Environmental Center Seed Grants

The Environmental Center at the University of North Florida seeks to stimulate the creation of multidisciplinary research projects related to the environment. To achieve this goal, the Environmental Center is leveraging its River Branch endowment to provide funding to faculty in the form of Seed Grants. The grants offered to faculty are intended to “seed” environmentally related research that subsequently results in the preparation and submission of a proposal to an external funding agency that is submitted through the Environmental Center. In addition, the Environmental Center especially hopes to inspire effective collaboration between faculty members and students in diverse disciplines. The Seed Grants are competitively awarded to the most meritorious proposals.


For the 2016 cycle, the Environmental Center will will award two Seed Grants for up to $6,000 each. The deadline for applications is 5 p.m. Monday, Nov. 2.


2015-16 Environmental Center Seed Grant Application

Examples of Successful Past Seed Grant Applications


Voices from the Stream: An Environmental History of the St. Johns River 2009


Dig in! Go Green! Fruit and Vegetable Gardening with Preschoolers 2009

Current Seed Grant Recipients

Should we ‘Go Green!’ or ‘Police Pollution’: Using Regulatory Fit Theory to Craft Effective Pro-Environmental Messages
Drs. Curtis Phills, Paul Fuglestad and Heather Truelove, Department of Psychology.
Climate scientists have a message: anthropogenic climate change and its negative consequences are real (IPCC, 2013). Unfortunately, the presentation of that message has not resulted in a large groundswell of support of pro-environmental initiatives (Gallup, 2014). Part of the reason for this may be that the message on climate change may not resonate with the general public on a motivational level. Regulatory fit theory (Higgins, 2000) proposes that elements of a message can be designed to induce a motivational “fit” such that people perceive the message as more resonant are in turn more likely to follow through with the message’s recommendations. Persuasive messages commonly use either a promotion focus—emphasizing the pursuit of ideals and positive outcomes—or a prevention focus— emphasizing the fulfillment of obligations and the prevention of negative outcomes. When other features of a persuasive appeal (e.g., visual imagery, calls to action) “fit” with the focus of message, persuasion and behavior change are increased. The proposed research will take advantage of the fact that pro- environmental messages tend to be framed in terms of striving for ideals (e.g., Be Green!) or fulfilling obligations (e.g., Don’t Pollute!). Across two laboratory and one field experiment we will investigate the effectiveness of presenting pro-environmental messages in manners designed to induce regulatory fit. We predict that when people view pro-environmental messages that induce regulatory fit they will value the environment more and perform more pro-environmental behaviors. We will also test whether valuing the environment mediates the influence of the messages on behavior.
In the Land of Mocama: Environmental and Cultural History of 1564
Dr. Robert L. Thunen, Department of Sociology, Anthropology, Social Work
This is a pilot study to examine the environmental, archaeological, historical and cartographic data for information on the St. Johns River from the mouth of the river to the end of Mill Cove (our study area). Specifically, I am interested in what the natural and cultural landscape was like in the year 1564—the year the French arrived and built La Caroline Colony. We start with the fundamentals: to examine maps from recent topographic surveys, then move back investigating earlier maps, ending with maps of the first Spanish Period to get a sense of how much the river’s fundamental hydrology has been impact by dredging, erosion, and soil displacement. Next, we examine the possible locations for the Mocama (Timucua) contact villages based on both the archaeological and historical documents. From there, we begin to seek funding for a multidisciplinary research project focused on reconstructing the natural habitats and ecology of the 16th century. Some of this can be based on archaeological remains of flora and fauna from archaeological sites. In other cases, this will require cooperation across natural science disciplines with discussions about what habitats and species were likely here. The long-term goal is to arrive at a best estimate of the historical ecology similar to what was done in New York City for the Welikia Mannahatta Project

    Past Seed Grant Recepients and Projects