Scholarships & Research Fund
In November 2013, the GCHS board decided to expand its support of Grand Canyon historical research with the addition of a research grant. This grant will be open to anyone researching Grand Canyon history. It will be designed to support small projects (under $1,500) such as digitizing a historic photo collection, a scholar’s travel to access a collection, or a similar research expenses. The board hopes to have a simple application process, but wants the research to result in a product suitable for publication or for inclusion in a museum collection. We will announce specific limits, research parameters, reporting requirements, and application deadlines later this year.
In the meantime, we hope you will contribute to the Scholarship & Research Fund when you renew your membership!
The Grand Canyon Historical Society is a non-profit organization operating to develop and promote appreciation, understanding and education of the earlier history of the inhabitants and important events of the Grand Canyon and surrounding area; and to lawfully do any and all things necessary, suitable and proper for the accomplishment of these purposes.
The Society awards a $1,500 scholarship to a graduate student at an Arizona university for support of research involving history, historic or environmental preservation in the Grand Canyon region.
Any Arizona university graduate student doing work in the above fields of research is eligible. Eligible projects include any work that results in original research concerning historical individuals, events, sites, organizations, businesses or environmental issues in the Grand Canyon region; or any work that results in original research that supports or leads to historical preservation of any historical site, photographs, documents, or diaries with origins in the Grand Canyon region.
For a project to be considered complete, one or more of the following must be included:
(A) Submission of a paper suitable for publication to the GCHS by the 1st of December.
(B) Presentation of a paper at a legitimate conference with a copy of the paper to the GCHS. The copy must be presented to the GCHS by the 1st of December with presentation scheduled at the earliest possible meeting of the conference.
(C) A thesis or dissertation of which component parts resulted from the research with a copy of the included work presented to the GCHS by the 1st of December.
(D) Historical preservation of photographs, documents or diaries requires at least delivery of a photo copy of the items in question to the GCHS by the 1st of December. Preservation of actual items is preferred.
(E) Site research requires a completed nomination or submission of material to the GCHS by the 1st of December for inclusion in a nomination of the site to the National Register of Historic Places.
Papers and/or items submitted resulting from the research becomes a part of the GCHS Collection in the Special Collections and Archives at NAU's Cline Library for use by anyone doing research in those subjects involving the Grand Canyon region. Note: The author will receive acknowlegment for any material used in publications.
To apply, submit a one-page letter of application to the address below with a short biography to include: name, address, phone number, undergraduate and/or graduate degree(s), current degree program, department and advisor. Also, describe in a short paragraph the project to which the scholarship would be applied and include a proposed budget of how you would use the $1,500.00 award.
Applications must be received by March 1 at:
GCHS Scholarship and Research Grant
c/o Al Richmond
50 Adobe Circle
Sedona AZ 86351
The award will be made by the GCHS in April.
For additional information, contact Al Richmond at AlRichmond@npgcable.com or 928-606-2781.
Paleontologist Dr. David White in the canyon wrapping fossil in newspaper for trip to museum. Circa 1928. Photo Copyright Grand Canyon National Park Museum Collection
2016 Casey Rutherford Jones
Casey is working on a study to asses the impact of mining runoff on the quality of water at Roaring Springs. The Grand Canyon National Park (GCNP) is under threat from land use change, whether intentional or not. Hundreds of existing and proposed uranium mines dot the landscape surrounding the park, and runoff from retention ponds poses a risk of infiltrating the groundwater supply. Water is discharged at springs, which provide essential habitat for springs-dependent species in the canyon, as well as potable water. One important spring, Roaring Springs, is the sole provider of drinkable water for all of GCNP’s 5 million annual visitors, as well as those who live in the park or surrounding land year round. Once contaminants enter the Redwall-Muav aquifer, little is known about their travel paths or transit times. Casey propose a dye tracer study, in which nontoxic fluorescent dye will be inserted into two sinkholes on the Kaibab Plateau. She will monitor 18 different springs with charcoal packets to qualitatively determine the connectedness of the karst system, and quantitatively sample and analyze water at Roaring Springs, Bright Angel Springs, and Emmett Springs to determine transit time of potential contaminants. The awarded $1,500 will go toward the analytical costs of 125 water samples taken at the three springs listed above. Isotopes, specific conductance, and other parameters can be analyzed and assessed at $12 per sample. The results will determine a breakthrough curve displaying the transit time of potential threats to GCNP, which will be indispensable in the future management of the park and surrounding areas.
