Griswold Fellows Program

This award of up to $3000* is being offered due support from the Olga T. Griswold Chair Funds. The award is for registered UCSC undergraduate students majoring in Environmental Studies who are currently doing or planning to do a senior internship or thesis that informs and promotes land conservation and/or restoration in California. Students must be working with both a faculty sponsor and an agency sponsor to ensure that the results are linked to actual conservation and restoration efforts.

Examples include but are not limited to evaluating different restoration methods, developing a monitoring plan, doing a GIS analysis prioritizing sites for conservation, or evaluating a specific policy approach to further land conservation. Criteria for selection include the quality and utility of the project as described in the project statement; demonstrated student initiative and appropriate past training; scholastic record; financial need; and support of both the faculty and agency sponsor.

Click here to download the Griswold Senior Internship Fellows application.

Current Griswold Fellows

Lilianne de la Espriella: Soil Sequestration in Sequoia sempervirens

liliannes faceThe Coast Redwood (Sequoia sempervirens) is an iconic and beloved tree of the western, coastal United States, attracting millions of annual visitors. I studied how these ancient trees sequester carbon in their soils, and whether that sequestration varies along the range of the redwoods. Read more about my research in my blog article. 

Past Griswold Fellows

Ricardo Ruiz: Figuring out Causes of Monarch Mortality at Lighthouse Field State Beach

Ricardo Ruiz holding a tarantula

Monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus) are threatened by habitat loss, pesticide use, climate change, and disease. Out of 111 overwintering sites in California, Lighthouse Field State Beach is currently ranked the 7th most important site for monarch conservation and restoration.  I worked with Groundswell Coastal Ecology to determine how monarchs died at Lighthouse Field State Beach, so that managers could prevent monarch deaths in the future. I assessed the probable mortality cause of 846 monarchs out of the 1,711 monarchs collected between November 2017 and March 2018. We collected 755 dead females and 956 dead males. Using data from the Xerces Society, we estimated a minimum mortality of 13% for the 2017-2018 overwintering season. Of the 864 whole dead monarchs, yellowjackets (49.2%) and avian predators (11.0%) were the most common causes of mortality. However we were unable to identify the source of mortality for 39.2% of whole dead individuals. We recommend that land managers control yellowjackets hives near monarch populations and continue with mortality surveys at LHFSB to see if monarchs die from similar causes in the future.

Forest Peri: Constructing Bee Hotels as a Means of Pollinator Habitat Restoration

Forest Peri holding a beehvie

Habitat loss from agriculture and urban development compromises bee nesting resources and decreases their ability to pollinate. As such, there is increased interest in domesticating solitary bee species as European honey bee populations continue to decline. The use of artificial nests, also known as “bee hotels”, is a habitat restoration method that is becoming increasingly popular. My senior thesis project examined the colonization rates of native bees in bee hotels placed in Santa Cruz County. By building six bee hotels and studying three primary variables, I detremined the preferred habitat of cavity-nesting bees in Santa Cruz. My study focused on three primary variables (location, wood type and cavity size) and how they influence the rate of establishment within the bee hotels. Three of the six bee hotels I installed in Santa Cruz were colonized by solitary bees. One hotel was colonized by blue orchard bees, and the other two were colonized by leafcutter bees; two solitary species that are important native pollinators. Based on the information from my study, I conclude that cavity size helps determines the species of bee that will establish within the hotel. Leafcutter bees prefer ¼” cavities and blue orchard bee prefer slightly larger 3/8” cavities. I found that neither blue orchard bees nor leafcutter bees had a preference between Douglas fir and pine hotels. Colonization of the bee hotels occurred at an agroforestry site, a tractor-scale site and an urban agricultural site, suggesting that bee hotels can be successful in attracting bees in a variety of garden settings.