Every year Calaveras Big Trees Association awards $1,500 scholarships to five outstanding people who are pursuing education with a focus on the natural environment. We look for students with a strong academic background, commitment to educate the public on environmental stewardship and work experience in their field. CBTA is honored to help these young people achieve their dreams of building a better world.

Our scholarship program began when the family of Emily Hewitt created an endowment for the Emily M. Hewitt Memorial Scholarship. The friends and family of Steve Stocking expanded the program, and the board of CBTA supports three additional scholars.

 We reviewed 40 applications this year and selected these five. Each has a remarkable story.

Alexandra Cooper, our Emily Hewitt Scholar, is determined to teach and “share my love of nature with people around me and show them the different organisms in the world.” Teaching and organizing on environmental issues have been integral to her life for years now, and she’s taken on projects to eliminate invasive species, promote recycling, clean up parks and raise money for environmental causes. During her graduate work in biology at San Francisco State University, Alexandra has taught non-science students and tackled multiple research projects ranging from relationships in elephant families, to bighorn sheep analysis to the workings of the Biosphere Project.

Holly Gamblin, our Steve Stocking Scholar, is a recent graduate in wildlife conservation at Humboldt State University. Carnivore biology is her passion, and she was not deterred when she was told early in college that it wasn’t possible to study carnivores. Holly worked at six research assistance jobs while supporting herself through college and will pursue graduate studies in wildlife biology and carnivore ecology at Humboldt.

Erika Delemarre, a CBTA Scholar, left a career in public relations to work and volunteer for marine conservation and environmental education projects around the world. For four years, she worked and studied in South-east Asia, Australia and New Zealand. Erika will begin graduate work marine biodiversity and conservation at Scripps Institute at UC San Diego, one of the best oceanography schools in the world. Her goal is to create lasting change on a global scale.

 Nicole Young, a CBTA Scholar, is pursuing a master’s degree in environmental management at the University of San Francisco. She spent several years in Latin America working for a wide range of environmental organizations, often as a volunteer, using her language and scientific skills. She is currently employed as an environmental scientist working in Hawaii. When she completes her graduate work she wants to help create a sustainable planet.

 Claire Bortot, a CBTA Scholar, is a senior at Humboldt State University majoring in wildlife management and conservation. After graduation she plans to educate the public about the appropriate treatment of animals in today’s world by working in a wildlife sanctuary, studying abroad to learn more about elephants and becoming a park ranger.

The five scholarships winners selected annually by CBTA share several common characteristics: a strong academic background; commitment to educate the public on environmental stewardship and work experience in their environmentally related field.

Photo -Sanders LaMont and Alexandra Cooper at the Annual Picnic – Photo by Betty Chase