The application cycle for 2023 is closed. We will begin accepting applications again in January 2024.
The Gloria Barron Wilderness Society Scholarship seeks to encourage individuals who have the potential to make a significant positive difference in understanding wilderness and how to protect it. The scholarship is available to current qualified graduate students. It was created in honor of Gloria Barron, a dedicated educator and tireless advocate for wilderness protection.
LETTER FROM THE SCHOLARSHIP FOUNDER, T.A. BARRON
To think like a mountain, as one of the founders of the Wilderness Society, Aldo Leopold, urged, is to take the long view of life on Earth. To see the forests, air, water, and other species of this planet as permanent parts of ourselves. For our well-being is unalterably tied to the well-being of the planet, just as human history is unalterably tied to geologic history.
This attitude guided my mother, Gloria Barron, throughout her long life. As a conservationist, teacher, civic volunteer, parent, and lifelong learner, she walked lightly on the land and encouraged others to do so. That is why I created, in 1987, the Gloria Barron Wilderness Society Scholarship—to honor this inspiring conservationist and to support conservation leaders of the future.
The goal of this scholarship, is—like the goal of The Wilderness Society—both bold and simple. While the Society seeks to protect America’s wilderness forever, the scholarship hopes to encourage some of our nation’s best conservationists at a crucial point in their careers. We want nothing less than to identify, support, and honor the future Aldo Leopolds in our midst—as well as future Rachel Carsons, Mardy Muries, John Muirs, Howard Zahnisers, Bob Marshalls, Rue Mapps and Gaylord Nelsons.
Our nation needs such visionary, capable conservationists. So does our planet. For the ultimate key to our survival—spiritually as well as physically—is to think like a mountain.
Two separate awards of $25,000 each will be given to two graduate students to support their research and preparation of a paper on an aspect of wilderness.
The Wilderness Society recently completed a strategic plan that identified two priorities: (1) Make public lands a solution to the climate and extinction crises by securing a resilient, continental network of landscapes and eliminating climate-changing emissions, and (2) Transform conservation policy and practice so all people benefit equitably from public lands. Research proposals broadly addressing biodiversity protection, climate change mitigation and adaptation, and the social and ecological context of landscape conservation, especially related to issues of equity are encouraged.
Graduate students meeting the eligibility requirements noted below may apply directly to The Wilderness Society. If you are an applicant, please make sure you meet all of the scholarship eligibility requirements, and follow the application procedures below. We welcome applicants from diverse academic disciplines, regions, and universities.
Applicants for the Gloria Barron Wilderness Society Scholarship must:
- Be currently enrolled in an accredited graduate institution in North America at the time of application;
- Have strong academic qualifications; and
- Have academic and/or career goals focused on making a significant positive difference in the long-term protection of wilderness in the United States.
Students applying for the Gloria Barron Wilderness Society Scholarship must submit all of the following materials in PDF format combined into one document for an application to be considered complete:
- A two-page double-spaced cover letter
The letter must offer insights into the personal motivations of the applicant as well as how wilderness has influenced your life.
- A 3-5 page double-spaced proposal
The proposal must include a description of the proposed work and a timeline for the completion of a paper within 24 months. The 5-page proposal limit includes any images/tables/charts, but does not include your list of references/citations. Please use 12-point font with 1-inch margins. See Research Topics for guidelines.
- A current résumé or curriculum vitae
- Two letters of recommendation
The letters must describe the applicant's ability to meet the objectives of the scholarship and proposed work. One letter should be from the applicant’s major professor, advisor, or committee chair indicating support for the applicant’s project. The letters can be included with the rest of the application materials, or emailed to Barron_Scholarship@tws.org
- Scanned undergraduate and graduate transcripts (official or unofficial)
Please ensure that any documents you include in your application (particularly your transcripts) are not password protected.
The research paper should address an aspect of the establishment, protection, or management of wilderness. The applicant may choose to discuss a subject relevant to current programs of The Wilderness Society or introduce a new topic. Proposed work may apply to a particular landscape or it may address issues broadly.
Typically, applications are accepted from late January to mid-April. Our selection committee reviews the applications and narrows the field to the top submissions. The Wilderness Society’s Governing Council then reviews those applications and selects the recipient in mid-July.
The total amount of the scholarship, paid in two installments, is $25,000. The first installment is paid after the winners are notified in mid-July. The second payment will be made the following February after the recipient submits a short (~2 page) progress report and presents a short update via video call to science and conservation staff at The Wilderness Society on the status of the project
The recipient may be liable for income tax on the scholarship. Please consult with your tax advisor on the proper treatment of the award.
Additional funding may be available to pay travel expenses for the recipient to work with staff members of The Wilderness Society on this project. TWS wishes to encourage the publication of this work in an academic journal or other appropriate medium and has additional funds to help cover expenses of publishing and publicizing the final paper.
Progress and Final Reports
In order to receive the second payment, the recipient must send a short (~2 page) progress report and present an update to TWS science staff by February 1st. The progress report and presentation should describe the status of the project, preliminary results (if available), and the expected completion date of their research project. Recipients are also required to present a webinar presentation to The Wilderness Society staff within two years of receiving the award.
