a group of happy college students on university campus

Concern about the future for young people is what motivates climate activist Jamie Margolin. A young person herself, youth empowerment has always been her approach to stopping climate change. She founded Zero Hour — the youth-led climate action group behind the 2018 Washington, D.C., Climate March — when she was still in high school. Last year, she published Youth to Power: Your Voice and How to Use It to help young people learn how to take action on the issues they care about. Now she has partnered with the online scholarship search tool Access Scholarships to provide material support to young environmental activists in the form of a new scholarship.

Climate Justice Scholarship

Called the Climate Justice Scholarship, the scholarship competition is open to high school and college students of all years, as well as students pursuing professional certifications or technical degrees. To apply for the $1,000 award, students must fill out the online application form, read one of three environment-themed articles, and write an essay of 500 words or less that responds to two featured questions. The deadline to apply is April 22, 2022. The Climate Justice Scholarship is unusual in funding professional certifications and technical degrees as well college tuition.

Scholarships for Environmentalists

Environmental activism is often hard and thankless work. But there are scholarships available for dedicated students who want to understand ecological systems and develop solutions to stop climate change and other environmental disasters. Tools like Access Scholarships and Scholarships.com make it easier than ever to find environmental scholarships. Most of their search results provide research funding for graduate students, often for very narrow areas of study. Many have very specific requirements for residency or enrollment institutions or are for very small amounts of money. It’s worth digging through them all because the applicant pool for these types of scholarships can be quite small. If you qualify for one of them, you have a good chance of winning. But there are also some sizeable scholarships for undergraduates that are available nationwide. Here are just a few of them.

EPP Undergraduate Scholarship Program

Application Deadline: January 31, 2022
Amount: $45,000

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Educational Partnership Program with Minority Serving Institutions Undergraduate Scholarship Program is very close to the legendary “full ride” with a $45,000 award. Eligible students have completed their sophomore year at an accredited minority serving institution and are majoring in atmospheric or oceanic sciences or environmental disciplines that support these sciences. U.S. citizenship is required.

Western Reserve Herb Society Plant Sciences Scholarship

Application Deadline: February 28, 2022
Amount: $14,000

This scholarship is open to students who have completed their sophomore year of undergraduate study. The scholarship of $14,000 will be awarded to a student planning a career in plant sciences and related disciplines such as horticulture, sustainable agriculture, or landscape and community gardening. They prefer applicants who demonstrate exceptional dedication through outside experiences and whose career goals involve teaching or research in the public or nonprofit sector.

American Meteorological Society Freshman Undergraduate Scholarship

Application Deadline: February 4, 2022
Amount: $5,000

The AMS Freshman Undergraduate Scholarship is open to all high school students and designed to encourage study in the atmospheric and related sciences. Distributed in two parts, the sophomore year award is contingent on the student’s first-year performance. This is just one of several AMS scholarships, which include one for minority students and another for women in science — both with larger awards.

Drs. James and Wanda Trefil Science Scholarship

Application Deadline: January 15, 2022
Amount: $5,000

The Drs. James and Wanda Trefil Science Scholarship proves that you can find environmental scholarships in unlikely seeming places. The administering body, The Kosciuszko Foundation, is dedicated to promoting exchange between the U.S. and Poland and increasing American understanding of Polish culture. But instead of a humanities scholarship, the Trefil grants a one-time award of $5,000 to a full-time undergraduate student of Polish descent who is majoring in the natural sciences: physics, chemistry, biology, astronomy, earth science, or biochemistry.

Eckenfelder Scholarship

Application Deadline: 2022 TBD
Amount: $5,000

Offered in honor of Dr. Wesley Eckenfelder, Jr. (a wastewater treatment professional), the Eckenfelder Scholarship rewards students interested in pursuing environmental professions. Undergraduate juniors, seniors, and graduate students with a declared major in civil, chemical, mechanical, electrical, or environmental engineering or one of the environmental sciences (geology, hydrogeology, ecology) are eligible. The Eckenfelder is one of five scholarships managed by environmental engineering company Brown and Caldwell; they offer others specifically for women, racial and sexual minorities, and members of the Navajo Nation.


You don’t have to come from a place of privilege to study the environment. With some research and hard work (good practice for your career in environmental fields), you can find scholarships to help fund your environmental education.

By Gemma Alexander

Gemma Alexander has an M.S. in urban horticulture and a backyard filled with native plants. After working in a genetics laboratory and at a landfill, she now writes about the environment, the arts and family. See more of her writing here.