Conservation Achievement Scholarship Program
The Illinois Conservation Foundation offers the Conservation Achievement Scholarship to promote the value of our natural world and encourage the next generation of leaders to engage in personal efforts to preserve and enhance a sustainable outdoor environment.
Up to three one-time scholarships of $2,000 are available to outstanding high school seniors in Illinois who have demonstrated effective, voluntary, long-term dedication to the preservation, protection, enhancement and/or promotion of Illinois' natural resources.
The Conservation Achievement Scholarships have been awarded since 2005. In the 11 years of this program's existence, 63 scholarships worth a total value of $98,000 have been distributed. Generous donations to the Illinois Conservation Foundation from numerous organizations and individuals make this program possible.
Applicants must be Illinois residents and a senior in an Illinois high school during the year of the scholarship award.
2019 Scholarship Recipients
Killian Maire Delaney, Franklin High School, Franklin
Killian Delaney has practiced her environmental stewardship as a University of Illinois Master Naturalist Intern, helping remove invasive plants from natural areas in central Illinois and assisting with tallgrass prairie restoration projects. Delaney created a web-based business promoting prairie restoration and providing seed packets to encourage backyard prairie plantings. As a high school student, she also volunteered on local park beautification projects, conservation education programs and assisted Illinois Department of Natural Resources personnel with goose population monitoring. Delaney plans to attend Southeast Missouri State University in Cape Girardeau, Missouri.
McKenna M. Gayon, Addison Trail High School, Addison
McKenna Gayon worked as a student volunteer on conservation and education programs through the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County, including efforts to recover and protect populations of endangered Blanding's turtles. Working with partner agencies, Gayon has also assisted with projects to enhance habitat for other endangered and threatened species, helped raise and release pollinators, including Monarch butterflies, and worked at a local wildlife rehabilitation facility helping care for injured and orphaned animals. Gayon is planning to attend Carthage College in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
Shelby Mitchell, Murphysboro High School, Murphysboro
Shelby Mitchell's love of the outdoors led her to begin volunteering at the Touch of Nature Environmental Center in Jackson County as a junior high student. When not working at camps and helping other youth connect to nature, Mitchell helps build and maintain trails and enhance her training as a youth educator. She aspires to a career in forest recreation and park management. Mitchell plans to attend John A. Logan College in Carterville.