Conservancy Announces College Financial Awards Program
The Eagles Mere Conservancy Board of Directors unanimously and enthusiastically approved a program to provide a financial awards program to Sullivan County students who have worked with the Conservancy on our “science/research” projects. A minimum of two years involvement is required. Projects must be approved by the Conservancy Board and undertaken under the guidance of the Conservancy Naturalists, Consulting Forester and or others as appropriate. Candidates will need to apply for the awards with the expectation that one student will be awarded a financial grant per year. The grants are for each year the student attends undergraduate school up to a 4 year maximum.
Our Student program is designed to provide hands on, real world ecological experience to add to the traditional classroom learning. Although some physical labor is required to help build things, the students are taught plant, tree and insect identification, how to design a “scientifically” valid project, how to write up research results, and how to make science oriented oral presentations. These skills are extremely valuable if the students go on to study science in college, and they are also very valuable in life’s broader context.
The Sullivan County High School is one on the smallest schools in the Commonwealth. And the County, one of the poorest, has limited opportunities for students to be involved in science oriented learning outside the classroom. As an adjunct to the classroom, the teachers and the Administration have enthusiastically supported the efforts of our student program in the first two years. The partnership seems to be beneficial to both organizations.
In the first year of the program, 2014, Ms Bridget Paonessa initiated under the guidance of Steve Jaquith, a number of studies with regard to the effects of deer on forest diversity. Some of these are ongoing multi-year efforts and the research is continuing. Papers published as a result of this effort are available on the Conservancy web site. In 2015, the second year of the program, Ms. Ashley Faus joined Bridget in completing research efforts on the continuing studies, and Ms. Faus was instrumental in developing the new “DeWeese Interpretive Trail” planned to be open this summer.
The Conservancy has set up a separate fund for this program called “Educational Grants”. If you are interested in supporting this program, you can earmark a donation for the Educational Fund, and the money will be specifically used for the Grants. To date we have received a donation to “start” the program, and donations in the names of the donor and in the names of others. Donors to the Educational Grant Fund will be listed in the Newsletter and the funds kept/accounted for separately from operational funds.
Please consider supporting this highly needed program for our Sullivan County students by making a donation by clicking this link.