Mary A. Bancroft Memorial Scholarship
2013 Recipient: Kathy Roccaforte
- Doctorate student
- Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
- University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS
Investigating the role of prairie restoration and land-use intensification on native pollinators in tallgrass prairies
Personal Interest in Plants
I have held a passion for exploring the natural world since my childhood visits to my grandparents’ cabin in northern Wisconsin, where exploring the lakes and forests of the North Woods fostered my initial interests in biology. As a native of the Midwest, though, it wasn’t long before this interest became focused on the plants native to our tallgrass prairie ecosystem. Participating in research as an undergraduate at Creighton University ignited my passion for plant ecology, and opened to me the possibility of pursuing these interests via a career in research. My love of plants has led me to take on several exciting and diverse research topics—from exploring garlic mustard eradication and bur oak savannah restoration, to carrying out cryopreservation and conservation of Madagascar’s endemic orchids, and investigating the evolution of native trout-lilies—over the past several years.
I have recently become interested in studying pollinators native to the tallgrass prairie ecosystem, both because of their incredible beauty and diversity, and because they are integral to the long-term viability of prairie remnants and restorations. I am very excited to pursue my Ph.D. at the University of Kansas, and I look forward to applying the results of my study to the conservation and management of tallgrass prairies.