At Will/South Cook Soil & Water Conservation District, we believe that providing our youth with support, not only transforms their paths but steers them toward a better future. Founded in 2009, we have been committed to supporting the lives of students through scholarship.
Will-South Cook Soil and Water Conservation District
Conservation Education Scholarship
In the spring of 2023, the Will-South Cook Soil and Water Conservation District will be awarding three scholarships to Will/South Cook County students who expect to major in an Agriculture or Natural Resource field at any accredited college or accredited school or higher learning.
Click Here to download this year's Conservation Education Scholarship Application 2023
Soil and Water Stewardship Scholarship
The Soil and Water Stewardship Scholarship seeks to provide financial support to students enrolled fulltime at an accredited two or four-year community college, college, university, which will lead to a career in a natural resource field. It was formerly called the Leopold Education Scholarship. It is administered by the Northeastern Illinois Soil & Water Conservation District.
Funding for the scholarship was made available from the Leopold Education Project, an educational program based on the works of noted conservationist and author Aldo Leopold. Leopold's philosophy and land ethic created a foundation for modern conservation.
Applications must be received by 4:30 pm on February 15th of each year.
Congratulations to our Will-South Cook Soil & Water
past scholarship winners.
You are transforming your path and making a better future for all!
Lydia Pultorak, the daughter of Edward and Susan Pultorak of Joliet, will receive the 2023 Allan May Memorial Scholarship from the Will South Cook Soil and Water Conservation District.
Lydia is a Senior at Joliet Catholic Academy. She will be attending Purdue University to study Wildlife with a minor in Forest Ecosystems. Lydia is a volunteer with Will County Human Society and Forest Preserve District of Will County, participant in the King Conservation Science Scholarship program at the Brookfield Zoo, and a member of the Will County Audubon Society. Due to her passion for nature, she co-founded the Wildlife Club at her high school where she leads presentations and organizes field trips related to local wildlife. In her future, Lydia hopes to have a career teaching others about nature and conservation.
Paige Yancey, the daughter of Almer and Kristen Yancey of Minooka will receive the Richard "Dick" McHugh Memorial Scholarship. from the Will South Cook Soil and Water Conservation District.
Paige is a Senior at Minooka Community High School. She plans to attend Murray State University to study wildlife biology and conservation education. Paige hopes to become a park ranger and teach people to appreciate the outdoors as much as she does. Paige is very involved in theater and choir at school and is also active in her church and National Honor Society.
Annabelle Zogby is the daughter of Jeffrey and Jessica Zogby of Lemont, will receive the Dr. Mary Woodlawn honorary scholarship from the Will South Cook Soil and Water Conservation District.
Annabelle is a student at Lemont High School and will be attending Barrett, the Honors College in Arizona State University next year. She plans to earn a major in biological sciences and a minor in piano performance. Belle has been playing the piano for thirteen years, and also enjoys playing the clarinet, flute, and all mallet percussion instruments. In addition to music, she is very involved at school. Throughout her high school career, she has been involved in mathletes, tennis, Mu Alpha Theta Mather Honor Society, National Honor Society (community service chairperson), Tri-M Music Honor Society (secretary) and more.
Brandon Price is the son of Bradley and Sabrina Price of Crest Hill, will receive the Lee Deutsche Memorial Scholarship from the Will South Cook Soil and Water Conservation District.
Brandon is a Senior at Joliet West, were he took many science and engineering classes. He plans on attending Calvin University in Grand Rapids, MI. Brandon plans to major in Engineering with a Civil & Environmental concentration and Sustainability designation while developing a background in problem solving that will help me succeed in environmental research.
In the future, he wants to do research involving agriculture and the environment, connecting people to the food they eat. Brandon wants to find ways to grow nutritious food cheaply, locally, and sustainably.
Cody Teske, the son of William and Candice Teske of Mokena, will receive the 2022 Richard "Dick" McHugh Memorial Scholarship from the Will South Cook Soil and Water Conservation District.
Cody is a Senior at Lincoln-Way Central High School. He is a member of the varsity volleyball team as well as Ultimate Men's Club Volleyball team. Cody plans to attend Valparaiso University in Indiana, on a academic scholarship. He is majoring in engineering, and his ultimate goal is to work as a "Imaginer" at Disney World in Florida someday in the environmental conservation department
Katherine Watzke, the daughter of Jeffrey and Laura Watzke of Tinley Park, will received the Allan May Memorial Scholarship from the Will South Cook Soil and Water Conservation District.
