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Chuck Swartz and Adam Swartz Memorial Scholarship

Funded by
1 winner$1,000
Application Deadline
Feb 1, 2023
Winners Announced
Mar 1, 2023
Education Level
Undergraduate, Graduate
Recent scholarship winners
Eligibility Requirements
Education Level:
3rd or 4th year undergraduates or graduate students
Career Field:
Environmental conservation

Environmental conservation is more important than ever. We need to protect, preserve, manage, and restore our natural environment to ensure future healthy habitats and ecosystems for both people and wildlife.

To preserve the natural world around us, we need smart, passionate people working to maintain a healthy symbiotic relationship between humans and the ecosystem. Individuals dedicated to environmental conservation, fish and wildlife management, environmental law, biology, forestry, and similar fields will help conserve these ecosystems.

In order to encourage future conservationists, the Chuck Swartz and Adam Swartz Memorial Scholarship will support upperclassmen undergraduate students, graduate students, and law students as they pursue a goal of preserving the environment. This scholarship is in memory of a father and son who enjoyed Pennsylvania waterways and sought to care for and recover such rivers and streams.

Junior and senior undergraduate students, graduate students, and law students are eligible to apply if they are majoring in environmental studies, conservation, or related fields. This scholarship is specifically for students in Pennsylvania.

To apply, write about how you plan to use your career to conserve Pennsylvania's natural environment.

Selection Criteria:
Ambition, Need, Boldest Profile
Published August 2, 2022
Essay Topic

How will you help conserve Pennsylvania's natural environment?

400–600 words

Winning Application

Eli Clevenger
University of PennsylvaniaBlairsville, PA
During the summer of 2022, I was honored to receive an internship from the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy. As an individual focused on ecology as a career path since my freshman year of high school, I was excited to get career experience with a large-scale organization working with freshwater ecology. What followed in the next few months was an experience that I could speak of for an hour without discussing everything I learned and experienced. As an individual growing up in the bituminous region of Pennsylvania, I've seen firsthand how the natural environment of the region has been affected by human use and alterations. Black Lick Crick, named for the coal that used to be washed into it, runs right below my childhood home. Whenever I had people ask me, "Why conservation?" it was easy to explain when they saw where I was molded growing up. With heavily polluted streams, surrounded by flood protection, it's easy to see how the landscape and ecosystem have changed. I believe two great issues are in the way of conserving Pennsylvania's natural environment. The first is regarding the salination and acid mine pollution that plagues the waterways. Due to the large minefields that inhabit the southwestern and northeastern regions of the state, there are thousands of miles of acid mine-drained streams that inhabit ecosystems and damage organisms. The solution to remediating these streams is to treat the polluted water as it leaves the source. This is no easy task. The EPA estimated in 2015 that the cost to treat all the acid pollution in the country is between twenty and fifty-four billion dollars. The battle against acid mine drainage is one fought on a site-by-site basis, with several groups contributing monetary, manpower or consulting assistance every year to remediate what is unfortunately a common problem. The second issue is the disappearing habitat for multiple organisms. Urban, or in some cases, borough sprawl is being seen more and more each passing year in the Commonwealth. At least once a year on a slow news day there's a story regarding wildlife entering urban areas and causing inconvenience or concern. This can be attributed to wildlife populations becoming stranded, dependent on human interaction, or having their habitat degraded due to poor upkeep. A main issue in the borough that houses my university is an area known as White's Woods. There is an unsustainable population of white-tailed deer currently residing in the woods, with debates on what should be done to help curtail it. There is a side that wishes for the population to be culled through hunting or relocation, with their opponents wishing to see the deer remain and for hunting to be kept away from the area. It's a concerning issue as it's a rare place nearby to be able to see wildlife, but the deer themselves have overbrowsed the habitat leading to stressed and starving deer, as well as individuals that have no fear of humans. A more statewide issue is how many of what sportsmen consider to be disappearing species like the ruffed grouse are directly linked to a loss of preferred habitat. Conserving a natural environment is not unfortunately a one-man show. Conservation itself can seem like a career that takes on a one step forward two steps back feeling at some points. However, it is when you can get a group of people together, who help educate individuals to help or support your mission, that conservation on a grand scale can be achieved.


When is the scholarship application deadline?

The application deadline is Feb 1, 2023. Winners will be announced on Mar 1, 2023.

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