Hackensack Riverkeeper
231 Main Street
Hackensack, NJ 07601
201-968-0808
201-968-0336 (FAX)
Info@HackensackRiverkeeper.org
www.HackensackRiverkeeper.org

January 4, 2012

FOR  IMMEDIATE  RELEASE

Contact: Hugh Carola or Captain Bill Sheehan

2012 RON VELLEKAMP ENVIRONMENTAL SCHOLARSHIP

Group seeks the best, brightest and greenest students in their watershed

Hackensack RIVERKEEPER® Inc.
231 Main Street
Hackensack, NJ 07601
201-968-0808
201-968-0336
www.hackensackriverkeeper.org

January 4, 2012

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Hugh Carola or Captain Bill Sheehan

2012 RON VELLEKAMP ENVIRONMENTAL SCHOLARSHIP

Group seeks the best, brightest and greenest students in their watershed

Hackensack, NJ – Hackensack Riverkeeper is now accepting applications for the 2012 Ron Vellekamp Environmental Scholarship. Now in its twelfth year, the program was created in 2001 to support college-bound high school seniors who excel academically and who demonstrate a strong commitment to the environment.

All told, seniors at sixty-six Bergen, Hudson and Rockland County high schools are eligible for the award. Why only those sixty-six schools? Because in order to be eligible to apply, students must reside and/or attend school within the 210 square-mile Hackensack River Watershed.

Teachers and guidance counselors are invited to submit applications on behalf of deserving students; and each school may nominate one student. A panel of Hackensack Riverkeeper Trustees and staffers led by Captain Bill Sheehan will review each application. Among other criteria, the panel will consider each applicant’s academic achievements, environmental extra-curricular activities and future plans. The $1000 Scholarship is unrestricted and can be used for any required purchases during the student’s first year at college.

“Last year despite our liberal application criteria and the fact that all sixty-six guidance departments were notified of the scholarship in early January, only two students applied,” explained Program Director Hugh Carola. “Unfortunately neither student lived or matriculated within our watershed, and so the 2011 scholarship went un-granted. We do not want a reprise of that situation this year.”
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Ron Vellekamp Scholarship … 1-4-2012 … Page 2

Full scholarship application criteria (in all its ease and liberality) are available online at www.hackensackriverkeeper.org or by calling 201-968-0808. A list of all watershed municipalities is available on the “Links” page of the Website. For those residing in bi-watershed communities like Bayonne, Paramus or Ramapo some additional sleuthing (or a phone call to scholarship administrator Carola) is necessary to determine a student’s eligibility.

Applications must be postmarked no later than Earth Day, April 22, 2012. The winner will be chosen no later than June 1.

The late Ronald Vellekamp was a science teacher in Ridgefield, New Jersey. During his life he also served as a Palisades Interstate Park ranger, Boy Scout leader, and was a Hackensack Riverkeeper trustee. The scholarship that bears his name is fitting tribute to a life lived in the service of others.

“One of the many things I learned from Ron during the all-too-short time he was with us was the value of education and of never letting a teachable moment pass,” said Capt. Sheehan. “That’s something all of us should understand because time is the best investment you can make in the life of a young person.”

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Founded in 1997 by Captain Bill Sheehan, HACKENSACK RIVERKEEPER is the leading environmental advocacy organization working on the Hackensack River. As such, it is uniquely positioned to address problems & find solutions within the entire Hackensack River Watershed.

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