Nicholas Leon Wins 2024 DU ­­­National Scholarship

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Coral Gables, Florida, student awarded $10,000 to further his education

Nicholas Leon of Coral Gables, Florida, is the recipient of the 2024 Susie Konkel Ducks Unlimited (DU) National Scholarship.

Nicholas started the South Florida Varsity Ducks Unlimited Chapter in 2022, recruiting over 140 student volunteers by combining three neighboring schools into the fold. He helped lead this team by hosting three fundraising events that raised over $160,000 for wetlands conservation.  Additionally, Nicholas coordinated cleanup efforts in the Everglades with the Florida Wildlife Commission.

The DU Varsity chapter program is for high school students across the United States, teaching them leadership, business and communication skills while contributing to DU’s conservation mission.

“I was fortunate to be the first person to congratulate Nicholas and his parents, Derek and Alina,” said DU Chairman of the Board Chuck Smith. “What stood out to me on the call was how proud his parents are of Nicholas and how they have supported him in his volunteer career with DU at the high school level. I met Nicholas years ago when he began his journey with the DU Varsity program. He has a bright future as a leader and advocate for wetlands conservation.”

In addition to the $10,000 national scholarship, DU awarded 60 scholarships to deserving high school seniors from across the country: 10 conservation scholarships at $1,000 each and 50 varsity scholarships for $500 each.

The DU National Scholarship program would not exist without the generosity of donors across the country who have endowed it in perpetuity, including Susie Konkel. Her support of the national scholarship was instrumental in ensuring that this program will help financially support many deserving high school seniors as they continue their education.

“My grandfather shared his love of the outdoors and conservation with my late brother, Jim Konkel,” Susie said. “Jim’s enthusiasm for Ducks Unlimited inspired me to get involved. This national scholarship means I can help pass on the importance of wetlands conservation to future generations.” 

Scholarship applications are reviewed by a volunteer selection committee appointed by DU Advisory Senior Vice President to the National Youth and Education Committee Ken Carroll.   

“I am tremendously proud of Nicholas and the entire class of 2024 DU scholarship recipients,” Carroll said. “This marks the seventh year DU has awarded scholarships totaling $325,000 to high school seniors who are members of and volunteers for the organization. Students like Nicholas give me hope and energy for the future of waterfowling and wetlands conservation.”

Click here for a complete 2024 DU National Scholarship Program recipients list.

Ducks Unlimited Inc. is the world’s largest nonprofit organization dedicated to conserving North America’s continually disappearing wetlands and grasslands and other waterfowl habitats. Established in 1937, Ducks Unlimited has restored or protected more than 18 million acres thanks to contributions from more than a million supporters across the continent. Guided by science, DU’s projects benefit waterfowl, wildlife and people in all 50 states. DU is growing its mission through a historic $3 billion Conservation For A Continent comprehensive campaign. Learn more at www.ducks.org.



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