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Protecting Tomorrow Today®

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OPAF has established a fund to provide financial support to our future professionals through bursaries and scholarships for educational purposes.

Each year a total of up to five bursaries of $2,000 each and three scholarships in the amount of $1,000 each are awarded to qualified students who meet the requirements of application. Applicants are students pursuing post-secondary studies in parks, forestry, horticulture, landscaping, conservation, or an environmental resource management field, and whose goals are aligned with those of the Foundation and the Ontario Parks Association:

“Ontario Parks Association (OPA) is committed to civic beautification, the advancement, protection and conservation of parks, open space and the environment as we practice Protecting Tomorrow Today® in the province of Ontario.”

Qualifying for Awards

OPAF Scholarship & Bursary Awards are open to students who are:

  • Canadian Citizens or Landed Immigrants, or International Students (For the Len Stanley King of Kew Scholarship only - U.S. and Canadian students are eligible.)
  • Enrolled at a recognized post-secondary  educational institution in an ongoing multi-year college or university program at the undergraduate or graduate level.
  • Pursuing studies in a program that has a focus on parks, horticulture, landscaping, conservation, or environmental resource management.

Please note: Awards to successful applicants will be granted after confirmation of enrollment and continuation of study in their chosen program has been provided. Awards are limited to one per applicant and will be granted on merit, which will be evaluated by the Selection Committee on criteria submitted in the application package.

Why should you apply?

  1. Less stress! As a successful applicant you will be able to better focus on your studies, with extra money contributing to your educational expenses.
  2. Completing the application will give you experience in competing for funds. 
  3. You only have to complete one application to qualify for all available awards! The Selection Committee will determine which bursary or scholarship is best suited to the most qualified applicant.
  4. You have until the end of May to apply.  Lots of time to compile the necessary information, secure the references and draft a cover letter!
  5. Receiving an award looks good on a resume!
  6. Successful applicants are honored by the OPA and OPAF and recognized in the Green Sward (the OPA magazine) – a valuable addition to your portfolio.
  7. Successful applicants receive a one year membership to the OPA, providing the student with networking, educational and career opportunities of a lifetime!

For more information please contact:

2023 Award Recipients

Congratulations to this year's very deserving recipients!

·         Len Stanley - King of Kew Scholarship, - Amir Mohammadi - Seneca College, Environmental Landscape Management

·         Beulah and Harry Christian/Margaret and Ernie Seager Bursary – Jennifer Fedak – Fleming College , Ecological Restoration Program

·         Dave Gower OPAF Bursary, Sponsored by Plant Products – Fang Liu-Sofia - Algonquin College, Horticulture Industries Program  

·         Joyce Anderson Bursary, Sponsored by Maglin Site Furniture – Diana Jaber - Algonquin College, Horticulture Industries Program  

·         Protecting Tomorrow Today® Bursary, Sponsored by Molok North America- Brianne Mayer - Fleming College, Forestry Technician Program

·         Dan and Margaret Costea Bursary, Sponsored by Dan and Margaret Costea – Jonathan Nava Motta – St. Clair College, Landscape Horticulture Program

City of Mississauga Scholarship, Sponsored by Stihl Limited  Rachel Imre - Niagara College, Horticulture Technician Diploma

· Vic Hergott Memorial Scholarship, Sponsored by Openspace Solutions – Emily Taylor - Niagara College, Horticulture Technician Diploma

How to apply

Qualified applicants must register online and then submit the required accompanying documents outlined on the registration page to complete their application package. The application documents package must be post marked or emailed prior to midnight May 31st, 2024

All applicants will be evaluated based on the information provided in their application package by the Selection Committee. The Selection Committee is comprised of a quorum of the Ontario Parks Association Foundation Board. All decisions made by the Selection Committee are considered final. 

Please click here to print the 2024 application

Available Awards

The OPA Foundation has made available a total of five bursaries worth $2,000 each and three scholarship awards in the amount of $1,000 each.  Any bursary or scholarship awarded by The Ontario Parks Association Foundation is to be used towards:

  • Payment of tuition fees

  • The purchase of course materials (academic books and supplies)

  • Residency

  • Other associated educational expenses

City of Mississauga Scholarship

The City of Mississauga made this award possible because of the outstanding fund raising efforts by their Community Services Department staff. As hosts for the annual OPAF Golf Tournament in 2003 they raised more money for OPAF than any other single event in the foundation history to date. This award will be presented to an individual that the Selection Committee feels is most deserving of this scholarship.

