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Scholarships & Grants

Past Scholarship Awards

Scholarships available include the Vernon P. Ostrom Scholarship, the Harvey K. Nelson Scholarship, and the Dean A. Elmer Scholarship, plus any additional scholarship awards approved by the Board of Directors. Qualifications for scholarship awards are determined by the Board of Directors and may be found on the scholarship applications. The amount of each scholarship and the number of scholarships available are determined annually in accordance with available funds.

Pioneer Heritage Conservation Trust
 2022 Scholarship Recipients

Three scholarships were awarded by the 
PHCT Board of Directors at their June meeting.
Ella VanKempen
Ella VanKempen , a 2019 graduate of West Central Area Secondary was selected to receive the Vernon P. Ostrom scholarship in the amount of $1,000.    She is in her junior year in the Environmental Sciences program at the University of MN Morris Campus.   Her father is a science teacher who is very passionate about his field.    As a child she had the privilege to wonder and have her questions answered whenever she asked them has kept her curious about the natural world.  That is why science has been the answer for her, finding out how environmental sciences aligns with her passion.  This summer 2022, she is researching and doing field work with a professor out on Mt Evans in Colorado as well as 3 weeks in the Italian Alps taking a geomorphology course.

Ava Carlson
Ava Carlson is a May 2022 graduate of Battle Lake High School.   She will be pursuing a bachelors in Environmental Sciences at the University of Minnesota Duluth.  She would then like to go to the University of California Hastings School of Law to become an Environmental Lawyer.   She chose Environmental Sciences because she believes it is important to be educated on issues that concern the environment and she will use her education to help inform other people on how to help the planet. "We all share the earth, and we all have to work together to make sure future generations have a good earth.  The PHCT Board awarded her  the Dean A. Elmer Scholarship in the amount of $1,000.00.
Wesley Siira
The Harvey K. Nelson $500.00 scholarship was awarded to Wesley Siira.  Wesley graduated in May of 2022 from Brandon-Evansville High School.   He plans to double major in Agricultural Education and Animal Science at South Dakota State University.  After college he hopes to get a job as an Ag teacher in rural Minnesota or Eastern South Dakota.  As a farmer, caring for the environment is one of the most important things.  In his application he states " if you take care of the land then it will take care of you. " As an agricultural teacher he would also be teaching environmental science classes to his students.  

The PHCT Board of Directors did not award any scholarships in 2021 due to not receiving any applications.
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Three $500 post-secondary scholarships for 2020 were awarded by the PHCT Board of Directors at their March meeting.

Ryan Forster, a 2020 graduate of Alexandria High School was selected to receive the Vernon P. Ostrom scholarship.  He is enrolled in the wildlife biology program at Bemidji State University for Fall 2020.  

Erik Klimek, Parkers Prairie, received the Harvey K. Nelson scholarship award. Erik graduated high school in May 2020 from Parkers Prairie High School.  He plans to graduate Spring 2023 from University of MN Crookston with a degree in Natural Resources.

Meagan Powers is the recipient of the Dean A. Elmer Scholarship. She graduated May of 2019 and is currently attending the University of North Dakota pursing a degree in Fisheries and Wildlife Biology with an emphasis in Criminal Justice. Her goal is to become a Conservation Law Enforcement Officer
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Five $500 post-secondary scholarships for 2018 were awarded by the PHCT Board of Directors at their March meeting.

Rachel Holmes
, Elbow Lake, received the Harvey K. Nelson scholarship award. Rachel attends the University of Minnesota, Morris, majoring in Environmental Science with a minor in Geology. She plans to graduate after completion of the fall 2018 semester and start a career in the field of sustaining and recovering clean water for the environment and for communities.

Sarah Koep, Parkers Prairie, has been awarded the Vernon P. Ostrom scholarship. Sarah is studying Civil and Environmental Engineering at North Dakota State University, Fargo, and is currently performing undergraduate research on hydroponic systems.

Reed Peterson of Hoffman received the Dean A. Elmer scholarship award. Reed majors in Environmental Science and minors in Chemistry at the University of Minnesota, Morris. Reed will graduate in December 2018, one semester early due to college credits received while in high school.

Taylor Koefod, Ashby, earned a General Scholarship award. Taylor graduated from high school in May 2016 and has a cumulative GPA of 3.92 for her 2016-2017 college studies. She will attend the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, beginning Fall, 2018, majoring in Fisheries, Wildlife and Conservation Biology.

Taylor Ann Rehovsky, Alexandria, has been given a General Scholarship award. Taylor is an honor roll senior in Alexandria Area High School and will graduate in June 2018. She is enrolled at North Dakota State University for the Fall 2018 semester with a major in Agriculture Education. 

Grant Awards

Grant awards are approved by the Board of Directors based on available funds and the extent that the project, event or activity contributes to the Trust's mission. Please visit with a member of the Board of Directors or send an email to CONTACT US to learn more about applying for a grant.
2019 Grant Awards
Contributing Sponsor. Pioneer Heritage Conservation Trust co-sponsored the Kruger Farms Youth Day held in June 9. Major sponsors are National Wild Turkey Federation, Pope County Pheasants Restoration, Pheasants Forever, and Ducks Unlimited

Contributing Sponsor. PHCT donated funds and participated in the Youth Outdoor Activity Day held at Alexandria Shooting Park on August 25. More than 2200 youth took advantage of the outdoor activities offered. PHCT demonstrated mallard hen nest construction and installation and sponsored a drawing for a Ruger 10/22 rifle.  Mason Stewart won the rifle.

2018 Grant Awards
Contributing Sponsor. Pioneer Heritage Conservation Trust co-sponsored the fourth annual Kruger Farms Youth Day held Saturday, June 9. Major sponsors are National Wild Turkey Federation, Pope County Pheasants Forever and Ducks Unlimited. Events included the Jakes Take Aim shooting event, Ringnecks Insect Extravaganza, youth trap shooting, and a dog trainer.

Contributing Sponsor. PHCT donated sponsorship funds and participated in the Youth Outdoor Activity Day held at Alexandria Shooting Park on August 26. More than 2200 youth took advantage of the 47 outdoor activities offered. PHCT demonstrated mallard hen nest construction and installation and sponsored a drawing for a Rossi 22 rifle. Victoria Hoeper of rural Villard won the rifle.

Farm Bill Wildlife Biologist. PHCT again contributed to this important consulting position for habitat and conservation planning in Douglas County. The biologist provides direct assistance to farm owners and operators in the design and installation of Federal and State supported conservation programs. Pheasants Forever is the primary sponsor.

Project Grants. The Conservation Partners Legacy Grant Program under the guidance of MN DNR continues to be a very important part of the PHCT habitat restoration efforts in the four-county service area as well as several surrounding areas. Pioneer Heritage Conservation Trust acts as trustee and administrator for several Legacy Grant projects each season. Twelve project grants have been awarded to PHCT since inception, with four underway at the end of 2018. See the newsletters under the NEWS tab for more comprehensive coverage of these projects.

Project Grant. Pioneer Heritage Conservation Trust joined other conservation nonprofits in Otter Tail County to fund parts of a shallow lakes restoration program on private land. The restoration, under USFWS’s Partners for Fish and Wildlife program, needed work not eligible for govt. funding to make the project complete.

Contributing Sponsor. A contribution was made to the Minnesota Waterfowl Association to help fund their Woodie Camp for youth ages 13-15. The camp brings together volunteers and professional instructors to provide training and guidance in the art and science of waterfowling.


Educator Scholarship Application
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Post Secondary Scholarship Application
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Classroom Scholarship Application
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Youth Scholarship Application
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