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. In 11 years of this program's existence, a total of $138,000 has been given with 69 scholarships.

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

Congratulations to our 2019 Scholarship Recipients

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.

Shelby Mitchell

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.

Previous scholarship recipients include:

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