Last summer, we reported on a program formed by birding groups in Maryland and the District of Columbia that would provide scholarships for Black and Latinx birders studying environmental or biological sciences.
Now, the organizers have expanded the eligibility to any Black or Brown birders living in the contiguous United States who are at least 18 years old and full-time college undergraduates. Applicants must by studying in a STEM field (Science Technology Engineering and Math) or science communications. Applications for the coming school year are due by June 18.
“We use the term ‘birder’ in a broad context,” the organizers say. “Perhaps you’re a lister, volunteer at a nature center and engage your community with live birds, lead bird walks, have worked on or are working on a bird-related conservation project at your school. A birder in this context is someone who is actively engaged in lifestyle, with projects, etc. that are centered around birds, bird advocacy, and/or bird conservation.”
Scholarship awards range from a minimum of $2,500 to a maximum of $5,000, depending on funding for the current year. Two students will receive a one-time annual award. The scholarship offering has been increased thanks to donations from American Bird Conservancy, which is matching donations up to $10,000.
The committee for the annual Black and Latinx Birders Scholarship includes independent members and members of Audubon Naturalist Society, Audubon New York, and DC Audubon Society. They are organized under the name Amplify the Future. The committee’s co-chairs are Orietta C. Estrada, a Maryland birder who has written articles for BirdWatching, and Tykee James, who is a board member of multiple Audubon and birding groups, a podcaster, and the government affairs coordinator for the National Audubon Society.
In addition to ABC, organizations that support the initiative include the American Birding Association, Delaware Ornithological Society, Manomet, the Youth Maryland Ornithological Society, and Audubon societies in Maryland and Virginia.