Jamestown, NY – Audubon Community Nature Center awarded its 2017 Ryan Exline Memorial Scholarship to Heather Zimba of Jamestown, New York.

Every spring since 2003 Audubon’s Education Staff has raised scholarship funds through their Fledgling Birdathon. Participants look for as many species as possible over a 24-hour period, and generous supporters pledge an amount, either per species or in total. The end result is a $500 scholarship.

This scholarship is named in memory of one of its very first recipients. Ryan Exline was an integral part of the Audubon family for many years, where he assisted with gardening, eagle care, live animal care, and educational programs. A resident of Russell, Pennsylvania, he was pursuing a master’s degree at Duke University when he died in a car accident. His love of nature and of nurturing future generations of “nature nerds” lives on through this scholarship.

Scholarship applicants must be local residents pursuing a degree in the natural sciences. Recipients must be passionate about the natural world.

Heather Zimba has been accepted into the Wildlife Biology Bachelor Program at SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry for the fall of 2017. While at Jamestown Community College she was active in the Earth Awareness Club, volunteered for Frog Watch USA and Hemlock Woolly Adelgid monitoring, and had an internship last summer at the Roger Tory Peterson Institute.

Previous scholarship winners are Taylor West, Brandon Allen, Connor Clendenen, Allison Cramer, Alex Kulakowski, Elyse Johnson, Brenton Maille, Alyssa D’Alessandro, Alexa Vazquez, Tricia Bergstue, Karen Eckstrom, Bill Langworthy, Rex Everett, Ryan Exline, and Eve Gaus.

Audubon Community Nature Center builds and nurtures connections between people and nature by providing positive outdoor experiences, opportunities to learn about and understand the natural world, and knowledge to act in environmentally responsible ways. Visit at 1600 Riverside Road, one-quarter mile east of Route 62 between Jamestown, New York, and Warren, Pennsylvania, or online at auduboncnc.org.