Recipients of Green-Wood’s 2022 Research Awards

Earlier this year, we announced the recipients of the 2022 Green-Wood Research Awards in Urban Environmental Science and in Human/Nature Interactions. Each awardee is conducting original research here on our grounds, using our natural and organizational resources to support their work.

Research Award in Urban Environmental Science: 2022 Recipient

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.

Research Award in Urban Environmental Science: 2022 Recipient

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.

Research Award in Human/Nature Interactions: 2022 Recipient

Ethnobotanical Urban Forestry at The Green-Wood Cemetery
Ilexis Xochitl Chu-Jacoby, Ph.D. candidate, Horticultural Biology, School of Integrative Plant Science, Cornell University

Xochitl Chu-Jacoby will generate ethnobotanical summaries of the species that make up  Green-Wood’s tree collection. Green-Wood’s trees serve as a living museum that capture the history of development, culture, and ecology of New York City. They will research when, where and why a tree was planted, what role the tree plays in the ecosystem (above and below ground), and for whom the tree holds cultural, spiritual, and medicinal importance. These summaries will be added to the plant records of Green-Wood’s Arboretum database.