FOSZ Conservation Scholar Program

FOSZ Conservation Scholar Program

This annual scholarship supports the next generation of conservation-minded professionals. The scholarship covers an active college student's expenses related to a field conservation project; two awards are granted each year, a $2,000 graduate student scholarship and a $1,000 undergraduate student scholarship. The deadline for applications in 2017 was Friday, March 24, 2017, 5:00 PM CST.

FOSZ Conservation Scholarships may be used for direct costs related to the Scholar’s field work, including research that helps protect species in the wild, or protection of species or ecosystems in situ; awareness-building through informational/educational materials conducted on behalf of a non-governmental organization (NGO) that publicizes conservation; or outcome-oriented education programs that target an audience that directly impacts the species or habitat of concern. The complete definition of “field conservation” can be found on the AZA website.

The FOSZ Board of Directors is the sole body responsible for determining the award of scholarships. Applicants will be notified of the Board’s decision in writing by the President of the Friends of Sunset Zoo Board.

2017 Awardees:



Payton Phillips


Master's of Science student in Conservation Biology
Central Michigan University

Project Title:
 
The Impact of Vaccination Dosage and Familial Lineage on Survival of Black-footed ferrets (Mustela nigripes) During an Outbreak of Sylvatic Plague
Award Amount: $2,000

Project Description: 
Reintroduced ferret populations face numerous obstacles to their establishment and persistence, including small population sizes and introduced sylvatic plague, to which ferrets have no immunity. Payton's project seeks to understand the importance of vaccination dosage on survival in wild ferrets. The project will compare ferrets from the same familial lineages with different numbers of vaccine doses to better understand how plague spreads within family groups. This will allow for the determination if there is a family component to plague survival in ferrets with respect to the number of vaccination doses.

Kristina Chyn

Doctoral student in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
Texas A&M University

Project Title: 
Ecological Effects of Roads on Native & Endemic Reptiles and Amphibians
Award Amount: $2,000

Project Description: 
Despite the high propensity for endemism and high rates of extinction, surprisingly little research has been conducted on the ecological effects of roads on islands. In 2000, Myers et al. identified many islands as biodiversity hotspots, many of which are located in the tropics. Additionally, van der Ree et al. 2011 emphasized the need for studies that document the population, community, and ecosystem-level effects of roads. Though road fragmentation affects all terrestrial animals, herpetofauna have the highest levels of road mortality, and are the most threatened terrestrial vertebrates. Kristina's research addresses these gaps through studies of the impacts of roads on native biodiversity across multiple spatial and ecological scales, and utilizes ecological niche modeling to predictively map high road-risk areas. Kristina is addressing the urgent need for understanding the effect of the dense road network on native and endemic herpetofauna in island ecosystems.