Outdoor Communicators of KS Scholarship

One of the best-known Kansans of his time, Steve Harper left his mark on Kansas through photographs and words. During his career, he was a photojournalism instructor at Wichita State University, the Wichita Eagle’s photography editor and eventually, the newspaper’s outdoors writer and photographer. His series in the Eagle on Kansas day trips led to the publication of his popular book, “83,000 square Miles, No Lines, No Waiting,” His outdoor page was several times voted the best of its kind in the nation.

Steve died of cancer in 2000, at the age of 55, in the Newton house where he had grown up and raised three daughters. The Harper Memorial Scholarship was started at the suggestion of Governor Bill Graves, among others, as a way to honor Steve’s dedication to Kansans and serving the Kansas outdoors. An excellent judge of character, Steve put as much stock in a person’s initiative and accomplishments as academic successes. The scholarship committee will give equal consideration to all three qualifications.

Steve Harper

2023 - 2024 Scholarship Winner

Peyton Erickson Buck 2022

The 2023-2024 winner of the Steve Harper Scholarship was high school senior Peyton Erickson of Inman.  She is a trap shooter, hunter (she’s hunted deer since she was 12 years old), outdoor photographer and overall avid outdoor enthusiast hoping to major in Agribusiness with a minor in Journalism at Kansas State University this fall.  She would love to work for an entity like Ducks Unlimited after graduation.

Scholarship Information

This $1,000 scholarship (paid at $500 a semester) is presented to Kansas youth pursuing wildlife or nature-based careers at Kansas colleges, with Kansas-based career goals. The scholarship is sponsored and funded by the Kansas Wildscape Foundation and the Outdoor Communicators of Kansas – a group of assorted journalists, photographers and artists dedicated to sharing the greatness of the Kansas outdoors through print, broadcast and online markets. For more information on the group, visit their Facebook page.

The Kansas Wildscape Foundation is also assisting with funding and administration of this scholarship.

ELIGIBILITY – Scholarships are available to any graduating senior enrolled in a Kansas high school that plans to attend a college in Kansas and study wildlife or nature-based curriculum or outdoors journalism. University students enrolled in a wildlife or nature-based curriculum, or pursuing outdoors journalism are also eligible. Scholarship award recipients are selected without regard to race, color, religion, or sex. Applicant chosen as the recipient of this scholarship will be required to show proof of full-time enrollment (minimum of 12 credit hours) in order to receive the scholarship funds.

A letter of recommendation from a teacher, counselor, coach or employer must be included with the completed application (available by download below). Those hoping for outdoors journalism should send examples of their work. The completed application and supporting documents have to be received by April 30th each year and mailed to:

Kansas Wildscape Foundation
Attn: Steve Harper Scholarship
614 N. Main St.
Newton, KS 67114

Deadline: April 30, 2024

Click below to download the full application and guidelines:

Harper Scholarship Application

Michael Pearce, (Chairman of the Steve Harper Scholarship Committee) can be reached at with any further questions.

Marc Murrell (Wildscape Executive Director) can be reached at or by phone (316) 391-0807.