How to Apply:
The deadline is May 8, 2023
For more information, contact:
Barb Young, Program & Operations Specialist
No phone calls please.
The Wilderness Society is an equal opportunity employer and actively works to ensure fair treatment of our employees and constituents across culture, socioeconomic status, race, marital or family situation, gender, age, ethnicity, religious beliefs, physical ability, veteran status or sexual orientation.
As an organization, we aspire to be inclusive in the work that we do and in the kind of organization we are. Internally, this means working as a team that listens to different points of view, recognizes the contributions of every employee, and empowers each employee to bring their whole selves to work every day. Externally, this means ensuring that public lands are inclusive and welcoming so that our shared wildlands can help people and nature to thrive. We are committed to equity throughout our work, which we define as our commitment to realizing the promise of our public lands and ensuring that all can share in their universal benefits.
To learn more about our commitment, please see Our Commitment to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.
Gloria Barron Scholarship winners 1998 to present
2022 Alexii Sigona
Achieving Equity Through Indigenous Co-Management
2022 Tracy Melvin - Rapid biological inventories to assess potential for introducing functional grazers to steward biodiversity and complexity in a novel, climate-transformed landscape
2021 Mark Kreider
Achieving ecological and environmental justice goals through the protected area network
2020 Maria Jesus
Using natural history collections and community science to protect wildlands of the California Desert
2019 Cristina Watkins
Wilderness and Social Equity: Connecting Wilderness Benefits to a Diverse Society
2018 Annie Kellner
Polar bear (Ursus maritimus) terrestrial ecology within the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and beyond
2017 Joan Dudney, University of California, Berkeley
Developing a science-based management plan for white pines in the southern Sierra Nevada
2016 Caitlyn Littlefield, University of Washington
Assessing potential climate refugia in the North Cascades
2015 Matthew Williamson, University of California, Davis
Quantifying the contribution of currently and potentially protected areas to climate adaptation: Centrality in the Northern Rockies
2014 Dominique M. Davíd-Chavez Colorado State University
Whitebark pine distribution: adaptation in a changing climate
2013 Adriana Zuniga, University of Arizona
From neighborhoods to wellbeing and conservation: optimizing the usage of natural open spaces through design
2012 Johanna Varner, University of Utah
Too hot to trot? Connecting urban youth to wilderness areas through a collaborative climate change research initiative
2012 Sarah Bisbing, Colorado State University
Conserving the Adaptive Potential of Western Forests: Using range-wide patterns of genetic population structure and niche modeling to predict the response of Pinus contorta to climatic change
2012 Jennifer Thornhill, George Mason University
Can New Metrics Help Us Bridge the Gap? A case study in the measurement of scientific literature’s impact on decision making.
2011 Lauren Oakes, Stanford University
Managing Forest Communities in a Changing Climate: Social and Ecological Responses to Yellow-Cedar Decline in Southeast Alaska’s Coastal Rainforests
2010 Rose Graves, University of Vermont
Re-Wilding the Northeast: Strategic Wilderness Reserve Design and Connectivity Conservation in the Northern Appalachian Ecoregion
2009 University of Michigan Jesse Fernandes, Natalie Flynn, Samantha Gibbes, Matt Griffis, Takahiro Isshiki, Sean Killian, Laura Palombi, Nerissa Rujanavech, Sarah Tomsky, and Merry Tondro
Renewable Energy in the California Desert: Mechanisms for Evaluating Solar Development on Public Lands
2008 Travis Belote, Virginia Tech
The Influence of Land Use on Ecosystem Carbon Capture and Biodiversity: The Role of Wilderness Areas in Maintaining Regional Productivity and Species Diversity
2008 Crystal Krause, Northern Arizona University
Conservation Ecology of Endemic Plant Species within the Greater Colorado River Corridor: Potential Climate Change Impacts on Range Shifts
2007 Stacey Schulte, University of Colorado
Environmental Implications of Benefits-based Management of BLM Lands
2005 Peter Morgan, Stanford Law School
Creating Buffers and Connectors for Wilderness Reserves
2004 Pauline Gaden, John Hopkins University
An Initiative to Support the Proposed Expansion of the Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park by Demonstrating Economic and Ecological Benefits
2003 Zack Holden, University of Idaho
Evaluating the Effects of 25 Years of Wildland Fire Use on Southwestern Ponderosa Pine Forests: Tree Mortality and Stand Structure
2002 Stacy Clark, Oklahoma State University
Restoration and Management Research for Ancient Cross Timbers Forest
2001 Monique Rocca, Duke University
Incorporating Spatial Variability into Fire Restoration Plans: What Kinds of Heterogeneity Matter to Plants
2000 David Lewis, Oregon State University
Land Conservation and Economic Growth in the Northern Forest
1999 Marcus Renner, University of Wisconsin-Madison
A Citizen's guide to Education and Outreach for Community-based Conservation Programs
1998 David Pilliod Introduction of Fish to Wilderness Lakes without Existing Predatory Fish
1998 Christina Cromley
Learning from and Improving Bison Management in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem