LEAF Awards Scholarships

Nine Green Industry Students Receive A Total of $38,100

by Marianne Estournes
Chair, LEAF Scholarship Selection Committee

The 2020 Landscape Educational Advancement Foundation’s Scholarship Selection Committee is done for another year. All of the students have received their checks and are hopefully enjoying a lighter burden of educational expenses.

I have had the honor of serving on the Landscape Educational Advancement Foundation’s (LEAF) Selection Committee since 1992 and have been Selection Committee Chair since 2017.

I have always enjoyed serving on the committee, reading the student’s story through their application and letters of recommendation and then awarding scholarships to students who meet the criteria and align with the goals of CLCA. I enjoy collaborating with the women on the committee, gathering our scores, discussing our different impressions and thoughts and then watching the “cream rise to the top” as we select the best students.

I truly appreciate the relationships I have made with my fellow committee members, Mary Cohen, Jan Nord, Wendy Emeterio, Ellin Chariton, Cindy Singletary, Lani Hanker and Jill Hertzer. While we cherish our in-person, two-and-a-half day selection gathering, we adapted for 2020 and held our meeting virtually in one day. Different, but we got the job done.

As Selection Chair, I now have the privilege of actually speaking with the recipients, fielding question, confirming addresses and just conversing with them. We do text and email but actually speaking to these young people has been a real joy. They are grateful, humbled and honored to be chosen as a recipient and have not hesitated to express their gratitude.


“I admire their passion and focus and believe that these young people will be leaders in our industry.”


These students were chosen for various reasons, not only on eventual goals, but for their dedication, their involvement in community and school projects, obstacles they have overcome and for what their professors expressed in their letters. Many students underplay themselves in the application and many professors say pleasant, generic comments in their letters. But some instructors and employers go deeper into a student’s character and involvement with class and school or job performance and have clear reasons why this student will go forward, succeed in their goals and serve the Green Industry. Everything is taken into consideration.

Thank you to Candi Fiske and the men and women who had the vision for LEAF and made it a reality. And thank you to all members who have donated to LEAF over the years and helped to grow the assets to over $1 million. Without your generous donations LEAF would not be able to support these students in their education.

Thank you to CLCA Executive Director Sandra Giarde, CAE, and the CLCA staff for their work in making all of this possible. They receive the applications and distribute them to the committee. Sandra also does all of the initial promotion of the scholarship in January. We so appreciate your efforts!

I am grateful, again this year, for the privilege of serving as Selection Chair and the opportunities I have had to connect with these amazing students and share their stories. Please look for their names on job applications. We have confidence that they will serve you well!

Apply now for a LEAF scholarship

2020 LEAF Recipients

Christopher Burroughs

Chris is majoring in Environmental Science and Sustainable Landscape at Mira Costa College. He wants to get his C-27 license and transfer to Cal Poly to get his BS.

Helene Dondero

Helene is a unique recipient – she is studying at Cal Poly, SLO to become a high school agriculture teacher with her emphasis on landscaping and horticulture. She is now getting her teaching credential. She has a strong background with FFA. This is the second scholarship we have given her because we feel that she will touch the new generation of landscapers.

Edward Fortenberry

Edward is majoring in Environmental Horticulture and Plant Science at Butte College. His family lost their home in the 2018 Paradise fire and is currently involved with the rebuilding of his city. His goal is to become a C-27 contractor and continue his work there.

Daniel Hurt

Daniel is majoring in Plant Science and Pest Management at Cal Poly, Pomona. He is a veteran with a young family. He received a LEAF scholarship last year.

Dani Lima

Dani is majoring in Environmental Science, Plant Science and with a focus on drought-tolerant, California natives at Mt San Antonio College. She has worked at Disney for a few years in their gardens and currently is doing an internship with the City of Long Beach. She will transfer to Cal Poly next year

Ignacio Moreno

Ignacio is a third-year recipient. He started at The College of the Desert and is now attending Cal Poly, Pomona. He has worked for his uncle’s landscape company for years and already has a C-27 license. He is majoring in Plant Science and Landscape Architecture and has just become a Certified Arborist. He is a dedicated student and a delightful young man.

Greg Thayer

This is the fourth scholarship that Greg has received. He is now at Cal Poly, Pomona, majoring in Landscape Architecture with a minor in Regenerative Studies. He has an AA in Arboriculture. He wants to specialize in ecological landscape design, focusing on water conserving landscapes.

Shana Seligman

Shana is attending Cabrillo College majoring in Horticulture with a focus toward Nursery.

Jing Yan

Jing in attending Foothill College with the goal of becoming a Landscape Designer and Horticulturist. This is her second scholarship.