Magazine article Sierra

Sierra Scholars

Magazine article Sierra

Sierra Scholars

Article excerpt

Zachary Orman had his epiphany while skiing in Stanislaus National Forest, where a bleak clearcut spoiled the majestic view. Kham Vang awoke at a peaceful campsite on the Feather River to find a landscape full of litter. Tiffany Schegg grew angry watching tourist development overwhelm her friendly small town of Truckee. Whether in a moment or over a few years, these high school seniors realized their Sierra Nevada homes were changing--and not for the better.

Like many other young people, Zachary, Kham, and Tiffany will leave for college this fall. But unlike many others, they plan to return after graduation to help build a community that doesn't rely on logging and harmful development. In essays that won them scholarships from the Sierra Club, they described their pivotal experiences in nature, their academic plans, and their dreams of saving the forests, increasing environmental awareness, and preserving their communities' heritage.

The three are among 20 students 10 each from California and Nevada--who will receive $1,000 toward tuition for each of their four years in college. "These young people give us hope for the future," says Leah Fontaine, a Kern-Kaweah Chapter activist who has been helping award scholarships for the past six years to high school graduates from small communities or rural areas in the Sierra Nevada.

"All my town needs is one person to stand up and let people know that we will not let our environment be taken over," Tiffany wrote in her scholarship essay. …

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