138 Cordelia Camp Bldg
69 East University Way
Cullowhee, NC 28723
828.227.7397 tel
800.928.4968 toll-free tel
828.227.7115 fax


Student Sponsorship Program


The Scholarship Program has been an important part of the Cullowhee Conference since the conference began in 1984. Approximately 20 scholarships to the Cullowhee Conference are annually awarded to students, interns at botanical gardens, nature centers and/or parks, and to beginning professionals in a native plant-related field. Also, the Scholarship Program is open to applicants with careers in environmental and science education. Any individual in these categories who can demonstrate an interest in native plants and their use in the landscape - through horticulture, botany, ecology, landscape architecture/design, education, or a related field - is encouraged to apply for a scholarship.


Winners are expected to actively engage with conference attendees; donate some of their time to assist during the conference; and participate in all conference activities. Scholarship winners help vendors set up on Wednesday afternoon (if not on a field trip), staff the Plant Holding Area table during the conference, run plants during Plants of Promise Saturday morning, assist conference attendees to their cars with plants, and help vendors load at the end of the conference on Saturday. Additionally, a special Scholarship Meet & Greet is held on Tuesday evening after registration and the winners are introduced on stage during the conference during Introductions.


The scholarship package includes registration fee, a semi-private room, all meals during the conference, and field trip expenses if field trip (FT) attendance is selected. We offer the option of full and partial scholarships. Full scholarship covers the cost of the entire scholarship package. Partial scholarship recipients agree to cover half of the expenses related to their attendance choice ($220-FT or $157 non-FT).


The deadline for scholarship applications is midnight, Friday, April 17, 2015. Applications received after this time will be considered only after punctual and complete applications have been judged and awarded. Applications without the information requested, which includes recommendations, are incomplete and will be considered late. Scholarship awards will be made by email in May.

Applications are to be submitted by the link at the end of the page. If necessary, contact Olivia Brakenbury for instructions as to how to submit an email or printed copy.

Olivia Brakenbury
Cullowhee Scholarship Committee
Email: livbrak @


Annual contributions to the Scholarship Program come from the proceeds of the conference, nursery men and women who sell plants during the conference, donations of honoraria from the speakers and field trip leaders at the conference, and private contributors. Additionally, The French Broad River Garden Club Foundation (Asheville), The Botanical Gardens at Asheville, and the North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, Tennessee, and Georgia Native Plant Societies have sponsored sponsorships for individuals from the respective states. Contributions to the Cullowhee Sponsorship Program are welcome at any time and greatly appreciated. If you or your organization would like to make a contribution please contact Olivia Brakenbury, LivBrak @

In 2014 we were honored with the inception of an endowed award in memory of Janie Leonard Bryan.  Janie was one of the original attendees of the conference and an avid native plantswoman working for 25 years at the North Carolina Botanical Garden at UNC-Chapel Hill.  Janie passed away in October 2013 after a decade-long battle with breast cancer.  Gifts from her family and friends created the Janie Leonard Bryan Native Plant Conference Endowment Sponsorship insuring the brightest and best student or beginning professional applicant a place at the Cullowhee Native Plant Conference.  The winner of the award is announced at the conference. 

Donations are still being accepted to fulfill the target gift amount.  If you would like to contribute to the fund, please contact Herb Bailey, Director of Gift Planning, Western Carolina University.

The Cullowhee Conference is honored to be aligned with our scholarship hosts in expanding our knowledge of native plants and their ecology, native plant landscaping, environmental sustainability, and the conservation and wise use of all of our natural resources. The Cullowhee Conference is committed to the ongoing expansion of the Sponsorship Program and to the active involvement of the sponsorship winners in the conference.




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