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GCA Scholarships Recipients


2023 Stephanie Cadaval

The Garden Club of America Zone VI Fellowship in Urban Forestry
School: PhD candidate in Forest Resources and Conservation, University of Florida

The Human Dimensions of Urban Forest Management and Storm Events: A Mixed-Methods Approach to Understanding Perceptions of Risk, Efficacy, and Collaboration

Using a mixed-methods approach to assess experiences and perspectives of urban forest professionals working with city trees and storms, Cadaval will investigate how impacts from storms—hurricanes, ice storms, and thunderstorms—influence decisions made by tree managers at multiple scales. Research will focus on perspectives from municipal forestry managers, utility managers, nonprofit staff, volunteer-based groups, and emergency managers. Cadaval will evaluate perceptions of risk and efficacy among urban forest professionals; determine management challenges in dealing with storms; and define perspectives, experiences, and collaboration opportunities for working with storms and trees in cities.


2023 Stella Dee

The Garden Club of America Zone VI Fellowship in Urban Forestry
School: PhD candidate in Environmental Conservation with a focus in Arboriculture and Forest Resources, University of Massachusetts Amherst

Assessing the Effects of Different Pruning Regimens Applied to Residential Shade Trees


A certified International Society of Arboriculture arborist, Dee will examine the mechanical, physiological, and carbon-accounting effects of different styles of pruning, including the degree to which tree invertebrate populations, residual leaf-area index, and frequency with which the tree sways in the wind are influenced. Dee’s findings will help arborists and urban foresters better understand and apply pruning as an intervention.


2023 Jorge Vera

The Garden Club of America Zone VI Fellowship in Urban Forestry
School: Master’s student, Biological Science with a certificate in Geospatial Information Science, Marshall University

The Role of Urban Trees in Mitigating Large Precipitation Events via Stemflow and Canopy Interception

Looking closely at how impervious surfaces alter hydrology, Vera will quantify urban trees’ ability to mitigate severity of precipitation events. Stemflow and throughfall will be documented to determine how urban trees temporarily intercept and divert a fraction of precipitation away from overworked municipal storm drainage systems. Vera will also conduct a full tree inventory of Marshall University’s campus and update the campus tree map. Data will delineate the ecosystem services provided by the trees and will elucidate benefits to the campus and the Huntington community.


2023 Rosalind Remsen

The Garden Club of America Zone VI Fellowship in Urban Forestry
School: Master’s student, Natural Resources (Soil Science), University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point

Site Characteristics Driving White Oak Decline in the Chicago Metropolitan Area 

Remsen will investigate the relationship between site characteristics, especially soils, and the decline of white oak trees in the Chicago metropolitan area by examining healthy and declining trees in open urban areas and managed green spaces. Trees will be identified, metrics measured, and relevant site characteristics recorded. Data collected will help arborists and urban foresters prioritize treatment and management of white oaks. In addition, findings will improve understanding of the processes that influence the health of managed trees and will improve future planting guidelines.


2022 Jess Shamek

The Garden Club of America Zone VI Fellowship in Urban Forestry

Oregon White Oak Resilience in a Changing Climate

Using bioinformatics to determine genetic diversity and differentiation, Shamek’s research will assess the population genetic structure, regeneration, and adaptive plasticity of Quercus garryana in the Portland metro region. Shamek will investigate howurbanization, climate, and landscape influence diversity. Findings will directly inform the adaptive management of an urban forest and provide a framework for regional land managers to gauge the resilience of tree populations in the face of climate change.

2022 Elise Marie Willis

The Garden Club of America Zone VI Fellowship in Urban Forestry

Greening Development: Curbing Urban Tree-Canopy Loss and Increasing Green Infrastructure Adoption through Incentives

Willis’s project aims to find solutions to Florida’s decades-long, development-induced tree-canopy loss. Through interviews with land developers across the state, Willis will identify what incentives would encourage planting, preservation, and prioritization of trees in development projects. Willis hopes the finding will provide local governments with data to guide future policy discussions.

2022 Kristine Lorenzo

The Garden Club of America Zone VI Fellowship in Urban Forestry

How Does Community Stewardship Impact the Survival of Planted Trees?

Lorenzo will explore the interactions of socioecological factors that influence the survival of recently planted trees. Researching how community stewardship regimes impact the outcomes of tree-planting initiatives, the project will center on a multiorganizational collaborative urban-forestry project in northwest Indiana. Findings will provide actionable metrics and data to on-the-ground stakeholders seeking to wisely use limited urban-forest resources.

2021 Sharon Sharon Danielson

The Garden Club of America Zone VI Fellowship in Urban Forestry
School: PhD candidate in Biology, Case Western Reserve University & Holden Forests and Gardens

Investigating Variation in Stress Tolerance of Urban Tree Seedlings in Cleveland, Ohio

Danielson studies how urbanization impacts tree function, growth, and distribution. She measures a combination of physiological and functional traits related to water and nutrient use to explore individual responses and community-level trait shifts across urban and rural forests. Her current work explores the local variation in water-stress tolerance in seedlings from local urban and rural seed sources. This will provide insight into the trajectory of urban remnant forests and the potential benefits of using native seed sources for plantings.

Funded by Casey Trees


2021 Renata Poulton Kamakura

The Garden Club of America Zone VI Fellowship in Urban Forestry
School: PhD candidate in Ecology, Duke University

Urban Tree Species Health and Habitat Suitability in a U.S. City

Within cities there is a lot of variation in temperature, soil type, amount of pavement, and much more than can impact how well trees grow. As summers get hotter and rainfall patterns change, managers need to know which species can survive in different parts of a city, and which ones will continue to do well in the future. Kamakura’s research aims to support managers in making those decisions by investigating what keeps trees healthy and where different tree species grow well.


Funded by Casey Trees


2021 Marc Healy

The Garden Club of America Zone VI Fellowship in Urban Forestry
School: PhD candidate in Geography, Clark University

Throwing Shade: Characterizing Historical Urban Canopy Cover Change in Two Post-industrial Cities

Healy studies urban canopy cover change at the municipal level by analyzing aerial imagery paired with local social, economic, and political histories, to uncover legacies that have led to present-day urban tree canopy conditions. His research will offer municipalities and urban forestry professionals a method to utilize historical datasets in management decision making.

Funded by Casey Trees


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Scholarship Opportunities Abound

The Garden Club of America offers 29 merit-based scholarships and fellowships in 12 areas related to conservation, ecology, horticulture, and pollinator research. In 2023, over $405,000 were awarded to 86 scholars. Follow GCA Scholarships on Instagram for the latest news about pollinators, coastal wetlands, native bird habitats, and much more. Connect to a larger world of horticulture and conservation through Garden Club of America scholars. Browse the scholarship offerings.

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