Green-Wood’s Environmental Research Fellows

In 2022, Green-Wood launched an all-new research fellowship program in environmental science. Fellows are selected to conduct original research here on our grounds, using our natural and organizational resources to support their work.

2022 Research Fellow

Mesocarnivore Distributions across NYC Greenspaces: Raccoon Space Use in The Green-Wood Cemetery and Prospect Park
Myles Davis; M.A. candidate in Ecology, Evolution, and Environmental Biology; Columbia University

Surprisingly, with the ubiquity of raccoons in big cities, no study of this type has ever been conducted in an urban greenspace. This study will help us understand how raccoon populations are spread and congregated across Green-Wood, as well as what resources present at the Cemetery influence their distribution and activity. This research is critical to understand issues of disease transmission, property damage, and how humans and raccoons may better coexist in urban environments.

2022 Research Fellow

Disturbed and Diverse: Soil Microbial Communities of The Green-Wood Cemetery
Theodore R. Muth, Professor of Biology, CUNY Brooklyn College Biology Department, and the CUNY Graduate Center, Ecology, Evolutionary Biology and Behavior program, and Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology.

The soil beneath our feet is rarely discussed outside academic circles, yet an essential factor in mitigating climate change and the health of the environment. It’s critical in recycling nutrients, absorbing and filtering stormwater, and is necessary for the growth of plants and trees. Soils are also the habitat for microbes that facilitate decomposition, bioremediation, and plant health, which all play a role in mitigating climate change. It is estimated that soils around the world store more carbon than plants, animals, and the atmosphere combined. Professor Muth’s study will analyze microbial communities in urban soils and how they are affected by soil disturbances and will propose management practices that can support these essential ecosystem services.

2023 Research Fellow

Investigating the Structure and Function of Rhizosphere Microbiomes
Leyla Hernandez, Education Manager at Genspace (a community biology lab in Brooklyn), and Elizabeth Tuck, Executive Director of Genspace.

Researchers from Genspace, a community biology lab in Brooklyn, along with high school interns aim to characterize the community of bacteria that live around the root systems of trees and plants throughout Green-Wood.

2023 Research Fellow

Cold hardiness and Dormancy Dynamics of Woody Perennials at The Green-Wood Cemetery
Erica Kirchhof, Ph.D. Student, Department of Horticulture, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Kirchhof’s research will study cold hardiness and dormancy of woody perennial plants at Green-Wood.