MONTVILLE TWP, NJ - For almost as long as it has existed as a member-supported, non-profit land trust, The Land Conservancy of New Jersey has been providing two scholarships a year to residents of New Jersey pursuing degrees in environmental science, natural resource management, conservation, park administration, and related fields. This program has been rewarding environmental scholars who plan to pursue careers protecting the natural resources of their home state for the past 36 years.

The Land Conservancy of New Jersey is now accepting applications for its 2020 Scholarship Program. Applications can be downloaded from www.tlc-nj.org or obtained by calling (973) 541-1010 x14. Potential candidates must be New Jersey residents currently enrolled in (and in good standing at) an accredited college or university, with at least 15 credits completed and an academic average equivalent to a 3.0 or higher. The deadline to apply is April 1, 2020.

The Russell M. Myers Scholarship was established in 1983 to honor Mr. Myers, founder of The Land Conservancy of New Jersey. An outstanding leader in the field of conservation, Mr. Myers was the first Director of the Morris County Park Commission. His dynamic leadership established the Morris County Park System, which remains the largest county park system in New Jersey and one of the finest in the nation.

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The Rogers Family Scholarship was established in 2005 by Gray and Mollie Rogers, dedicated conservationists who wanted to expand The Land Conservancy’s educational support for outstanding students passionate about protecting our natural environment. Gray Rogers is a trustee emeritus of The Land Conservancy.

The 2019 recipients of the Rogers Family Scholarship, Xena Itzkowitz of Manalapan, and the Russell W. Myers Scholarship, Michael Allers of Frenchtown, have not only achieved academic excellence, but embody many values of the organization, including leadership and a passion for protecting our natural resources.

Allers talks enthusiastically about what the scholarship has done for him. “As a non-traditional student I often wonder if I’m on the right path. Being recognized by an organization like the Land Conservancy of New Jersey affirms that not only am I achieving academic success, but also moving forward with passion, motivation and promise. Knowing that an organization, of which I hold such high regard for, sees in me the qualities that are worth supporting cannot be overstated. This scholarship has also made it possible for me to expand my focus and training, allowing me to become an even greater steward of our beautiful state.”

Once a small business owner designing rain catchment systems, Allers is now training to become a restoration ecologist to rehabilitate wetlands, estuaries, and coastal systems to a healthy equilibrium. While majoring in Environmental Studies at Rutgers, he hopes to complete scientific SCUBA diving courses that will enable him to perform valuable assessments for dam removal and coastal restoration projects. Not to be outdone, Xena Itzkowitz is a graduate student in International Relations and Natural Resources and Sustainable Development at American University in Washington, DC and The United Nation’s University for Peace in Costa Rica. Her research focuses on drinking water, with an emphasis on microplastic pollution—the tiny, often invisible pieces of plastic that are found in every body of water on the planet. Xena hopes to continue to contribute to the on-going dialogue in New Jersey about how to keep drinking water safe and accessible with a career in research and science communication.

In 36 years the scholarship program has awarded $285,000 in grants to 58 outstanding college students. Past recipients have hailed from nearly 40 different New Jersey towns and have used their scholarships to obtain bachelor, master’s, and doctorate degrees at an array of institutions including New Jersey’s own Rutgers and Stockton Universities. Their fields of study have included environmental law, policy, and planning, as well as chemistry, wildlife ecology, geography, landscape architecture, and forestry management.

The Land Conservancy of New Jersey is a member-supported, non-profit, accredited land trust dedicated to preserving and protecting natural land and water resources throughout the State. Originally founded as an all-volunteer group in 1981 the organization has worked with 100 municipalities in 13 counties and continues to be recognized for meeting the highest standards for protecting open space, upholding the public trust, and ensuring that their conservation efforts are permanent.

For more information about the work of The Land Conservancy of New Jersey, visit their website www.tlc-nj.org or call (973) 541-1010.