The following scholarships are available to graduating high school seniors interested in the environment, conservation or other related fields. Please check websites for specific requirements for each application.

Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences

NRES is occasionally informed of scholarships for students with an environmental focus that are offered by other organizations. Refer to their website for links of updated scholarship opportunities.

Illinois Conservation Foundation

The Illinois Conservation Foundation offers the Conservation Achievement Scholarship to promote the value of our natural world and encourage the next generation of leaders to engage in personal efforts to preserve and enhance a sustainable outdoor environment.

Illinois Lakes Management

Illinois Lakes Management provides scholarships for students enrolled in natural resource disciplines related to lake and/or watershed management at an Illinois college or university or any Illinois resident attending college or university in Indiana, Minnesota, Ohio or Wisconsin.

Solid Waste Association of North America Land of Lincoln Chapter

The Land of Lincoln Chapter of the Solid Waste Association of North America annually provides a scholarship to students enrolled in civil or environmental engineering, biology, geology, environmental studies, environmental science or related studies.

Volo Bog

Friends of Volo Bog offers a scholarship to those pursuing a career in preserving the environment who are studying at an Illinois college.

The Garden Club of America

Offers 28 merit-based scholarships and fellowships in 12 areas related to conservation, ecology, horticulture, and pollinator research. Selection committees comprised of the GCA and community volunteers read applications and recommend candidates to be voted on in March each year. 

Illinois Landscape Contractors Association (ILCA)

ILCA offers scholarships to high school seniors interested in pursuing a horticultural related career. In addition, ILCA offers scholarships to college students enrolled in a full or part time horticultural related program. Including, but not limited to,  horticulture, environmental science, landscape architecture, botany, agronomy, nursery production, ecology, agriculture, urban horticulture, floral design, and more. 

World Wildlife Fund

Recognizing youth leaders, ages 18-30, who are making outstanding contributions for the environment in their communities. These youth are leading initiatives that cover issues such as climate change mitigation, environmental justice, biodiversity, wildlife conservation, food waste and habitat protection. The winner will be given a $5,000 award, which they can use to help fund their academic and/or professional development related to their conservation work.

Illinois Indiana Sea Grant

Several opportunities are available to graduate students and faculty members in the Illinois-Indiana region. Graduate student fellowships include governmental internships in Washington D.C., funding to support research and a yearlong assignment at the Great Lakes Commission in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Graduate student fellowships are typically announced in the late fall with applications due in the early winter, although dates vary from year to year.

Izaak Walton League of America (IWLA)

The IWLA National Conservation Scholarship program was established in 2005 to promote conservation leadership among future natural resource managers and professionals. This scholarship supports rising junior and senior college undergraduates from recognized conservation or environment-related degree programs. Applications accepted starting January 1. Deadline for applications: May 15

Tree Fund

Scholarships for undergraduate students who aspire to careers in arboriculture, urban forestry and related fields. Before applying for any scholarship, carefully read the guidelines provided in the “Read More” links. 

Utility Arborist Association Nelsen Money Memorial

Designed to help students achieve goals related to their studies of utility arboriculture. Two awards available to qualified individuals – $2,500 and $1,200 – to cover program costs at an accredited college or university and attendance at the annual Trees & Utilities Conference.

Aldo Leopold Future Leaders Program Fellowships

Designed to provide individuals who have recently completed a bachelor’s degree the opportunity to gain experience and grow in seven core areas: conservation leadership, finance and fundraising, applied science and natural history, partnership building, strategic planning, communication, and land ethics. Each of these areas is addressed through a professional development series and applied on-the-job experiences that allow for exploration of each topic and time for each fellow to practice and apply these key elements of leadership. Future Leaders Program Fellowships specialize in two program areas, Education & Communication or Land Stewardship, each receive exposure to other program areas and organization-wide efforts. Fellows also have the opportunity to interact with both a diverse range of conservation professionals and the Leopold family, who play active roles in guiding and executing the foundation’s mission. All applicants must be eligible to work in the United States at the time they apply and have a valid driver’s license. Fellows must commit full-time to the entire 12-month program.

INTERNSHIPS ~ Student Conservation Association

The Student Conservation Association (SCA) is America’s conservation corps. Their members protect and restore national parks, marine sanctuaries, cultural landmarks and community green spaces in all 50 states. SCA internships are posted as they become available, so keep checking back to find the SCA position that is the best fit for you. Summer internships will typically start to be posted around December-January. Positions listed here have not yet filled and positions are taken down from the database once they are filled.
Positions in this search are for 18 and older. If you are under 18, please visit their Crew page.

APPRENTICESHIPS ~ The Arborist Registered Apprenticeship Program

The Arborist Registered Apprenticeship (ARA) is 3-year, paid job training opportunity for individuals looking for a career in arboriculture. Openlands, the program sponsor, administers the program in partnership with the Department of Labor and local workforce development agencies. Openlands also coordinates with tree care companies and industry professionals across the Chicago region to provide training, create viable career pathways, and improve recruitment, retention and diversity in urban forestry. Program participants are provided hands-on job training and experience, while gaining credentials and knowledge on the many opportunities for arborists.