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MSU announces waterfowl and wetland conservation scholarships

A Georgia-based company is doing much more than building upscale residences these days. Scenic Homes, a family owned business, also is working to further waterfowl and wetland conservation through a $424,000 scholarship endowment recently established at Mississippi State. The owner and partners of the construction firm—which also has offices in Mississippi, Louisiana, and North and South Carolina—have established the Scenic Homes "Dr. Richard M. Kaminski" Scholarship in Waterfowl and Wetlands Conservation at the university. The academic award will provide qualified students with $8,000 annually for tuition and fees, housing, books, and supplies. "We are excited about the opportunity to provide scholarships for students interested in a professional career as a waterfowl or wetlands ecologist, manager, or conservationist," said Scenic Homes owner Paul Meng. A former Natchez resident now residing in Atlanta, Meng also is an outdoors enthusiast and wildlife conservationist. Scenic Homes/Kaminski Scholars must be enrolled full time in pursuit of a bachelor’s degree in wildlife and fisheries science from the College of Forest Resources. An MSU grade-point average of 3.0 or higher (based on a 4.0 scale) and involvement in professional and leadership organizations in their field of study also are required. "The scholarship is timely, considering that many waterfowl teaching and research programs in the U.S. and Canada are disappearing," said Kaminski, the nationally known MSU wildlife and fisheries professor the scholarship is honoring. "Data from a recent survey indicate the availability of college-level training, including research opportunities, for aspiring waterfowl biologists could be halved within a decade," he added. Kaminski said the Scenic Homes scholarship endowment will help ensure that MSU students can "continue engaging their passion for waterfowl and wetlands ecology and management." In addition to a cover letter and resume, applicants should provide a three-page essay explaining reasons and needs for the award, as well as short- and long-term professional and personal goals. Since 1990, Scenic Homes has constructed over 6,000 homes throughout the Southeast and is considered one of the top 100 builders in the U.S. As a member of the National Association of Home Builders, the company has been honored with the QBW Golden Achievement and QBW Builder of Integrity Awards in 2003 and 2004, respectively. For more information about the scholarship or to apply, contact Dr. Bruce D. Leopold, head, Department of Wildlife & Fisheries, MSU; 662-325-3830 or bleopold@cfr.msstate.edu



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