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The Garden Club of America Award in Desert Studies was established to promote the study of horticulture, conservation and design in arid landscapes. The award, which can be in the form of either an internship or funding for a research-related topic, is for advanced undergraduate and graduate students studying horticulture, conservation, botany, environmental science and landscape design relating to the arid landscape.

Students must be enrolled at an accredited U.S. college or university. While the award is intended to have a wide scope pertaining to the arid environment, preference will be given to students wishing to gain practical field experience — specifically, planning and design for sustainability, rainwater harvesting and plant management, etc. — through structured internships at accredited botanical gardens or arboreta.

Students wishing to intern should contact a local botanical garden to frame a plan of work that will guide both the intern and the garden staff in implementation and monitoring. This plan should include the time period in which the student will be available for internship. The student should also check with the student’s advisor office to see if university credit will be given for the internship program, although academic credit is not required.

Doctoral research field projects will also be considered for the GCA Award in Desert Studies, but will not have funding preference. At the completion of the internship or proposed project, the student would submit a written report of achievements to both the accredited botanical garden or arboretum and the GCA.

Scholarship Information

  • Qualifications: Be a graduate or advanced undergraduate student
  • Deadline: TBD by year
  • Evaluation: Applications will be evaluated by a panel appointed by Desert Botanical Garden and approved by the GCA scholarship committee. Applications will be judged on the qualifications of the applicant.
  • Notification: Award selection will be completed in early March. The GCA Scholarship Committee will notify the Award recipient by March 31. The Garden Club of America policy conforms with and strongly supports applicable federal and state laws that forbid discrimination on the basis of sex, disability, religion, age, national origin or sexual orientation with regard to the application for any of the scholarships The Garden Club of America sponsors.
  • Scholarship Award: Funds one or more applicants for one year at $4,000
  • Contact: Kenny Zevlov, 480.481.8162, kzelov@dbg.org

Application Information

Candidates should submit the following required information to kzelov@dbg.org, with “GCA Award in Desert Studies” as the subject line:

  1. Current resume that includes:
    • Address, phone and email
    • Educational background including relevant education, work experiences and publications if any
    • Name of a contact person at the accredited botanical garden or arboretum where you would like to complete your internship. Include a letter from the contact person confirming your acceptance into the program; OR
    • If not applying for an internship, a description of your proposed project
  2. 1-2 page essay that includes the following:
    • Your career aspirations
    • Your specific interests in sustainability in the arid environment and what you hope to achieve through the internship if selected.
    • Contact information for one reference qualified to describe the student’s character and ability
  3. Letter of recommendation from your advisor, using the Academic Advisor Recommendation form. Letter of recommendation should be completed, signed and sent to:

Mr. Kenny Zelov
Desert Botanical Garden
1201 N. Galvin Parkway
Phoenix, AZ 85008
Dates & Award Notifications

CLOSING AT 4 p.m. FOR SPECIAL EVENTS | OCT. 2-5, 7-8, 10-11 | LAST ADMISSION ON THESE DATES IS 3 p.m.