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GCA Scholarships Recipients

 

2021 Seanne Reyes Clemente

The Garden Club of America Board of Associates Centennial Pollinator Fellowship
School: PhD candidate in Organismic & Evolutionary Biology, University of Massachusetts, Amherst

Floral Volatiles and Pollinator Self-Medication: Implications for Bee and Plant Fitness

Clemente will conduct experiments to determine whether infection by a trypanosome parasite (Crithidia bombi) changes the foraging preferences of common eastern bumblebee (Bombus impatiens) workers. Through field surveys, he also will determine parasite prevalence in wild bees foraging on patches of secondary compound-rich basil (Ocimum basilicum). This work is part of a larger investigation on whether pathogens influence the evolution of plant chemical traits by altering the foraging behaviors of their hosts.

 


2021 Maura Jacqueline Hall

The Garden Club of America Board of Associates Centennial Pollinator Fellowship
School: PhD candidate in Toxicology, Iowa State University

Quantification of an Agriculturally Prevalent Pyrethroid Insecticide in Honey Bee Bodies to Determine Risk to Foraging Bees

Hall is actively involved in Iowa State’s Entomology Graduate Student Organization and has held several positions, including president. Her research focuses on assessing the exposure and risk of agricultural insecticides to insect pollinators, including honeybees and monarch butterflies. The goal of her research is to better understand the potential adverse effects of pesticide exposure to pollinator habitat that is located near crop fields. The results from this research will help guide conservation efforts for pollinators within the north central United States.

 


2021 Christopher Andrew Halsch

The Garden Club of America Board of Associates Centennial Pollinator Fellowship
School: PhD candidate in Ecology, Evolution, and Conservation Biology, University of Nevada, Reno

The Interactive Effects of Pesticide Exposure and Climate Change on a Widespread Butterfly

Halsch is interested in the many stressors impacting butterfly populations today, conducting long term monitoring and laboratory experiments to examine the biological mechanisms underlying insect declines. His current projects investigate the interactive effects of pesticide exposure and climate change on butterfly population trajectories.

 


2020 Laura A Lampe

The Garden Club of America Board of Associates Centennial Pollinator Fellowship

Comparing Plant-Pollinator Phenological Mismatches in Alpine and Lowland Habitats of Northern California 


Laura A. Lampe is a master’s student at California State University, Chico. She is interested in how mismatches develop between the timing of plant flowering and pollinator activity. Her project utilizes over 100 years 
of herbarium and insect collection records to compare long-term shifts 
in alpine and lowland communities. Climatic shifts can disrupt ecologically important relationships, and these community changes may be distinct in alpine areas, which are understood to be especially sensitive to climate change. Investigating the potential for misalignment of plant-pollinator life history events, especially in communities at risk of habitat loss, will aid in predicting future impacts on crucial species interactions.



2020 Logan A Sauers

The Garden Club of America Board of Associates Centennial Pollinator Fellowship

A Pollinator’s Tiny Friends: Investigating the Role of Microbial Communities in the Health of their Pollinator Hosts


Logan A. Sauers is a PhD candidate at Illinois State University, studying the interactions between bumblebees and their beneficial gut microbiota. He is passionate about uncovering how beneficial microbes and their hosts evolve and interact. His master’s thesis uncovered high specificity in colonization of a core gut bacteria and bumblebees. Sauers is expanding his focus to research how multiple bacterial species may work together, providing greater benefits to their hosts in terms of nutrition and parasite defense than the individual species. His work will further the understanding of bumblebee health and how perturbations of gut microbiota may influence it.



2019 Aramee Diethelm

The Garden Club of America Board of Associates Centennial Pollinator Fellowship

Aramee Diethelm is a PhD candidate studying plant-insect-predator interactions at the University of Nevada, Reno. She is interested in how variation in plant chemistry impacts herbivore survival. Her project investigates how milkweed (Asclepias) chemical traits alter the interactions between western monarchs (Danaus plexippus) and their predators across a rainfall gradient. By exclusively consuming milkweed, monarchs are toxic to some predators. However, the chemistry differences within milkweeds as well as the health of the plant impact monarch survival. Diethelm will research how drought stress interacts with plant chemistry, which may impact monarch survival. Her research will aide monarch conservation across the arid West.



2019 Hannah Levenson

The Garden Club of America Board of Associates Centennial Pollinator Fellowship

Hannah Levenson is a PhD candidate in the Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology at North Carolina State University with co-majors in entomology/biology and ecology/evolution. Levenson is conducting a multi-year survey of the native bee populations across North Carolina and assessing how planted habitat affects these populations over time. Her study utilizes previously established pollinator plots to test a range of pollinator species for disease presence and quantity. She measures the presence and infection level of several different pathogens across many bee species found at the sites. This study will be the most detailed survey of native bees in North Carolina to date and will aid in making future conservation decisions.

Funded by North Suffolk Garden Club, Zone III



2019 Jacob Pecenka

The Garden Club of America Board of Associates Centennial Pollinator Fellowship

Jacob Pecenka is an entomology PhD candidate at Purdue University in Indiana. His research is centered in agroecology and how current management practices used to control pests may negatively impact pollinators. Using large-scale research plots across Indiana, he will look at how removing conventional insecticide applications to adjacent cropping systems can affect the pollinator community and the ecosystem bene ts that they provide. Emphasis will be placed on both managed and wild pollinators to fully understand their community dynamics and contributions to crop yield.



2018 Kristen M. Lear

The Garden Club of America Board of Associates Centennial Pollinator Fellowship

Kristen M. Lear is a PhD candidate in integrative conservation at the University of Georgia Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources. Her project, “Assessing and Developing Critical Foraging Habitat for an Endangered Pollinating Bat,” focuses on conservation of the Mexican long-nosed bat (Leptonycteris nivalis), a key pollinator in US and Mexican ecosystems. Lear will use
an interdisciplinary approach that combines the natural and social sciences to investigate the bats’ foraging ecology and understand how to develop and implement programs that restore critical foraging habitat in northeastern Mexico. Her research will directly inform on-the-ground conservation efforts for the species.



2018 Pamela Blackmore

The Garden Club of America Board of Associates Centennial Pollinator Fellowship

Pamela Blackmore is a master’s student in landscape architecture at Kansas State University. Her project, “Butterflies, Tallgrass Prairie, and Green Roofs,” evaluates the butterfly communities of two urban green roofs planted with native prairie vegetation compared to nearby urban native prairie and protected tallgrass prairie sites. Since urbanization is a driver of habitat loss, it is essential to understand how habitat for pollinator communities in cities can be improved. One potential solution is to use green roofs and other green infrastructure to make cities more hospitable to pollinators.



 

Scholarship Opportunities Abound

The Garden Club of America offers 28 merit-based scholarships and fellowships in 12 areas related to conservation, ecology, horticulture, and pollinator research. In 2021, over $300,000 were awarded to 61 scholars. Follow GCA Scholarships on Twitter for the latest news about pollinators, coastal wetlands, native bird habitats, and much more. Connect to a larger world of horticulture and conservation through the Garden Club of America scholars. Learn more about the GCA Scholarships. Browse the scholarship offerings.