2015 Emma Williams
Emma is working on a study providing the Grand Canyon’s natural resource managers with evidence of how the ecological history of a forest may impact the current and future effects of a primary management tool-prescribed fire. In the recent decades, tree mortality rates have been increasing across the western United States (van Mantgem et al, 2009). Growth patterns forming over a tree's lifetime carry information allowing us to predict its survivorship (Das et al, 2007). The Southwest Climate Science Center has partially funded this project to produce mortality models, for species experiencing severe 5-10 year drought followed by prescribed fire, using conifer growth patterns from the past 50 years. With additional funding assistance from the Grand Canyon Historical Society, Emma hopes to expand the inferences of this project by extending the analysis of the past 50 years to the lifetimes of the sample trees. The effects of fire following severe drought can result in years when trees may fail to
put on growth, making it difficult to determine death dates from a short record. By extending the record to the life of the tree, we are able to use crossdating methods to age each ring, achieve a more certain death date, and improve our understanding of the mechanisms leading to it. These ring ages will allow us to create a timeline tracking long term growth patterns as indices of historical climate, stand competition, and fire effects in Grand Canyon forests.
2014 Addie Partrick
Addie is working on a management study of the Desert View Watchtower, a newly acquired site by the NPS. Within the next year she will be working on a project in her division that will help the park decide how to best manage a newly acquired site, the Desert View Watchtower. During the summer of 2014, she will be doing interpretive research in and around the Desert View Watchtower on the park’s east side. This research will mostly focus on visitor experience, expectations, and desires when it comes to visiting cultural sites in the southwest. The Desert View Watch Tower was built in 1932 by architect Mary Colter. The inspiration behind the Watch Tower was to celebrate our native tribes. Colter described it as a “re-creation” of various towers built by Native Americans throughout the southwest. Having been managed by Xanterra Parks and Resorts for many years, the Desert View Watchtower has been operated as a curio shop and it has been challenging for the National Park Service to fully tell the story of cultural ties to the canyon as a place of emergence and spirituality. This is a unique opportunity for Grand Canyon National Park to spark more emotional and intellectual connections to our cultural heritage.
2013 Daniel Hadley
Daniel is working on "Campsite morphology along the Colorado River within Grand Canyon National Park", a master’s thesis project to assess changes in campsite morphology along the Colorado River within Grand Canyon National Park. His project consists of analyzing changes in the geomorphology of campsites, determining the influence of vegetation encroachment on campsite area loss, and developing new campsite monitoring methods. It is the last component of his project. Sandbars have been historically used as campsites by river runners and hikers, and continue to be an important part of the recreational experience for visitors to Grand Canyon. Campsite carrying capacity is of increasing concern to the National Park Service due to the popularity of commercial and private rafting trips and the steady decline in the number of campsites and campsite area. In an effort to improve campsite surveys, which is currently limited to detecting changes in just campsite area, Daniel would like to develop a new campsite monitoring method that can be incorporated into a “citizen science” framework.
2012 no scholarship awarded
Students like these benefit from the funds you contribute to the Grand Canyon Historical Society Scholarship Fund...and we all benefit from the results of their work. Please contribute today.
2011 Daniel E. Karalus
This project is more than a description of the Grand Canyon’s reclaimed water use. Though it details that, it also aims to highlight reclaimed water’s role as an important an inexpensive alternative water supply, a hallmark of new technologies, a form of conservation hidden in the landscape, and something park officials and the public were not entirely comfortable using. In doing so, the project will provide valuable insights into the Grand Canyon’s technology and the balancing act between the park’s urban-style growth and its mission to conserve American resources. It might also reveal more about human perceptions of water and waste, or at least simply garner the now nationally historic water reclamation plant some necessary attention. This project is also particularly poignant right now, as communities in Arizona and the West increasingly turn to reclaimed water to meet industry and consumer demands.
