The Pinelands Garden Club in Medford is offering its annual scholarship opportunity to one or two students interested in pursuing a field of interest after college that pertains to environmental awareness of $1,500.
Originally founded by Ellen Roche in 1971, the garden club is a nonprofit whose mission includes encouraging the art of gardening and the conservation of natural resources and species, some of which are in the Pinelands.
The club is part of the National Gardens Inc. and the Central Atlantic Region, District 7. It also has a partnership with Woodford Cedar Run, the 171-acre wildlife refuge and rehabilitation hospital and nature center, and the Pinelands Preservation Alliance.
The alliance mission also focuses on environmental awareness, such as preservation of the Pine Barrens ecosystem and Creek Farm, a sustainable, chemical-free farm.
In Medford, the garden club’s efforts involve Arbor Day visits to elementary school to talk about trees, according to Scholarship Chairperson Barbara Trzaska, who has been with the club for three years. The group also helps the township’s popular downtown area.
“In downtown Medford, the pots that are in front of the shops, we redecorate according to the season the large containers on Main Street,” she said. “At the Medford post office, we have a garden there that we also work on.”
The club’s $1,500 scholarship has been offered since 2016, and the group will accept applications until April 22 from students in the Lenape Regional High School District and the BCIT (Burlington County Institute of Technology) who intend to have a college major in areas that include agriculture education, landscape design and climate change.
Applicants must be graduating seniors who will pursue a two-to-four-year college degree. They will need a transcript and a letter describing their interest in a particular field of study. A letter of recommendation is optional.
“It’s a huge combination of different areas that we look at,” Trzaska said
Winners will be notified during the first week of May. Trzaska shared what she hopes to see in this year’s applications.
“What I would love to see is a consciousness about sustainability,” she noted. “I would like to also see students who have a respect of the Earth.”
“There’s a lot to bring to the Earth that is missing,” Trzaska added, “And I think through horticulture, through environment, through ecology – through all these different fields I mentioned, we can improve the way the world is now.”
For more information about the Pinelands Garden Club and scholarship, visit https://www.pinelandsgardenclub.org/