Conservation Achievement Scholarship Program

The Illinois Conservation Foundation awards the annual Conservation Achievement Scholarship to encourage the next generation of leaders to preserve and enhance a sustainable outdoor environment.

Up to four one-time scholarships of $2,000 are given to outstanding high school seniors in Illinois who have demonstrated effective, voluntary and long-term dedication to the preservation, protection, enhancement and/or promotion of Illinois' natural resources.

The Conservation Achievement Scholarships have been awarded since 2005 thanks largely to generous donations from numerous organizations and individuals. A total of $146,000 has been awarded to 71 scholarship winners.

Applicants must be Illinois residents and a senior in an Illinois high school during the year of the scholarship award.

Congratulations to our 2020 Scholarship Recipients

Audrey Batts

Kaneland High School, Elburn 
Audrey Batts developed her love of nature as a preteen, studying the decline in populations of pollinating bees, and as a teenager participating in the annual Backyard Bird Count, monitoring frogs and studying the importance of freshwater mussels in Illinois waterways. A member of the FFA at Kaneland High School, Batts credits camps at the Fox Valley Wildlife Center and her volunteer work at the Cosley Zoo in Wheaton with spurring interest in conserving Illinois’ native wildlife. Her work at the zoo has included assisting in wildlife education programs for the public.  She and fellow students also assisted in tree planting at the Big Rock Forest Preserve in Kane County. Batts plans to attend Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa, enrolling in the Animal Science program.

Henry Eberhart

Evanston Township High School, Evanston 
Henry Eberhart recalls his interest in conservation and sustainability emerged at age 6 when he helped prompt a change in school policy and started a recycling program. Beginning as a high school sophomore, he served on the Evanston mayor’s Climate Action and Resilience Plan working group to formulate city policies intended to help Evanston become carbon neutral, expand use of renewable energy and cut citywide waste output over the next 30 years. Eberhart also worked with Environmental Justice Evanston (EJE), conducting a survey and examining inequities in trash removal in low-income communities of color, and addressing with fellow students and community leaders the effects of climate change relative to racial and economic issues. He also led student protests over a lack of action on climate change issues. Eberhart plans to attend Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire where he hopes to continue his conservation activism while enrolled in the Native American Studies program.

Alexander Morelock

Taylorville High School, Taylorville 
Alex Morelock says his interest in conservation started early, when he attended events for youth hunters and hunters with disabilities with his father, an Illinois Conservation Police Officer. From helping build a pond and working on invasive plant removal on his grandparents’ property, he carried his conservation ethic to service projects at Taylorville High School. Morelock organized a student Green Committee to work on trash cleanups in the community and fundraise for local ecofriendly causes. Students also planned an Earth Day event. Morelock plans to attend Southeast Missouri State University in Cape Girardeau, Missouri studying in the Pre-Law and Political Science programs with an interest in specializing in environmental law.

Natalia Rosinski

John F. Kennedy High School, Chicago 
Natalia Rosinski first joined fellow biology students her freshman year at John F. Kennedy High School in Chicago in volunteering at Cook County’s Arie Crown Forest Preserve assisting in invasive plant removal as a community service project. That work hooked her on conservation efforts and habitat restoration.  Summer conservation internships through the Chicago Conservation Leadership Corps led to habitat work at the nearby Theodore Stone Forest, cutting invasive buckthorn, honeysuckle, Canada thistle, canary reed grass and white sweet clover to enhance the woodlands, oak savanna and prairie, helping native species to return and preserving the natural ecosystem. She’s recommended the internships to other students. Rosinski also volunteers at Bemis Woods and Bob Mann Woods forest preserves on invasive plant removal, helping inexperienced volunteers learn about the value of habitat restoration. Rosinski plans to attend DePaul University in Chicago and enroll in the College of Science and Health.

Previous scholarship recipients include:

Killian Marie Delaney, Frankling High School, Franklin; McKenna M. Gayon, Addison Trail High School, Addison; Shelby Mitchell, Murphysboro High School, Murphysboro

Preston Launius, Sesser-Valier High School, Sesser

Patricia Calderon, Whitney Young Magnet High School, Chicago Jacob Handel, Sycamore High School, Sycamore

Elizabeth Moore, Rock Island High School, Rock Island Katelyn Toigo, Jerseyville Community High School, Grafton Charlee Thompson, Edwardsville High School, Edwardsville

Emma Buckardt, Deerfield

Kenneth Bielski, Rockton Alex Handel, Sycamore

Boryana Borisova, Elgin High School Kyle Feldker, Valmeyer High School Elijah Houck, Alton High School