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News: The Garden Club of America Centennial Pollinator Fellowship


July 16, 2020

Scholars Contribute Critical Research

In the face of the alarming decline in pollinator populations in recent decades, the GCA awards fellowships to graduate students who carry out critical research to advance pollinator science. The Garden Club of America Board of Associates Centennial Pollinator Fellowship was established in 2013 in honor of the GCA’s centennial. Read about the GCA’s recent fellows looking for solutions to conserve and sustain the pollinators that are vital to our food supply.

The three most recent Centennial Pollinator Fellows are doctoral candidates Aramee Diethelm, Jacob Pecenka, and Hannah Levenson. They were selected based on their work’s technical merit and relevance.


Aramee Diethelm studies plant-insect-predator interactions at the University of Nevada and is investigating how milkweed’s (Asclepias) chemical traits alter the interactions between western monarch butterflies (Danaus plexippus) and their predators. Monarchs make themselves toxic to some predators by exclusively consuming milkweed but drought stress may impact that useful effect. This research will aid monarch conservation across the arid Western U.S.








Entomologist Jacob Pecenka, studying at Purdue University in Indiana, is concentrating on how current agricultural pest control techniques impact pollinators. He is looking at how removing conventional insecticide applications can affect both wild and managed pollinators. The project will allow a fuller understanding of pollinator community dynamics and their contributions to crop yield.








Hannah Levenson, an entomologist and plant pathologist at North Carolina State University, is conducting the most detailed survey of native bees in North Carolina to date. She will measure the presence and infection level of several different pathogens across many bee species. Her multi-year survey of the native bee populations, assessing how planted habitat affects bees over time, will aid in making further conservation decisions.

The work of these Pollinator fellows will provide critical answers to help preserve our ecosystems.


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