The Peace River Audubon Society Scholarship for Environmental Studies

Description | Eligibility | Application | Previous Awardees


 Jessica Buchy photo
 Chase Schulte photo
 Jeremy Toms photo
 Gaby Placido photo
 Felicia Nudo photo


The purpose of this award program is to encourage students from the greater Charlotte Harbor watershed region (Charlotte, DeSoto,  Polk, Sarasota, Manatee, Lee, and Hardee Counties)* to pursue a degree in a field of study related to the environment. College students with professional goals to pursue conservation biology, wildlife conservation, zoology, or environmental education are invited to apply for the Peace River Audubon Society Scholarship for Environmental Studies. Up to two highly qualified college students will be awarded $1,000 each. Funds may be used for the educational institution’s tuition, books, supplies and equipment, or technical materials.

PRAS believes that recognition for excellence is vital to fostering a new generation of environmental stewards. To encourage students from Charlotte and Desoto Counties to pursue a degree in environmental studies, the PRAS Scholarship for Environmental Education was established in 2008, thanks to a generous donation from LaDonna Kennedy who, upon her passing, donated $5,000. Thanks to the generosity of donations from several members and others accumulated through PRAS’s yearly Bird-a-thon, the fund has gradually grown. However, without additional funds the award amount and frequency will be limited. It is our hope that this fund can continue to grow, thereby allowing for continued  and additional scholarships. Please consider donating now and, like Ms. Kennedy, leaving a legacy by amending your will to include the PRAS Scholarship Fund. Your gift will be enjoyed in our community by generations to come. For more information contact us at


To be eligible for the Peace River Audubon Society Scholarship for Environmental Studies, applicants must meet all of the following criteria.

        1. Resident of Charlotte, DeSoto,  Polk, Sarasota, Manatee, Lee, or Hardee County, FL;
        2. Pursuing a degree pertaining to environmental studies;
        3. Junior or Senior status in an accredited 4-year institution;
        4. Currently enrolled full-time (12 credit hours or more);
        5. A minimum GPA of 3.0 (of 4..0); and
        6. Have not previously received this scholarship.


Peace River Audubon Scholarship Application 2020

Complete applications must be received by April 1, 2020. Please email all materials (preferably as a single PDF) to: Address questions to the same email address.

*Preference will be given to students from the Peace River Audubon Society focal counties (Charlotte, DeSoto) but due to the limited number of eligible students from these counties students from surrounding counties (Polk, Sarasota, Manatee, Lee, Hardee) are encouraged to apply.

If you would like to help the Peace River Audubon Society’s effort to promote the next generation of ecological and conservation leaders by making a donation to its Scholarship Fund, please contact us at

Previous Awardees


Felicia Nudo photo
2017 Scholarship Awardee
Felicia Nudo

Felecia Nudo is from Ft. Myers and attended Florida Gulf Coast University. In addition to being highly intelligent and motivated, her clearly focused career goals in environmental education made her stand out among applicants. Combined with her strong extra-curricular experiences, strong reference letters, and demonstrated ability to produce results, including a children’s book about gopher tortoises, PRAS believes she was an excellent and deserving awardee.  

Gaby Placido photo
2014 Scholarship Awardee
Gabriella Placido

Gabriella Placido is from Ft. Myers and attended the University of Florida Department of Wildlife Ecology and Conservation. In addition to being strong academically, Gabby’s credentials included membership in the UF student chapter of the Wildlife Society and a biodiversity intern with the UF Office of Sustainability. A project with which she was involved worked on trying to reduce bird collisions with campus building windows, especially those located along wooded areas of campus. Thanks to Gabby’s efforts, supported by Dr. Mark Hostetler, some buildings which often encounter bird strikes have now installed vertical wires on windows.


Jeremy Toms photo
2014 Scholarship Awardee
Jeremy Toms

Jeremy Toms, is a graduate of  Charlotte High School and attended the University of Florida where he majored in Environmental Engineering Sciences as part of a combined Bachelors of Science and Master of Engineering in Ecological Engineering degree program. At UF, Mr. Toms was also an intern with the Office of Sustainability working to educate and promote sustainability on campus and is assisting a professor to determine where improvements on waste reduction and landfill diversion could be made within the university. In the long-term he is working so that “engineering solutions, especially those concerning the environment, take more holistic approaches to solving problems that best benefit society while also keeping the natural world that we depend on intact”.


Jessica Buchy photo
2013 Scholarship Awardee
Jessica Buchy

Jessica Buchy is a graduate of Desoto County High and the University of Central Florida where she majored in Biology.  She describes herself as an “up and coming wildlife veterinarian and researcher”.  Among her many accomplishments was an internship at the Disney’s Animal Kingdom Vet Hospital, assisting at UCF on disease research in hatchling logger head sea turtles, volunteering in Orlando for an animal hospital and wildlife rehabilitation center, and volunteering in India at the Madras Crocodile Bank Trust where she helped track King Cobras! Ms Buchy is also a 2005 recipient of the Chamber of Commerce Award for Community Service in DeSoto County.

Chase Schulte photo
2013 Scholarship Awardee
Chase Schulte

Chase Schulte is a graduate of Charlotte High School and attended the University of Florida where he double majored in Environmental Science and  Sustainability & the Built Environment. He believes that by combining these degrees he will be better able to “solve pressing environmental issues in Florida as well as worldwide.” At UF he was active in communicating the need for decision-making that preserves our natural resources including an internship with the UF Office of Sustainability, volunteering for the Student Government agency Gators Going Green, and was a recipient of the UF University Scholars Program award.