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News: GCA Scholars are Changemakers


August 06, 2019

Read about the important academic research being done by three GCA Scholars

Several of the GCA’s recent scholars are emerging early in their professional careers as changemakers. Their passions address critical topics ranging from pollinator initiatives to water protection and sea level rise. 

Dr. Rachael E. Bonoan is a member of the team leading the Tufts University Pollinator Initiative, which planted its first on campus gardens early in the summer. This is a major commitment to the pollinator support challenge of which she has been a long time proponent. Bonoan is now a post-doctoral researcher in the Crone Lab at Tufts University Department of Biology and was recently featured on the Tufts Now “Ever Wonder” news. Listen to her one-minute video as she explains how bees make honey. 

In 2017 she was awarded The Garden Club of America Board of Associates Centennial Pollinator Fellowship. In 2018 Bonoan received her PhD in Ecology, Behavior and Evolution from Tufts University. 

Kevin Jeffery recently received the Inaugural Emerging Leader Award from River Network in Austin, Texas. This award “recognizes someone early in their professional career who deserves attention for their work at the intersection of water and equity.” Jeffery recently received his masters degree in Landscape Architecture from the University of Texas at Austin.

Jeffery created and led a research project entitled Blue Index. It focuses on people’s emotional reactions to water in order to identify the positive effects of water, such as a reduction in anxiety, in an urban community’s overall health. Sponsored by the GCA and the City of Austin Watershed Protection Department, Blue Index has collected citizen-reported data from 30 waterscapes around Austin, beginning in 2017.     Photo Credit: Kevin Jeffery

Jeffery received the 2017 Douglas Dockery Thomas Fellowship in Garden History and Design and recently completed his Masters in Landscape Architecture at the University of Texas at Austin.

Johnny Quispe recently co-authored a feature article entitled “How High will the Sea Rise along our New Jersey Shore?” which appeared in the Star-Ledger, New Jersey’s largest online newspaper. Quispe is a PhD candidate in the Ecology and Evolution graduate program at Rutgers University and 2018 recipient of The Garden Club of America Award in Coastal Wetlands Studies.

The goal of Quispe’s research is to assist in the development of policy recommendations for local and regional planners to ensure the conservation of tidal marshes, and help coastal communities reduce flooding and other damage from future storms through the use of natural defenses.



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