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Menke Scholarship to Improve Wildlife Habitat

Chris Merkord

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Requests applications for



The Menke scholarship for Missouri college or university students honors Don and Nell Menke, long-term members of WGNSS and lifelong birders and wildflower experts, and their son, David Menke, long-time outdoor recreation planner for the Klamath Basin National Wildlife Refuge Complex. The scholarship awards grants totaling up to $1,300, for one year commencing June 1, to be administered without overhead by the recipient’s institution.


The scholarship’s goal is to increase and improve wildlife habitat in Missouri by planting, protecting, managing, publicizing, and in various other ways demonstrating specific habitat improvement for specific threatened and rare species of fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds, mammals or invertebrates, over the course of the scholarship year. Recipients may work or intern with complementary conservation programs.


Applicants typically major in areas such as biology, botany, zoology, natural history, environmental education, ecological research or management, natural horticulture, fisheries and wildlife, forestry, geology, conservation, etc., but meeting the scholarship’s goals is more important than the major field itself. For example, applicants are welcome from political science, social studies, pre-law, and so on.


Please submit the following materials to the review committee:

  1. A one-page abstract, summarizing what you propose to do, how you will use the scholarship funds, and a brief biography.
  2. A detailed description of the nature and location of your project. Use language understandable to non-technical reviewers.
  3. A budget for the expected costs. Itemize (a) on-location, non-per-diem living expenses such as food and room; and (b) equipment costs. For auto mileage, use your institution’s rate. Exclude personal expenses. Expenses above the award limit are the responsibility of the awardee.
  4. A curriculum vitae or brief statement of your academic career, including past education and degrees, the institutions and dates; a terse summary of related formal courses, plus grades; conservation activities, etc. Transcripts are not required.
  5. Three letters of recommendation submitted from current or former faculty. One must be from your advisor and specify (a) that you are a bona fide student currently registered for a B.A., B.S., M.S., or Ph.D. degree, (b) that your expenses are not already covered by existing funds, and © that the award would truly enhance your work.


Submit your application (at most 2 MB) in rich text format, Microsoft or Open Office word document format, PDF, or comparable, to the attention of John and Emily Christensen at efc_jrc@swbell.net. For the subject line, use “Application for Menke Scholarship to Improve Wildlife Habitat.”


Deadlines and related dates:


January 1, 2012
: preliminary abstract (optional)

February 12, 2012
: application deadline with supporting details

April 1, 2012
(or before): award notifications

May, 2012
: recipients are invited to annual dinner meeting of WGNSS

June 1, 2012
: funds are available and the one-year grant period begins

June 1, 2013
: deadline for written report summarizing what you have done and learned


The scholarship must be acknowledged in any resulting published material.



The scholarship does not support projects that may harm or endanger wildlife, including attaching or implanting objects.


Don and Nell Menke were members of the Webster Groves Nature Study Society for over 30 years. Their son David, one of six siblings, was a wildlife park ranger all his professional life.


Don was an avid outdoorsman, naturalist, and conservationist. He enjoyed many activities such as canoeing, birding, observing wild flowers and building bluebird nest boxes, camping, and photography.


Nell was a charter member of the Missouri Native Plant Society. In 1977, she and Betty Nellums started the Tuesday wildflower tours at the Shaw Nature Reserve, and in 1985, she received special recognition for her continued leadership on the wildflower tours. Her journals record flower location and blooming at the Nature Reserve.


David was an internationally known wildlife photographer in Klamath Basin; the outdoor recreation planner for the Klamath Basin National Wildlife Refuge Migratory Bird Day and Winter Wings Festival; builder of hiking trails, photo blinds, and canoe trails; and a tireless promoter of wildlife observation, particularly birding. “He had become the go-to person for hard core enthusiasts as to where the rare sighting could be found, but he was just as comfortable taking a group of novice birders or an elementary class on their first walk to a wetland.”

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