The Friends of the Crawford Park District have announced the winners of the Dr. Laurie Anne Rhodebeck Memorial Scholarship for 2023. This year’s recipients are Maria Smith, a graduate of Colonel Crawford High School, and Jayleen Spaulding, a graduate of Buckeye Central High School. Both students have shown a deep commitment to environmental education, aligning perfectly with the Crawford Park District’s mission to protect and preserve the natural world.

Maria Smith: Building a Community that Loves Nature

Maria Smith will be attending Walsh University this fall, majoring in Early Childhood Education. Her essay resonated strongly with the Crawford Park District’s focus on environmental education. Maria believes that “educational programs get people involved in experiencing first-hand the importance of the environment we live in.” She further elaborated that “education is critical in the process of protecting the environment. People come to protect the things they love, so building a community that loves nature will lead to a community that protects and sees the importance in nature.”

Jayleen Spaulding: A Deep Dive into Marine Conservation

Jayleen Spaulding is heading to Florida to study Marine Biology at Nova Southeastern University. Recognizing the significant impact human activities have on marine ecosystems, Jayleen also emphasizes the role of education in future conservation efforts. She suggests that “classes should be taught on how to preserve local parks, oceans, forests, and other environments. These classes would teach them about regulation, maintaining, and carefully experiencing without harming it.” Jayleen’s dedication to marine conservation is bound to make a positive impact on how we interact with our natural world.

A Bright Future Ahead

Both Maria and Jayleen are embarking on educational journeys that will not only enrich their lives but also contribute to the betterment of our environment. As they move forward into new chapters of their lives, their focus on education as a tool for environmental conservation is commendable. Congratulations to both Maria and Jayleen, and best of luck in your future endeavors!

The Lasting Impact

The Dr. Laurie Anne Rhodebeck Memorial Scholarship continues to support students who are passionate about the environment. By investing in the education of young minds like Maria and Jayleen, the Friends of the Crawford Park District are ensuring a brighter, more sustainable future for all.

Source: Crawford Park District; Image by VIVIANE M. from Pixabay