The Lackawaxen River Conservancy is pleased to announce that two graduating high
school seniors and one college student were awarded scholarships in June, 2017. Our high school winners are Emily Ritter of Honesdale High School and Olivia Troiano of Western Wayne High School, and our college winner is John Sloane of Penn State University.
Emily received her scholarship award at Awards Night at Honesdale High School on Wednesday, June 14 th . Emily plans to attend Millersville University of Pennsylvania In Millersville, Pennsylvania. She will major in biology with a specialization in animal behavior. Emily’s academic performance has been outstanding in an exceptionally rigorous program. Her enthusiasm for science has been evident throughout her high school career. She has participated in many scientific competitions including Envirothon and the Pennsylvania Junior Academy of Science. Emily earned recognition from PJAS for her research on color blindness in dogs in her junior year and in her senior year for her research on stress levels in shelter cats.
The endangerment of animals has been a driving concern for Emily. “Lack of empathy for the Earth and for animal life runs rampant in our society.” She cites loss of habitat, deforestation and poaching as examples of the human indifference and the callousness that is threatening the existence of many species of animals today. “If all people could realize that they are just lucky to live on our planet, maybe they would work at protecting the balance of nature and its organisms.”
Olivia Troiano received her scholarship award at Senior Night at Western Wayne High School on June 8 th . Olivia will attend LaSalle University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where she is planning to major in environmental studies in preparation for a career in conservation and protection of the environment. In addition to her stellar academic performance, Olivia has led a busy extracurricular life. She was secretary of the National Honor Society, a reporter for the Technology Student Association, a member of the Future Business Leaders of America and a member of the Varsity Tennis Team. In
keeping with her serious environmental interest, Olivia worked as a junior counselor at the Lacawac Sanctuary’s Habitat Discoveries Camp.
Olivia points out that we have all heard of the Stone Age or the Bronze Age. She, however, is deeply concerned about the current age, which she calls “the Plastic Age.” Olivia states that much of the 288 million tons of plastic that is manufactured each year ends up in our oceans. In addition to adding tons of debris, the chemicals in plastic make their way into the diets of small fish, up the food chain and all the way to humans. Many people believe that we will have to change, but for Olivia, “The Plastic Age is not a scenario for the future. That time is now.”
John Sloane is the 2017 winner of the Conservancy scholarship for college students. John graduated from Wallenpaupack Area High School in 2016 and is currently attending Pennsylvania State University. He is studying architectural engineering with an emphasis on the use of environmentally friendly design and materials. John received his scholarship award of $500 at a luncheon with members of the Conservancy on August 12.
John credits his growing up in Northeast Pennsylvania with giving him the opportunity to enjoy an active life in the beauty and wonder of nature. His appreciation for his environment has also led to concerns. He is concerned about the dangers of hazardous run-off and the use of building materials incompatible with protection of our environment. He believes that the use of green design and sustainable materials can address these concerns and support the protection of our waterways, land and forests.
“Over the past year, my views of the importance of keeping our environment intact have been strengthened,” John reports. For one of his projects, he was tasked with designing a history museum and kayak center for a town in Pennsylvania. His plan included the use of sustainable materials such as locally sourced timber and brick. The project enabled him to see that the green architectural principals he is learning about in class are in use today and having an impact on building practices. John has also become involved with Habitat for Humanity. He applauds not only making homes accessible to those who would not otherwise be able to afford them, but also the establishment of “Restores” that accept donated building materials and sell them back to the public. John sees a bright future for the role of architectural engineering in the protection of the Earth. “The views that I have on keeping our environment safe are being strengthened even further through coursework and real life application in the community every day.”