Ethan Runnels Memorial Scholarship

The Living Legacy of our Dear Friend

Ethan Runnels left a lasting impression on both his friends and everyone he met through his kindness, gentle nature, and clever, playful humor. He tragically lost his life to the White River in 2009 while on a canoe trip. Though this was an enormous loss to the community, his spirit continues to impress and inspire all of those who knew him.

Ethan was a devoted practitioner of wilderness skills and experienced a direct relationship with the natural world. He interacted with nature through self-reliance, respect, and awe. Together with Matt Shull, they founded Eehsipana Urban and Wilderness Survival School in Indianapolis, which is now known as White Pine Wilderness Academy. Our beloved school and community is an extension of Ethan’s vision to share the value of the natural world to others.

With this scholarship, we aim to reduce the tuition cost for a great number of families, enabling many children to form a deep relationship with nature and wilderness skills in a way Ethan would appreciate.

How to Apply

Just as Ethan believed everyone has a birth right to be connected to nature, White Pine believes the lessons and experiences of nature should be available to all.

To apply for financial aid/tuition reduction through the Ethan Runnels Memorial Scholarship, fill out the “Financial Aid” application form during enrollment.

Scholarship (20% discount) available to 10 qualifying students up to $5,000.

We currently have $5,000 available. We'll offer more as we fundraise more.

Other Ways to Get Financial Assistance

Indiana Education Scholarship Account (ESA)

Tech Trep

Tech Trep Academy is happy to partner with students participating in White Pine Wilderness Academy Forest School. White Pine Wilderness Academy is an approved vendor to use supplemental learning points towards. Tech Trep awards a maximum of $850 a semester per student enrolled. If you are interested in learning more about how these programs support each other please reach out to


White Pine Wilderness Academy relies heavily on our community to assist in making our programs more accessible and sustainable. We very much appreciate everyone who can and has given to help make our programs increasingly more accessible. White Pine is a 501c3 non-profit, and your donation is tax-deductible.

Donate to the Ethan Runnels Memorial Scholarship directly here:

If your organization or business would like to be recognized in our marketing materials, please email

THANK YOU SO MUCH for helping keep our kids outside, and keeping Ethan’s memory alive.