Julia and David Kaback

Earthsavers of the Month

Sometimes conservation service runs in the family. SCA events give family members an opportunity to support each other while working side-by-side to serve the planet. This month, our featured Earthsavers are a father-daughter team. High school student Julia Kaback and her dad David Kaback told us about their shared SCA story.

What’s your SCA story?

JULIA: I first learned about SCA while attending the Student Climate and Conservation Congress (Sc3) in 2011, an event sponsored by the US Fish and Wildlife Service and the Green Schools Alliance. Several hours of research later, I decided to take a risk by applying for a National Crew with SCA. Looking back, it was the best thing I ever did.

DAVID: Julia told me about the SCA after attending the Sc3 conference in West Virginia. I was excited about the program and strongly encouraged her to apply to be on a high school crew the following summer. Following Julia’s experiences with National Crews and with SCA’s Sandy relief efforts in New York City, my wife and I have become enthusiastic supporters of all SCA activities.

Why do you serve the planet?

DAVID: I serve the planet because the planet serves me. It has to be a mutual relationship.

JULIA: There are so many reasons I serve the planet! But one of my influences was my Uncle Mike, who worked at Jewel Cave National Monument as a Park Ranger right after he finished college. Hearing my uncle talk about his experiences prompted me to seek opportunities working in the National Parks. I have a passion for protecting the environment and educating others about environmental issues, and I want to put that passion into action.

What’s your favorite green space?

JULIA: My favorite green spaces are our nation’s National Parks: End of story. I don’t want to name one because they are all so incredible. If I had to pick a favorite, it would be Bryce Canyon. I love how Bryce Canyon is both visually appealing on a grand scale and also full of interesting little nooks and crannies. 

DAVID: I love any National Park, but Zion and the Grand Tetons are my favorites – and of course all New York City park lands. I especially enjoy hiking the North Woods in the upper part of Central Park, and exploring the sand dunes on the east end of Long Island.

How do you serve the planet outside of SCA? 

DAVID: I am a molecular biologist carrying out research on chromosomes. I also teach genetics and microbiology to medical and graduate students. Being a scientist and a teacher is both extremely fascinating and also consistent with my ‘60s-inspired desire to make the world a better place.

JULIA: As Co-Chair of my school’s environmental club The Green Team, I work with faculty, students, and parents on ways we as a school can go green. This year my school installed hand dryers, and eliminated all plastic products from our cafeteria. We have also instituted printer codes to save paper. I remain involved with SCA during the school year by attending events and reaching out to other high students about SCA’s programs. SCA will change your life!

Who inspires you to serve?

DAVID: Julia’s enthusiasm for the environment induces me to do all I can to help her. I am her chauffeur to help her get to service events she can’t reach by public transportation, and once I am there I pitch in too.

JULIA: My dad is the driving force behind my desire to serve the planet. He was actually the one who took me to my first National Park, Acadia. He also supports my ambitions to become a park ranger, and has instilled his own passions in me. Thanks for all the rides to SCA events, Dad, and being there to support me! I love you so much!