Purpose: To encourage studies and careers in the environmental field, with the opportunity to gain knowledge and experience beyond the regular course of study.
History: Established in 1964 by Clara Carter Higgins (Mrs. John W.), of the Worcester (Massachusetts) Garden Club with a stock gift of approximately $15,000. According to Executive Committee minutes of November 15, 1966, the interest from the fund “was to be used to cover a summer scholarship in conservation, preferably at the college level.” Mrs. Higgins wrote Mrs. Erastus Corning, then president of the GCA, “The Garden Club of America has meant so much to me during my life and I am so deeply appreciative of all it has done. I shall be happy to help someone realize the importance of conservation, if I can.”
In 1990, responsibility for the solicitation, screening, and selection of candidates passed from the GCA Conservation Committee to the GCA Scholarship Committee. In 1993, the Scholarship Committee responded to the increasing number of excellent applicants for the Higgins Scholarship by voting monies from the General Scholarship Fund to create and endow an additional summer environmental studies award.
Provisions: Annually funds one Clara Carter Higgins scholar and one or more GCA Summer Environmental Studies scholars at $3000 per recipient in financial assistance for summer coursework in environmental studies. (Award amounts were increased from $1500 in 2007.)
Eligibility: Open to college students following their freshman, sophomore, or junior year. These awards offer students who have demonstrated a keen interest in the betterment of the environment an opportunity for further study at a site chosen by the student. Some of the summer programs students have completed recently include the study of hazardous waste, marine science, energy, plant resources in the tropics, barrier island ecology, and oil spill cleanup and control. Eligibility is open to U.S. Citizens and permanent residents who are enrolled in a U.S. – based institution.
To Apply: See application and information. Applications must be received at GCA Headquarters in New York City by February 5 preceding the summer of study. Note that applications for the Clara Carter Higgins Scholarship, GCA Awards for Summer Environmental Studies, Elizabeth Gardner Norweb Scholarship, and Mary T. Carothers Scholarship are considered together. Interested students should submit only one application. Selection: Selection is by members of the GCA Scholarship Committee. PLEASE NOTE: ONLY ONE GCA SCHOLARSHIP, FELLOWSHIP OR AWARD MAY BE APPLIED FOR ANNUALLY.