In June 2014, the Conservancy awarded our annual “Delaware Highlands Conservancy/Yeaman Scholarship” for $1,000 to Kristen DeVilliers, a 2014 graduate of Delaware Valley High School.
The scholarship has been awarded annually since 2004 to a student planning to pursue a field in environmental studies in college.
Kristen will attend Unity College in Maine in the fall, majoring in Captive Wildlife Care and Education.
She fell in love with birds of prey when, in the spring of 2012, she began volunteering with the Delaware Valley Raptor Center (DVRC) where she helps to care for the birds’ enclosures, accompanies Executive Director Bill Streeter on his educational presentations, and learns all she can about caring for injured birds of prey.
As Kristen explains, “My reward for cleaning bird cages is not money; it is knowledge. I assist Bill with some of the veterinary work that goes along with the care of incoming injuries on the birds, and go on bird bandings and hawk watches. During the last Peregrine Falcon banding I observed, I learned more information about my future college from one of the other interns who was also on the mountain. These are the experiences I enjoy just by cleaning cages. The experiences are the best reward I could ask for. I love it, I learn so much, and this is what I want to do with my life: work with wild animals.”
In addition to her dedicated volunteer work with the Delaware Valley Raptor Center, Kristen is a member of the National Honor Society, is captain of the varsity girls swim team, a member of Odyssey of the Mind and the Environmental Club, and a volunteer for both the American Cancer Society Relay for Life and the National Day of Caring.
Given in honor of the Conservancy’s founder, Barbara Yeaman, the scholarship is open to students in school districts bordering the Upper Delaware River in New York and Pennsylvania. The scholarship embodies Barbara’s vision and the dedication of our members to protect our special Upper Delaware River region now and for future generations.