Support for High School Conservationists

The RCD supports high school students in their journey of learning about natural resources and agriculture. We offer:

RCD Conservation Scholarship

The RCD Conservation Scholarship is an annual scholarship program for graduating high school seniors pursuing further education in the fields of resource conservation, environmental sciences, biology or agriculture. The scholarship is available to students residing in the RCD of Greater San Diego County boundaries (click here for map). Up to seven scholarships of $1,000 are awarded each year.

To be eligible, applicants must:

  • Be residents within the RCD of Greater San Diego County’s sphere of influence (see map).
  • Have successfully completed three years of study at an accredited high school.
  • Be nearing completion of their fourth year in high school while maintaining a cumulative grade point average of 2.5 or better (on a 4.0 scale).
  • Expect, or have received, a “notice of intent” to enroll in undergraduate college courses related to resource conservation or agriculture.

The deadline for the Conservation Scholarship has passed. Applications will be open in Spring 2023. 

Please contact our office with any questions.

Range Camp

Each year, the RCD offers one fully sponsored place at Range Camp, a week-long opportunity for students aged 15-18 to discover the science and management of our natural resources and learn from experienced professionals and university faculty. The RCD sponsorship includes payment of the $450 camp fee and round-trip airfare.

To be eligible, students must be between 15-18 years of age and live or attend high school in our service area, which covers the majority of the County. Click here for a map.

The deadline has passed. This program will be open to applications in the Winter. Please check back for additional information if you are interested in applying for a sponsored Range Camp position in 2023.

Speak-Off Competition

Every year, the California Association of Resource Conservation Districts (CARCD) hosts a competition for high school students who want to speak out about conservation. Students first compete at the regional level, with the top speaker advancing to the state competition. Cash prizes are awarded to the top three competitors at both the regional and state levels:

• Regional Competition: $250 first place; $150 second place; $100 third place (first place winner advances to state competition)
• State Competition: $300 first place; $200 second place; $100 third place.

Applications for the 2022 Speak-Off are currently open! Apply by clicking the links below.

See the links below for all the program rules, eligibility and the application.

Click here for program rules & eligibility

Click here for the 2022 application

SLEWS: Student and Landowner Education and Watershed Stewardship

SLEWS is a program that engages high school students in habitat restoration and conservation through a series of hands-on field days at real projects. During the field days and other program activities, students gain science skills and knowledge about, and connection to, the land. SLEWS was developed by the Center for Land-Based Learning and the RCD is now delivering this great program in San Diego County!

For our first SLEWS program, we are working with the awesome students of Mar Vista High School’s Poseidon Academy. Supported by their teacher, the students have been coming to the Tijuana River Valley Community Garden to engage in conservation projects where they are getting their hands dirty and learning about our local plants and wildlife. Recent activities have included soil sampling, hedgerow plant and wildlife observation, hedgerow maintenance (weeding, planting, and mulching), building native bee nesting blocks, and erecting a barn owl nesting block. For more information, read a blog post about a recent SLEWS Field Day.

SLEWS complements what students are learning in the classroom, gives them career exposure through working with mentors in the environmental field, and connects them to nature in their community. We are so excited to be working on this program and we look forward to expanding it to other areas of San Diego County. If your school is interested in participating, please contact our office for more information.