As a part of the education mission at Safari Club International Foundation (SCIF) to ensure the future of wildlife, SCIF is helping young wildlife professionals pursue their dreams of working in the wildlife conservation field. SCIF has been providing scholarships to students in wildlife management at several top university programs for almost 20 years through our SCIF Hunting Heritage Scholarships. These scholarships were established by the Sables to support students majoring in wildlife-related fields. Scholarships are established by SCI members contributing up to a $100,000 endowment at the University or school of the SCI member’s choice. Annual scholarships are then funded by the endowment in perpetuity, with scholars selected by each university according to guidelines agreed to by SCIF and the donors. SCIF’s Scholarship Committee and education staff are responsible for monitoring these awards.
We currently have six endowed scholarships that make up the Sables Hunting Heritage Scholarships:
- SCI Foundation Sables Hunting Heritage Scholarship at Texas A&M- Kingsville
- Elaine & Gus Vogeler Hunting Heritage Scholarship at the University of Idaho
- Joe Leta Hunting Heritage Scholarship at the University of Maine
- CJ McElroy Hunting Heritage Scholarship at West Virginia University
- The Susan and John Monson Hunting Heritage Scholarship at the University of Montana
- Don MacMillan Hunting Heritage Scholarship at Hamline Law School in Minnesota.
Representatives from SCIF visit each university every few years to be updated on current staff, to meet scholars, and to review each program. Like many such events, meetings this year have been via video conference. Members of the SCIF staff and Scholarship committee met with representatives of the University of Montana, Idaho, and West Virginia University, respectively. Each of these institutions has been awarding annual scholarships of about $4,000 to top wildlife students that are interested in and supportive of hunting as a critical component of conservation. In addition, each scholar is provided the opportunity to attend SCIF’s American Wilderness Leadership School (AWLS), as a participant or as part of an internship for college. Zoie Anderson is a recent (2020) recipient of the Elaine & Gus Vogeler Hunting Heritage Scholarship at the University of Idaho. Zoie is a senior in the Wildlife Resources program and will be attending AWLS this summer as a participant. She provided the following about her path and what she hopes to accomplish with her future graduate work.
I didn’t know what I wanted to do when I got out of high school, so I pursued an Associates of Arts and then an Associates in Dental Assisting. I didn’t want to spend thousands of dollars on a bachelor’s degree that I wasn’t passionate about. I worked as a dental assistant for a few years and then learned about the University of Idaho’s Wildlife Resources program. It sounded like the perfect program for me. I earned my SCIF Scholarship in the 2019-2020 school year, which helped me worry less about paying tuition each semester.
Growing up, my father was a Washington park ranger, so I lived in state parks most of my childhood. He has been an avid hunter throughout his life, but mostly he goes hunting for elk each year. I never took the chance to join him hunting growing up, which I regret. I earned my hunter certificate last year and since I am graduating this May, I am hoping to have more time to go hunting this fall. My father does share the elk meat with me each year which gives me some tasty meals. I am excited to fill my freezer with the meat that I harvest myself, like elk and turkey.
Through my time in the University of Idaho Wildlife Resources program, I have learned the balance of management. Through doing so outdoor recreators can enjoy wildlife and wilderness. An important aspect of wildlife management that I learned about was the Pittman-Robertson Act, which helps to fund the conservation of our wildlife. Hunters are an important stakeholder in the context of wildlife conservation and management. Now that I am finishing my bachelor’s degree, I can get jobs that focus on conserving wildlife for hunters and the public. Being done with school will hopefully give me more time to get out and become a avid hunter myself. I plan to continue to educate others on how hunting is a vital part of keeping wildlife in our world. – Zoie Anderson, University of Idaho Scholar.
SCIF’s mission is to; “Ensure the future of wildlife through conservation, education, and hunting.” SCIF’s Endowed Hunting Heritage Scholarships are an example of this. If you are interested in learning more about how you as a SCI member can contribute to establishing an SCIF Endowed Hunting Heritage Scholarship in your name, please contact Kimberly Byers, Development Specialist for Safari Club International Foundation at (520) 798-4891 or kbyers@SCIFirstforhunters.org.