Youth Environmentalist of the Year Scholarship Awarded

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SYRCL is proud to announce Jacob Crooks, a recent Ghidotti Early College High School graduate, as the 2019 recipient of the Environmentalist of the Year Scholarship. This scholarship, administered by SYRCL, is offered annually to graduating high school seniors who have demonstrated a commitment to the environment. Each year, one young river steward from our community is identified for their dedication and awarded with a $4000 scholarship.

Rachel Lubitz, SYRCL’s River Education Manager, notes that “Jacob truly embodies what it means to be not only an above-and-beyond environmentalist, but a caring and committed member of this community. We are excited and honored to award him this scholarship, and we know he will demonstrate excellence in whatever the future holds for him.”

The Next Generation of Environmentalist

Jacob Crooks expressed his sincere gratitude for the award. “Growing up in an area where people care so much about their watershed has truly inspired me. I want it to be my core mission in life to ensure that future generations have clean water to drink and recreate in. Being selected for the SYRCL scholarship means, for me, that I can get one step closer to my future career in having a major impact on the watershed.”

Throughout his young adult life, Jacob Crooks has given many labors of love to our local watershed. Whether it was giving of his weekday afternoons in a lab, or to wade waist-deep through a stream to collect water quality data, as a part of his senior internship at Sierra Streams Institute, Mr. Crooks’ dedication to the Yuba shines through. Beyond his involvement in the Boy Scouts or the Nevada Union Mountain Bike Racing Team, Mr. Crooks demonstrated academic excellence at Nevada Union High School, excelling in Biology and his other science classes. As Mr. Crooks goes on to pursue his bachelor’s degree in Ecological Biology at Montana State University, with the hopes of one day becoming an environmental studies professor, we are confident he will continue to be a committed advocate for environmental stewardship.

The Youth Environmentalist Scholarship Fund

To date, eighteen scholarships have been awarded to outstanding youth in our community, students distinguished by their academic and extra-curricular talents. Funds for the scholarship are raised by the community at large through the annual Brains of Nevada County Quiz Night hosted by SYRCL and produced by staff and dozens of volunteers.

This past March, twenty-four teams dueled in the famed trivia night to compete for the glory of trivia masters. Teams comprised of neighbors, friends and coworkers helping to raise thousands of dollars to support the fund. Among the teams participating this year were: KVMR, members of the Sierra Nevada AmeriCorps PartnershipThe UnionYubaNetNevada CountyTelestream, Coldwell Banker Grass Roots RealtySierra Center for Spiritual Living, Sierra WatchNevada City WineryAJA Video Systems, Nevada County, California Solar, and many more! Tables fill quickly; if you would like to reserve a spot for your team in 2020, please contact Daniel Belshe at

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