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Resident Gifts UW-RF With Scholarship

River Falls resident Tim Huston has contributed $25,000 to UW-River Falls for the establishment of an endowed scholarship, to be awarded to a student from the College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences who will work and learn as a volunteer with the Kinnickinnic River Land Trust.

Huston, who works as a volunteer for the KRLT and is involved in numerous other conservation and preservation activities, hopes the scholarship will benefit both students and the Land Trust.

"I would like to see the scholarship generate better exposure and more recognition for the KRLT, and create a greater awareness of what a tremendous resource the river is to the community," said Huston. "I also want to see it promote education to a student who is interested in preservation of the Kinnickinnic River watershed, and who will learn while working for the KRLT."

Huston said the Kinnickinnic River Land Trust Endowed Scholarship will be awarded the first time for the 2004-05 academic year. The recipient will be a senior majoring in environmental science, conservation or land use planning. Priority consideration will be given to a student with a minor in hydrogeology. The student will work as a volunteer for the KRLT throughout the year. The regular scholarship committee of the College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences will make the selection of the student to receive the scholarship.

The idea for the scholarship was born when Huston and UW-RF plant and earth science Professor Kelly Cain, at the time both members of the publicity committee for the KRLT, were brainstorming to find ways that the Land Trust could broaden its exposure to the community.

Cain said he was pleased when Huston offered the scholarship, especially because environmental science majors have always had a very limited number of scholarships available to them. He hopes to see this change as their skills become more sought after and they have a higher profile.

"As urban sprawl becomes an issue across the country, people who can preserve the wildlife and water quality of an area are more in demand, and the Kinnickinnic River is a good place for them to learn about preservation," said Cain. "The Kinni is a perfect laboratory for high quality, water-based studies. We take examples from it to use in class. Service Learning projects and independent studies are often Kinni River-specific. If students can master the science and management of this premier cold water stream, they can do it most anywhere."

Cain said he would like to see a similar sort of scholarship targeted to a high school student who wants to study at UW-RF with the Kinnickinnic River as the focus of his or her study.

"This would be a way to keep good quality students with an interest in the community from leaving. It would be a way to build intergenerational continuity in our community," he said.

KRLT Executive Director Rick McMonagle welcomes the opportunity to work in partnership with the University. "We appreciate that this scholarship is named in part for the Kinnickinnic River Land Trust, and look forward to working with a UW-RF student and faculty member to meet our mission and to give the student a productive, professional work experience," said McMonagle.

Bill Rost, assistant chancellor for university advancement and president of the UW-River Falls Foundation, expressed his appreciation for the endowed scholarship, saying, "It is always gratifying to see someone from the community offer support to the University in an area that is of particular interest to them. Private gifts strengthen the bond between the University and the community, and create learning opportunities for students that they would not otherwise have had."


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