WCLT Scholarships 2023
WCLT Scholarships 2023 Awarded
The Westborough Community Land Trust (WCLT) awarded two $1000.00 scholarships and two honorable mentions to graduating Westborough High School (WHS) seniors. These awards were made on the basis of student essays written for the WCLT’s annual Earth Day Essay Contest.
Sage Ellison received a scholarship for her essay describing Lake Chauncy as a beautiful place to enjoy family, friends, reading and watching the sunset. Sage described Lake Chauncy as a place that brings people closer to nature. Sage reminded all to help clean and protect the areas nature has given us to enjoy and to keep a clean environmental footprint. Sage will be attending Fairfield University and plans on studying business marketing
Evan Fallon received a scholarship for his essay describing his time spent at Gilmore Pond. Gilmore Pond showed Evan the importance of spending time outside with nature and the contributions that it made to your happiness. Evan’s Gilmore Pond Eagle Scout project enabled others to enjoy the outdoors as well. Evan will be attending URI and will be going into Pharmacy.
Ellen Maguire received an honorable mention for her essay describing Bowman Conservation Area and the work she did as a Girl Scout. Ellen connects with younger Girl Scouts by teaching and working with them to learn about nature. Ellen will be attending the University of Connecticut and plans on studying psychology.
Breno Junqueira received an honorable mention for his essay describing the serene beauty of Lake Chauncy. Breno sends a call to action to keep such beautiful places clean and protected. Breno will be attending UMASS Amherst as a kinesiology major.
Since 2006, WCLT has awarded 30 scholarships to graduating seniors in Westborough and 31 honorable mentions. (See the WCLT Scholarship Hall of Fame.) With our Earth Day essay contest and scholarship program, WCLT aims to inspire young people to become keen observers of our natural spaces, as well as reflective thinkers regarding the impact of human activity on our environment.
Sage Ellison’s Earth Day essay 2023:
One place in Westborough that has brought me closer to nature is Lake Chauncy. I have always grown up going here, but within the last couple of years I started to go more regularly when I could drive myself. Back when I was in elementary school, going to Chauncy was a regular part of my weekly routine. I would go here during the week for soccer practices, and come on Saturday and Sunday mornings for my soccer games. I have played soccer since a very young age, and have played on these fields all the way from 2nd grade to 8th grade, so I feel that Chauncey fields offer me a sense of comfort; a “home-field” in a way. I also spent the majority of the weekends at these fields, as my whole family would come to watch my older brother play and then grow older and start reffing games. My younger brother also started playing when he was old enough, so we would always spend our time here. I have always loved how many fields there were, and how open the area feels, while also being surrounded by beautiful trees. I remember when I was younger I took a video on my moms phone of a little fairy hut that I built at the base of one of the trees, and used little sticks, rocks, leaves, and dandelions to make it. I think Chauncy has always helped me connect with nature, and genuinely gave me joy being outside. In the more recent years, I’ve discovered the sense of peace and serenity that Lake Chauncy offers. I drive through Chauncy at night and sit in the parking lot to eat any fast food I get, free of any distractions or other cars, which gives me time to think and relax. When the weather gets warmer, my favorite place to go is the picnic table right next to the little white pavilion along the water and cozy up to read a book. I love the hanging trees that sit right next to the table, and they offer me shade and a breeze on the hotter days. It has a nice view of the water, and I love coming to this picnic table with a book and a blanket, and just sitting and reading for hours. I also come to Lake Chauncy with my friends, and we sit at the picnic tables a little farther down the loop of the road, which has a much more open view of the lake. I’ve had multiple picnics here, and get so much serotonin from the full sunlight you get sitting there. This past summer, I also took many hikes down the wood paths on the opposite side of the lake, and found a big tree that had tipped over above the water, that my friends and I went to and sat on and jumped into the water from. I also love going to the beach at Chauncy even if the water is too cold to swim in sometimes. I enjoy sitting in the sand and hearing everyone happy around me, as well as watching the sunset from this beach because it offers a great view. Lake Chauncy has allowed me to develop a more environmentally conscious perspective because I would hate it if my favorite outdoor place was filled with garbage and trash and wasn’t taken care of, so I like to make sure I take care of things outdoors, like picking up my trash and cleaning up after myself and others, to make sure that everyone can enjoy places like Lake Chauncy in the same way that I get to enjoy them. I always make sure to clean up after myself and if I see mess from others I try to clean that as well, such as food and drinks, wrappers, dog bags, etc. I also make sure to leave nature alone because it has to live in order for me and others to enjoy its beauty. Lake Chauncy truly is a beautiful and sacred place to me and will always hold a special place in my heart, and I will miss this escape when I leave for college, and look forward to visiting it during my summer break. Lake Chauncy has brought me closer to nature, and in turn has taught me to keep a clean environmental footprint in order to preserve the beauty of mother nature for others to enjoy as much as I do.
Evan Fallon’s Earth Day essay 2023:
I recall waking up on November 22nd, 2020, scratching my scab-ridden arms so hard that I was starting to bleed all over my bare mattress. My sheets were in the wash since I had gotten poison ivy really bad from my Eagle Scout project just a week or so prior. The project took months of planning and helped with the implementation of the all-persons trail at Gilmore Pond. Putting in 100+ hours of service and gathering 20+ people from the community to help me with the project, it has been a monumental part of my life, and you may ask what I have done to get to this point in my life.
I have lived in Westborough since the age of 6. From the moment I first walked into my kindergarten classroom to the start of my senior year, I have always been involved in the Westborough community. Every Earth Day, my family and I help clean up, I have participated in numerous trail-clearing projects and helped with the replacement of many bog bridges. Although it wasn’t until I was older that I became proactive in the community itself and actually took the initiative for once.
Growing up on Nash St, I spent a lot of time at Gilmore Pond. My family would often go on walks there, and as I got a little bit older, I would bike on the trails with my friends. Then, when I got into my teenage years, I would go there to collect my thoughts, which eventually led it to become my oasis when Covid started. My best friend and I would meet at Gilmore almost every day, we would bike there and sit around the pond, skipping rocks and talking for hours on end. It was the one place in the world where I felt safe, and it was nice. I would do anything to go back; it was just so simple, and I didn't worry about anything outside of my tiny little bubble of the neighborhood. Of course, our parents knew, but it legit felt like the one place where nothing else mattered other than you and what is inside.
After things started to return to normal, and I went back to school, I realized how important it is for your health to go outside and spend time in nature, rather than simply going to school, studying hard, earning a good grade, and then going back to your computer to work again. I noticed I was significantly happier after those months outside of school during Covid, and that led me to advocate for others to go outside and make a change in their life. So when the opportunity presented itself that I could have my Eagle project at Gilmore Pond and work toward a much larger goal of enabling everyone to enjoy the outdoors, I took the lead and ran with it. The best part about it was the fact that it affected my direct community.
As I am now making my transition into college, I hope to continue to give back to my small community of Westborough, Massachusetts, and the environment as a whole. I am aware of the environment and how it is changing and hope to advocate for a more sustainable future. Whether this will be reducing waste, greener energy, or working on a bill to conserve more land, I am sure I will do great things and make an amazing impact on the world.