The Illinois Conservation Foundation on Thursday, announced the selections of Mariama Bah of Zion, Ava Benstine of Oswego, Levi Buckrop of Taylor Ridge, Felicity Guttmann of Edwardsville, and Elizabeth Kleinert of Ashkum as the recipients of the 2021 Conservation Achievement Scholarships. The high school seniors each will receive $2,000 to apply for specified college expenses.
“Supporting this up-and-coming class of dedicated young conservation advocates is what the Conservation Achievement Scholarship program is all about,” said Colleen Callahan, chair of the ICF Board of Directors and director of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. “Thanks to generous donors to the Illinois Conservation Foundation, we are proud to support the academic and conservation stewardship pursuits of five deserving and outstanding young people this year.”
Levi James Buckrop, Taylor Ridge; Rockridge High School
Growing up on a family farm, Levi Buckrop turned a lifelong interest in the outdoors into a mission to expand and enhance wildlife and natural areas habitat close to home. He has managed the family’s farm pond to improve fish habitat, including placing downed pine trees and other structure in the pond. He and his family planted 9,500 oak, hickory, walnut and pecan tree saplings and added grassland plantings to help limit erosion and provide improved habitat for deer, turkey, pheasant, quail, rabbits and doves. Buckrop’s love of the outdoors led to interest in pursuing a career as a Conservation Police officer, and he will attend Western Illinois University in Macomb.