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Audubon of Southwest Florida is pleased to offer a merit-based scholarship through our Charles Foster Conservation Fund. The Scholarship annually funds up to $1000 for tuition, books, and fees, for a second year (or beyond) environmental studies major, or major in one of the natural sciences at Florida Gulf Coast University.

Applicants must demonstrate future plans for a career in environmental studies. The awardee will be expected to acknowledge receipt of the award, and also give a presentation at an Audubon of Southwest Florida monthly meeting during the course of the academic year.

This scholarship is awarded as a foundation scholarship through the FGCU Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships. Applicants must be students at FGCU, and must meet the criteria set by the university.

For further information, please click the FGCU Icon.

When he died in 2005 at the age of 91, Charles Edgar Foster was remembered as someone who taught locals about the land and water of their home ground. Known as “the Caloosahatchee River Rat,” he was a member of the pioneer Hendry and Blount families, and his roots and passions ran deep in the region defined by the river that gave him his nickname.


After serving in World War II and completing a master’s degree at Columbia University, he taught in the Lee County schools. Upon retiring in 1975, he devoted himself to prodigious volunteer work, notably the Calusa Nature Center and Planetarium and the Alva Museum, which he helped to found. He wrote The Benevolent Dane, a biography of Capt. Peter Nelson, founder of Alva, Florida, and one of Lee County’s first commissioners. He co-founded the Caloosahatchee River Citizens Association (known as RiverWatch and now as Calusa Waterkeeper) with Rae Ann Wessel, and delighted in leading river outings.

In 1991, Audubon of Southwest Florida established a Conservation Education Fund, and the scholarship it funds bears his name to honor his work.

Donations to the Fund are invested in perpetuity, and the interest generated from the principal is used to fund the chapter’s conservation and educational goals.

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