Katherine Watzke is a Senior at Victor J. Andrew High School. She is active in tennis, basketball, and soccer teams, a part of the choir, and is involved in many clubs. She will graduate in the top 10% of her class as a member of the National Honor Society and an Illinois State Scholar. She will attend the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign to study Civil and Environmental Engineering. She hopes to help the local environment and focus on the Great Lakes and natural resources.
Shannon O'Brien will receive the 2021 Richard "Dick" McHugh Memorial Conservation Education Scholarship in Memory of Richard "Dick" McHugh who served on the Will-South Cook Soil and Water Conservation District Board for and amazing and unprecedented 50 years
Lydia Sears will receive the 2021 Allan May Memorial Education Scholarship in memory of Allan May who served as the Will South Cook USDA-NRCS District Conservationist.
Ryan Towner, the son of Ronald and Tari Towner of Manhattan, will receive the 2020 Allan May Memorial Scholarship, from the Will South Cook Soil and Water Conservation District.
Ryan is a Senior at Lincoln-Way West High School, and plans on attending either Purdue University or Michigan State University in the fall. Ryan shows great interest in Civil Engineering and understands how this field of work can operate closely with conservation efforts. He dreams of designing a system of infrastructure that leaves a minimal impact on nature, specifically in regards to our plant's fresh water supply. Ryan is a hard-working student and athlete, and he is involved in many extra-curricular clubs and organizations, such as National Honor Society, Club and Varsity soccer, the Warrior Way Leader Program, and Lincoln-Way West Math Honor Society. Outside of school related activities, Ryan spends his time working as a Country Club Caddie and Soccer Official. Ryan is exited to pursue a degree in Civil Engineering, and he is eager to work towards using his skillset and knowledge to leave a positive impact on our plant.
Hillary Austin, the daughter of Heidi Austin of Lockport, will receive the 2020 Richard "Dick" McHugh" memorial scholarship from the Will South Cook Soil and Water Conservation District.
Hillary is a Senior at Providence Catholic High School, and plans to attend the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in the fall. Hillary will be pursing a degree in Animal Sciences and hopes to become a Large Animal Veterinarian. She recently attended the University of Illinois' 4-H Summer Program, where she was able to get a deeper look into what their Animal Science Programs entail. Hillary spends much of her free time at various barns and helps care for horses by assisting with any injuries, cleaning stalls, feeding and grooming, and riding them. Along with this, she enjoys playing on a varsity tennis team, and she volunteers her time to help care for horses who have recently had owners pass. Hillary is very exited to pursue a degree in Animal Science, and cannot wait to expand upon her love and passion for animals.
Haley Cepek, the daughter of Michael & Mary Cepek of New Lenox, will receive the 2020 Richard "Dick" McHugh Memorial Scholarship from Will South Cook Soil & Water Conservation District.
Haley is a Senior at Lincoln-Way Central High School, and she plans on attending the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in the fall. Haley has a passion for resource conservation and sustainability, and she intends to pursue a degree in Environmental Science. After college, she is hopeful to establish a career in this field, possibly as a Sustainability Officer or an Environmental Consultant. Haley is an exceptional student and won her school's Khan Academy contest by preparing and studying for the SAT. She also enjoys playing the cello and is a member of the Tri-M Music Honor Society. Outside of school, extra-curriculars, and working a part-time job, Haley spends her time volunteering to help organize and run various events that positively impact her community. Haley is excited to expand upon her current knowledge and skillset as she works towards her Environmental Science Degree, and she cannot wait to make a positive impact by caring for our planet and its natural resources.
Grace Frickenstein, the daughter of Robert and Kristine of Frankfort, will receive the 2019 EverettMoeller Memorial Conservation Education Scholarship. Everett Moeller served on the Will-South Cook SWCD Board from 1993-2017and was a member of the Will County Farm Bureau where he was active in Ag in the Classroom, a program introducing younger students to agriculture.
Grace is a student at Lincoln-Way East in Frankfort. She plans to attend The University of Wisconsin at Stevens Point and is interested in research that is geared toward conservation and preservation. Grace is passionate about archery and is very successful in local and national competitions. She is also took part in her school’s environmental action club and is a member of several honors societies including NHS, which she completes community service hours for quarterly.
Emily Dickett, the daughter of James and Julie of Western Springs, will receive the 2019 Allan MayMemorial Conservation EducationScholarship in memory Allan May who served as the Will-South Cook USDA-NRCS District Conservationist for 30 years.
