2018 Tammy Clark Memorial Scholarship

June 8, 2018


Rachael Wallen is presented with a Tammy Clark Memorial Scholarship award at Potlatch High School

Ben Dunning smiles after finding out he was a recipient of a 2018 Tammy Clark Memorial Scholarship.
































Employees of the Nez-Perce Clearwater National Forests recently donated funds to award two $600 scholarships to local graduates for the Tammy Clark Memorial Scholarship, which recognizes local youth who demonstrate a passion for National Forests and care for their communities. Scholarships were offered to high school students seeking to continue their education, and who live in communities near lands managed by the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests.

The 2018 recipients are Rachael Wallen of Potlatch High School and Ben Dunning of Kamiah High School.

Funds for the Tammy Clark Memorial Scholarship are raised during an annual employee auction, where Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests employees donate a variety of items and gift baskets for colleagues to bid on. Excerpts from this year’s student application essays were shared with employees at the auction this April, who went on to donate over $2,200. These funds will be divided for next year’s scholarships.

The scholarship review panel considered academic achievement, community involvement, and relationship with the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests as part of their selection criteria. Applicants were asked to submit an essay describing their connection to the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests, which provided a remarkable look at ways students connect with nature and their local public lands, and made choosing only two recipients very difficult.

At Potlatch High School, Rachael Wallen was a Class of 2018 Officer, held officer roles in other student groups, and was a National Honor Society inductee. She enjoyed participating in band, choir, and several varsity sports. She was an active volunteer and heavily involved with her local Girl Scout troop, church group, and several other organizations and participated in numerous volunteer activities. Wallen will attend the College of Southern Idaho.

In her essay, Wallen described spending her early childhood growing up in a logging camp, and the lessons she learned spending time in the forest. “The Clearwater Forest is not only a big part of who I am now but took a huge part in raising me,” she wrote. “I learned how to succeed and to fail. And that hard work and dedication go hand in hand.”

“I can still smell the fresh cut timber and see its mass piled up in decks alongside the dusty dirt road,” Wallen says of her childhood spent in the forest with her father, a sawyer. “I am just as proud of that heritage now as I was living it years ago.”

Ben Dunning was a varsity athlete and team captain during his time at Kamiah High School, and held officer positions in the Associated Student Body for two consecutive years. Outside of school, Dunning gave back to his community through annual volunteer efforts. During his senior year, he spearheaded a program to fill a school bus with canned goods for his school’s annual food drive. Dunning will attend the University of Idaho.

“At a young age my father introduced me to the forest and all of its many features and from that moment I fell in love,” Dunning explained in his essay. He recalled “countless times I’ve had meals consisting of venison, elk, morel mushrooms, coral mushrooms, pheasant, grouse and many other things in the grocery store of the Clearwater Forest.”

“To me the forest is an undiscovered world, a continuous enigma, and a place of utmost serenity,” Dunning wrote. “I lose myself in the woods and feel most at home.”

Wallen and Dunning received their scholarship awards from Forest Service staff during their respective high schools’ senior award nights.

The Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests established this memorial scholarship in honor of Tammy Clark, a Forest Service employee who passed away in 2017 following her battle with cancer. Colleagues described Clark as a fun person with a great smile and an infectious laugh. Clark was passionate about supporting youth in the local area, both her own children and others’. She was a volleyball and softball coach and frequently volunteered in her community of Orofino.

Remembering Clark’s heart for her fellow employees and passion for supporting local youth, the scholarship is designed to honor Forest Service employees who have left us too soon by offering opportunities for local youth to be successful into the future. “We could think of no better way to honor Tammy’s memory than by giving back to our local youth,” said Forest Supervisor Cheryl Probert.

Employees of the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests wish to congratulate Rachael and Ben for receiving the 2018 Tammy Clark Memorial Scholarships, and thank all applicants for their outstanding and moving essays.

Congratulations to everyone in our local Class of 2018–may you have many successes in your future!



Photo Captions

Above: Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests employee Norma Staaf presents the Tammy Clark Memorial Scholarship to Rachael Wallen at Potlatch High School. Forest Service photo by Stefani Spencer.

Below: Ben Dunning shares a smile with his mother upon hearing he was the recipient of a Tammy Clark Memorial Scholarship during Kamiah High School’s Class of 2018 senior awards night. Courtesy photo by Lauren Paterson, Muse Media Co.

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