A Helping Hand

Tom Poland

Posted 6/26/24

By Tom Poland
A Southern Writer

When I read about the recent Hampton Fund scholarships, the words of conservationist and writer Aldo Leopold and a thought came to me. “There are some who can live without wild things and some who cannot.” Yes, and there are some who can teach us about wild things and some who cannot. Too many end up in Camp Cannot. Each day, we hear how our environment and natural resources are ailing.

More than ever we need guidance when it comes to wild things and a healthy environment. After all, we’re part of the great natural system where all things must work together. That, I believe, as much as anything is why the Harry Hampton Wildlife Fund recently awarded students $25,000 in scholarships for the 2024-2025 school year. The Fund renewed $31,500 in ongoing four-year scholarships as well for nine prior-year recipients. All together, the financial support comes to $56,500. That’s money well spent, an investment, a helping hand that helps us all.

When I was in high school, I don’t recall any students declaring their intent to pursue an education in a natural resources field. When I read Jim Goller’s quote I realized just what an opportunity we had missed.

“We are committed to providing deserving Palmetto State students opportunities to advance their college educations,” said Hampton Wildlife Fund Executive Director, Jim Goller of Beaufort. What a good thing. Society needs an educated populace in general. In particular, we need stewards who understand natural resources; people who show us the vital role natural resources play in our lives. That’s one reason the Harry Hampton Memorial Wildlife Fund, Inc., a private, non-profit corporation, partners with the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources. Together, they promote natural resources management and encourage scholarship in natural resources management. Their partnering encourages youth to support the conservation of wildlife, marine, and other resources in South Carolina. It’s a path that didn’t exist in my day.

Today, however, HWF scholarships create a path for those who see a career in natural resource management. In my day I would have eyed the Journalism scholarship big time. I’m happy to see these young people begin their career path with help that comes from private donations, special projects, and fundraising.

The Hampton Fund board of directors established the scholarship program in 1992. It annually awards a $5,000 scholarship to a South Carolina resident student who majors in wildlife, fisheries, forestry, biology, zoology, marine science, environmental science, or related fields. The HWF board of directors interview applicants and select winners based on merit.

Marissa Wetzel, North Augusta, won a four-year Harry Hampton Scholarship of $5,000 per year and will attend the University of South Carolina-Aiken. Alexandra White, Greenville, won the Thomas W. Hardwick Jr. Scholarship of $5,000 per year and will attend Clemson. Silas Carr, of Ladson, won a four-year James O. Thomason Scholarship of $2,000 per year and will attend Clemson. Kayle Brown, Beaufort, won a David M. Cline Scholarship and will attend Charleston Southern. Genoa Hainsworth, Chapin, won a Wallace F. Pate Scholarship and will attend the USC Honors College.

Good for these students. They can teach us what the late Australian, Steve Irwin, understood so well. “We don’t own the planet Earth, we belong to it. And we must share it with our wildlife.”

The Hampton Fund is sharing Earth and its wildlife through its support of those who would become leaders in natural resource disciplines. To date, it’s awarded over $1.15 million in scholarships to South Carolina students.

To learn more about the Hampton Wildlife Fund visit www.hamptonwildlifefund.org and https://www.facebook.com/harryhamptonfund/ on Facebook.

Tom Poland’s website at www.tompoland.net

Email Tom about most anything at at tompol@earthlink.net 

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