Two students at Texas universities will be better able to research, conserve and utilize native plants with the help of the Native Plant Society of Texas.
Chisholm Tessem has been awarded the Kate Hillhouse Undergraduate Scholarship for 2016. Chisholm is a student at Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, majoring in Horticulture with a specialization in plant production and greenhouse management. His says his dream is to “build a career in plant production and greenhouse management” and eventually build his own production business. He continues, “With my career I can facilitate and further education and production of native plant species for local communities. From this position, I will be able to influence the education about native plants in the retail settings, passing along not just products but information and research findings.” Chisholm is thinking big picture and as such is certainly furthering the purpose of the Native Plant Society.
Sasha Soto is the recipient of the Ann Miller Gonzales Graduate Research Grant. Sasha is a graduate student at Texas Tech majoring in Wildlife, Wildlands, and Aquatics with a specialization in aquatic plant species. She plans to graduate spring, 2017. Her research is on the invasive hydrilla found in Texas lakes and streams. Sasha points out that “invasive species are the second leading cause of biodiversity loss and a huge threat to native species. Therefore, one of the best courses of action for protecting native species is to prevent further invasions of non-native species.” She points out that there are two types of hydrilla and she says, “The major objective for my thesis is to examine how hydrilla biotype influences potential distribution.” Using her research results, land managers will be able to predict and monitor at-risk areas where hydrilla is most likely to spread and cause habitat destruction, thus being better able to prevent the spread. Sasha is active in various ecology and restoration organizations, and is furthering our Society’s purpose of promoting research, conservation and utilization of native plants and plant habitats of Texas through education, outreach and example.
Both the scholarship and the research grant are awarded annually by the Society with funds raised by the annual silent auction held at the Fall Symposium.