Cliff Bennett bursary application open for would-be WCSS graduates

WEST CARLETON – The Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists (MVFN) are looking forward to awarding the annual Cliff Bennett Nature Bursary to the environmental leaders of tomorrow.

“The MVFN is seeking graduating high school students who want to make a difference in meeting the environmental challenges of the future,” bursary chair Patricia Larkin released in a statement. “The Cliff Bennett Nature Bursary is offered annually to assist students who will pursue post-secondary studies in a field related to the natural environment.”

One or more bursaries of $1,000 will be awarded this year to deserving students from schools in Almonte, Perth, Carleton Place, Smiths Falls, West Carleton and surrounding area.

The bursary is named for Cliff Bennett, a founding member of the MVFN. The bursary was established in 2007 by Bennett’s many friends on his 75th birthday, as a lasting legacy to honour his lifelong contribution to nature education.

To date, more than $25,000 has been awarded to 28 deserving students graduating from high schools in our area who have gone on to studies at colleges and universities across the country,” Larkin said.

To be eligible, a student must be graduating from a high school in Lanark County or West Carleton (or must confirm individual or family MVFN membership) and be accepted into a 2020-2021 college or university program related to nature and the environment. 

The committee will consider an applicant’s involvement in issues related to the natural environment, academic achievement and financial need,” Larkin said. “Previous recipients have demonstrated and actively promoted environmental awareness through school projects and volunteering in their communities.”

Past winners of the Cliff Bennett Nature Bursary Award have pursued post-secondary studies in ecosystem and resource management, environmental sciences and engineering, biology and geography. Others have followed their passion in environmental stewardship by studying fish and wildlife management or biotechnology.

In this extraordinary year, it is advisable to download the application at If schools reopen, applicants can also contact student service offices to obtain the application. The application deadline is June 1.

For further information, students may contact Patricia Larkin, chair of the Cliff Bennett Nature Bursary Awards committee via email at