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.
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.