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Scholarship Criteria

(From the Humboldt Area Foundation Scholarship Description)

Origin: Humboldt County high school, Humboldt State University, or College of the Redwoods

Level: Graduating high school senior or first year college student

Destination: Humboldt State University or College of the Redwoods

Enrollment: Full-time or part-time

Field of Study: Not considered

Important: Demonstrated activism and continuing passion for protecting the environment. 

Additional Essay: Write about your hopes and personal commitment to environmental activism.

About the Scholarship

The David Nathan “Gypsy” Chain Memorial Scholarship is now accepting applications from high school seniors and first year students at Humboldt State University and College of the Redwoods.


David Nathan Chain was a young forest activist killed in 1998 while trying to prevent illegal logging near Grizzly Creek in the Van Duzen River valley.  On the 20th anniversary of his death, community leaders, friends and fellow activists established a fund to provide an annual $1,000 scholarship for a student who has demonstrated commitment to environmental protection through volunteer, activist, or academic work.  The scholarship fund is administered by the Humboldt Area Foundation.


Raised in Texas, David traveled to Humboldt County in the midst of the timber controversy.  He learned tree-climbing and nonviolent protest tactics, working with Earth First! and took the woods name “Gypsy.” The story of his commitment to the forest, and his tragic death at twenty-four is told in A Good Forest For Dying, by Patrick Beach, (2004).

Rabbi Naomi Steinberg, who helped establish the scholarship, comments, “This scholarship fund is very important to me. Twenty years ago David lost his life near my home in Carlotta, and I had the honor of speaking at his funeral in Texas, a heart-wrenching event.  He was a wonderful young man, deeply loved, and sorely missed all these years. The scholarship is an opportunity for healing and comfort for his family and friends, and for all of us who were touched by his death.”


Apply for the scholarship now through the Humboldt Area Foundation! High school seniors planning to attend HSU or CR and first year students who will continue at HSU or CR are eligible to apply. Applications close March 15.  The recipient will be announced in June.  


Fundraising efforts for the scholarship are ongoing toward a goal of $25,000, which will fund the scholarship in perpetuity.  Future fundraising events will include a film series and a March 10 evening concert with activist/songwriter Darryl Cherney. Make a tax-deductible contribution to the scholarship.

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