A scholarship fund to encourage biological research among students at Western Carolina University has been created as a tribute to Bob Zahner, a plant lover, botanist and former trustee of the Highlands Biological Station.
The fund will cover tuition and fees of WCU students engaged in the semester-long residency program at the Highlands Biological Station, a research field station run by the University of North Carolina system. Plans are to grow the fund to pay for students doing research or other coursework at the field station.
The scholarship fund was created thanks to a $20,000 contribution from the Barstow Foundation. The Barstow Foundation was established by the late E.O. Barstow of Michigan, the first chemist and later board member of the Dow Chemical Co. Barstow’s grandson is the director of the Foundation and was good friends of Zahner.
“Bob was an outstanding environmentalist in Western North Carolina,” said Barstow.
Zahner was a research scientist for the U.S. Forest Service and a professor of forestry and natural resources at Michigan and Clemson Universities. Highlands had long been a second home for Zahner, but he moved here full-time for the later part of his life and was devoted to its conservation.