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Education & Contests



HCCD Scholarships

Our district offers two $250 scholarships to any Hamlin County high school senior boy or girl who is involved in conservation and will be pursuing a career in agriculture or conservation.  Previous involvement with conservation could include:  4H project, conservation farming, judging contests, speeches, and work experience.  

Please click on the HCCD Scholarships heading to obtain the application.  A page must be included with the application:  In 250 words or less, write a description of your involvement in conservation. Please include what you have learned about it, projects you have been involved in, and your future ideas in the pursuit of a career in agriculture or conservation efforts.  

SDACDE Memorial Scholarships

The South Dakota Association of Conservation District Employees started a Memorial Scholarship fund in 1995 to honor the memory of past employees and their passion, dedication and commitment to the conservation movement.
The SDACDE is offering three (3) - $500 scholarships. The purpose of this scholarship is to encourage those students concerned with conserving their natural resources by furthering their education in an agricultural/conservation related field. The scholarship is available to graduating high school seniors who will be attending a 4-year college or a vocational school.

Payment will be rendered to the recipient upon completion of the 2nd semester registration. 



Resource Conservation Speech Contest

Each year the South Dakota Department of Agriculture, Resource Conservation and Forestry Division sponsors a resource conservation-oriented speech contest. Any SD student in grades 9-12 is eligible to enter. This includes public, private, and home-school students.

The contest consists of three levels - local, area, and state. Two winners from each of the local contests advance to area contests. Two winners from each of the seven area contests advance to the state competition.

  • First Place: $1,200 Scholarship

  • Second Place: $800 Scholarship

  • Third Place: $500 Scholarship


East River and Rushmore Electric Power Cooperatives and South Dakota Rural Electric Association present the winners with scholarships to be used at any college, university, or accredited vocational technical school within South Dakota. Other co-sponsors include the South Dakota Association of Conservation Districts.

Arbor Day Essays

Each year, in January, the Hamlin Conservation District invites area schools to participate in an Arbor Day Essay Contest. The contest is conducted by the State Forestry Department. Students in the 5th and/or 6th grades are invited to write an essay about Arbor Day and its importance.

The essays are then submitted to the Conservation District, where the top three from each school are chosen. From these 9 winners, a local District 1st place is selected and forwarded to the State competition. In recent years, the district has received an average of 96 essays to judge.

Peggy Loomis, District Manager of HCCD, and Hunter Pecard, Area Forester, visit each of the three schools sometime in late April to announce the winners. During this time, a short presentation is given, and awards are presented. Each participant receives a Black Hills Spruce tree and a seed packet to plant a tree.

The top three winners in the State competition receive cash awards and an engraved plaque. The first-place winner also receives an attractive lined jacket and a cash award for their school.



SD Wildlife Federation Camp for High School Students

The HCCD has sponsored 34 campers to the South Dakota Wildlife Federation Youth Conservation Camp since 2000.  Each year, two students are sponsored to attend the one week SDWF camp at Camp Bob Marshall in the Black Hills.  The camp typically runs June 1-7th.  This camp is for the conservation minded.  Any student in 9th, 10th, or 11th grade boys or girls, along with students finishing 8th grade are eligible.  The camp is an opportunity for young people who enjoy being outside and amount the wildlife to spend several days covering topics which will include conservation and environmental issues, game management, forestry and fisheries.  The program also includes hands on instruction in small groups as well as giving the delegates a choice of the subjects that interest them the most. 

The HCCD will pay the registration fee of $300 (which includes bus fare if students choose to go by bus) for two Hamlin County students to attend.  Information on bus schedules, boarding time, etc. will be sent directly to the camper by the camp.  Applications will be available through your school counselor after the first of the year.  They must be returned by May 1st.  We will notify winners of the scholarships soon after that date. With questions, please contact our office at 605-783-3642 x4.

SD Rangeland and Soils Days

The HCCD will sponsor 3 students by paying the registration fee to this event.  Please note:  This event is not only for 4H students, it is for all students ages 8 -18 years. 

Rangeland and Soil Days activities are designed to increase participant awareness of rangeland and to further conservation and stewardship of our land.

Last June over 150 participants and their families came to Watertown for the event.  This year’s events will recognize 40 years of Rangeland and 19 years of Soil Days.  Students have a chance to come learn, participate and compete through field visits and classroom sessions.  Please join us on June 12th and 13th in Watertown for some fun, while learning.  Codington Conservation District, along with Natural Resources Conservation Service and SDSU Extension are the hosts..  With the registration fee, meals are provided.  There are blocks of rooms reserved at local hotels.  Registration deadline is June 2, 2024. 

Please contact Codington CD for more information at 605-882-4989.

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