Gaffney Family Interdisciplinary Initiative

The Gaffney Family Interdisciplinary Initiative at ISEM was founded in January 2012 with generous funding from the Gaffney Family Trust to support undergraduate students to work on and gain interdisciplinary research experience.  The Great Trinity Forest Project allows undergraduate students to work with SMU faculty and with community groups and organizations to study various aspects of the Great Trinity Forest in order for the area to be evaluated to see if all or part of it is worthy of being designated as a National Natural Landmark. 


Jewel Lipps, Senior, Environmental Science and Chemistry Major

Jewel's project focuses on flora diversity of the Trinity Forest by conducting plant transect surveys.
Follow Jewel's blog at:
Finding the Forest in the City

Trail Blazing
Tree Hugging
Mysteries of the Forest




Hadley McPerson, Senior, Biology and Environmental Science Major

Hadley's project focuses on fauna diversity of the Trinity Forest using camera traps.
Follow Hadley's blog at:
Trinity Tracks










The Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) Annual Conference, Portland, Oregon, 2014

Hadley McPheron presented her preliminary research last year at the the largest gathering of higher education sustainability professionals and students in North America. In one of the most innovative sustainable cities in North America, attendees from around the world came together at AASHE in Portland to network and share new innovations, activities, frameworks, learning outcomes, tools, strategies, research, theory and leadership initiatives that are changing the face of sustainability on their campus and surrounding communities. Congratulations, Hadley!


SMU Research Day, 2015

Jewel Lipps presented her current research, entitled Trekking Through the Tress: Forest Succession at the Trinity River Audubon Center, at the annual undergraduate and graduate student research day presented by SMU's Office of Research and Graduate Studies. Congratulations, Jewel!