Sanctuary Forest Announces 2023 Scholarship Winners

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Sanctuary Forest has announced the recipients of its 28th annual scholarship program. Since the program’s start in 1996, Sanctuary Forest has provided $113,000 in grants.

Gage Andres of South Fork High School, Alain Young of Arcata High School, Willow Beyer of McKinleyville High School, and Francesca Mills of Mendocino High School will each receive a $1,000 scholarship in recognition of their demonstrated commitment to environmental protection.

Sanctuary Forest scholarships are funded by friends of Sanctuary Forest and Rondal
Snodgrass, by the Dimmick Family, Humboldt Redwood Company and by local businesses:
Almquist Lumber, Bee Hunter Wine, Coffee Break, Fusion Massage, Redway Liquor & Deli, and
Thrifty Supply.

Gage Andres of South Fork High School is the recipient of the Rondal Snodgrass Scholarship (named after Sanctuary Forest’s founder and first executive director). Gage plans to attend College of the Redwoods in the fall and hopes to major in natural sciences. Gage took part in Nick’s Interns in 2021 and thoroughly appreciated the job they conducted to help wildlife and their habitats.

“I helped clear trails, observe seals for movement patterns, clear invasive plants and more … best of all is that it was with a group of people I can now call friends,” Gage said.

Gage has worked hard through high school challenging himself to improve his academics, including by participating in Nick’s Interns and Upward Bound, which really helped him feel like “I can apply what I learned to anything I set my mind to. I learned I lot about my work ethic.”

The Dimmick Family Scholarship, which has been financed for 27 years by the Dimmick family, who have been local timber producers for four generations, celebrates the complementary aims of sustainable forestry and environmental conservation. Alain Young of Arcata High School is this year’s recipient. This fall, Alain will begin studies at Cal Poly Humboldt, and “technical writing, a type of science communication, is my ultimate career goal because I believe connecting communities with the knowledge and tools they need to build climate resilience is just as important as creating the knowledge and tools themselves.”

He eventually wants to work in sustainable engineering, but for now, he’ll be studying energy systems engineering at Cal Poly Humboldt. He is currently interning at the Blue Lake Rancheria, and in April he attended the annual Success in Both Worlds Native Youth Summit to present all of the information obtained during his five-month internship on climate change adaptation.

“No matter where my future career takes me, I’ll always involve sustainability, conservation, and advocacy in my work in order to give back to the communities that inspired me to pursue them. I am fully committed to building a more sustainable and equitable future for all,” Alain said.

With the Sanctuary Forest Business Community Scholarship, the local business community has once again shown its support for the next generation of environmental leaders. Willow Beyer of McKinleyville High School is the recipient of this prize. Willow will be a freshman at UC Berkeley this autumn, majoring in environmental sciences. Will has always been concerned about the environment, but her involvement in the GLOBE Youth Geoscientist program, a summer internship sponsored by GLOBE (Global Learning and Observation to Benefit the Environment) and the Lawrence Hall of Science, sparked her interest.

While studying effects of urban surroundings on Oakland’s Lake Merritt, Willow learned how to collect samples, performed tests on water and soil and even designed an experiment.

“I was already considering going into research because I have always loved asking questions and finding ways to creatively problem solve. At this internship I was shown where environmental science and research intersect by spending time with people who have dedicated their lives to climate related research and practicing it in my own way, driven by what I was interested in and the questions I wanted to find answers to,” Willow said.

After nine years of supporting Sanctuary Forest’s scholarship program, Humboldt Redwood Company has awarded a scholarship to Francesca Mills of Mendocino High School.

Francesca will begin her studies in soil sciences at Scripps College in the fall. Francesca established a Farm to Table group at her school, where students could process and eat locally sourced food with one another. Francesca also established a link between the school garden and the local food pantry to aid families. Francesca expanded her knowledge by taking part in an unofficial internship at the Victory Gardens for Peace at Stanford Inn by the Sea, where she completed garden jobs and finally assisted in a quinoa experiment.

“Entering college, I want to bring my biointensive farming experience into the classroom. I want to continue making food systems more sustainable and diverse, teaching others at a professorial level to garden in the way that Matt (Drewno, a local research farmer) taught me … biointensive is a beacon of hope, a wellspring of mental health, preventing generational trauma around monetary needs on food insecurity, and a plan for healing, our families and the Earth,” Francesca said.

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