Garden Club of America Fellowship in Ecological Restoration

The Garden Club of America (GCA) offers a fellowship in ecological restoration each year. Established in 2000 with funds from the John B. Young Charitable Trust, as well as GCA members and clubs, the fellowship goes to an exceptional graduate student to assist with study and research. The award carries a grant of $8,000 to support specialized study in ecological restoration at an accredited university in the United States. The fellowship is administered by the University of Wisconsin-Madison Arboretum.

For the purposes of this Scholarship, The Garden Club of America agrees to the following definition as stated by the Society of Ecological Restoration (SER): “Ecological restoration is the process of assisting the recovery and management of ecological integrity. Ecological integrity includes a critical range of variability in biodiversity, ecological processes and structures, regional and historical context, and sustainable cultural practices.”

All applications are reviewed by a selection panel of research scientists and approved by the GCA Scholarship Committee. Selection criteria includes the degree to which the proposed fellowship work addresses the objectives of the GCA, as well as the excellence of the student’s academic qualifications.

Please go to the Garden Club of America Web site Scholarship section, and scroll down to GCA Fellowship in Ecological Restoration. Click on the link for more information.

Guidelines

Frequently Asked Questions

 

The Garden Club of America Fellowship in Ecological Restoration Guidelines for Application (revised July 13, 2009)

The Garden Club of America announces a competition for its Fellowship in Ecological Restoration. The GCA established this fellowship in 2000 with funds from the John B. Young Charitable Trust, as well as GCA members and clubs. The fellowship supports specialized graduate study and research in ecological restoration, the active healing of the land.

Its goal is to support research that will advance knowledge and increase the number of scientists in this important field. It is awarded annually to exceptional graduate students to assist with study and research. GCA provides each winner a grant of $8,000 to support specialized study in ecological restoration at an accredited university in the United States. Preference will be given to projects that include field research conducted in the U.S. A panel of experts associated with the University of Wisconsin-Madison Arboretum reviews the applications and makes recommendations to the GCA Scholarship Committee.

Selection criteria will include the degree to which the proposed fellowship work addresses the objectives of the GCA*, as well as the excellence of the student's academic qualifications and person. For the purposes of this scholarship, The Garden Club of America agrees to the following definition as stated by the Society of Ecological Restoration (SER): "Ecological restoration is the process of assisting the recovery and management of ecological integrity. Ecological integrity includes a critical range of variability in biodiversity, ecological processes and structures, regional and historical context, and sustainable cultural practices."

Applicants are encouraged to consider the SER International Primer on Ecological Restoration, on line at http://www.ser.org.

* The Purpose of The Garden Club of America is to stimulate the knowledge and love of gardening, to share the advantages of association by means of educational meetings, conferences, correspondence and publications, and to restore, improve, and protect the quality of the environment through educational programs and action in the fields of conservation and civic improvement.

Applicant Instructions

Applications are considered only if these instructions are followed:

A. The applicant shall prepare the following as Microsoft Word documents:
1. A one-page cover letter that includes: applicant's name, academic advisor's name and title, name of university and department, title of research, applicant's e-mail address and telephone number.
2. A written proposal for the research to be undertaken; no more than five pages, including literature cited, tables, figures, etc.
3. A one-page budget for the proposed research, describing how the award would be spent.
4. A current resume: no more than two pages.
5. The four documents are to be sent via e-mail as an attachment. They must be received in Madison, Wisconsin, no later than December 31. Margins shall be at least one inch. Font shall be 12 point or larger; smaller--but readable!--font is allowed in figures. Send to Brad Herrick, Ecologist bmherrick@wisc.edu. The subject line must read "GCA fellowship application."

B. The applicant must also see that the following two letters are written and sent:
1. A letter of endorsement written by the applicant's graduate faculty advisor. The letter shall include a statement that the applicant is properly enrolled in graduate school.
2. One additional letter of recommendation.
3. These letters must be submitted by their authors via e-mail. They may be sent either in the body of the e-mail or as Microsoft Word attachments. The letters must be received in Madison, Wisconsin no later than December 31. Have the letters sent to Brad Herrick, Ecologist, bmherrick@wisc.edu. The subject line should read ."GCA letter for." followed by the applicant's name.

Notification

Award selection will be completed early in March. The recipients will be notified and the award made by the GCA Scholarship Committee shortly thereafter. Applicants not receiving awards will be notified via e-mail before the end of March. Please do not send inquiries regarding the status of the award before April 1.

Requests

Of fellowship recipients, the GCA requests the following:
1. An abstract describing the study in layman's language (250 words), for possible publication in the GCA Bulletin and for consideration as an article in Ecological Restoration.
2. An annual accounting of expenditures.
3. A final project report due March 31 or one year after the receipt of the award.
4. Notification of any published papers or reports based on work supported by this fellowship (see #8).
5. Clear, crisp photographs of the recipient at work and other interesting photos of the research that are suitable for use in publications or scholarship promotion. These may be photos, slides or high resolution digital images.
6. Send any and all of the above to Brad Herrick, Ecologist. He will forward them to the Garden Club of America Scholarship Committee.
7. As is practical, recipients may be invited to make a brief oral presentation of their project activities at a GCA zone or annual meeting.
8. The Garden Club of America and the University of Wisconsin-Madison Arboretum shall receive acknowledgement for their assistance in any publication or report resulting from this fellowship.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. May the restoration research be conducted outside of the USA?
Yes, but preference is given for projects within the United States.

2. I am not a US citizen. May I apply?
Yes, if you meet the other requirements stated in the Guidelines.

3. Are there any restrictions on how the money is spent?
The fellowship is awarded to people of high standards, and the GCA expects that the money will be spent appropriately. If you have doubt about the appropriateness of your budget, please contact Brad Herrick, Ecologist.

4. Can the award be given directly to my university?
No. The GCA only writes checks to individual students. If you want the money to be administered by your institution, you must make those arrangements yourself.

5. Can I read examples of previously funded proposals?
No, these are not made available.

6. Does the five-page limit for proposals include the bibliography and figures?
Yes, absolutely.

7. Are proposals considered that emphasize the social-science aspects of restoration?
Yes. Although the fellowships have gone, so far, for biological research, we welcome proposals for research into the social aspects as well. Note that the SER definition includes "cultural practices."

8. When can I expect to receive the money?
The Garden Club of America usually mails checks in April.

9. What are some tips on improving my proposal?
Choose a title that clearly and concisely describes your proposed work. Do not go over the five-page limit. Avoid terms that require value judgments (e.g., success). Include a rationale for how the proposed research will advance the science of restoration ecology and the practice of ecological restoration.