Emily is a student at the Lyons Township High School. She plans to study environmental engineering with a minor or double major in Spanish. Emily is involved in many school and community sponsored activities such as cross country soccer, tutoring, math team, church youth group, yearbook, and is very proud of being a part of the Lyons Township Community Advisory Council, which has sparked her interest in policy and lawmaking.
Matthew Atherton, the son of Daniel and Bridget of Plainfield, will receive the 2018 Allan May Memorial Conservation EducationScholarship in memory of Allan May who served as the Will-South Cook USDA-NRCS District Conservationist for 30 years.
Matthew is a student at Plainfield Central High School in Plainfield. He plans to attend the University of Iowa, at Iowa City, Iowa in the fall where he will study natural resources. Matthew considers our natural environment a gift and is excited to pursue a career in natural resources protection, hoping to share what he learns with others. Matthew is currently employed part-time and is a member of the History Through Film Club. He spends as much time as he can outdoors and particularly enjoys fishing and visiting forest preserves.
Lindsay Selfridge, the daughter of Christopher and Amy of Lemont, will receive the 2018 Harold Liberman Conservation Education Scholarship in memory of Harold Liberman who served as an Associate Director on the Will-South Cook SWCD from 2004-2017.
Lindsay is a student at Lemont High School in Lemont. She plans to attend Coe College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa where she will study environmental science. Lindsay plans a career in natural resource conservation that will include working in environmental policy - shaping legislation and regulations for pollution standards, species conservation and environmental management.
Lindsay is a member of several honor societies, including Science, Mu Alpha Theta and Tri-M Music. President of the Lemont High School science club, Lindsay is currently leading a project to install a “green” roof on the school building. Lindsay is also active in her community and through Project Infinite Green is working with industry scientists devoted to the pursuit of clean energy. Lindsay enjoys traveling with her family, kayaking and hiking.
Lauren Trail, the daughter of Thomas and Elizabeth of Western Springs, will receive the 2018 Everett Moeller Conservation Education Scholarship in memory of Everett Moeller who served on the Will-South Cook SWCD Board from 1993-2017.
Lauren is a student at Lyons Township High School in La Grange. She plans to attend the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, Michigan or University of Wisconsin at Madison, Wisconsin where she will pursue dual degrees in environmental science and arts. As a result of studying environmental science in a high school AP course, Lauren has found a passion for natural resources. She plans to pursue a career that combines both degrees by designing new technologies that create sustainable solutions for the earth. Lauren has volunteered as physics peer tutor at school and is a member of the Plymouth Fellowship Youth Group at 1st Congregational Church in Western Springs where she participates in mission work. Lauren is also the editor of Menagerie, a student run art and literary school publication. An award winning artist, Lauren enjoys traveling, camping and down hill skiing.
On Thursday, March 2nd, Adam Janicki of LaGrange was presented with the 2017 Allan May Memorial Conservation Education Scholarship from the Will-South Cook Soil & Water Conservation District.
Adam is the son of Glenn and Ann of LaGrange. Adam was presented with the award during the SWCD’s Annual Recognition Dinner at the Peotone Atrium. Established in 2007, the $1000 scholarship is awarded each year in memory of Allan May who served as the Will-South Cook USDA-NRCS District Conservationist for 30 years. Luke’s name will be engraved on a plaque, commemorating the scholarship, on display in the SWCD office in New Lenox.
Adam is a student at the Lyons Township High School in LaGrange. He plans to attend University of Minnesota, Twin Cities in the fall where he will study Conservation Biology. With concern for the destruction of biodiversity, Adam hopes to manage and protect biodiversity through activism, education and field research. In addition to volunteering at St. Xavier Catholic Church and Eden Place Conservation Center, Adam’s hobbies include canoeing, hiking and camping.
On Thursday, March 2nd, Danielle Murawski of Oak Forest was presented with the 2017 Richard “Dick” McHugh Memorial Conservation Education Scholarship from the Will-South Cook Soil & Water Conservation District.
Danielle is the daughter of George and Sharry of Oak Forest. Danielle was presented with the award during the SWCD’s Annual Recognition Dinner at the Peotone Atrium, Will County Fairgrounds. Established in 2009, the $1000 scholarship is awarded each year in memory of Dick McHugh who served on the Will-South Cook SWCD Board for an amazing and unprecedented 50 years. Danielle’s name will be engraved on a plaque, commemorating the scholarship, on display in the SWCD office in New Lenox.
