Tom and Bruce Shinn Scholarship Fund

Tom and Bruce Shinn Fund

Tom and Bruce Shinn

Bruce (l) and Tom (r) standing in front of their pitcher plants at Stone Knife Farm in Leicester, NC. Circa 1979 (click image to enlarge)

Shinn Grant
Application Form

FORM * (129 KB)

The Shinn grants are named in honor of Tom and Bruce Shinn, native plant enthusiasts who developed and maintained a wildflower garden at their home near Asheville. They traveled throughout the Southeast searching for plants and kept careful records about propagation techniques. Tom Shinn’s detailed propagation records became the basis for a native plant propagation handbook, first published by the NCNPS in 1977.

The Tom and Bruce Shinn Fund provides up to $1,000 per grant to support research on North Carolina’s native plants and habitats. Several grants are available each year to undergraduate and graduate students who are U.S. citizens attending a North Carolina college or university. Students must be working with an advisor conducting basic or applied research in botanical or horticultural areas that fulfill the mission of the North Carolina Native Plant Society.

Jessica Roach

Research on Genetic diversity of the Endangered Rough-leaved Yellow Loose-strife

Lysimachia asperulifolia (Rough-leaved Yellow Loose-strife), found only in the coastal plain of North and South Carolina, is an endangered species.

Guidelines for Tom & Bruce Shinn Fund

The Tom & Bruce Shinn Fund supports activities that are in keeping with the NCNPS mission “to promote the enjoyment and conservation of North Carolina’s native plants and their habitats through education, protection, cultivation, and advocacy.” All applications for Tom & Bruce Shinn Fund grants must be received by March 1. Notification will be made to applicants by May 1st of each year.

Shinn grant projects may include, but are not limited to:

  • floristic inventories of local greenspace acqusitions or significant natural areas;
  • research to protect and preserve endangered or threatened species at risk within their native habitat;
  • horticultural research of native species not found in the nursery trade;
  • research on species genotype or ecotype range and importance;
  • restoration of native species or their habitats; and
  • research and management of pest plant species.

To apply for a Shinn grant, use the online application form provided [see the link in the box at the top of this page]. Insturctions are found on the form.

All proposals require:

  • Project description
  • Statement on how your work relates to the NCNPS mission
  • Budget justification
  • Letter of recommendation from your advisor

Your advisor should email the letter directly to

Obligations of Grant Recipient

*Note obligations have changed starting in 2020, so please refer to the obligation statement in your award letter for your specific obligations.

Applicants whose project proposals are funded agree to the following obligations as part of their acceptance of funds:

  • The grant recipient will acknowledge the Tom & Bruce Shinn Fund of the NC Native Plant Society, including the website in all publications or reports, as practicable.
  • Upon completion of project, the applicant will submit a brief article, not to exceed 200 words with a relevant photograph, to be published in Native Plant News, the newsletter of the NCNPS. Send the article to the Grants and Scholarship Committee chair. This article should be submitted within one calendar year of the award.
  • The grant recipient is encouraged to offer a field trip or present a program for a local chapter of NCNPS members to the project site, if appropriate. Local Chapters are listed on the NCNPS website

Tom and Bruce Shinn Grant Recipients

Recipients of the Tom and Bruce Shinn fund have conducted research on a wide array of native plant related topics. Since 2013, over 30 undergraduate and graduate students from eight universities across the state have received funds for their research projects. Their studies have taken them to remote rocky outcrops and cliff faces, rugged mountain terrain, piedmont forests and prairies, open salt marshes, swamps, and marshy coastal plains. Steamy summer days, pesky insects, long hours, and heavy backpacks have not deterred their enthusiasm for research. Results of their studies have furthered our knowledge of North Carolina’s native flora, useful information for conservation efforts. You can read more on their fascinating research topics and the results of their studies.