Illinois Conservation Foundation Announces Recipient of 2018 Conservation Achievement Scholarship

Eric Schenck
Illinois Conservation Foundation Announces Recipient of 2018 Conservation Achievement Scholarship
SPRINGFIELD, IL – The Illinois Conservation Foundation (ICF) today announced the selection of Preston Launius of Sesser as the recipient of the 2018 Conservation Achievement Scholarship. The Sesser-Valier High School senior will receive $2,000 to apply to specified college expenses.

"The Illinois Conservation Foundation is pleased to award the 2018 Conservation Achievement Scholarship to Preston Launius for his academic efforts in the classroom, and his community service efforts in and around his hometown of Sesser in southern Illinois,” said Wayne Rosenthal, chairman of the Illinois Conservation Foundation Board of Directors and Director of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.  “Thanks to the donors who make the program possible, the Conservation Achievement Scholarships are one way in which the ICF is able to recognize and reward the hard work on conservation stewardship and natural resources protection being done by youth in Illinois.”

Preston Launius is an avid outdoors enthusiast, who enjoys fishing and hunting.  He is also a longtime member of the Sesser-Valier High School Outdoorsmen Club.  One of the club’s primary events each November is joining the Corps of Engineers in hosting a special deer hunt for people with disabilities at Rend Lake.  Club members construct hunting blinds prior to the hunt, and camouflage the blinds by cutting invasive autumn olive, helping control the troublesome plant. Club members then assist participating individuals during the three-day hunt, providing a worthwhile experience for the disabled hunters.  Preston also improves fish and wildlife habitat using discarded natural Christmas trees, and he and other youth hunters target coyotes to help protect and expand populations of rabbits, wild turkeys and deer.

Preston Launius plans to attend Rend Lake College in Ina, Illinois, and hopes to pursue a career as an Illinois Conservation Police Officer.

“Congratulations to Preston Launius on being selected as this year’s scholarship recipient, and thank you to all of the donors to the Illinois Conservation Foundation’s scholarship fund,” said Eric Schenck, ICF Executive Director. “Over the years, the Conservation Achievement Scholarship program has been able to provide more than $100,000 in support to the academic and career endeavors of young conservationists in Illinois.”

Applicants for the ICF Conservation Achievement Scholarship program must be outstanding high school seniors in Illinois who have demonstrated effective, voluntary, long-term dedication to the preservation, protection, enhancement and/or promotion of Illinois' natural resources. Other criteria also apply. For more information, check the ICF website at

For information on donating to and supporting the Conservation Achievement Scholarships or other ICF programs, contact the foundation at 217-785-2003, or donate online at

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