Announcing the Henry L. Gholz SEEDS Field Trips: An enduring endowment for diversity and discovery

Henry Gholz

Big thinker, pioneer, leader– these words come to mind when Henry L. Gholz is mentioned. A climbing accident in the Rocky Mountains on September 30, 2017 claimed the life of a visionary scientist, an advocate and a friend. Henry believed strongly in engaging the next generation of scientists and was determined to support programs that entice diverse and underrepresented students into ecology. To celebrate his life, his family, friends and colleagues have established the Henry L. Gholz SEEDS Field Trip Endowment in support of a project close to his heart, the Ecological Society of America’s undergraduate diversity mentoring program SEEDS (Strategies for Ecology Education, Diversity and Sustainability). ESA is honored to announce the Gholz endowment and invites further contributions from the community that will fund SEEDS national field trips.

“Henry loved the out-of-doors. Our family is grateful to be able to honor Henry in this way,” said his wife, Jan Engert. “We would be thrilled to see the fund grow over the next many years so SEEDS Field Trips flourish and continue to motivate and inspire students.” Henry dedicated more than 37 years to ecology and ecosystem research, first at the University of Florida and later at the National Science Foundation (NSF) as its Program Director in Ecosystems Studies. During this time, he was an architect of large-scale ecological synthesis studies such as NCEAS and Macrosystems Biology, and long-term research, including the Long Term Ecological Research (LTER) program and the National Ecological Observatory Network.

“It was Henry who saw the potential and significance of ESA’s SEEDS program,” said Katherine S. McCarter, ESA executive director, “and he paved the way for NSF support that enabled SEEDS to conduct ecological field trips at biological field stations, especially at LTER sites.”

Students on the first, NSF-supported, national SEEDS field trip visited Sevilleta Long Term Ecological Research site in central New Mexico in November, 2005.

Henry considered his contributions to the SEEDS program for underrepresented students in ecology a crowning achievement. Funds donated for national field trips will allow diverse students to learn about ecology research at field stations across the country and to connect with researchers and ecology professionals on the ground. “Each year, income earned from the fund will help scores of diverse undergraduate students discover new and big ideas in research, dedication to science and community, and the wide range of possible careers in ecological fields,” said Stephen C. Hart, professor of ecology at the University of California, a close friend, climbing partner, and colleague of Henry’s, and a major donor to the endowment.

ESA invites the community to make a gift to the Henry L. Gholz fund in addition to regular contributions to SEEDS or the ESA Fund for the Future.

Link to SEEDS Endowment page:


For more information, contact Teresa Mourad, director of Education and Diversity Programs at