2010 Steven Littleton
Littleton's research project into the Grand Canyon is part of his larger PhD dissertation topic of arts and sciences in the western National Parks. Littleton has been researching the ways in which art and science have been used in the national parks to interpret American history and values. Both scientists and artists have played an important role in promoting and interpreting the Grand Canyon to visitors and the general public. Littleton hopes to show how the two group's involvement with the canyon has diverged over time and how the role of science in public education and entertainment at the park also has evolved over time and sometimes conflicted with other cultural views of the area. The scholarship funds will be used to help cover research expenses including a trip to the National Park Service archives in Denver.
2009 Christopher Holcomb
“The Visible Boundary Between The Forests Of Kaibab National Forest And Grand Canyon National Park” is to generate new scientific information and novel policy analysis to argue for more seamless management across a jurisdictional boundary on the Kaibab Plateau. The jurisdictional boundary between Grand Canyon National Park and Kaibab National Forest along the North Rim is visible from space as an ecological artifact. This simple fact begs a series of questions. Mr. Holcomb's thesis research revolves around three in particular: What is the ecological nature of the apparent differences across the boundary in an otherwise contiguous forest? What are the implications of these disjointed conditions, especially for crown fire risk? What are the past and present management regimes that have created the observed conditions, and what is the potential for more seamless management across this boundary between these two agencies? The goal is to provide sound, science-based analysis to aid and inform managements in the world-renowned Grand Canyon region.
2008 Jennifer Spensieri
Jennifer's research is entitled "A Kiosk for the Canyon: The Making and Influence of the Grand Canyon Trust as a Professionalized Research-Based Environmental NGO (non-governmental organization)."
2007 no scholarship awarded
2006 no scholarship awarded
2005 Mathieu Brown
Currently a Masters candidate in the department of Forestry at Northern Arizona University, Mathieu's thesis work is on the biophysical recreation impacts on the Colorado River corridor through Grand Canyon, while his coursework focuses on the recreation and tourism cultures of the Western United States. Mathieu has earned a B.S. in Business Economics and a B.A. in Southwest Studies. Dr. Pam Foti of the Planning and Recreation program in the Southwest Forest Science Complex is his program advisor. The scholarship will be funding: Seeking Summits Below the Rim: The stories and history of climbing in Grand Canyon, a project to document the stories of early climbing in Grand Canyon. Despite the prolific activity of a handful of climbers little has been publicly written and documented on their pursuits. Like any time period in Grand Canyon history, that of the early summiteers carries its own perspectives and adds value and depth to our collective understanding of the Grand Canyon and its influence on the human individual and regional meaning. Although not publicly documented, the knowledge of early Grand Canyon climbing remains rich. It is held in the journals, letters, photographs, and memories of the individuals active in the pursuit. Luckily, many of these stories have yet to vanish and sit waiting to be uncovered and rediscovered from the climbers themselves on a local and regional scale.
2004 Gretchen M. Merton
Gretchen's PhD dissertation title is: Geology in the American Southwest: New Processes, New Theories. The work the scholarship will be funding is her research in the history of geology in the Grand Canyon and surrounding region.
2003 - Steve Buckley
Steve was the recipient of the 2003 Scholarship of $1,000 for his master's thesis project: Mountain Lying Down: An Environmental History of the Kaibab Plateau. This is our first award for an environmental history. Previous awards have been for variety of historical and anthropological projects in the Grand Canyon Region. This is a bit more significant in that this is the first year we offered the scholarship for an environmental project. His introduction to the application was "Presently, there is no environmental history of the Kaibab Plateau. The isolated geologic upwarp, which serves as the northern barrier to the Grand Canyon between Kanab Canyon and Marble Canyon, is a true sky island. This breadth of land mass has provided for a rich history of human use. From early archeological evidence and inferences from known patterns, human habitation has had an effect on the larger ecological system of the Kaibab. The famous Kaibab deer herd and the ecological lesson it taught concerning the extirpation of predators, is but one remarkable note from a complex past. The Kaibab, as it is known, is a derivative of the original Paiute word, kaibabits, meaning "mountain lying down." The name was given by Major John Wesley Powell in the course of his exploration in the 1870s. Until such time it had been commonly known as Buckskin Mountain. It is the ecological story of this mountain I wish to tell."
