The Humboldt Bay National Wildlife Refuge, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and Guadagno family are proud to announce this year's Richard J. Guadagno Memorial Scholarship winners. Rich worked for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for 17 years and devoted his life to the conservation of natural resources. He was Refuge Manager of the Humboldt Bay National Wildlife Refuge from March 12, 2000 to September 11, 2001. On September 11th, Rich was one of 41 souls on United Airlines Flight 93, which was hijacked by terrorists and crashed in rural Pennsylvania, killing everyone on board. Rich died as a hero on Flight 93, and with the other passengers and crew prevented further tragedy at the cost of their lives. In an effort to sustain the legacy of Rich's commitment to resource conservation, a scholarship fund was created in his honor. This scholarship is made possible through the generous donations of many people who cared about Rich and is generously matched by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF). So far, 27 students have been awarded just over $20,000 to help them with their studies and research.
Excellent students from Humboldt State University and College of the Redwoods are selected each year based on academic achievement, an application letter and an academic study that will benefit the wildlife and habitats of Humboldt County, the state, or the nation. For academic year 2011-2012 one graduate student and two undergraduate students from Humboldt State University and one College of the Redwoods student received scholarships.
The College of the Redwoods scholarship was awarded to Caitlin Faber, who plans to use the funds this summer at the Sierra Institute, for an environmental studies field program called "Reclaiming Your Place: Bioregionalism, Community and Sustainable Living" and then this fall at Humboldt State University while pursuing a degree in Ecological Restoration.
The first Humboldt State University undergraduate scholarship was awarded to Jessica Clark, who is majoring in Wildlife Management and Conservation with a minor in Botany. She plans to conduct her senior thesis on the effects of sudden oak death syndrome on wildlife species that use acorns as food sources. The second undergraduate scholarship was awarded to Sage Gang-Halvorson, an Environmental Science-Restoration major, who plans to coordinate a stream restoration project in one of the watersheds surrounding Humboldt Bay. She hopes to reach out to local disadvantaged youth and involve them in the implementation of the project. Sage plans to monitor the project and quantify the effects of small scale restoration upon a watershed.
The graduate scholarship was awarded to Ellen Ven Rooy, to fund research that will provide information relevant to management of host-tick-pathogen relationships and their implications for potential disease threats to fishers (Martes pennanti) and ringtails (Bassariscus astutus). Both species are relatively small (housecat in size), nocturnal, forest-dwelling, carnivorous mammals of conservation concern in California.
If you would like to support Rich's memory and help students pursuing their dreams (and good science) in the field of natural resources, donations may be sent to:
The Rich Guadagno Memorial Scholarship Fund
National Fish and Wildlife Foundation
1133 Fifteenth Street, NW, Suite 1100
Washington, DC 20005