by Leslie Marting
The GCA Katharine M. Grosscup Scholarships in Horticulture were awarded to eight students for the 2018-19 school year, for a total of $21,500. The Scholarships, named in memory of a Shaker Lakes Garden Club member, are managed locally by three members of the Shaker Lakes Garden Club, and three members of the Garden Club of Cleveland. MANY thanks to the SLGC members who designated their Charitable Projects gifts to the Grosscup Scholarship. Because of you, we are able to support the best and the brightest!
Hannah Magney, University of Kentucky, Sustainable Agriculture, Sophomore, $3,500
Hannah began her career in horticulture at the age of 13, as an intern for Augusta Locally Grown, a non-profit organization of farmers markets in Augusta, GA. When her family moved to Kentucky four years later, she became co-farm manager of Magney Family Farm, and the Assistant Manager of the Caldwell County Farmer’s Market---all while still in high school. As a sophomore in college, on the Dean’s List, she is double majoring in Community and Leadership Development, and Sustainable Agriculture, with a minor in Plant and Soil Sciences. Hannah’s professor says of her, “She wants to grow, and educate others from diverse backgrounds on how to eat healthfully, support local horticulture production, and build healthy communities around nutrition and whole foods.” Last summer she participated in the University’s “Sustainable Agriculture in Cuba” trip, and she will use her scholarship to travel with the school to Italy this summer to compare practices in a first, versus a second, world country.
Cori Quesenbery, University of Kentucky, Agricultural Education, Freshman $3,500
Cori is passionate about becoming a high school agricultural educator. She credits her teachers in the Boyle County, Kentucky school system for igniting that passion, saying that they “made such a strong, positive impact on my life that no words could ever repay them.” As a four year member of the Kentucky FFA, Cori worked at the Boyle County FFA Greenhouse, co-managing it her senior year in high school. She has been employed at Poorhouse Sorghum since 2014, helping to process the sorghum cane into molasses, selling it at festivals and farmers markets. She has also been raising and selling fresh strawberries at the Boyle County Farmers Marketsince 2015, and last summer managed the tomato production for Circle G Farms in Danville. She serves as the Professional Development Chair for the UK Agricultural Education Society, planning professional development sessions for the club and College of Agriculture, Food and Environment. For financial reasons, Cori is planning to graduate in three years and says, “If you see fit to give me a scholarship, I will use it towards fulfilling my dream.”
Madison Proctor, Hiram College, Environmental Studies/Biology, Junior, $3,500
Madison lives and works part-time at the Hiram College James H. Barrow Field Station, an active research and educational facility where she helps maintain the natural and semi-natural areas, and assists the staff in the animal rehabilitation center. She is secretary of the Hiram College Environmental Action Crew, and has been a docent at Salt Fork State Park, Ohio’s largest state park. Last summer Madison was selected for the Plant and Microbial Ecology internship at the Holden Arboretum, working on a project investigating the potential for a proprietary root stock, INKHARO, to expand the pH tolerance of Rhododendrons. She was responsible for collecting and analyzing field samples, and measuring plant growth in the field. Her post-college goal is to apply to the Peace Corps Environmental Education and Awareness Program, with the goal of helping people care for themselves and the environment. She has been offered an unpaid internship as a seasonal park ranger, working in Interpretation at the Delaware Scenic and Recreational River National Park this summer, and with the benefit of the scholarship will now be able to accept.
Bella Garramone, University of Michigan, Masters in Behavior, Education & Communication, $3,500
Bella has a Bachelor in Science in Natural History and Interpretation from the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry. During her year as an Education Intern at Longwood Gardens, she says that she “found a passion for plants and their connections to people.” At Longwood she created an interdisciplinary self-guided activity backpack and led curriculum-based K-12 programs. She spent the past two years as the New York Botanical Garden Everett Children’s Adventure Garden Program Coordinator, supervising, training and mentoring part-time staff and volunteers. She also created and implemented a nature-based curriculum for 25,000 school children and 200,000 family visitors annually. Patricia Hulse, director of the children’s garden, says that Bella has “a special ability to design botany and horticultural activities that are fun and accessible to a variety of learning styles while grounded in science content and the seasonal rhythms of the Garden.” As a research assistant at the University of Michigan she is currently managing, implementing and coordinating a National Science Foundation funded high school curriculum “Climate Change and the future of Michigan Cherries: Predicting global warming impact on flowering times.”
