Rachel Carson.

Chatham University has honored esteemed alum and mother of modern conservation Rachel Carson by providing educational opportunities for students interested in environmental work. Now the private institution wants to recognize youth who embody her spirit.

The school recently put out a call for nominations for the Rachel Carson Healthy Planet Award, a national distinction geared toward high school juniors and seniors dedicated to sustainability and community development. For the first time, the school will also accept nominations for high-performing community college students.

Other new developments include increasing the amount of the award’s merit scholarship from $1,000 to $5,000 and giving winners preferred consideration for Chatham’s full-tuition Rachel Carson Scholarship.

“That’s very much related to trying to improve access and affordability to transfer students as well as new first-year students,” says Amy Becher, vice president of Chatham’s enrollment management.

In an official statement, Chatham University president David Finegold said the award was created to extend Carson’s “legacy, inspiration and impact” to a new generation. Born in Allegheny County, Carson went on to become an influential writer and naturalist after graduating from Pennsylvania College for Womennow Chatham Universityin 1929. Her 1962 book, Silent Spring, which looked at the damaging effects of chemical pesticides, is credited with inspiring the environmentalist movement and the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency.

Chatham has based much of its focus on preparing future environmental leaders with programs at its Falk School of Sustainability, a green facility based on the 388-acre Eden Hall Campus in Richland, PA.

Winners of the Rachel Carson Healthy Planet Award also receive a special edition of Silent Spring, a certificate of achievement and a discounted invitation to Chatham’s summer Sustainable Leadership Academy.

Students must be nominated by a teacher, school counselor or advisor. Applicants must meet all Rachel Carson Scholarship requirements and be accepted to Chatham in order to qualify for a scholarship interview.

The deadline for nominations is April 1, 2017. The deadline for the scholarship is April 1, 2017 for community college students and November 1, 2017 for high school seniors.

Amanda Waltz is a freelance journalist and film critic whose work has appeared locally in numerous publications. She writes for The Film Stage and is the founder and editor of Steel Cinema, a blog dedicated to covering Pittsburgh film culture. She currently lives in Pittsburgh with her husband and oversized house cat.