Washington College Scholarship for Ornithology
Marking the 20th anniversary of the Foreman’s Branch Bird Observatory and the Year of the Bird, Washington College has created a new scholarship for students interested in the science and study of birds. The Washington College Scholarship for Ornithology will be awarded to two students entering the class of 2023, providing each $1,500 a year for four years.
The scholarship, funded by the Center for Environment & Society, will help students take advantage of the unique opportunities that Washington College offers in birding and ornithology at Foreman’s Branch Bird Observatory. The only observatory of its kind on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, Foreman’s Branch is one of the few places where undergraduate students can receive long-term, hands-on training in the technical skills needed for ornithology studies.
Since 2008, the station has provided paid internships to 26 students, who are closely taught the precise skills needed to band, identify, and record data about songbirds. Student interns spend an entire semester (and often much more) at the station learning these skills while being closely mentored by master banders. Scholarship recipients will get priority status for these internships.
Located on the College’s 4,700-acre River and Field Campus (RAFC), Foreman’s Branch is an Audubon-designated Important Bird Area. The expansive habitat at RAFC, draws an enormous diversity of species.
On average, the station bands about 15,000 birds of about 130 species every year. As of January 2018, it holds North American age records for 10 species, including orchard oriole (11 years), American goldfinch (10 years, 11 months), hermit thrush (10 years, 10 months), and grasshopper sparrow (9 years, 1 month). Last September, the station, which celebrated its 20th anniversary in March 2018, banded its 250,000th bird, a common yellowthroat.
Prospective students must apply for the Ornithology Scholarship. Applications will be reviewed by a selection committee comprised of Center for Environment & Society staff and preference will go to students who have a demonstrated interest in ornithology.