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Trenton Franz Awarded Funding from Walbridge Fund

Trenton Franz
Trenton Franz

This past spring, Trenton Franz, a third year Ph.D. student in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, was awarded a $10,000 grant from the Walbridge Fund Graduate Award in Energy and Environmental Research. Franz’s research focuses on the interplay of vegetation, climate, wildlife, livestock and humans in the Laikipia-Samburu region of central Kenya. Franz is using the award for further travel to central Kenya to conduct fieldwork investigating the interactions between vegetation patterns and hydrological processes in dryland ecosystems.

"The Walbridge Fund was critical for my return to Kenya this past summer, where I was able to continue my work on using geophysical instruments to map spatial patterns of soil moisture. In collaboration with Dr. Elizabeth King of EEB and PEI, we studied the spatial patterns of rainfall infiltration around patches of a highly invasive plant species. The goal of the project is to understand how the invasive species is using water with the hope of rehabilitating historical pasture lands of the Maasai people,” stated Franz.

Franz’s research is part of the Development Grand Challenge’s “Water, Savannas and Society” project. Working with PEI Associated Faculty Mike Celia, Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Kelly Caylor, Assistant Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Franz’s goal is to shed light on how the interplay between vegetation and hydrological processes influence rainfall and climate change which both affect the pastoral societies in this area of Kenya. 2009 Walbridge Fund Graduate Award in Energy and Environmental Research

The Walbridge Fund Graduate Award in Energy and Environmental Research, offered only during 2009, provided research funding to one or more Princeton University graduate students pursuing innovative research on climate change, climate policy, energy, or related topics.