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Student Research Scholarships

Since 1999, the Santa Clara Valley Chapter of the California Native Plant Society has sponsored a scholarship program for students doing research on native plant or plant community conservation, plant ecology, plant community restoration, plant systematics, or other related botanical studies of native plants that grow in habitats in Central and Northern California.  Scholarships may be awarded to graduate students or an undergraduate student or undergraduate research team (consisting of one or more undergraduates and a supervising faculty member).

Students researching topics related to native plant and native habitat conservation in the San Francisco Bay Area are encouraged to apply. Applications must be postmarked by November 23, 2018.

Academic scholarships of $1,500 for graduate student research and a $1,000 scholarship for undergraduate student research are available. Evaluation of applications will focus on the stated purpose of the research, experimental design, relationship to native plant and native habitat conservation, and overall impression of the research project.

Applications for the 2018-2019 academic year are available here:

If you would like to contribute to the scholarship fund, a check written to “CNPS”, with a notation to “SCV Ed. Scholarship” may be mailed to the address below. Company matching programs are welcome.

CNPS Santa Clara Valley Chapter
3921 E. Bayshore Road
Palo Alto, CA 94303


This is the 18th year our Chapter has supported California native plant research by students.  Starting in 2018, the graduate student scholarships include the Donald Mayall Conservation Scholarship and the Sally Casey Shooting Stars Scholarship. 

2017-2018 Scholarship Winners

Alejandro Brambila, University of Oregon (Sally Casey Shooting Stars Graduate Research Scholarship). Alejandro is studying the effects of development on historic oak habitat composition and the distribution in the urban West Santa Clara Valley. He will be sampling sites in the peninsular west valley (roughly Palo Alto to Mountain View) and looking at how oaks are distributed throughout the urban landscape in the study area. 

Alexandria Igwe, University of California Davis (Donald Mayall Conservation Graduate Research Scholarship). Alexandria’s research seeks to understand how native plants adapted to serpentine soil utilize root-associated microorganisms to thrive in the presence of abiotic stress, such as drought and heavy-metal concentrations.

Kelly Santos, San Francisco State University (Graduate Research Scholarship). Kelly’s work involves Suaeda californica, a federally endangered low-growing coastal salt marsh shrub. 

Hannah Kang, University of California, Davis. (Undergraduate Research Scholarship). Hannah's research looks at how soil microbial communities vary depending on plant host with a focus on the effects of invasive annual grasses on native annual forb species. 

2016-2017 Scholarship Winners

Graduate Student Research Scholarships

Margot Buchbinder, San Francisco State University (Conservation Scholarship).  Margot is studying the effects of planting native California cordgrass (Spartina foliosa) in an active salt marsh restoration site at the Sears Point restoration site in north San Francisco Bay.  Margot’s work is designed to determine whether planting native Spartina can enhance recovery and reduce observed erosion.

Rebecca Hendricks, San Jose State University (Conservation Scholarship).  Rebecca’s studies focus on the Big Berry Manzanita (Arctostaphylos glauca).  She is studying ecophysicological responses (including water stress and mortality) to seasonal drought across its range using sampling across 4 degrees of latitude at three locations (Joseph D Grant County Park, Los Padres National Forest and Condor’s Hope Ranch).  

Josephine Lesage, University of California, Santa Cruz.   Josephine’s work involves the effects of grazing and climate change on native annual forb persistence in California coastal prairies. Her work will assess coastal prairie sites from Monterey County through Mendocino County previously quantified by Grey Hayes and K.D. Holl.   The study is intended evaluate whether native annual forbs in coastal prairies are experiencing the same declines as native annual forbs in interior grasslands as the result of climate change and whether grazing management might buffer potential declines of native annual forb species.  

2015 Scholarship Winners

Graduate Student Research Scholarships

Prahlada Papper, University of California, Berkeley. (Conservation Scholarship) Prahlada is studying the movement of genetic characteristics through wind-borne pollen hybridization, focusing on blue oak and Oregon white oak. Understanding the degree of gene flow between these species is an important step towards an understanding of their potential responses, as well as management implications.

Kyle Christie, University of California, Davis. Kyle’s studies are designed to improve the understanding of the taxonomy and species delineation of the Streptanthus breweri complex of jewelflowers.

Julia Michaels, University of California, Davis. (Conservation Scholarship) Julia’s work involves a study of plant diversity in vernal pools. Her studies will be looking at the effects of grazing on vernal pool plant diversity on an 1,132 acre site in Sacramento County.

Undergraduate Student Scholarship

Jannah Wren at University of California, Davis. The purpose of her research is to evaluate the effect of root nodule symbiosis (nitrogen fixation) in native, non-legume (actinorhizal) plants.

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