College award for field biology or natural history study is renewable

The Putnam Highlands Audubon Society (PHAS) is again offering its merit-based Marty McGuire Audubon Scholarship (MMAS) to current college students or college-bound high school seniors with an interest in nature.

The annual scholarship is limited to students from specific zip codes in western Putnam and southwestern Dutchess counties.

If an appropriate candidate is found, an award is made to a matriculating or current full-time undergraduate student with a demonstrated interest in field biology or field natural history, including those with interests in the field aspects of ornithology, mammalogy, entomology, botany, herpetology, ichthyology and similar environmental fields.

Preference will be given to students entering their freshman year in college so they may receive support for their entire undergraduate career, as long as they meet certain simple renewal criteria each year.

Students that meet the geographic and interest requirements are encouraged to apply, including those under the academic radar screen.

The scholarship honors the late Marty McGuire, who was PHAS’ youngest board member beginning at age 15 and compiler of the Putnam Christmas Bird Count for five years. McGuire was an avid birder and naturalist who had a deep respect and interest in the natural world and was mentored by Ralph Odell, a PHAS founder. McGuire died shortly before his 25th birthday in a tragic car accident. The MMAS honors the importance of mentors and the promise of young people.

University of New Hampshire senior Max Garfinkle, of Cold Spring, won the inaugural MMAS scholarship as a college sophomore, and his funding was renewed for two consecutive academic years, including the current one.

The MMAS is a permanently restricted scholarship endowment fund. The scholarship awarded is the income for one year from the endowment principal. The amount awarded thus depends on market conditions.

Applications are due by March 15. Official notice of the award will be made by late May.

For more detailed information on the scholarship and its simple application process, visit

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