Connexion Western:
Broadening our Understanding of Ourselves & the Planet

The Epiphyte Research Project at the University of Puget Sound may be locally based, but the data have global implications. Epiphytes are nonparasitic plants that grow on other plants – think mosses, ferns and orchids. Species diversity within ecosystems (like rainforests) indicates overall ecosystem health. When they flourish, so do the animals and humans relying on them for sustenance and habitat. 

Led by biologist Carrie Woods, the team of researchers at the University of Puget Sound set out to discover how we can help protect the planet’s most threatened ecosystems. Using a combination of field surveys, laboratory experiments, and data analysis, they can provide comprehensive insights into the health and dynamics of these ecosystems. This invaluable research will help preserve our planet for future generations.

Watch the video and keep reading to learn more about the Epiphyte Research Project.

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A Symbiosis That Contributes to the Greater Good of Humanity

It all started with one question: How do environmental changes impact eco-diversity and species distribution? With climate change and deforestation on the rise, it can be easy to focus only on the most visible symptoms, but the team at the University of Puget Sound chose to prioritize the health of the largest rainforest ecosystems by dedicating research to some of the smallest and most often-overlooked biological entities: epiphytes.

Epiphytes represent significant biomasses that play a pivotal role in forests worldwide. They create a nurturing environment for vital life-sustaining processes like pollination, seed dispersal, and nutrient cycle maintenance. These processes are crucial for the delicate balance of ecosystems. This research connects directly with the social principles of The United Methodist Church. Regarding Creation Care, the UMC states that “a relationship with God’s creation and a ministry of caring for and healing the earth are integral to what it means to be a United Methodist.”

University of Puget Sound

Since its establishment in 1888, the University of Puget Sound has been a beacon of transformative educational programs. Rooted in the Methodist Episcopal Church, the university has consistently pioneered cutting-edge education and research. Their commitment to empathy-driven learning, aligned with the principles of The United Methodist Church, has been a driving force in their journey of academic excellence.

Thanks to the long-standing partnership between the University of Puget Sound and GBHEM, students and the community alike benefit from increased access to world-class education, academic freedom and environmental stewardship with a global focus.

The General Board of Higher Education and Ministry

Our mission is bringing people together to discern, learn, and lead for the church and the academy.

As the leadership development agency of The United Methodist Church, the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry (GBHEM) is committed to supporting United Methodist students. Through various scholarship programs, GBHEM empowers students to achieve their academic goals and develop as leaders prepared to transform the world. Each year, GBHEM awards an average of $5.5 million in scholarships. 

GBHEM supports and advocates for United Methodist-related schools, colleges, universities, and theological schools.  The educational institutions connected to The United Methodist Church are among the finest in the world and contribute to the greater good of humanity and to the health and well-being of society. The vast expanse of Methodism’s educational footprint cannot be overstated.

 GBHEM also supports 11 Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) related to The United Methodist Church. Through the Black College Fund, GBHEM helps maintain and enhance these vital institutions, ensuring diverse students have the opportunity to excel through higher education.

Additionally, GBHEM’s leadership and discernment programs guide young adults in clarifying their vocation and God’s call on their lives. Programs like the “Exploration” create transformative experiences that help young adults discover their path in life.

Through scholarships, institutional support, and leadership initiatives, GBHEM prepares global leaders for a global church and world, building the church of tomorrow, one student at a time.

View scholarships for United Methodist students.

Help us forge strong Connexions. Give to GBHEM today.