A Native American Humboldt State University freshman is the first recipient of a scholarship commemorating a young forest activist.
Anne Rants, a descendant of the Karuk, Shasta and Aleutian tribes who is majoring in child development, was named the first recipient of the $1,000 David Nathan “Gypsy” Chain Memorial Scholarship on Monday, according to a press release from the David “Gypsy” Chain Memorial Scholarship Committee. The scholarship is intended for students focused on protecting the environment.
“It means so much to me to be the recipient of the Gypsy Chain Memorial Scholarship because by the end of my senior year I became frustrated on how I was going to pay for college,” Rants wrote in a letter. “It means so much to my family and I that I am able to focus on my academic career and have financial support, as well as the huge moral support that the Gypsy Chain Memorial Scholarship gives.”
Rants has spent years working on environmental issues, including participating in cultural burning to maintain forest health, going on an exchange in Chile where she spoke about indigenous water rights and working with her mother, a fisheries biologist, to create safe habitats for fish.
Rants wrote she feels thankful that people are memorializing forest protectors like Chain because “people so often do not realize the role of an activist.”
“The whole first word in activist is ‘ACT,’” Rants wrote. “We often talk about issues like climate change and forest protection but do not take action, because we do not know where to start on issues that seem hopeless. Listening to indigenous environmental views and taking action NEEDS to happen.”
“So I would like to thank Gypsy, and all the people who made this scholarship possible, for giving me aid as well as hope,” Rants wrote.
Chain was a 24-year-old Texan killed by a tree felled by a Pacific Lumber logger on a logging site above Grizzly Greek, next to Grizzly Creek Redwoods State Park. Following a Humboldt County Sheriff’s investigation, the Humboldt County District Attorney’s Office declined to file any charges.
“Friends, family, and supporters have remembered Gypsy with contributions to the scholarship fund since 2018,” the press release stated.
The scholarship is available to Humboldt County-area high school seniors who are planning on attending Humboldt State University or the College of the Redwoods or to first-year students at either college. The award is specifically intended for students who are “dedicated to protecting our region’s forests or natural environment through scholarship, community organizing, or other activities,” according to the release.
The deadline for applying for the next David “Gypsy” Chain scholarship is March 16.
For more information about applying to the scholarship visit davidgypsychain.org or visit the available scholarships section of the scholarship administrator Humboldt Area Foundation’s website at hafoundation.org.