2017 Scholarships awarded by Friends of Blackwater

Special to Dorchester Banner/Friends of Blackwater
Pictured from left, “Libby” Truitt, Rick Abend (FOB president), Warren Staver, and Marcia Pradines (Project Leader for Chesapeake Marshlands National Wildlife Refuge Complex). Jacob Shaner was unavailable due to field work on the Chesapeake white perch population.

CAMBRIDGE — The Friends of Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge (FOB) announces the winners of the Friends 2017 Environmental Sciences Academic Scholarships. This year the FOB awarded scholarships to three outstanding Maryland students majoring in environmental studies fields.
Jacob Shaner of Cambridge received a $3,000 scholarship to further his studies at the University of Maryland, College Park. Jacob is pursuing an MS degree in Ecological Systems and is specializing in Fisheries Management.
Jacob’s experience in wildlife conservation has included work at a remote Pacific atoll, on Assawoman and Assateague Islands on the Delmarva Peninsula, and at the Cooperative Oxford Laboratory in Oxford.
Warren Staver of Centreville won the $2,000 scholarship. Warren is a student majoring in Environmental Engineering at Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Worcester, Mass. and has worked as a field assistant at the University of Maryland Horn Point Laboratory, at Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge, and on Nantucket, Poplar, and Hart-Miller Islands. Warren is most interested in the interaction of human and natural systems.
Elizabeth Truitt of Bishopville received the $1,000 scholarship and is majoring in Environmental Science and Policy and is specializing in Coastal and Marine Management at the University of Maryland in College Park.
“Libby” is also an intern at the Chesapeake Bay Foundation where she has helped lead tree and wetland plantings to improve the water quality of the Bay and provide habitat for native animals. Libby’s career path will likely be in the direction of Environmental Law with a dream job as a litigator for the CBF.
In keeping with the FOB mission to promote the preservation, awareness, and appreciation of our environment, and to celebrate the organization’s 25th Anniversary supporting Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge, in 2012 the Friends established annual scholarships of $3,000, $2,000, and $1,000. These scholarships are made available to all Maryland resident students meeting scholarship requirements listed on the Friends of Blackwater Environmental Studies Scholarship page: http://www.friendsofblackwater.org/scholarship.html. To date, FOB has awarded a total of $27,000 in scholarships.
These annual scholarships are but one example of FOB support for environmental stewardship. Over the past 30 years, the Friends group has worked to increase public awareness and support for Blackwater NWR, contributing to numerous projects at the refuge. Included among these are the renovation of the Visitor Center and procurement of displays, assisting in the creation and maintenance of both land and canoe/kayak trails, construction of an environmental education building, and working in conjunction with the National Aquarium in Baltimore on marsh restoration at Barren Island in the Chesapeake Bay as well as the current improvements to refuge impoundment pools for the benefit of migratory waterfowl.
FOB volunteers and Blackwater Refuge staff have also recently established an environmental education program with local schools using our new environmental education building on refuge property near Wildlife Drive. Every year, 4th & 6th grade students spend time at Blackwater participating in hands-on environmental science activities. In conjunction with the annual academic scholarships, these two programs are the latest examples reflecting the commitment of the Friends of Blackwater to providing environmental education opportunities for local students at all levels, well into the future.

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