Scholarships in Memory of Three Amazing People

Children, Community Programs, Nature Center, School Programs

CEED is a not-for-profit nature center that inspires connection and reconnection to the joys of nature through education and experience that restores our balance for a healthier community.

Every year we strive for growth, and our success is measured by how many people we connect with. The 2021 Summer Nature Experience showed growth in many areas. We expanded our weeks, we expanded our staff, we expanded our programming, and we were filled-to-capacity every week this year. All these accomplishments make us proud, but our most meaningful growth is expanding our accessibility. It is our goal to have 50% of our enrollment funded to provide underrepresented children the opportunity to experience our outdoor nature programs.

Although we haven’t yet reached that 50% goal, we made great strides with our 2021 scholarship program. This spring and summer we collected nearly $5,000 in scholarship money through individual donations. Three of our scholarships were generously provided in memory of very special people who made a difference in their short lives.

This summer, thanks to the generosity of one of our board members, we provided a leadership training scholarship in memory of Shannon Kiernan. We hope for this to be an annual scholarship. Shannon (1/16/78-2/12/06) was a 28-year-old high school physics teacher in New Hampshire when her life was cut short during a snowboarding accident. She had a passion for teaching and for our beautiful environment and could often be found hiking, chasing sunsets or dancing in a thunderstorm. During her short life she truly made a difference to her students.

Whether it was teaching a junior ranger program at Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge in Virginia or outdoor adventure classes at Snow Mountain Ranch in Colorado….Shannon loved the great outdoors and sharing that love with her students.

The young recipient of the 2021 Shannon Kiernan Scholarship has spent quite a bit of her life indoors while mom juggles three jobs. But her mom said her daughter loves nature, and mom hoped this opportunity would help make her daughter’s summer eventful. The young woman started out quite shy, preferring to sit on the side reading for the first day, while the others worked with the younger campers. On the second day, Michael, the Leadership educator, took the group on a hike. As the young lady quietly walked with the rest of the group, Michael wondered how he could help her gain confidence and express interest. Once they got back to the rest of the children, it was time to take the younger children out for their hike. He asked the EIT (educator in training) if she would like to try to lead the younger children with another EIT, and she said “sure.” Well, she rocked it! To Michael’s amazement, she covered everything they went over on the training hike, and the younger children gravitated toward her. She was a natural. Entering her sophomore year in high school this year, she hopes to pursue a degree in chemistry in college.

Two of our memorial scholarships were for attendance in our Summer Nature Experience,
for grades 1-7.

One full-time scholarship, which we also hope to keep annually, is in memory of Isaac Rauch, son of CEED Board member Lisa Anderson and her husband Marc Rauch. Isaac died of cancer at 29 years but made the most of his time on earth. Isaac was a financial analyst for Moody’s Investor Services, but most loved his volunteer work for non-profits and the time he could spend outside. With his interest in the environment and his love of helping others, a CEED Summer Nature Experience scholarship for a member of The Boys and Girls Club of Bellport was particularly fitting.

The recipient this year of the Isaac Rauch Memorial Scholarship, was a young energetic first grader who loves everything nature. 

He was the first to volunteer and enjoyed being in the woods and digging in soil, so much so that we kept the Tecnu wash close at hand whenever he was in the woods. We were thrilled that CEED was able to provide this opportunity for a young child to get outside and explore.

Our third memorial scholarship is in memory of Rachel Quinn. Rachel died suddenly this past June, but in her short 27 years, made a huge difference as an elementary teacher in Hauppauge School District. Her husband, Nate Quinn, an air traffic controller, was quoted in Newsday this past June with the following: “A good teacher can change a child’s life and can give them the confidence to become a better person. She wanted to be that person for kids in Hauppauge and really make a difference in some child’s life.” Veronica Weeks, a CEED Board member, and a colleague of Rachel’s in Hauppauge, thought it would be fitting to provide a CEED Summer Nature Experience scholarship for a Hauppauge student to help instill confidence through nature experiences.

This year’s scholarship recipient attended one of the three weeks at Post Morrow Foundation. During her week, she was able to experience seining in Bellport Bay, observing freshwater life in Beaverdam Creek, and walking through the many nature trails in and around the Post Morrow Foundation property. To see her smile and have a blast with her new friends and old friends was heart-warming. Our Summer Nature Experience program instills a love of nature, developing confidence, and being kind to others, which are all characteristics that Rachel worked hard to instill in her students.

It was an honor for CEED to memorialize these amazing people, and welcome some wonderful children in their names.

Sally Wellinger, CEED Executive Director

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