Keri Plevniak, Cleveland State University, Masters in Environmental Science, $3,500
Keri has a Bachelor of Science in Zoology from Kent State University and extensive experience in fieldwork with bird and waterfowl populations. Plant ecology and the complex relationships between organisms and their environment have always intrigued her, and the focus of her graduate research is to understand how plant communities assemble after restoration. She is comparing the plant communities of restored and unrestored meadows at four sites in northeast Ohio to determine how plant traits contribute to restoration outcomes. Her professor writes that Keri’s research “will provide valuable information for sustainable restoration and the conservation of native plants, particularly in urban and suburban horticultural areas.” Keri will use her scholarship to hire an assistant to aid in plant identification, and purchase supplies so that she can complete her fieldwork this summer, in advance of her presentation to the Ecological Society of America in New Orleans in August.
Josh Hitchner, Temple University, Masters in Landscape Architecture, $2,500
Josh has a B.A. in Environmental Studies from Rowan University. He chose the Temple University program for its strong focus on ecological restoration, and his goal as a landscape architect is to be able to implement change on a local scale. He works part-time for a large wholesale nursery, and believes that landscape architects can have an influential role in working with growers to promote plants that lessen our impact on the environment. Josh has been associated with the Sadler Woods Conservation Association, dedicated to preserving a rare, urban old growth forest, since 2011. He was first an intern, then a part-time educator, and now a volunteer. He currently serves as the Shade Tree Commissioner on the Pitman, New Jersey Environmental Commission. His capstone project will likely be to develop a plan to preserve the remnants of an old American chestnut grove in danger of development, having previously identified saplings that continue to flourish from the roots of the old stumps.
Parker Strand, Penn State, Plant Sciences, Sophomore, $1,000
Parker grew up in the horticulture world---his father, Chris Strand, is the Director of Garden and Estate at Winterthur. He has been volunteering there since 2012, and in July 2017 gave a presentation on the Winterthur Children’s Gardening Program at the national Youth Children’s Garden Symposium in Portland, Oregon. Parker hopes to use his knowledge of social media to promote horticulture, and public gardens. For the past two summers he has been a Visitors Services department intern at Chanticleer Garden in Wayne, PA. He was in charge of the garden’s Instagram posts, and will return to work there again this summer. Parker’s youth gives him an advantage in understanding novel ways to engage new audiences, such as the use of the popular Pokemon Goapp at several public gardens, including Winterthur. In November of 2016 he contributed an article on the subject to “Public Garden,” the journal of the American Public Gardens Association.
Meg Bender, University of Cincinnati, Horticulture, Junior, $500
Meg was a 2017 recipient of a $3,000 Katharine M. Grosscup scholarship. She followed her 2016 summer internship at New Jersey’s Meadowburn Farm, the estate of GCA’s founding Vice-President Helena Rutherford Ely, with an internship at The Fells Historic Estate and Garden in Newbury, New Hampshire. There, she not only helped to update the Rock Garden Guide, but also mowed, weeded, pruned, and conducted tours. She also created a planting plan for the Shoreline Cottage, a structure that the estate intends to refurbish. Susan Warren, Executive Director of The Fells and a member of the Garden Club of Darien called her an “outstanding intern.” As an horticulture major Meg has become increasingly interested in landscape design, and feels that her in-depth knowledge of plant material and the conditions in which they thrive will aid her in her ultimate goal of designing gardens.
The Founders Fund Award, established in 1934, was created by Mrs. Harold L. Pratt to honor the Garden Club of America’s twelve founding clubs and the memory of GCA’s first president, Mrs. J. Willis Martin, who served from 1913 to 1920.
Generously supported by gifts from clubs and individuals, the Founders Fund annually provides monetary awards to projects proposed by clubs in their local communities. The first award of $700 was given in 1936 for the publication in English of the Badianus Manuscript, one of the earliest know Aztec herbals. Current award winners receive $25,000 for projects that embody the Garden Club of America purpose – “to restore, improve, and protect the quality of the environment through educational programs and action in the fields of conservation and civic improvement.”
Together GCA members and fund winners have enriched multitudes and saved thousands of acres of land and innumerable trees. Historic landmarks are restored to past glory, civic plantings flourish in countless communities nationwide, and research and education projects benefit young and old.
Banner photo by Karen Colini