It’s simple to dream up grand schemes to scale rugged hills, cross raging rivers, and hike into the backwoods. Perhaps you’ve even fantasized about preserving a little area of the earth and rescuing threatened species.
But making those goals come true is a different matter. When you include in the price of preparation, equipment, food, and travel to far-flung locations, tent camping in your neighborhood park could suddenly seem like your only choice.
But don’t give up on your aspirations so quickly as there are hiking scholarships for you. How amazing would it be to go on the dime of another person while having the support of a group that cares about the environment to assist with logistics and focus?
Many organizations exist that want to support your outdoor activities by providing scholarships. Just need to locate them!
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12 Hiking Scholarships for You
Check out our list of some of the top scholarships and awards for adventure travel. You might just come across someone who can fulfill all of your ambitions.
- KOA Get Out There Grant
- American Alpine Club Adventure & Conservation Grants
- National Geographic Grant
- Outdoor Writers Association Scholarship
- Outward Bound Scholarships
- The North Face Explore Fund
- Outdoor Industry Foundation Grants
- Janice and Paul Keesler Scholarship Fund
- Jeff Baumrucker Memorial Scholarship
- Michael Woolley Memorial Scholarship
- Rick and James Beck Scholarship
- Outdoor Scholarships from the Southern Sportsmen Foundation
1. KOA Get Out There Grant
Given that Kampgrounds of America is in the camping industry, it makes sense that they would want to support you in getting outside with their Get Out There Grant Program. Apply for grants of up to $5,000 and come up with an adventure that’s been lingering on your bucket list. Individuals, as well as families and groups, are urged to apply.
2. American Alpine Club Adventure & Conservation Grants
Grants from the American Alpine Club support the development of an expert climbing community, the preservation of climbing routes around the globe, and the preservation of our mountain ranges’ natural beauty. Over $150,000 is up for grabs, with grants available for both novice and expert Craghoppers.
The North Face’s Live Your Dream Grant is open to climbers of all skill levels. The Cutting Edge Grant is awarded to seasoned mountaineers who seek to pursue unexplored routes in remote locations. Last but not least, the AAC and Jones Snowboarding support two grants for split boarders, the Live Like Liz Award for women only, and one that is accessible to everyone.
To fuel your love for a healthy environment and vibrant ecosystem, there is up to $8,000 available through the Cornerstone Conservation Grant on the environmental side.
3. National Geographic Grant
Since 1890, the National Geographic Society has provided financing to intrepid individuals. By requesting an Early Career or Exploration Grant, you can join these exclusive ranks.
You don’t have to be young to apply for the Early Career or Exploration Grant, but you do need to be in the early phases of a ground-breaking conservation, education, research, or technology project. Successful applicants can receive up to $30K to support significant projects in the same fields.
4. Outdoor Writers Association Scholarship
Through the OWA’s Bodie McDowell Scholarship, if creatively talking about the outdoors is your thing, you may get anywhere between $1,000 and $5,000 to use toward your fieldwork. Writers, broadcasters, photographers, and videographers are all welcome to submit applications.
5. Outward Bound Scholarships
Some people have aspirations of being qualified as outdoor educators or guides. Some people are interested in rising to the top of the outside sector. It’s challenging to find a certification program with a better reputation than Outward Bound if you fall into one of these two groups.
However, classes, which may last anywhere from a month to a half year, are very expensive. Outward Bound scholarships can help you cover some of that expense. Programs are available for middle schoolers, high school students, adults, teens in grief, and veterans. Everyone is eligible to apply for the scholarship program.
6. The North Face Explore Fund
You must apply to the Explore Fund if you have a strong commitment to environmental preservation and innovative ideas for how to explore and have an impact. They will consider both large and little ideas and search for an emphasis on activities like skiing, kayaking, camping, rafting, backpacking, or hiking.
7. Outdoor Industry Foundation Grants
The Outdoor Industry Foundation won’t pay for your next backpacking trip, but they’re a wonderful place to start if you want to make a difference in your community’s parks, waterways, or green places. With the help of a matching grant program, the National Park Service Challenge aims to encourage urban youngsters to visit the parks.
The National Paddle Project provides funding for programs that encourage more people to use the nation’s waterways. Green areas are financed by the Hydro Flask Parks for All award in localities around the nation.
8. Janice and Paul Keesler Scholarship Fund
The Janice and Paul Keesler Scholarship Fund provide yearly awards of up to $1,000 to any New York resident who has been accepted into an accredited institution of higher learning and will be pursuing a degree in some aspect of wildlife management as a tribute to two people who loved New York State and the great outdoors.
