Soil and Water Stewardship Scholarship

Supporting students pursuing careers in the natural resources field.

Spring Scholarship - Open Open This scholarship has a rolling deadline. How to Apply

Eligibility Criteria

Applicants must

- Currently reside in Boone, Cook, DeKalb, DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry, Will, or Winnebago County.
- Intend to enroll in a full-time course of study in a field related to natural resources.


This scholarship does not have an online application. For more information and to receive a copy of the application, contact the scholarship administrator at the Winnebago County Soil & Water Conservation District at 815-965-2392 Extension 3 or

Academic performance will be given high priority consideration in the selection process.

For the purposes of this scholarship, fields related to natural resources may include fish or wildlife biology, conservation or management, air quality, botany, conservation education, ecology, forestry, hydrology, soils, pollution control, or water quality.

Written Prompt

Your application must include an essay, maximum of 2 pages typed and double spaced, outlining career goals and aspirations including:

  1. Why you are interested in pursuing a career in the natural resources field; and
  2. What you hope to accomplish when you complete your education; and
  3. A description of the conservation issue that you feel is the most critical concern facing our local soil and or water resources. Why do you feel that this is a serious problem? What management practices would you recommend to address this issue?

Scholarship Background and Intent

The Soil and Water Stewardship Scholarship seeks to provide financial support to students enrolled fulltime at an accredited two- or four-year college, community college, or university, which will lead to a career in a natural resource field.

This scholarship was formerly known as the Leopold Education Project Scholarship. Funding for this scholarship was made available from the Leopold Education Project, an educational program based on the works of noted conservationist and author Aldo Leopold. Leopold’s philosophy and land ethic created a foundation for modern conservation.

The Soil and Water Conservation Districts (SWCD) of Land Use Council (LUC) 16 sponsor the Soil and Water Stewardship Scholarship. Every county in Illinois is served by a local SWCD. These local units of government provide leadership and direction in an effort to conserve and protect natural resources. LUC 16 is comprised of seven SWCD’s in the Northeastern part of the state.