Congratulations to our scholarship recipient, Joanna Tang

At the beginning of this past school year, the Channel Islands Chapter of the California Native Plant Society joined a number of other chapters in the state that are encouraging the next generation of educators, researchers, and conservationists by offering financial support for their endeavors. We are pleased to announce that Joanna Tang is this year’s scholarship recipient!

Joanna Tang is a graduate student in the Ecology, Evolution, & Marine Biology Department at University of California, Santa Barbara. She grew up in Palo Alto where she remembers that her favorite times found her out bicycling and hiking the numerous open space trails around the Bay Area with her friends and family.  By the time she was in 7th grade, she had already decided she wanted to be an ecologist.  Although she loves animals too, her aversion to dissecting them pushed her toward taking a lot of plant-related classes.  For a while, she says she got “very nerdy” with taxonomy.  But a fateful school field trip to the Jepson Prairie Preserve, while she was an undergraduate at UC Davis, shifted her focus to one of those uniquely Californian habitats: vernal pools.

Joanna is thrilled to have ended up at UC Santa Barbara for her graduate studies, as the campus grounds support a series of restored vernal pools – though she notes they are very different here on the south coast than those found in the Central Valley.  The limited amount of vernal pool habitat in California makes it critical that those that are still pristine be preserved, and those that have become degraded from human-related impacts be enhanced and restored.  Joanna’s project is particularly focusing on the problem of thatch buildup in vernal pools, as the thatch, which is created by non-native plants species that don’t break down, make it more difficult for native plant species to germinate and grow.  She is comparing different methods of thatch management, with the goal of finding techniques that are the most efficient and cost-effective.

We look forward to having Joanna discuss her work at one of our future monthly public meetings. Stay tuned for more information on our Facebook page at California Native Plant Society, Channel Islands Chapter.


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