Donor Stories

When asked what first inspired her interest in nature, award-winning wildlife photographer, Barbara Baird, said it was the flash of blue from an eastern bluebird.  As a young girl, Barbara’s parents often took her family to visit parks just outside of Chicago, and it was on one of these trips that she encountered an eastern bluebird for the first time - and it was love at first sight. But, it wasn’t until Barbara spotted an indigo bunting many years later that she became a serious birder and wildlife photographer.   

Great ways to celebrate Earth Day can include a walk in the park, attending a local Earth Day event, or even starting a local garden.  However, to long-time SCA supporters, John and Patricia Case, every day is Earth Day. 

Where conservation is concerned, John and Patricia feel strongly that, “People have a responsibility to protect open spaces and those who are able should support and contribute to these efforts”

“My dad is the driving force behind my desire to serve the planet. He was the one who took me to my first National Park…”

In 1976, as a high school junior, Ellen Tohn flew from New York to California to join an SCA trail crew in Yosemite National Park. The airline lost her luggage – but Ellen found her calling.
Following another hitch with SCA, degrees at Cornell and MIT, and years of work in environmental policy, today Ellen is a nationally recognized expert in housing-based environmental health threats, indoor air quality and lead poisoning prevention.

Louise Shelley of Washington, DC, is a generous SCA contributor who also donates her time, contacts, and considerable energy to advancing the cause of youth conservation service right in her own neighborhood – literally. Louise’s magnificent backyard garden is a stone’s throw away from the Battery Kemble unit of Washington DC’s Rock Creek Park.  

With Thanksgiving right around the corner, those of us at SCA reflect on all that we are thankful for - from our members, to our federal and local partners, to our generous donors who make all that we accomplish possible. 
 
Clydia Cuykendall has supported SCA for over 15 years, as well as serving as SCA’s Board Director from 2003 - 2009.  Clydia was born and raised in Olympia, WA and developed her connection with nature as an avid lifelong lake swimmer.  She also gained an appreciation of the outdoors from her parents.   
 

“My mom stimulated our love of nature,” says Kim Medley, a professor of geography at Miami University of Ohio. “I have so many memories of amazing family camping trips and how happy we were on them.”

So it wasn’t much of a surprise in 1977 when Kim, then a college sophomore, took an SCA internship as a backcountry ranger at Olympic National Park.  “The first time in I thought I was going to die!  Ten days of supplies – it was a haul,” she recalls.

Kim and Gayla Medley at Olympic National Park

Charley Dickey began his path with SCA as a high school volunteer serving at Olympic National Park in 1965. Today, almost fifty years later, Mr. Dickey remains committed to SCA’s mission spending years as a member of SCA’s Board of Directors. He continues to work towards giving more young people the opportunity to gain hands-on service through SCA.

A key part of the SCA member experience is learning about conservation ethics, citizenship and being of service. But what happens after the SCA hitch, that summer of service or that awesome internship?