Allegheny College senior Owen Ludwig is one of this year’s recipients of the national Davey Foundation Arbor Grant Award, given annually to about 50 students who focus on forestry, agriculture, or another green industry.
Ludwig is an environmental science major with a geology minor, and the $1,000 grant will support his work in green industries.
“Green industries are important to me for a number of reasons,” says Ludwig, who is from Monclova, Ohio. “I have a passion for the natural world that originates from a childhood spent exploring the outdoors. I think that it is important for everyone to have at least a basic connection to and understanding of the environment. It is critical that we take care of the Earth because we are dependent upon it to survive. Green industries work toward addressing these two fundamental issues: they try to enhance people’s connection with the environment, and they strive to care for the world in which we live.”
Over the past 25 years, the Davey Foundation has provided more than half a million dollars of support to students for their academic work. For Ludwig, the grant has eased the financial pressures of college and allowed him to focus on his education, activities and future plans.
Outside of the classroom, Ludwig works with Firth Maple Products, where he has been employed for two years. “Firth is a logging company that utilizes forward-thinking strategies to ensure that their timber harvesting is sustainable and promotes the health of the forest,” Ludwig says. “As a result, Firth is fostering a harmonious relationship between humans and the environment in which we can extract natural resources without compromising the future of the forest.”
Environmental Science Professor Rich Bowden suggested Ludwig apply for the grant. “Owen has worked with me as a research assistant in my laboratory for the last three years, assisting with a number of lab and field projects, as well as forest education efforts,” says Bowden. “Owen has been a terrific assistant, helping as much as his busy schedule has allowed. His experience, depth of knowledge, and sense of responsibility made it a no-brainer for me to depend on him completely. Importantly to me, Owen is a sound, caring person. He is extremely thoughtful, compassionate, and kind to those around him.”
Ludwig’s growth through Allegheny courses and his experience with Firth have helped make him a deserving recipient of the award. “Owen benefits rightfully in the recognition granted by a nationally recognized tree and forest service company due to his many accomplishments,” says Eric Pallant, the Christine Scott Nelson Professor of Environmental Sustainability and chair of the Department of Environmental Science. “Owen typifies the caliber of Allegheny’s students, as well as the breadth of opportunities available to students in environmental science.”
Many recipients of this award come from larger schools with dedicated forestry departments. ”Owen’s receipt of this award is a testimony to his energy in pursuing opportunities and his passion for forest protection,” says Bowden.
After graduation in May, Ludwig has a summer job planned with the Appalachian Mountain Club in New Hampshire, where he will lead teenagers on extended backcountry canoeing and backpacking trips. “Being a guide in the outdoor industry has been a longstanding dream of mine, and I’m excited to be able to share my passion for the outdoors with teenagers,” Ludwig says. After the summer, he intends to return to Meadville and continue his work with Firth Maple Products.