The Department of Conservation and Waikato Regional Council jointly sponsor this scholarship for students in the final year of a master's degree at the University of Waikato. The Dr Stella Frances Scholarship, to the value of $5,000 per year, is available to students studying environmental issues in the Waikato region. The scholarship is intended to defray research expenses.
Dr Stella Frances (1948-2003) served just a few months of her third term as a Waikato Regional Councillor in 1993 when she was offered the position of Waikato Conservator for the Department of Conservation.
Typical of her humanity, Stella was at first concerned for the people who had worked so hard to get her elected to the council and for the expensive by-election her acceptance would cause. Reassured by her supporters, Stella joined the Department on International Women’s Day – March 8, 1993.
After noting through previous experience “the ability of government departments to insulate themselves from the community”, Stella made the appreciation of community perspectives a hallmark of her own work, both in the Waikato and in Auckland, where she moved to in 1997. Stella was widely appreciated for her ability to relate with tangata whenua, departmental associates and local communities.
Having earlier trained as a freshwater scientist with a PhD in freshwater ecology, Stella likened her later career to that of an ‘environmental GP’, playing a role for ecology similar to that of a general practitioner in health. Her greatest passion over the last four years of her life was the Firth of Thames marine and estuarine ecosystem.
Stella Frances died in August 2003. She was a constant source of inspiration to staff and people in the community who worked with her, in both her personal and professional life. Her commitment to our environment is perpetuated in this scholarship.
Find out more about the scholarship, including eligibility and how to make an application, in the PDF below. The application closing date last year was 5pm, Friday, 16 December 2016.
You can also watch this video clip to find out a bit more about the scholarship.