Catoctin Group of the Sierra Club sponsors The John Muir Scholarship for Frederick County students

The John Muir Scholarship was created to support Frederick County students who wish to pursue a conservation or environmental field of study. We believe there is nothing more important than investing in our young leaders of tomorrow!

The Catoctin Group of the Maryland State Chapter of the Sierra Club is proud to sponsor The John Muir Scholarship for High School Seniors attending Frederick County Public Schools. Since our first awards in 2015, the scholarship program has supported students across Frederick County providing financial support while allowing them to pursue their passion of protecting the planet.

We are proud of the fact that of the more than 160 Sierra Club groups across the country, the Catoctin Group is the only group offering a scholarship to future environmentalists.

Mission: The mission of The John Muir Scholarship is to encourage and support the next generation of environmentalists and wildlife conservationists from Frederick County.

You can read about our latest student recipients and learn how you can make a contribution to our scholarship program. Click on the link below to learn about the 2017 student recipients and read the 2017 director message!

The John Muir Scholarship Newsletter 2017 Edition

To Apply: The 2018 application will be available in January 2018. (As an example, you can download and review the The John Muir Scholarship, 2017 Application on this page.)

Donations: To make a contribution please send your donation to:

The John Muir Scholarship
P.O. Box 308
New Market, MD 21774

All checks must be made payable to: The Sierra Club Foundation

Please indicate on the memo line of your check: Catoctin Group Maryland Sierra Club – John Muir Scholarship Program

Donations to the Sierra Club Foundation are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law.

For Additional Information or Questions: Contact Lee Popkin at

The John Muir Scholarship on Facebook

The John Muir Scholarship on the Sierra Club Catoctin Group website

Sierra Club Catoctin Group on the web

The Sierra Club Catoctin Group encompasses Carroll, Frederick and Washington Counties in Maryland. The geography of the region and the area these counties cover offers many opportunities to explore nature. But it presents a challenge to organizing our over 1,000 members, as it can take up to an hour to travel from Carroll and Washington counties to Frederick City, our historically central meeting place. If you have any questions or would like to get involved, we encourage you to visit our Contact Us page.

Below is some (most) of the content from the October, 2017 issue of The John Muir Scholarship newsletter, reformatted a bit for this space.

Greeting friends of the John Muir Scholarship,

Our 2017 John Muir Scholarship recipients are well into their freshman year of college, beginning a new chapter in their life on their way to a career in environmental stewardship. As we look back at the completion of another successful year and award season we are hopeful and enthusiastic about our programs future. This past spring our program awarded three scholarships in total, one each to Catoctin High School, Governor Thomas Johnson High School, and our first at Oakdale High School.

Today’s challenges facing our environment are unpresented. Our public lands and national parks are under assault by the energy industry, mining industry, logging industry, and our own government. The deregulation of environmental protections and reversal of the Obama Administration climate initiatives threatens our communities and our way of life. Our departure from the Paris Climate Accord has signaled to the rest of the world that the United States is no longer a leader in climate science. Scientists with the Environmental Protection Agency are regulated to the bench as climate deniers take over leadership positions at the agency. The 1972 Endangered Species Act faces an uncertain future as the Department of Interior refuses to enforce the laws undercutting its mission of saving critically endangered species and increasing the odds of a major extinction event in the coming decades.

The John Muir Scholarship faces these challenges head on! Our mission is to encourage and support young leaders, preparing them to take on the environmental challenges facing our world in the coming decades. From local organizations like Chesapeake Bay Foundation and Clean Water Frederick to non-governmental organizations and non-profits such as Rios to Rivers, Panthera, Conservation International, and the World Resources Institute. At the John Muir Scholarship we know it is our young people who will lead these organizations and face the challenges head on.
Once again, a sincere thank you goes out to members of our own Catoctin Group who have donated their time and personal finances to support this program, to the hard working teachers and school administrators at the schools where we offer this scholarship, and to community members who have supported and championed this program on behalf of their local students. 

I hope you will enjoy reading about our scholarship award students in this newsletter as they are truly inspiring. To our 2017 recipients, I hope you have a great freshman year and once again, congratulations and best wishes as you embark on fulfilling your passions!

Lee S. Popkin
Director, The John Muir Scholarship

[Click on any of the four profiles below to open a larger and easier to read version.]


The JMS is working closely with Sierra Club national staff to create a website complete with a crowd funding source for the collection of donations. The dedicated JMS web page will only be accessible through a link provided on the Sierra Club Catoctin Group webpage and the crowd funding source will be linked to a restricted John Muir Scholarship account at the Sierra Club Foundation.

This project, initiated in October of 2016, will improve the tracking and accounting of donations made exclusively to the scholarship. It will allow us to capture data on donors that will assist in creating a reliable donor database. Once fully implemented, donors will be able to make a secure gift to the scholarship program using a debit or credit card. We anticipate an increase in donations being made to the scholarship program given the convenience of making a secure payment online rather than sending a check.

Completion is anticipated just in time for the holiday season. Follow us on Facebook for updates on this project and other scholarship news.