DU's inaugural scholarship recipient Shannon Bentley is in the final stages of analysing data for her thesis on wetland restoration.
She says she is exploring how restoring wetlands from pasture changes plants, microbes and soil.
"Restored wetlands are home to more diverse native plant communities and soil microbial communities than pastures, preliminary results show.
"This diversity produces a wide variety of benefits for people. For example, restored wetland soils have an increased capacity to store carbon, attenuate floods, and remove excess nutrients. "However, restoration creates a wide variety of responses, with every restored wetland being different."
More to come from this space, she says.
The first Ducks Unlimited scholarship has been awarded to Shannon Bentley who is studying for a master’s degree at Victoria University of Wellington. Shannon’s research will include field work at the Wairio wetland.
She is originally from the Wairarapa.
DU is planning a small presentation at the university to award the scholarship to Shannon in March 2020.
Wetland Care Research Scholarships are Ducks Unlimited-sponsored scholarships applicable to any student currently enrolled or affiliated with a New Zealand university.
Funds are aimed at encouraging and supporting students who wish to push the boundaries of what is known about wetland restoration and conservation and whose projects are designed to facilitate better management of New Zealand wetlands or their environment.
Up to $20,000 is available each year to cover one to four separate scholarships of $5000 each. Funds can be used to support student living costs or to cover the costs of equipment purchase, logistics and consumables.
Applications will be accepted from students/researchers affiliated with universities interested in making a difference through wetland conservation.
The student project must be based in New Zealand. Preference will be given to applications that demonstrate:
■ projects of direct benefit to New Zealand based on current wetland conservation issues.
■ innovative thinking that pushes the boundaries of what is known about New Zealand wetland conservation.
■ research on native threatened wetland bird species.
■ research with clear objectives and measurable outcomes.
■ research with a strong wetland management and conservation applications.
■ research covering any ‘preferred research topics’ listed on the Ducks Unlimited/Wetland Care website.
Wetland Care will award up to four scholarships a year, in two funding rounds each year for the next three years. The current round, consisting of one or two $5000 scholarships, is being advertised now for 2020.
The next funding round, consisting of another one or two $5000 scholarships, will be advertised early next year. Funds will be paid in one lump sum to successful candidates upon completion of the milestones agreed at the time the scholarship is accepted.
Interested? Or want to know more?
Terms and conditions and an application form are available on the Ducks Unlimited website: www.ducks.org.nz/wetland-care/scholarships.
Applications for the current round close on 1 November 2019.