Jacksonville News

Photo by Member Mark Krancer, Kram Kran Photo

Photo by Member Mark Krancer, Kram Kran Photo


Date ArticleType
7/19/2023 4:00:00 AM Member News

Timucuan Parks Foundation and Timucuan Preserve Announce 2023 Student Research Grant Awards

The University of North Florida students received $500 and $1000 for a research project within or about the Timucuan Preserve


Jacksonville, Fla., July 19, 2023 – Timucuan Parks Foundation and the National Park Service’s Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve have awarded $1000 and $500 grants, respectively, to two University of North Florida (UNF) students. Victoria Hayes, an undergraduate student of anthropology, and Hunter Mathews, a graduate student and research assistant in the biology department, will be conducting research in the Timucuan Preserve. Each project will be completed within eight months and the results will be presented at the Timucuan Science and History Symposium on January 26, 2024.


Hayes will be conducting topographic mapping and limited excavation of a mounded shell deposit at Cedar Point under the tutelage of Dr. Keith Ashley, associate professor at UNF. Hayes will be investigating the site to increase the understanding of the Indigenous people of northeastern Florida. The results of her archaeological testing will be used to guide future excavations and provide information to the Timucuan Preserve on how best to manage, interpret, and protect the site.


Mathews will be working under the mentorship of UNF Associate Professor Kelly Smith to investigate the use of pervious oyster shell habitat modules, or POSH modules, at Kingsley Plantation. The POSH module, an oyster reef restoration device made from recycled oyster shells, was designed at UNF to rebuild oyster reefs, stabilize shorelines, provide habitat and improve ecosystem health with minimal negative environmental impact. Mathews will assess the POSH’s ability to sustain a healthy oyster population, create a habitat for important fish and crustaceans, and help build sustainable living shorelines.


The student research grant program is funded through sponsorships of the symposium. It introduces students to field research to attract and retain their interest in ecological science, preservation, archaeology, and history of the Timucuan Preserve. The students have an opportunity to share their research results with an audience of research professionals. The program creates partnerships between university faculty, students and NPS, and also provides NPS and the public with a better understanding of the resources within the Timucuan Preserve.


About Timucuan Parks Foundation

The Timucuan Parks Foundation is a nonprofit organization that preserves, promotes and enhances Jacksonville’s natural areas through community engagement, education and enjoyment. The foundation originated in 1999 with the Preservation Project Jacksonville, Inc. to identify and assist in acquiring the most vulnerable and environmentally sensitive lands in Duval County. The acquisition of lands created the largest urban park system in the United States. The Timucuan Parks Foundation works with its park partners, including the National Park Service, Florida State Parks and the City of Jacksonville, to promote environmental stewardship, the health benefits of the parks and preserves, and an appreciation for Jacksonville’s special outdoor spaces. For more information, visit timucuanparks.org or follow @timucuanparks.