Sponsorship of this award is still available

Joyce Anderson Bursary

This award was established through the generous donation made by Frank Anderson as a memorial to his loving wife Joyce. Frank was one of the founding members of the OPAF and served the OPA in many capacities throughout his distinguished career in municipal park services. The selection committee will award this bursary to a deserving student based on their academic performance and financial need.

This award has been sponsored for 2023 - 2025 by: MAGLIN SITE FURNITURE

Len Stanley - King of Kew Scholarship

Len Stanley was one of the founding members of the OPAF and had a long, distinguished career in the City of Toronto park system. He became known as the "King of Kew Gardens" by his fellow colleagues after becoming the superintendent of this Toronto park, and for his ongoing leadership capacity in the OPA. Awarded to a deserving student whose home address is in the GTA and meets the following criteria:

  • Will pursue a career in parks design, development, maintenance or administration

  • Exemplifies the joy of life and concerns for one's fellow citizens

  • Has a positive social outlook

  • Possesses a genuine desire to preserve and protect the natural elements of their community

  • Is a successful first year student in a college or university institution in Canada or the United States.

Sponsorship opportunity still available! Check out the details below.’

Protecting Tomorrow Today® Bursary

This award will be presented to a student registered in an eligible post-secondary program who has demonstrated exceptional involvement and commitment towards environmental protection and conservation. Students applying for this award should provide a detailed outline of related activities they have been involved in that have benefited their community, school or some other organization. Areas of activity can be related to conservation management, public park improvement, landscape design and or construction or some other form of environmental protection. The OPAF Awards Committee reserves the right to withhold the award in any given year if applicants do not fulfill selection requirements. Scholastic standing is not a criteria for selection.

This award has been sponsored for 2022 - 2024 by Molok North America Ltd

Dan and Margaret Costea Bursary
This award was established through a generous donation made by Dan and Margaret Costea. Dan has been a member of the Ontario Parks Association since 1959, and has been a great supporter of OPA throughout the years. Dan is a Past President and life member of OPA, and is also a Past President of the Saskatchewan Recreation & Parks Association.

This award will be presented to an individual that the Selection Committee feels is most deserving.

This award has been sponsored by: DAN AND MARGARET COSTEA

Beulah & Harry Christian, Margaret & Ernie Seager Bursary

These two couples, who were longtime friends and great supporters of the OPAF, donated this award. Both Harry and Ernie are former Presidents of the OPA, and were awarded lifetime memberships for their dedication and many years of service to the advancement of municipal and regional park systems in Ontario. Awarded to a qualified individual based on marks, but most importantly, need and effort.

Sponsorship opportunity still available! Check out the details below.

Dave Gower OPAF Bursary

Dave was a great supporter of the OPA throughout his career in the municipal park field. He was also a former President of the Association and a great advocate for the OPAF. This award was named in his honour and will be given to an individual who the Selection Committee feels is the most deserving of this bursary.

This award has been sponsored for 2023 - 2025 by Plant Products

Vic Hergott Memorial Scholarship

This scholarship honours the contributions of Vic Hergott, a lifetime OPA member and former president of the OPA. He was also a chair of the OPAF. Vic organized many Dave Gower golf tournaments, which financially supports the OPAF. Vic was employed for 34 years in the areas of municipal parks and recreation. At the time of his retirement, Vic was Director of Parks and Recreation for the City of Brantford, Ontario. This award will be presented to an individual that the selection committee feels is the most deserving.

This award has been sponsored for 2023- 2025 by OpenSpace Solutions Inc.

Looking for a College or University with parks, horticulture, environmental or other related programs? Click here for a list of Colleges & Universities in Ontario!

Want to help OPAF support students in parks, horticulture, environmental or other related programs? Consider sponsoring an award! Fill out the Sponsorship Application to sponsor an award for 3 years.

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