The Nature Conservancy, Emporia Community Foundation and Hedges family announce that Elsi Miller, an undergraduate student from Great Bend studying biology at Fort Hays State University, has been awarded the Lance Hedges Conservation Award. The scholarship, named in memory of the former Director of Conservation for The Nature Conservancy, is available only to interns and other student employees of TNC in Kansas who are studying wildlife biology, conservation management and other related fields.
“Lance was the driving force behind us establishing our intern program,” said TNC director Rob Manes. “He recognized that growing the next generation of conservation professionals was a task equal to our current on-the-ground conservation work.”
This was Miller’s third summer spent working at Cheyenne Bottoms, first as an AmeriCorps volunteer at the Kansas Wetlands Education Center and then two years as an intern for The Nature Conservancy. Her experience ran the gamut of conservation activities, from shorebird and grassland bird surveys and wetland restoration planning to hands on land management jobs like removing invasive species and cleaning water tanks.
“Elsi is hard working, punctual and never complains about anything. She might be the most level headed 20-year-old I have ever met,” said Robert Penner, Cheyenne Bottoms and avian programs manager for The Nature Conservancy.