Scholarships and Awards


GCAC Support of the Botany in Action Fellowship Program at Phipps Conservatory & Botanical Gardens

The Mission of Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens is to inspire and educate all with the beauty and importance of plants; to advance sustainability and worldwide biodiversity through action and research; and to celebrate its historic glasshouse.

The Botany in Action Fellowship program, founded in 1995, awards fellowships to PhD students conducting plant-based research and outreach efforts in the U.S. and abroad.  

Botany in Action Fellowship Mission
The Botany in Action Fellowship develops new science-based plant knowledge and chronicles traditional knowledge of plants for use in growing a greener world. It also promotes interactive, scientific education about the importance of plants, biodiversity and sustainable landscapes for human well-being. [from Phipps website]

GCAC funds two Botany in Action Fellows annually.

Elisabeth Ward, chosen as the 2019 Paula Sculley Fellow for Botany in Action, is studying non-native invasive plant species and how they impact the soil in which they grow, even after the removal of their above ground vegetation. Eli’s research has implications for current invasive plant management practices as well as for the restoration of native plant ecosystems.  Her fieldwork will take place in Connecticut and New York where she will focus on the impact of oriental bittersweet (Celastrus orbiculatus), multiflora rose (Rosa multiflora), and Japanese honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica). Eli is a doctoral student at Yale University.

The first Susan Clancy Fellowship will be awarded in 2020.

Read more about the Paula Sculley Fellowship HERE
Learn about the current Botany in Action Fellows HERE.

Visit Phipps Botany in Action website →

Garden club of america scholarships

The Joan K. hunt and rachel m. hunt summer scholarship in Field Botany

Established in 2003, this scholarship encourages the study of field botany beyond the regular course of study, thus promoting the importance of botany to horticulture. Joan K. Hunt and Rachel M. Hunt were very active and dedicated members of GCA and the Garden Club of Allegheny County.

Noah Yawn, a 2019 Hunt Scholar, is a freshman at Auburn University, studying organismal biology with a focus in conservation and biodiversity. At the Atlanta Botanical Garden (ABG) this summer, he will be censusing all known populations of the critically endangered Alabama canebrake pitcher plant (Sarracenia alabamensis), analyzing their oral communities, soil analytes, site quality, and conservation priority. Also, Yawn will perform tissue-culture samples on site lineages where canebrake pitcher plants cannot sexually reproduce for genetic safeguarding at the ABG. The resulting datasets from this updated survey will be used to better characterize the species occurrence, locate potential habitat for augmentation, and aid in the conservation strategy of this endangered species.

Thomas Chapin, also a 2019 Hunt Scholar, is a senior studying geography and environmental systems at the University of Maryland. He will be conducting research at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center where he will attempt to sequence, isolate, and culture endobacteria (family Burkholderiaceae) from orchid mycorrhizal fungi, collecting root samples from the eld for initial isolation and culture. This will aid in efforts to reintroduce endobacteria (which dies out over time) to the Smithsonian’s entire collection of orchid mycorrhizal fungi. Mycorrhizal fungi, containing healthy endobacteria, is essential for the germination of many North American orchids.

Read more about the Hunt Scholarship HERE.
Learn about past Hunt Scholars HERE.

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garden club of america commendation awards
proposed by GCAC

Lynda Waggoner was awarded the GCA Club Historic Preservation Commendation in recognition of her leadership and impeccable tutelage of Fallingwater. June 2019

Dr. David Gibby, founder of the Master Gardener program in the United States, and Nancy Knauss, statewide coordinator of the Pennsylvania Master Gardeners, were awarded the GCA Club Conservation Commendation for the establishment and successful continuity of programs by Master Gardeners in horticulture, conservation and sustainability education. This commendation was presented by GCA Zone V Chairman Susan Yeager and GCAC President Delia Egan at the International Master Gardeners Conference. June 2019

Susan Crookston was awarded the GCA Club Civic Improvement Commendation in recognition of her dedicated efforts to preserve, protect and enhance the community of Aspinwall. April 2019

Douglass Oster was awarded the GCA Club Horticulture Commendation in recognition of years spent educating the Western Pennsylvania community on the joys of backyard gardening. 2019

Dr. Cynthia Morton was awarded the GCA Club Conservation Commendation Award in appreciation for her study and analysis of the importance of genetic diversity among tree populations in the Pittsburgh area. March 2018

Tree Pittsburgh was awarded the GCA Club Civic Improvement Commendation Award in appreciation for protecting and growing the city of Pittsburgh's urban forest. March 2018

Lindsay Bond Totten was awarded the GCA Club Horticulture Commendation for her excellence in the field of horticulture. 2014

Gcac commendation awards

Paul Spencer was awarded the GCAC Horticulture Commendation for his excellence in the field of horticulture. 2003

Peggy Sprowls was awarded the GCAC Appreciation Commendation for her dedicated participation in GCAC's garden restoration at Longwood at Oakmont Retirement Community. June 2019

Community recognition
Awarded to GCAC

Pennsylvania Environmental Council

The Western Pennsylvania Environmental Award was presented to GCAC for a lifetime of practice that support and sustain civic improvement in the region. May 2016
Watch the video shown at the awards dinner HERE
(Credit to PEC 2016)

audubon society of western pennsylvania

The Trustee Award was presented to GCAC in recognition of outstanding effort to further the cause of conservation in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. 2007


How to apply for a GCA Scholarship

The Garden Club of America offers more than 28 merit-based scholarships and fellowships in 12 academic areas.  Visit the GCA Scholarship website for more information on the scholarships available and the application process unique to each one.