A new award program has been established to supportresearchby UC Berkeley graduate students at NRS reserves. The Carol Baird Graduate Student Award for Field Research will fund UC Berkeley graduate students conducting field research based in or around Angelo Coast Range Reserve, Blue Oak Ranch Reserve, Hastings Natural History Reservation, Point Reyes Field Station, and Sagehen Creek Field Station.
Four of the reserves are part of the UC Natural Reserve System, a network of 39 wildland areas comprising more than 756,000 acres across California. Point Reyes Field Station is being considered for inclusion in the NRS. All five reserves are considered UC Berkeley Natural History Field Stations.
Each awardee, selected on the basis of merit, may receive up to $22,000. A maximum of $100,000 will be awarded each year through 2021.
Zoologist gives back
The award honors Carol Baird, founding executive director of the nonprofit California Institute for Biodiversity. The institute gives teachers the skills, knowledge, and opportunities to get their students experiencing the natural world. Baird remains a member of the institute's advisory board.
Baird earned a doctorate in zoology from UC Berkeley in 1986. Her dissertation research examined interactions between nectar-eating insects and hummingbirds at heliconia flowers in Costa Rica.
A timely gift
"Carol Baird’s fund in aid of graduate student field research came from her lifetime of commitment to bringing nature to people and vice versa. Her gift was designed to free young researchers for a significant period—a field season—so they could immerse themselves in rigorous field work without the restrictions, interruptions and distractions typically required to earn a paycheck," says professor of integrative biology Mary Power.
The award comes at a critical moment for science research, Power says. "Carol’s gift coincided to the day with the elimination of federal grants that supported the doctoral dissertation research of young field scientists. Her generosity could not have been more timely, more needed, or more deeply appreciated by those whose careers like hers will strengthen the research and education that connects people and nature in California."
The first competition will support field research beginning in 2018. Proposals must be submitted by September 30, 2017, and awardees will be announced on October 15, 2017.
More information about the award, and instructions on how to apply, can be found at the Carol Baird Graduate Student Award for Field Research page.