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Audubon accepting applications for nature education scholarships

Photo submitted to Times Observer Audubon Community Nature Center has two scholarship opportunities for local students. The Ryan Exline Memorial Scholarship is for a student planning to pursue a bachelor’s degree in an environmental or related field. The Gerald Augusto Audubon Natural Science Scholarship winner will be rewarded for their hands-on experience of learning about bird banding. Last year’s Exline Scholarship winner, Fredonia (N.Y.) High School graduate Diego Rey, is shown here participating in the May Birdathon that funds the scholarship.

Students with an interest in wildlife and nature education are encouraged to apply to Audubon Community Nature Center (ACNC) for either of two different scholarships.

Since 2003, the education staff of the Nature Center has held an annual birdathon in part to raise money to award a $500 scholarship to an area college-bound high school senior or Jamestown Community College student who intends to pursue a bachelor’s degree in an environmental or related field. This year’s birdathon will be held on Saturday, May 2.

In 2009 this scholarship award was named in honor of Ryan Paul Exline, a graduate student at Duke University who was studying for a Conservation Degree. Exline received this scholarship in 2004, using it to attend a herpetology camp in Vermont. On his return, he was instrumental in setting up some of the Nature Center’s herp programs for teens. An integral part of the Audubon family for many years, the Russell resident was 22 when he died in 2008 from injuries sustained in an automobile accident.

The deadline for applying for the 2020 Ryan Exline Memorial Scholarship is Wednesday, March 18.

Through an endowment established by the family of Gerald Augusto at the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation, ACNC is able to offer a unique experience to a local high school student during the summer. Applications from high school juniors in schools in southern Chautauqua County for the 2020 Gerald Augusto Audubon Natural Science Scholarship must be submitted by Friday, May 1.

“Introduction to Ornithological Research Techniques” is the description of the learning the Gerald Augusto winner will experience. The student will be required to attend at least five of seven banding Saturday sessions. They will learn bird banding and nest box monitoring techniques and protocols under Penn State Dubois Instructor Emily Perlock. After producing evidence of their learning, such as a poster, slide presentation, report, or notebook, the student will be awarded $400.

More information and application forms for both scholarships are online at AudubonCNC.org/scholarships. Applications can also be obtained by contacting Education Coordinator Sarah Hatfield at (716) 569-2345 or SHatfield@AudubonCNC.org.

To learn more about Audubon and its many programs, call (716) 569-2345 during business hours or visit AudubonCNC.org.

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