Arboretum Research Fellowship Recipients Announced

View of Curtis Prairie from the Native Plant Garden in spring

Curtis Prairie overlook (Photo: Bob Jaeger)

The Arboretum is pleased to announce the 2019 recipients of Research Fellowships. Five graduate students were granted fellowships for projects that range from botany and wildlife ecology to public engagement in watershed management and science communication. The students receive funding and access to Arboretum land and resources. The Arboretum will also foster connections and collaborations among the Fellows over the course of their projects.

Research Fellowships for one year of support were awarded to Jared Beck (PhD candidate, Department of Botany); Erin Crone (MS candidate, Department of Forest and Wildlife Ecology); Rachel Jordan (PhD candidate, Department of Botany); and Theresa Vander Woude (MS candidate, Department of Life Sciences Communication and Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies).

Beck’s research looks at the factors that shape forest community dynamics to assess the influence of soil conditions, light availability, mycorrhizal associations, and plant-soil feedbacks. The study will provide important insights into the ecological processes driving local forest dynamics.

Crone will research interactions between non-native earthworms and native amphibians. She will also survey aquatic and terrestrial habitats of the Arboretum to describe the diversity and abundance of reptiles and amphibians.

Jordan will investigate the effects of midwinter freeze-thaw cycles on native Wisconsin conifers. The findings will improve understanding of how conifers may respond to an increase in midwinter thaws due to climate change, and assist planning for industries that rely on successfully growing these trees.

Vander Woude will study community engagement in watershed management and ways to empower neighborhood “opinion leaders” to become champions for urban water issues. Since decisions made on private lands impact stormwater runoff, she seeks to learn about the barriers that prevent community leaders from getting involved in stormwater outreach and the resources and other factors needed to empower leaders to champion urban water issues.

A Fellowship in Science Communication for one year of support was awarded to Liz Anna Kozik (PhD candidate, Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies). Kozik will study the effective use of visual communications to engage the public and convey lasting impact of conservation and restoration. Her interdisciplinary approach incorporates humanities with science to bridge academic research and the public.

These Fellows were selected for their potential to advance knowledge and have a sustained influence in their field as well as their projects’ relevance to the Arboretum’s mission and work. The recipients demonstrate a passion for conservation and an understanding of the real-world scientific applications of their work. We look forward to sharing more about the Fellows and the progress of their projects.

—Susan Day, communications coordinator

This article was updated May 22, 2019, to reflect the following change: Erin Crone has received a Research Fellowship instead of the Leopold Fellowship. There is no 2019 Leopold Fellowship award recipient.