On Friday, March 4th, 2016 an avid hiker from Wilmington, Delaware named Hua Davis set out to scale MacNaughton Mountain in the High Peaks Wilderness in the Adirondack Mountains of New York. Ms. Davis made it to the summit of the mountain, but died from hypothermia due to exposure later that same day.

New York State Forest Rangers were notified and searched the area for Davis. Her body was located the following afternoon. Davis’ clothes were soaked through, even though she had made an effort to light a fire. Davis was an experienced hiker. She had climbed all 46 Adirondack High Peaks in winter, as well as hiking sections of the Appalachian Trail and completing the Saranac Lake Ultra 6.

Davis’ death was also preventable. She had a sleeping bag, snowshoes and other winter gear in her car, but failed to take it with her, resulting in her death.

Davis’ daughter Echo, and son-in-law Steve, want to ensure that no one else perishes due to mistakes like Hua’s, so in that vein, Echo and Steve have set up a scholarship fund through Search and Rescue of the Northern Adirondacks, an all-volunteer 501(c)3 group based in Saranac Lake, NY.

The scholarship will provide financial assistance to search and rescue volunteers and members of the public who wish to increase their wilderness survival skills and medical training.

Davis Scholarship Application

General Public Scholarship – One Scholarship of up to $250 per year

  • Open to any member of the public who wishes to increase their wilderness knowledge, training or medical certifications
  • Scholarship is paid to recipient upon SARNAK’s receipt of successful completion of training, along with receipt for amount paid for the course

Scholarship for New York State Search and Rescue Personnel – One Scholarship of up to $250 per year

  • Applicants must complete all of the above
  • Applicants must also provide proof of membership in good standing of a SAR team that belongs to the New York State Federation of Search and Rescue Teams, including but not limited to, contact information for an officer of the team to verify standing

General Application and Administration Guidelines

  1. By applying, applicant grants Search and Rescue of the Northern Adirondacks right of use of application materials and/or photos for promotional use. Promotional materials used by SARNAK will not reveal applicant’s address, phone number or email. SARNAK will never sell or give away personal information.
  2. Courses and training must have a wilderness or backcountry agenda
    1. Examples include, but are not limited to: ADK outdoor skills workshops, NOLS, mountaineering schools, technical rescue, water rescue, ice rescue, wilderness first aid or higher, survival classes.
  3. Courses must take place from March 1, 2018 to March 1, 2019
  4. The scholarship money will be sent to the successful applicant as a reimbursement. The recipient must submit proof of amount paid for training and proof of successful completion before a check will be issued.
  5. Application packet must include a personal essay on why the applicant should be the recipient of the scholarship including what they hope to gain from the training; relevant wilderness experience; and any associated volunteer activities. Essay must be no more than 1,000 words.
  6. Application packet must be submitted to or by mail to Davis Scholarship, SARNAK, PO Box 1116, Saranac Lake, NY 12983 (Electronic submissions preferred)
  7. Applications must be received, electronically or by mail, no later than close of business on February 28, 2018 with decisions to be made at SARNAK’s March business meeting.
  8. Scholarship recipient  must submit a high-resolution color photo of themselves (preferably in a wilderness setting) along with proof of completion and cost of course.
  9. Applicant must demonstrate a desire to be a safer, more knowledgeable backcountry user.
  10. Incomplete application packets will not be considered.
  11. Members of SARNAK are eligible to apply, but must recuse themselves from voting during that year’s scholarship decision.
  12. Individuals may only apply for one scholarship each year.
  13. Administrator of the scholarship is not eligible to receive the scholarship.
  14. Race, color, creed, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, etc. will not be considered in the decision making process.

Davis Scholarship Application

To contribute to the Davis Scholarship fund, send a check to:

Davis Scholarship
PO Box 1116
Saranac Lake, NY 12983