Danielle is a student at Oak Forest High School. She plans to attend Olivet Nazarene University at Bourbonnais, Illinois in the fall where she will study Environmental Science. A member of the Oak Forest H.S. Ecology club, Danielle is also active in local prairie and forest preserve conservation activities. Danielle’s hobbies include drawing, bike riding, yoga and tennis. With a strong appreciation for the environment, Danielle’s future plans include a career protecting and restoring natural resources.
The SWCD is pleased to announce that Anna-Christina Crisman, the daughter of Jeffery and Katerina of New Lenox, will receive the Manrow Hameister Conservation Education Scholarship. Mr. Hameister served as an Associate Director of the Will/South Cook SWCD until 1990 and as a Conservation Leader until the time of his passing October 12, 2015, he was instrumental in the success of the SWCD’s Annual Meeting and Pork Chop Dinner.
Anna-Christina is a student at Lincoln-Way West in New Lenox. She plans to attend Valparaiso University at Valparaiso, Indiana in the fall and will study biology.
Passionate about abating the pollution of our oceans, Anna-Christina hopes to become a marine biologist. Her hobbies include playing the violin and piano, swimming and reading.
Madeline Poole, the daughter of Thomas and Susan of Chicago, will receive the 2016 Allan May Memorial Conservation Education Scholarship in memory Allan May who served as the Will-South Cook USDA-NRCS District Conservationist for 30 years.
Madeline is a student at the Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences. She plans to attend University of Illinois at Champaign, Illinois in the fall where she will study Agricultural and Biological Engineering. With concern for the conservation of soil and water resources, Madeline hopes to work in the field of soil fertility and advanced irrigation after graduating from college. Abigail enjoys kayaking, hiking and reading.
Abigail Zabrodsky, the daughter of Andre and Christina of Brookfield, will receive the 2016 Richard “Dick” McHugh Memorial Conservation Education Scholarship in memory of Dick McHugh who served on the Will / South Cook SWCD Board for an amazing and unprecedented 50 years.
Abigail is a student at Lyons Township High School. She plans to attend Iowa State University at Ames, Iowa in the fall where she will study Environmental Science and Forestry. Abigail’s hobbies include hiking, playing laser tag and embroidery. With a strong appreciation for the environment, Abigail would like to work as a soil conservationist, urban forester or a park ranger after graduating college.
Luke Schubbe, the son of Brian and Sheri Schubbe of Peotone, is the 2015 recipient of the Allan May Conservation Scholarship. Luke is a student at Peotone High School. He plans to attend Illinois State University at Normal, Illinois in the fall where he will study agronomy management and crop/soil science. Luke comes from a family that has farmed for many generations and he expects to carry on the tradition after his graduation. His studies will help him to improve the productivity and efficiency of his family’s business while also conserving the farmland for future generations. Active in his community and his church, Luke also manages his own hay business. He enjoys spending time with friends, playing guitar, physical fitness and restoring antique vehicles.
Sara Berndt, the daughter of Joseph and Jill Berndt of Tinley Park, is the 2015 recipient of the Dick McHugh Memorial Scholarship. Sara is a student at Tinley Park High School. She plans to attend Illinois State University at Normal, Illinois in the fall where she will study Conservation Biology. Sara’s hobbies include taking long walks, drawing, playing sports and going to movies. With a strong appreciation for the environment, Sara would like to work for the Illinois Department of Natural Resources or the Forest Preserve District of Will County after graduating from college.
Will Kibler of Lockport is the recipient of the 2014 Allan May Memorial Conservation Education Scholarship. Will, the son of William and Kathy Kibler, is a student at Plainfield Central High School. He plans to attend Joliet Junior College in the fall with his future plans including a career in Forestry Management. Active in his community and his church, Will enjoys hunting, fishing, skiing and anything involving the outdoors.
Lindsay Johnson of Monee is the the 2014 recipient of the Dick McHugh Memorial Scholarship. Lindsay, the daughter of Rick and and Andrea Johnson, is a student at Peotone High School. She plans to attend the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in the fall where she will study Agricultural Communications. An Illinois State Scholar, Lindsay is active in the Peotone FFA Chapter, owns and operates a forage entrepreneurship, is active in Peotone Marching Band and volunteers in several activities within her community. Lindsay’s hobbies include writing, photography and caring for her horses. Lindsay expects to work for an ag-related publication after graduating college.