or minute calcerous particles found in the inner ear of fish which, like tree rings, grow from year to year and register near shore and wetland habitat use. His studies will take place in wetlands around Lake Michigan and Lake Huron.
Lee is not all work; he is also a competitive long-distance runner!
DOROTHEA LUNDBERG is a PhD candidate in the Marine, Estuarine and Environmental Science program at the University of Maryland. She received her MS from that program and did her undergraduate work at Richard Stockton College of NJ. Dorothea (Dot) was the top choice of the Selection Committee at VIMS. She has extensive experience in hydrology and is currently primary researcher working on 2 sites of grid-ditched marshes on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. She will be comparing the hydrological, nutrient and ecological conditions of ditched vs. unditched sites to determine the health of ditched marshes and to predict ecosystem responses to restoration practices consisting of ditch plugging.
BART CHRISTIAEN is a PhD candidate at the University of South Alabama, working at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab, the State of Alabama’s Marine Science Institution. He is from Belgium where he received a MS in both Biology and Environmental Science and in Oceanography. He is exploring a new and novel research study as to whether “Diurnal Shifts in Dissolved Oxygen Stimulate Water Column Denitrification in Wetland areas?” He will take early morning water samples at bayous and lagoons associated with coastal wetlands to detect populations of denitrifiers during periods of low oxygen concentrations. He is performing these experiments since he recognizes that one way to encourage conservation and protection of wetlands is by “fully quantifying the ecosystem services they provide.”
AKASHA FAIST is in the doctoral program at the University of Colorado Boulder in the Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Department. Her research is on vernal (ephemeral) pool plant community ecology and restoration in California, at a Travis AFB retired runway.
She is studying how spatial and interspecific variation in litter decomposition may govern native plant performance in restored and naturally occurring pools. She will test to see whether decomposition rates vary between invaded pools with invasive species producing more biomass and more litter and vernal pools with native species. She will also look at seed bank storage dynamics to see how native plant seed banks differ between invaded and native-dominated vernal pools. Akasha is using video classroom lessons of her sites to work with a 6th grade class.