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K-State Today

February 22, 2016

Friends of Sunset Zoo now accepting Conservation Scholar applications

Submitted by Michael Tobler

The Friends of Sunset Zoo, and its conservation team, are now accepting applications for the 2016-2017 Conservation Scholar program. This annual scholarship supports an active college student's expenses related to a field conservation project. Two awards are granted each year: a $2,000 graduate student scholarship and a $1,000 undergraduate student scholarship. Applications for this granting cycle are due by 5 p.m. Friday, March 25.

"Our world is full of amazing animals and breathtaking ecosystems," said David Carter, chair of the Friends of Sunset Zoo's conservation team. "Sadly, many of these animal species and natural environments are endangered. This scholarship program is just one of the ways we work alongside the zoo to conserve this beauty for future generations."

Download the scholarship application. Eligible projects must meet the definition of field conservation provided by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums' Field Conservation Committee: action that helps secure the long-term survival of species in natural ecosystems and habitats.

"This scholarship has helped me immensely with my research on the Grasshopper Sparrow," said Emily Williams, graduate student in biology and 2015 scholarship recipient. "Grasshopper Sparrows are declining throughout their entire range; it's crucial that we understand their habitat needs and conserve grassland habitats at the scales in which these sparrows depend on it for survival."

Scholarships may be used for direct costs related to the scholar's field work. Applicants must be actively pursuing an associate's, bachelor's or graduate-level degree in wildlife conservation or a related field at an accredited higher education institution; completed at least 48 credit hours of undergraduate coursework; have a cumulative college GPA of at least 3.0; be pursuing full-time study during the 2016-2017 academic year; and be a U.S. citizen, U.S. national, or U.S. permanent resident. First preference will be given to applications that are pursuing collegiate studies in Kansas and/or current Friends of Sunset Zoo members and/or their dependents.

This is the fourth year for the scholar program. This year, the Friends of Sunset Zoo were able to double the amount available for the scholarship program. The program is overseen by Friends of Sunset Zoo's Conservation Team, a volunteer organization formed in 2013 to expand the impact of Sunset Zoo's participation in wildlife conservation beyond zoo walls.

Funding for the scholarships are made possible through a variety of fundraisers including the ability in the zoo's gift shop to "round up for conservation" on purchases and buy conservation-related merchandise; a wishing well located near the zoo's pavilion; and the annual Brew at the Zoo fundraiser. 

Read more information or contact the conservation team by email at fosz@cityofmhk.com or 785-587-2737.