SEEDS Offers $1000 Scholarship for 2021 Best Sustainability Essay

March 4, 2021


SEEDS of Northeastern Pennsylvania will award a $1,000 Sustainability Scholarship to a college-bound high school senior (Pennsylvania resident) for the best essay addressing the following topic:

       Although there are different studies detailing small-business impacts of the pandemic across Pennsylvania, one thing is clear: the pandemic and the accompanying mitigation efforts had a significant and long-lasting financial impact on our small business community. In order to prevent such severe impacts in the future, and to speed-up recovery from the current pandemic, small businesses and local towns must strengthen their resiliency to withstand future stay-at-home orders, supply scarcity, and rising energy costs. For a restaurant it might mean creating a local food network by collaborating with small farmers in their community, investing in energy efficiency measures, and strengthening their online platform to stay connected with customers even with closings in place. For local policymakers, it might mean investing in green spaces, green energy, and green jobs, all of which will attract more people to the area, and therefore create a larger customer base for their small businesses due to cleaner air, thoughtful infrastructure, and wooded parks.  
What would your strategy be to increase resiliency for Pennsylvania’s small businesses across the board and to prepare them for the next emergency? List three strategies, choosing from top-down (proactive policies by government officials), bottom/up (adaptive strategies at business level) or a mixed approach, and consider utilizing reports from Reimagine Appalachia, U.S. Small Business Administration, and PennFuture to compose your response. Please be comprehensive and specific.

This scholarship is made to honor the memory of Michael “Jake” Burkhardt, Western Wayne Class of 2015. Jake worked with SEEDS as a high school student. He was attending Keystone College majoring in wildlife biology when he was a passenger in a fatal car accident. He was a fun, kind, and generous person with an amazing smile. He loved hiking, campfires, being outdoors, his brother, Ben, and his two beagles.

Local high school seniors from Western Wayne High School, Honesdale High School, Wallenpaupack Area High School, Damascus Christian Academy, Canaan Christian Academy, as well as home-schooled seniors who reside within the areas covered by those high schools, are encouraged to submit their essay via email to entries are due by 8PM Sunday, May 2th, 2021.

Details of Participation:

The panel members will review the essays without having access to the students’ information or names. The winner will be notified the following week. The winner cannot be related to any SEEDS staff or board members. By submitting an essay, you are agreeing that SEEDS can use the essay or excerpts from it for publication or other uses, with your name as the author, with your image. Winners will be encouraged to attend an informal meeting with the SEEDS volunteers during the month of July. 

SEEDS (Sustainable Energy Education and Development Support) of Northeastern Pennsylvania is a local nonprofit environmental education organization that promotes energy efficiency, renewable energy and sustainable living in the Upper Delaware region. Our goals include improving the health of our environment and local economy through energy efficiency and sustainability practices, such as conservation and recycling. For more information, visit, call 570-245-1256 or email