Head on over to Krush for a new interview with pro surfer and SCA spokeswoman Lakey Peterson. Topics include her US Open win, her new documentary “Zero to 100 – The Lakey Peterson Story”, and of course her work in philanthropy!
Photo via Aaron Lieber
Editor's note: Ashley Alvarez an intern with the Student Conservation Association, spent her summer working in Glacier National Park in Montana. Through the SCA, high school and college students get to work in national parks and on other public lands in various roles. For Ms. Alvarez, her assignment at Glacier was interpretation. Here's her story.
My heart nearly stopped when I received the internship offer from the lead interpretive ranger at Glacier National Park. My first question, of course, was “Where’s that?”
As a Floridian, I had never heard of this Glacier and could not believe I would be heading to Montana. Beyond that, I had no idea what an interpretive ranger was. I had never taken any related courses beyond public speaking and I wasn’t exactly fond of talking to large groups of people. However, there was no way that I was going to turn down the offer of a lifetime, so I packed up my bags and headed north to the “Backbone of the Continent” to begin my internship with the Student Conservation Association. ... Continue Reading on National Parks Traveler
This post is from the SCA Veterans Fire Corps, who helped clear Hurricane Sandy-ravaged streets along the Jersey Shore. For a full scope of SCA's response to Hurricane Sandy, read SCA President Dale Penny's letter to constituents. Also read more about post-Sandy restoration with Hudson River Park Trust.
The scope of the devastation is hard to comprehend, even when you’re standing in the middle of it. Blocks and blocks of homes in splinters. Giant limbs and entire trees lying on the ground. Streets filled with sand and debris. Some have likened it to a war zone. They are not far off.
The people here are toughing it out but you can see signs of strain. Many of the homes that survived Sandy are still without power as temperatures fall. But when the saw crew shows up, residents are buoyed. “They honk their horns, cheer. They ask if they can buy us meals,” says Project leader Mike Madalena. “We tell them ‘thank you’ but explain as government workers we cannot accept.”
On Friday, the SCA corps members – who were trained in chain saw operation earlier this fall to thin Arizona forests and reduce the risk of wildfire – roamed the Jersey Shore, “clearing highways of downed trees with the county guys,” Mike says. “Look like this weekend we’ll clear trees from school grounds and local public areas.
“That’s Chris Zinski in the photo with the massive 880 chainsaw he used to cut up a big pine tree that had fallen into the road.” Chris, from Marquette, MI, did four years in the Marines. His career goal is to work for the Forest Service. He likely never thought he’d achieve it on the streets of New Jersey.
The SCA Veterans Fire Corps is currently clearing Sandy-ravaged streets along the Jersey Shore but getting there, as they say, was half the battle. Last Sunday, after volunteering to join the relief effort, the Arizona-based team assembled for a 6:00am briefing and within hours they were in the air. But soon they ran head-on into the same issues that have dogged area residents since the storm hit.
The corps couldn’t land in Jersey, and instead touched down in Philly. Then, it took two days to get to Fort Dix due to conditions on the ground. And by then, the Nor’easter was bearing down on them and they were ordered to stand down along with other Forest Service saw crews. “We wanted to get to work, but it was too dangerous,” said Project Leader Mike Madalena. “Debris that had been caught in trees was raining down from the wind.”
Mike and his team hunkered down in tents. As the wind howled and the snow fell, they felt guilty that they had heaters while so many local residents were still without power. Corps member Alleyn Friedrich, a native of Louisiana, had never seen so much snow before. His interest was more than passing; his expertise is in meteorology. A former Marine sergeant, Alleyn analyzed weather conditions and provided meteorological data to maximize U.S. artillery strikes in Iraq. At one point, to pass the time and ease their frustration at being stuck on the sidelines, the team made a snowman resembling Smokey Bear. They were, after all, still working for the Forest Service.
By Thursday, they were finally in the field. “We linked up with county road workers,” Mike texted (they have no internet access). “In our rental minivans, we looked for trees that had fallen in the road or those about to fall. We cut them down and moved them to the side for chipping at a later date.”
While he wouldn’t wish Sandy on anyone, Alleyn was grateful to at least begin their mission. “We’re here to help people who have been hurt,” he noted. “Make their lives a little better, a little closer to normal.”
As the long-term effects of Sandy become more evident, those in need of assistance becomes greater. Check back for updates on ways SCA is getting involved. Follow #SandyVolunteers for up to the minute news on where and how you can help.