Environmental organization also accepting donations to support the 2016 fund
Hackensack Riverkeeper, the citizen-steward of the Hackensack River Watershed is pleased to announce it is accepting applications for the 2016 Ron Vellekamp Environmental Scholarship. Now in its sixteenth year, the program, named in honor of the late Ridgefield, NJ science teacher and founding Riverkeeper Trustee, helps support college-bound high school seniors who excel academically and who maintain a strong commitment to environmental protection.
Seniors at sixty-six high schools in Bergen, Hudson and Rockland Counties are eligible to be nominated by a teacher or guidance counselor for the award. Applications must be postmarked no later than Earth Day, April 22, 2016. A panel of Hackensack Riverkeeper Trustees and staffers led by Captains Bill Sheehan and Hugh Carola will review each application and consider the students’ academic achievements, environmental extracurricular activities and future plans. The winner of the $1000 unrestricted award will be announced June 1. Full application criteria are available online at www.hackensackriverkeeper.org or by calling 201-968-0808.
A special requirement that must be met in order for a student to be considered is that all applicants must live within the 210-square mile Hackensack River Watershed and/or attend a school within that region. A list of watershed municipalities is available on the Hackensack Riverkeeper website. For those residing in bi-watershed communities like Jersey City, Paramus or Ramapo, nominators are cautioned to ensure a student’s eligibility before submitting an application. Hardcopies of the scholarship criteria have already been sent to the Guidance Directors at all sixty-six schools.
Riverkeeper’s 2015 Vellekamp scholar was Ms. Francesca Costa who graduated in June from Northern Valley Regional HS in Demarest, NJ. Costa recently completed her first semester at Gettysburg College in Pennsylvania where she is focusing on Environmental Science and Museum Studies.
“Francesca is the latest in an ever-growing list of scholars who amaze us with their talents and dedication,” says Sheehan. “Young adults like her give me hope that the environmental victories we win today will lead to even greater ones in the years to come.”
Those without a high school senior in the family but who support their local best and brightest students can participate in the program by making a donation to the scholarship fund. Donations to the Ron Vellekamp Environmental Scholarship are tax-deductible and can be made by check or online. Fully 100% of all such donations will go to the fund.