Boyd Evison 2010 Graduate Fellowship Awarded

April 22, 2010
Grand Teton National Park and the Grand Teton Association (GTA) are pleased to announce that James Meadow has received the Boyd Evison Graduate Fellowship for 2010. Meadow, the sixth recipient of an Evison Fellowship, is currently pursuing a Doctorate of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree in ecology and environmental sciences at Montana State University in Bozeman. He plans to use his fellowship award to study the composition, diversity and ecological environment of thermal-influenced soils in the Imperial Meadow thermal area of the Lower Geyser Basin in Yellowstone National Park. The Evison Graduate Fellowship was initiated to support studies throughout the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem.

Meadow received a Bachelor of Science degree in resource conservation in 2007 from the University of Montana’s School of Forestry and Conservation at Missoula. He worked from 2001 to 2006 on ecological restoration projects at various mines and other industrial sites throughout the western states. In 2007, he began his graduate studies in the Department of Land Resources and Environmental Sciences at Montana State University with a focus on the ecology of biological soil crusts in thermal and desert areas. In 2008, Meadow was awarded a National Science Foundation graduate fellowship to develop an inquiry-based science program for teachers and children in classrooms from kindergarten through high school; his program centered on subjects from Montana soils, to growing mushrooms and composting with worms. The project he will launch as a result of receiving the Evison Fellowship will explore a relatively unknown aspect of the thermal landscape of Yellowstone, and will catalog and study a group of organisms and their environment not previously studied. An integral part of the study will include interpretation for park visitors regarding the diversity of life forms that live only in thermal ecosystems—specifically the soils that appear barren and lifeless yet provide an important habitat for other life forms.

The Evison Fellowship was established in memory of Boyd Evison after his death in October, 2002, and created to honor Boyd’s extensive and dedicated service to both the National Park Service (NPS) and the GTA. Evison retired in 1994 from an exemplary 42-year career with the NPS and soon after began a second career as executive director for the GTA—a non-profit park partner dedicated to aiding interpretive, educational, and research programs for Grand Teton National Park.

The Evison Fellowship program encourages scientific and conservation-related research in national parks. It invites highly motivated, graduate students to conduct research in Grand Teton and throughout the Greater Yellowstone Area; and it supports study leading to a master’s or Ph.D. degree in the biosciences, geosciences or social sciences. Upon program completion, Evison recipients provide a copy of their thesis to the GTA and often share their results through oral presentations to park staff and partners.

An Evison Fellowship provides tuition assistance and a yearly stipend to cover travel and field research costs; Grand Teton National Park offers housing and office space for students during field sessions. To inquire about applying for a Boyd Evison Graduate Fellowship—or to donate funds toward this worthy program—please contact Jan Lynch, executive director, Grand Teton Association by mail at P.O. Box 170, Moose, Wyoming, 83012, or by phone at 307.739.3406.