The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences invites applications from any graduate student throughout The College who is conducting research that aligns with the mission of the Boyce Thompson Arboretum (BTA). BTA is the oldest and largest botanical garden in Arizona, and its mission is to inspire appreciation and stewardship of desert plants, wildlife and ecosystems through education, research and conversation. With the addition of the Wallace Desert Garden in 2020, BTA now holds collections of desert plants from the U.S., Mexico, Australia, Madagascar, India, China, Japan, Israel, South America, the Middle East, Africa, the Mediterranean and the Arabian Peninsula — totaling 3,900 taxa and 19,000 plants within 135 acres of gardens.
Bernard “Bill” Benson, for which this award is named, was an alumnus of ASU and was the first curator and then assistant director of BTA. Bill Benson was an early proponent of sustainability and conservation, and was passionate and committed to promoting science and nature to individuals of all ages, but especially youth.
In addition to the award amount of approximately $4,750, selected students will benefit from the following:
- Working with the plant collections and physical space at BTA;
- Publication and advancement in the field of desert plants, conservation and impacts of climate change on desert flora/fauna and ecosystems and/or public education, museum studies and cultural history;
- Public engagement and awareness of the research partnership;
- Promoting interest in the Sonoran Desert to students of all ages, with a particular focus on the young people of Arizona’s Copper Corridor (Superior/Miami/Globe); and
- The unique historic, geologic and ecological setting of BTA.
Applications are due no later than April 10, 2022. We anticipate up to two awards of approximately $4,750 that will be awarded in spring 2022.