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GCA Scholarships Recipients

2023 Jessica Keatly

The Keller Scholarship in Conservation Horticulture
School: Undergraduate, Environmental Science, California State University San Marcos

Camera Trap Survey of Insect Pollinators of Encinitas Baccharis (Baccharis vanessae) in San Diego, California

Keatly’s research will explore a novel data collection method on pollinator interactions within the coastal sage scrub habitat in San Diego. Utilizing automated camera traps, Keatly will collect large data sets on possible pollinators of four Baccharis vanessae specimens within San Diego Botanic Garden's native plant section. Data will be analyzed through deep-learning, object- tracking software to facilitate easier and more accurate identification of insects. Data will provide insight on conservation methods for the federally threatened Baccharis vanessae.

2023 Oliver Hutchens

The Keller Scholarship in Conservation Horticulture
School: Undergraduate, Ecology and Biodiversity, Sewanee: The University of the South

Research with Atlanta Botanical Garden to Develop Conservation Horticulture Skills

Hutchens will continue previous conservation horticulture studies in a pilot partnership between Sewanee and Atlanta Botanical Garden. Projects will include cryopreservation of tissue samples and extraction of tissue cultures from woody plants, such as oaks and magnolias. In addition, Hutchens will conduct micropropagation of orchids and other rare plants. Working with several members of Atlanta Botanical Garden’s conservation and research team will strengthen Hutchens’ conservation horticulture foundation.


2023 Ana Bermudez

The Keller Scholarship in Conservation Horticulture
School: Undergraduate, Botany and Environmental Studies, Connecticut College

Developing Protocols for the In Vitro Micropropagation of Lady's Slipper Orchids (Cypripedium ssp.)

Bermudez will modify existing micropropagation techniques for tropical epiphytic orchids to accommodate the unique needs of temperate terrestrial orchids. Working with researchers at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, in vitro micropropagation protocols will be developed and the seed sterilization process for several species of lady’s slipper will be started. Continued research at Connecticut College aims to reestablish Cypripedium ssp. inside the Connecticut College Arboretum.

2023 Isabella Colucci

The Keller Scholarship in Conservation Horticulture
School: Undergraduate, Plant Science, Cornell University

Evaluation of Cornell Botanic Gardens Current Holdings of the Class of 1901 Nut Tree Collection in the F.R. Newman Arboretum 

Colucci seeks to develop a curatorial plan for future development of Cornell’s Class of 1901 Nut Tree Collection. Collaborating with Cornell Botanic Garden’s Director of Horticulture and experts from the Liberty Hyde Bailey Hortorium and the New York Nut Growers Association, Colucci’s research will include climate change, biological significance, vulnerability, and resiliency. Data will increase conservation and research value of the collection, improve educational opportunities, and pave the way for accreditation through the American Public Gardens Association Plant Collections Network.


2022 Lydia Violet Jahn

The Keller Scholarship in Conservation Horticulture

The Impact of Forest Management on the Health of Forest Plant Communities

Jahn’s summer research project at Holden Arboretum will explore the long-term effects of forest management on woody-species recruitment. With a focus on the potential for invasive shrub removal to shape the diversity of native species in the forest understory, Jahn will use the findings to better inform community members on successful conservation practices and restoration outcomes.

2022 Luc White

The Keller Scholarship in Conservation Horticulture

Growing Gold: Ecology, Conservation, and Sustainable Management of the Medicinal Forest Herb Goldenseal through Forest Horticulture

White’s research will focus on the ecology of naturally occurring goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis), an at-risk medicinal plant in Appalachian forests. Field studies in Ohio and Kentucky will establish conservation protocols for sustainable use and propagation in natural forest settings. White’s collaboration with Missouri Botanic Garden will provide insight into goldenseal by comparing past methodology to current, novel forest-horticulture techniques.

2021 Caleb Thomas Lumsden

The Keller Scholarship in Conservation Horticulture
School: Undergraduate, Biological, Geological & Environmental Science, Cleveland State University

Hemlock Woolly Adelgid Resistance Breeding

Lumsden’s undergraduate research has focused on plant and microbial community composition, particularly on how communities are influenced by urbanization. With his GCA fellowship, Caleb will be working at the Holden Forests & Gardens (Ohio) to initiate a breeding program that aims to develop varieties of eastern hemlock that are resistant to hemlock woolly adelgid, an invasive pest driving population decline in eastern North American forest systems. Caleb will be working on various laboratory and greenhouse components of this project to develop these novel genotypes.


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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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