Bridging Futures 2014

Elk near Interstate 90.  Credit:  WSDOT

Elk near Interstate 90. Credit: WSDOT

The Washington State Department of Transportation and the I-90 Wildlife Bridges Coalition have initiated the second year of our Bridging Futures scholarship program, asking students: “How should our future highways protect animals?”  We were so impressed with the unique ideas that we received in our 2013 scholarship contest, that we decided we wanted to reach out to high school students to tap into their talent for another year.

Washington State high school juniors and seniors interested in engineering, the environment or art should bring their ideas forward and apply for this scholarship.  “WSDOT is making some very high-tech advances in environmental design,” said Charlie Raines, I-90 Wildlife Bridges Coalition director. “We hope this scholarship program will inspire future engineers or environmental advocates.”

The student that best illustrates and explains their idea will receive a $1,500 scholarship toward college from our coalition, and a scholarship to a one-week course with Cascade Mountain School. The Cascade Mountain School has reserved a spot for our winner in their Mt. Hood Mountain to Mouth Camp program July 20-25, 2014.  If the winner is unable to attend this week, they can attempt to make arrangements for another program in lieu of this one at a comparable rate. The runner-up receives a $500 scholarship.

The scholarship application needs to include a model, blueprint or graphic of a wildlife crossing over a six-lane highway and an essay explaining how the model demonstrates the importance of wildlife crossings within the I-90 corridor. The essay must be no less than 500 words and may not exceed two pages.  Entries will be judged on a series of criteria outlined in the materials below including the creativity of the solution, considerations for the local issues that this crossing would solve from wildlife to snowloads, and design features that consider what motorists see from the roadway. Applications must be postmarked by May 2, 2014.

Students can download applications from Washboard.org and search for 2014 Bridging Futures, and on this page below.  All applications will be screened by Washington State Department of Transportation and our coalition’s staff, and the Top 5 will be presented to our panel of judges.  Winners will be announced in early June.

WSDOT engineers are designing the first wildlife crossing in the state, which will be built in 2015. The structure will be located 10 miles east of Snoqualmie Pass as part of the I-90 Snoqualmie Pass East project.  All ideas submitted help bring the creativity our state’s high school students to the final design tables for this structure.

Contest materials

Resources

Feel free to contact our staff at 206.940.7914 or info@i90wildlifebridges.org with questions or requests of professional biologists to interview in preparation of your entry.