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GCA Scholarships Recipients: The Clara Carter Higgins Summer Environmental Studies Scholarship


2017 Johnny Buck

Johnny Buck is a junior studying native environmental science at Northwest Indian College in Bellingham, Washington. A second-year Higgins scholar, he will participate in the Harvard Forest Summer Research Program in Ecology at Harvard University. His research is titled “Explaining Variation in the Seasonal Changes of Trees.” He will study the effects of natural and human disturbances on forest ecosystems including global climate change, hurricanes, forest harvest, wildlife dynamics, and species diversity.

2017 Nathaniel Kiel

Nathaniel Kiel is a junior at the College of Environmental Science and Forestry, majoring in conservation biology with a minor in native peoples and the environment at the State University of New York, Syracuse. His research will observe the ability of flowering understory plants to reestablish in post-agricultural woodlands across central New York. He will observe and quantify ant dispersal of forest understory herb seeds. He aims to learn about plant ecology, particularly in plant-animal interactions and their roles in habitat succession and organismal evolution.

2016 Johnny Buck

Johnny Buck (Wanapum/Yakama) is a sophomore in the Native Environmental Science Program at Northwest Indian College in Bellingham, Washington. He will be participating in the 2016 NASA Summer Internship Research Experience in Geospatial Technology and Climate Change at Haskell Indian Nations University. He will be trained in Geographic Information System mapping, remote sensing and climate change as well as the social dimensions of climate impacts. He will conduct fieldwork research related to the development of an Indigenous Phenology Observation Network that will be applied to his research.

2015 Lorenzo Gibson

Lorenzo Gibson is a third year undergraduate at Columbia University. His ecological fieldwork and research will be conducted in India's Western Ghats through Columbia University's Summer Ecosystem Experience (SEE-U) Program. He is interested in sustainable urban agriculture, natural waste management and nutrient recycling processes.

2015 Rachel Cook

Rachel Cook is a junior at The College of William and Mary with an academic concentration in Biology. She will be doing an internship to discern the trophic relationships among insects, historical and contemporary, associated with the American chestnut. She will be supervised by a professor in the biology department at William and Mary and Dr. Robert Kula at the Smithsonian Institution’s Museum of Natural History in DC.

Funded by Amateurs Gardeners Club (MD), Zone VI

2014 Valeria Vidal

Valeria Vidal, born in Peru, is now a U.S. citizen living in Somerville, MA. She is a junior at Northeastern University and plans to study at Reykjavik University in Iceland in resource management and renewable energy. She will focus on geothermal energy, hydropower and management of natural resources in Iceland. She will also conduct scientific field research in sustainable energy. 

2014 Jennifer Holmes-Smith

Jennifer Holmes-Smith was born in Hawaii but now resides in Pea Ridge, AR. She is a senior at the University of Arkansas. Her professional plans are to do humanitarian work via environmental engineering in water resources, sanitation and purification. Her research will be done in Fort Smith, AR, around the ammonia removal in the Massard Wastewater Treatment Plant. She believes civil engineering and environmental/ecology research can lead to the direct conservation of financial, chemical and energy resources. 

2013 Sarah Barney

School: University of Kentucky
She will travel to Indonesia to participate in a Tropical Agro ecology and Sustainable Development program. Her interdisciplinary filed study will focus on exploring the boundaries between the ecology and culture of sustainable agriculture in three unique regions: Sumatra, Java, and Bali.
Project location: Indonesia

2013 Amanda Krow

School: Delaware Valley College
Will serve as an intern at ACE Basin National Estuarine Research Reserve in South Carolina and assist with a sea turtle nesting project on Botany Bay. She will conduct research in this area, where hundreds of turtle nests are located, and conduct surveys, relocate nests, and assist in protecting the sites.

2013 Henry Peller

School: Ohio State University
Will serve as a Community Gardening intern with the non-governmental organization, Haiti Communitere. His program focuses on gardening education, outreach, and infrastructure expansion in the coastal slum of Cite Soleil.



Scholarship Opportunities Abound

The GCA offers 28 merit-based scholarships and fellowships, awarding more than $330,000 to 86 scholars in 2017.

For example, the GCA Fellowship in Ecological Restoration offers an $8,000 annual grant for graduate study and research at a leading accredited university in the United States. Fields of study of past recipients have ranged from forestry to applied plant sciences to ecology and evolutionary biology.

Read more about the four 2017 recipients.