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Scholarships for Helping the Planet


A growing trend in private scholarship offerings are opportunities to encourage and honor young people for taking a proactive role to help the environment. Companies recognize that by offering scholarships they can align with corporate goals to increase their visibility for being eco-friendly. Organizations and foundations recognize that scholarship opportunities can increase awareness in younger generations for environmental issues and increase the number of students choosing to explore careers in environmental sciences.


Some scholarships do require a student to be pursuing environmental sciences as a profession, but many do not. There are many opportunities that offer an award for a project or service. Opportunities exist for students of all ages.


The following are several of the many private scholarships that committees have created to expand awareness for environmental issues.


Brower Youth Award for Environmental Leadership. This scholarship is from the Earth Island Institute. Students ages 13-22 who have been youth environmental change leaders are encouraged to apply. Students from the US, Mexico, Canada and Caribbean countries are eligible to apply. Awards of up to $3000 plus a trip to California. Deadline is May 14th. For more information visit http://www.broweryouthawards.org/apply/#overview.


Extremeterrain Scholarship. This scholarship is open to high school seniors and undergraduate students pursuing environmental studies, ecology, land use, earth and atmospheric sciences, sustainable land management, environmental biology, sustainable agricultural systems or parks and recreation. Award is $2500 and deadlines are October 15th and June 15th. For more information visit https://www.extremeterrain.com/scholarships.html


Florida Green Building Coalition Scholarship. This scholarship is open to students entering at least their junior year in a higher education degree program or trade school and are interested in pursuing a career in sustainability. Applicants must be a US citizen or legal resident and be a resident of Florida. Multiple awards offered. Award of $1000. Deadline is April 15th. For more information visit https://floridagreenbuilding.org/scholarships.


Gloria Barron Wilderness Society Scholarship. This scholarship is open to graduate students who seek to make a positive difference in understanding wilderness and how to protect it. Award is $15,000. Deadline is April 23rd. https://www.wilderness.org/articles/article/gloria-barron-wilderness-society-scholarship-how-apply#.


NAAMLP Scholarship. This scholarship is open to undergraduate and graduate students who intend to work as scientists, engineers or technicians in the field of mine reclamation, environmental sciences or remediation. Award is $2500. Deadline is May 31st. For more information visit http://naamlp.net/scholarship.php.


New York Water Environment Association Scholarships. These scholarships are open to New York high school seniors who are pursuing full time undergraduate programs with an environmental emphasis. Programs may include environmental engineering, civil engineering, chemical engineering, hydrogeology, biology or microbiology with an environmental minor or emphasis. Awards of up to $12,000. Deadline is February 26th. For more information visit http://www.nywea.org/SitePages/Scholarships/default.aspx


#NextChapter Scholarship. This scholarship from Natural Awakenings is open to individuals age 25 and older who are pursuing continued education in the form of training, certification or a degree with a professional goal that promotes healthy living or a healthy planet. Award is $500. Deadline is May 31st. For more information visit https://www.naturalawakeningscnj.com/2021/03/08/349981/natural-awakenings-magazine-proudly-announces-scholarship-for-continued-education.


Ocean Awareness Contest from Bow Seat. Open to students worldwide ages 11-18 in middle and high school. Awards of up to $1500. Deadline is June 14th. Must submit a choice of art-making and creative communication such as: Web based media, Apps, Website development, Game design (video or board), Augmented reality, Installations, Podcasts, Visual art, Film, Music, Poetry, Prose, Interactive Media. For more information visit https://bowseat.org/programs/ocean-awareness-contest/overview/.


Science Without Borders Challenge. This scholarship is open to students ages 11-19. This opportunity inspires students to promote public awareness of the need to preserve, protect and restore the world’s oceans and aquatic resources through art. Awards up to $500. Deadline is March 1st. This is an international competition open to students worldwide. For more information visit https://www.livingoceansfoundation.org/education/science-without-borders-challenge/.


Species on the Edge 2.0 Social Media Contest. This scholarship is open to New Jersey high school students. Use social media platforms to promote wildlife conservation. Awards of up to $1000. Deadline is May 27th. For more information visit http://www.conservewildlifenj.org/education/edge2.0/.


When looking for additional opportunities, explore the websites and social media pages of organizations and foundations dedicated to the work of serving the planet. This strategy can be applied for any scholarship category. Identify organizations and associations related to a cause, industry or topic. They can be sources of scholarships or helpful resources in finding additional new opportunities be offered.

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Jean O’Toole is an educational consultant and author of the bestselling book, Scholarship Strategies Finding and Winning the Money You Need. Over the past 15 years, she has helped tens of thousands of students in the United States. Individuals collectively have been awarded millions of dollars by applying her scholarship strategies. In 2008 she co-founded Connections101, a company specializing in providing motivational tools for scholarship searching. It is her goal to empower students to design their paths to their future without college debt. For more information about Jean, visit www.connections101.com.

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