2002 no scholarship awarded
2001 no scholarship awarded
2000 Russell K. Quinlan
Awarded the GCPS 2000 Scholarship at the Northern Arizona University History Department Awards and Honors breakfast on April 26, Russell is a fourth year doctoral student at Northern Arizona University studying criminal history and law enforcement. His research will concentrate on the career of Hubert "Bert" Lauzon who served as a constable and a justice of the peace for the Grand Canyon District of Coconino County before becoming a National Park Service Ranger in 1928, a position he held until retiring in the early 1950s.
1999 John S. Westerlund
A doctoral student at Northern Arizona University, John was awarded the Grand Canyon Pioneers Society's 1999 Scholarship. John will use the money to pay for travel related research expenses pertaining to his doctoral dissertation in American history. His topic is titled "From Indian Village to Minuteman Missiles: Navajo Ordnance Depot in the American West." His research will take him to the Washington, DC area and to the reservations in Arizona, New Mexico and Utah to obtain oral interviews with former Navajo and Hopi depot employees. The Navajo Ordnance Depot is a munitions depot located west of Flagstaff, Arizona.
1998 John S. Westerlund
A doctoral student at Northern Arizona University, John was awarded the GCPS 1998 Scholarship. John will use the money to pay for travel related research expenses pertaining to his doctoral dissertation in American history. His topic is titled "From Indian Village to Minuteman Missiles: Navajo Ordnance Depot in the American West." His research will take him to the Washington, DC area and to the reservations in Arizona, New Mexico and Utah to obtain oral interviews with former Navajo and Hopi depot employees. The Navajo Ordnance Depot is a munitions depot located west of Flagstaff, Arizona.
1997 Michael Anderson, Ph.D.
Michael was the recipient of the GCPS 1997 Scholarship for his research on the administrative history of the Grand Canyon National Park. This is the second time Mike has received the GCPS Scholarship.
1996 Amy Jo Horn-Wilson
A master's candidate of the Department of Anthropology at NAU, Amy was awarded the 1996 GCPS Scholarship of $500. Amy Jo's project will be a study of the Cohonina peoples that occupied the Coconino Plateau, including the South Rim and Esplanade of the Grand Canyon and Havasu and Cataract Canyons from approximately A.D. 700-1150. Some archaeologists believe they are ancestral to the modern Havasupai. For her thesis, she intends to examine projectile points created and used by the Cohonina to detect changes in form over time and space. In addition, she will compare Cohonina projectile points with those created by the Kayenta Anasazi and modern Havasupai to discern culture interactions and relationships. The materials she will use are excavated and surface-collected projectile points stored at Grand Canyon, Museum of Northern Arizona, and Kaibab National Forest in Williams. The results of her analysis will provide additional temporal information for archaeologists as they interpret the prehistory of the Grand Canyon and the entire Southwest.
1995 Chris Johnson
Chris was awarded the 1995 GCPS Scholarship of $350 for his work on the history of the "discovery" of Rainbow Bridge. This is the second time Chris has received the GCPS Scholarship.
1994 Chris Johnson
Chris is awarded a $350 Scholarship for his work on a completely different aspect of Grand Canyon regional cultural history. His subject was Jacob Hamblin, a noted explorer and settler of the region. Chris looked at how the Mormon Church has used Hamblin's image to benefit the institution through public representation of him as a larger-than-life western legend. This study resulted in the paper Bridging the Gap: Jacob Hamblin and Mormon Historiography.*
1994 - Juti Winchester
Juti was awarded a $350 Scholarship to continue studies at the Grand Canyon involving early master plans used to develop the Grand Canyon park site for visitor use. Her emphasis was on cultural ideas that influenced these plans. Included were Mary Jane Colter's vision of Indians, and how that vision effected the development of selected parts of the Grand Canyon visitor use area. These studies produced the paper Just Like the Real Thing: Mary Jane Colter and Her Artistic Endeavors.*
1993 Susan Olberding
Susan was awarded the 1993 GCPS Scholarship of $380 for her work on her master's degree in history and her research on the Water, Water Nowhere: A History of Water Use at the South Rim of the Grand Canyon.*
1992 Michael F. Anderson
Michael was awarded the first GCPS Scholarship of $250 to study the trails and perform research on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. The research resulted in the paper Thunder River Trail at Grand Canyon National Park.*
*These papers are on file in the Grand Canyon Historical Society's collection at NAU Cline Library Special Collections. Anyone can access these papers by searching under the author's name, title, or reviewing the index of the GCHS Collection.