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The Garden Club of America Fellowship in Tropical Botany

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Category: Botany

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Application deadline: January 15


To promote the preservation of tropical forests by enlarging the body of botanists with field experience.

Level of Education

Ph.D candidates


Applicants to the Fellowship in Tropical Botany must be U.S. Citizens or permanent residents, and currently enrolled in a U.S.-based institution.Open to students who anticipate completing the requirements for a Ph.D. in Botany within two years. Applicants must already be Ph.D. candidates enrolled at a US university. Eligibility is open to U.S. Citizens and permanent residents who are enrolled in a U.S. - based institution. 


Provides two or more grants of $5500 annually to enable field study in tropical botany. (Award amounts were increased from $5000 in 1994.) Generally, one grant is awarded in the area of tropical plant systematics and a second is awarded in tropical forest ecology.


World Wildlife Fund has organized and managed the program since its inception. A panel of botanists appointed by WWF screens, selects, and approves candidates by the GCA Scholarship Committee.


The Fellowship in Tropical Botany of today emerges from a long history of individual Garden club members supporting the fellowship. The Arundel Scholarship, was the first fellowship in tropical botany, established in 1983 with a five-year incentive grant of $50,000 from the Wildcat Foundation. The Incentive grant was created by Mrs. Russell Arundel, horticulturist and dedicated environmentalist from the Warrenton (Virginia) Garden Club, and provided for two $5,000 grants a year so that doctoral candidates could pursue independent field study in the tropics. During that five-year period, over 100 applications were received for the grants. In 1989 the GCA Executive Committee voted to establish the awards on a permanent basis, and subsequently allocated $100,000 to fund the Arundel Scholarship.  

The additional $100,000 investment in the Fellowship was originally called the Visiting Gardens Scholarship, as the donation was made through the Visiting Gardens Committee. These monies represented donations to the GCA by participants in the Visiting Gardens' trips.

Today, the fellowship is simply called the Fellowship in Tropical Botany.

To Apply

There is no formal application form. Candidates should submit an application packet including the following:

  • A personal letter describing the candidate's plans for the future and commitment to tropical conservation; and
  • A two-page statement of the proposed research, including its relevance to conservation, beginning with a summary statement of the proposal’s purpose, field location, plant group/vegetation type and questions to be answered;
  • One letter of recommendation from the student's graduate advisor that includes an evaluation of the student's progress to date and a statement confirming Ph.D. candidacy;
  • Evidence of foreign language capability, if necessary for country of research; and
  • A brief curriculum vitae (1-2 pages).

Please submit all information as one PDF document. Please use standard 8.5" x 11" size pages, no smaller than 10-point, Times New Roman font, single-spaced or greater, and 1" margins on all sides. References and graphics do not count toward the two-page limit. Please email the document to

Applications must be postmarked by January 15 preceding the proposed period of study. PLEASE NOTE: ONLY ONE GCA SCHOLARSHIP, FELLOWSHIP OR AWARD MAY BE APPLIED FOR ANNUALLY.


The Marjorie Arundel Awards in Tropical Botany Fund and the Visiting Gardens Tropical Botany Scholarship Fund are managed by the GCA.


Kimberley Marchant, World Wildlife Fund, 1250 24th Street NW, Washington, DC 20037. , email:

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