SCIF’s Endowed Hunting Heritage Scholarship Program Recipient

SCIF is proud to announce Ema Lily from West Virginia University was selected as one of the recipients of the SCIF’s Endowed CJ McElroy Hunting Heritage Scholarships. Ema is a junior in the Wildlife and Fisheries Resources program. She is receiving a scholarship for the 2023/24 academic year, as well as her senior year. Ema had this to say about following her path, who influenced her, and how hunting plays a vital role in conservation.

“Hunting has been a major part of my life for as long as I can remember, and it turned into a passion that I wanted to turn into a career. I went to school at Independence High School in Coal City, WV. This is where avid hunters started adventuring out on their own, including me. Growing up in southern WV, there is a lot of people who are avid hunters in the area; my dad and papaw were two of those people, spending countless hours in the woods and gaining a respect for all creation has to offer. This is what spiked my interest in the outdoors and gaining further knowledge. I wanted to learn more about how to conserve it. That is why I picked a major dedicated to aid in the future and sustainment of our natural resources. As I pursue my degree, I am considering different careers to include, working in genetics, becoming a wildlife biologist, and/or being an educator.

As stated above my interest in hunting has been imbedded into me since I was born. With avid hunters in my family, it was a natural process for me to be a hunter as well. Spending hours upon hours in creation, I fell in love with it. One key memory I will forever remember is one hunting trip my dad, papaw, and I took up to Calhoun County where we hunted on a family friends farm. My dad and I were having absolutely no luck when my papaw radioed in and said he just had a bunch come into the field, so my dad and I started hiking the mountain to reach the peak where the field was just down off the ridge. We army crawled up the last stretch and I used his back to stabilize my shot. My youth was filled with memories just like these. My father sadly passed away in 2018 from cancer but nothing makes me feel closer to him than being in the woods.

Being in love with creation and taking part in hunting the animals in it, plays a major role in conservation. Hunters have the greatest connection between wildlife and conservation. They are out in it more than the average person and can see the need for conservation of our natural resources. Hunting also funds a greater part of conservation efforts made in the U.S. Hunters provide support in conservation as well, as stakeholders, they are considered when making major conservation decisions. Lastly, hunters help aid in wildlife population control efforts, by participating in regulated hunting periods. Hunters are key to keeping a healthy, sustainable, and growing conservation status and support efforts being made to help the natural resources that they admire so much. “–Ema Lily, West Virginia University Scholar.

Congratulations to Ema Lily for receiving one of our Sable/SCIF Hunting Heritage Scholarships!

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. The Sables established these scholarships to support students majoring in wildlife-related fields. Scholarships are created by SCI members contributing up to a $100,000 endowment at the University or school of the SCI member’s choice Each institution awards an annual scholarship of nearly $4,000 to top wildlife students interested in and supportive of hunting as a critical component of conservation. SCIF’s education staff are responsible for monitoring these awards.

SCIF currently has six endowed scholarships that make up the Sables Hunting Heritage Scholarships:

1. SCI Foundation Sables Hunting Heritage Scholarship at Texas A&M- Kingsville

2. Elaine & Gus Vogeler Hunting Heritage Scholarship at the University of Idaho

3. Joe Leta Hunting Heritage Scholarship at the University of Maine

4. CJ McElroy Hunting Heritage Scholarship at West Virginia University

5. The Susan and John Monson Hunting Heritage Scholarship at the University of Montana

6. Don MacMillan Hunting Heritage Scholarship at Hamline Law School in Minnesota.

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 Todd Roggenkamp, Assistant Director of Education for Safari Club International Foundation at (520) 594-0664 or