Channeling young people into the conservation field not only allows the environmental movement to continue over the course of decades, but it also invigorates the movement with new ideas and fresh energy. To keep young people interested in a green planet, the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation (see IP's profile here) has slated $4.5 million in grants to launch the Conservation Scholars Program in universities throughout the United States. The program will target undergraduate students.
The program started off with a competitive, nationwide process that accepted letters of interest from 122 institutions across the country. In the end, three universities were chosen to receive grants of $1.5 million each. Although the University of Washington, Northern Arizona University, and the University of Florida were the chosen recipients of the grants, students from institutions throughout the country can join the Conservation Scholars Program.
The program will offer students an opportunity to conduct research in the field and work alongside conservation professionals. The program will have a mentoring component and inspire students to continue on in conservation careers. Students could receive up to $10,000 over two years for paid research and internship opportunities.
The Conservation Scholars Program is not the first time the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation has offered grants to universities. The foundation established the Conservation Fellowship Program in 1997 and has been offering support to graduate students in conservation programs ever since. This program offers tuition assistance to promising future conservation leaders in the nation's leading environmental schools, including Cornell, Duke, Florida A&M, Northern Arizona, University of California at Santa Barbara, University of Michigan, University of Wisconsin, and Yale.
The Doris Duke Charitable Foundation considers "Strengthening the Conservation Field" to be one of the four main goals within its Environment Program. This objective is fulfilled by diversifying the workforce, offering mentoring programs, and getting students into the field. It is quite likely that the foundation will continue such work into the foreseeable future, given its long history of working with universities and its new program for working with undergraduates. Grantees interested in working with the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation can submit a letter of inquiry concerning future projects. The foundation does not accept unsolicited proposals.