American Hiking Society is thrilled to announce the launch of the first American Hiking Alternative Break Scholarship. This scholarship will allow a college or university group the opportunity to participate in a unique outdoor service trip over spring break, with registration fees covered. Through the scholarship, a deserving college group will participate in a profound week-long trail improvement trip that not only provides critical conservation work to public lands in need, but offers the group leadership training, team building opportunities, and outdoor skills instruction from leaders in the field.
American Hiking Society’s Alternative Breaks, which have been in existence for ten years, unite college student groups with conservation projects that are in desperate need of volunteer assistance. Public land managers, who often struggle with a backlog of trail maintenance projects, are thrilled to receive added help from volunteers prior to the busy visitation season. Student volunteers, often new to outdoor recreation, are trained and encouraged through the process by experienced professionals in the outdoor community. In addition to bonding with their peers, exploring nature up-close, and making a sustainable difference during spring break, Alternative Break volunteers often return home and become advocates for conservation and public lands in their own communities and beyond.
“Through the scholarship, we aim to further evolve the longstanding Alternative Break program by eliminating the access barriers that many face regarding outdoor recreation and stewardship.” Comments Kathryn Van Waes, American Hiking Society’s Executive Director. “Participating in an Alternative Break trail stewardship trip can be a life-changing experience. We want to create inclusive opportunities for more to join the movement.”
The recipients of the Alternative Break Scholarship will complete their service week at James River State Park in Virginia- a picturesque landscape, nestled among the foothills of the Blue Ridge, along the historic James River. Throughout the week, the park will offer volunteers unique environmental educational programs, including a guided night owl hike, archery lessons, and a visit to another VA State Park.
The trip is specifically designed for those new to the outdoors and trail maintenance. Experienced project hosts will provide safety demonstrations, instructions on tool use, and guidance and supervision throughout the week. Volunteers will be housed in a fully-furnished lodge with ample amenities to greet volunteers after a rewarding day on the trail.
American Hiking Society is encouraging all college or university groups to apply and emphasizes that no prior trail service, hiking, or outdoor experience is required.
Applications are due by November 1, 2018.
About American Hiking Society
Founded in 1976, American Hiking Society is the only national organization that promotes and protects foot trails, their surrounding natural areas, and the hiking experience. American Hiking Society recognizes that foot trails and hiking are essential to connect people with nature, conserve open space, provide biological corridors for diverse plants and wildlife, and for the health of Americans and our natural environment. American Hiking Society represents millions of hikers who are committed to beautiful places to hike and believes that the preservation of hiking trails and their environments is important and a worthwhile legacy to leave future generations.