League Lines: A Winning Program for Students and Conservation

For almost a decade, the Bethesda-Chevy Chase Chapter (Maryland) has partnered with Poolesville High School’s Global Ecology Program to recognize outstanding senior conservation projects.

The Global Ecology Program provides an interdisciplinary approach to studying environmental issues across all four years of high school. During their senior year, students complete a year-long “keystone” project on an environmental issue of their choice. At the end of the school year, each student presents his or her project to fellow students and teachers. Student films are shown at a local movie theater, and research papers are presented in person. All students then participate in a poster session to present a summary of each project.

Members of the Bethesda-Chevy Chase Chapter wanted to recognize the excellent work done by these seniors, so they started an awards program. Each year, the chapter presents $1,000 scholarship awards for up to six students or student teams judged to have created the top conservation-focused projects. Winners and their families and friends are invited to the chapter for an awards ceremony in May. This recognition program not only helps local students with the costs of their education, it helps raise community awareness of the League chapter and its mission.

The chapter also encourages other nonprofit organizations and local government agencies to recognize the students’ achievements. “It’s great for these students to be recognized, and it broadens who is involved,” says George Coakley, who coordinates the League committee making the awards. Other groups involved include the Montgomery County Forestry Board, American Chestnut Foundation, and Maryland Bluebird Society – all of which present awards based on their own criteria.

The Bethesda-Chevy Chase Chapter is investing in the future of conservation by investing in tomorrow’s conservation leaders.