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. Applications are due to the ICF Office no later than March 15, 2019.  Download 2019 Application.

2017 Scholorship  Recipients

Patricia Calderon, Whitney Young Magnet High School, Chicago
Paty Calderon's interest in environmental stewardship included involvement in frog call monitoring, removing invasive plants, and participating in park and beach cleanups during her freshman year at Whitney Young Magnet High School in Chicago.  As a sophomore, she interned at the Environmental Law and Policy Center in Chicago, and helped organize high school students to attend a legislative lobby day in Springfield.  Paty helped organize the Chicago Youth Alliance for Climate Action, working with students from throughout the city on issues including clean water and climate change.  During her junior year, she and fellow students organized the Eco Warriors, a team hosting workshops on environmental issues for high school freshmen, while she also continued educating hundreds of neighborhood elementary school students about the importance of the environment.  Paty received a scholarship to spend the summer of 2016 conducting marine research at the Island School of the Bahamas.  Patricia Calderon plans to attend Pomona College in Claremont, California. 

Jacob Handel, Sycamore High School, Sycamore
Jacob Handel focused his love of the outdoors and his interest in community service by constructing shelters at a local wildlife center as his Eagle Scout project.   He has served as a volunteer at Russell Woods Forest Preserve in DeKalb Co., hosting information stations during community events and working on invasive species control and tree planting at the preserve.  Jacob participated in aquatic invertebrate research as part of the Environmental Science Kishwaukee Watershed course in conjunction with Northern Illinois University, including summer field work and in-class research projects when school resumed. As a high school senior, he has served as a teaching assistant, working with students on collecting and identifying samples. Jacob wrote: "For just about every school project, I find some way to include the environment.  I'm passionate about it.  In my own backyard, I am working to restore an area to native tallgrass prairie."  Jacob Handel plans to attend Iowa State University in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.     



2016 Recipients

2015 Recipient


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