Applicants must submit a 300-word essay outlining their outdoor hobbies, involvement in neighborhood organizations, and future job goals to be considered.
9. Jeff Baumrucker Memorial Scholarship
The Jeff Baumrucker Memorial Scholarship, up to $5,000, is given out by Climb for a Cause to deserving third or fourth-year dental students who enjoy the outdoors, are active members of their local ASDA chapter, and are members of the Academy of General Dentistry in honor of a generous dentist and longtime supporter of hiking miles for smiles.
The grant applicants must be eager to work with Global Dentistry Relief on a project to treat oral health issues in Guatemala and obtain practical dentistry expertise.
10. Michael Woolley Memorial Scholarship
The Michael Woolley Memorial Scholarship, up to $1,500, is given by the Rassias Center at Dartmouth College to enrolled full-time students who demonstrate a great love for languages and the great outdoors in memory of a dedicated language student and outdoor enthusiast who tragically died in a climbing accident in the Andes Mountains.
The Accelerated Language Programs (ALPs) offered by the Center for Arabic, Chinese, Haitian Creole, Italian, Spanish, French, German, or English must accept qualified applicants.
11. Rick and James Beck Scholarship
The Rick and James Beck Scholarship at the University of Texas A&M University is given each year to outdoor enthusiasts enrolling full-time in the undergraduate fisheries/aquaculture degree program within the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences.
The requirements for eligibility include junior or senior standing, Texas residency, proof of financial need, and a commitment to working harder to complete their degree despite obstacles such as learning difficulties.
12. Outdoor Scholarships from the Southern Sportsmen Foundation
The Southern Sportsmen Foundation offers two annual scholarships of up to $2,500 each for residents of Little River County, Arkansas, who are pursuing post-secondary education to enter the fields of forestry, veterinary medicine, biology, zoology, or other outdoor-related disciplines.
The foundation is a non-profit organization that works to provide exceptional outdoor activities. Candidates must also submit a list of their extracurricular activities from high school and the community, a statement of their career objectives, and an essay describing their passion for the great outdoors.
How Hiking Impacts the Environment
Depending on the type of trails used and the number of walkers, hiking trails have a substantial environmental impact that can be either positive or bad.
On the plus side, properly planned and built trails can offer chances for people to exercise and enjoy the outdoors while causing the least amount of disruption to delicate ecosystems. Negative effects of poorly planned and built paths include erosion, harmed vegetation, and disturbance of wildlife.
For instance, replacing soil with sturdy materials like crushed stone or gravel might assist avoid erosion. Creating trails that follow the land’s natural contours will also reduce erosion and aid in the protection of plants.
The majority of people who visit protected natural areas hike on routes with durable treads. However, frequent use by hikers, mountain bikers, motorized vehicles, and horseback riders all have an adverse effect. During the busy summer months, there are often long lines of trail users in parks, which are also getting increasingly congested.
Off-trail wandering, trampling, and removal of protecting plants and organic materials have increased. In addition to increasing water flow and erosion, this can flatten soils. The most major and persistent environmental effect is soil loss.
Hikers may affect the environment in addition to the effects of the trail itself. It is crucial to inform hikers about Leave No Trace guidelines, which include respecting wildlife, staying on authorized paths, and packing out what you carry in.
At its worst, erosion brought on by hiking can leave a visual scar on the terrain that is an eyesore even for people observing from far away, aside from the consequences on plants and hikers’ pleasure of a trail.
In the study, researchers tried several communication strategies at official trailheads and on visitor-made informal routes, including the placement of “don’t walk here” signs and organic materials like leaves to conceal and discourage the use of the unofficial trails.
The formal route should be lengthened and enlarged, with brief side trails leading to the most picturesque locations, according to research findings that identified the most effective instructional messages.
Don’t give up if you apply for one of these grants or scholarships but are unsuccessful in receiving the reward. Next year is always an option! The most essential thing is that you try. After all, if you never try in the first place, you won’t get compensated.
Therefore, to lessen the financial burden of school fees, it is highly advised that people who have a passion for the great outdoors and a strong desire to preserve its beauty look into these fantastic scholarships for outdoor enthusiasts.
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A passion-driven environmentalist by heart. Lead content writer at EnvironmentGo.
I strive to educate the public about the environment and its problems.
It has always been about nature, we ought to protect not destroy.