Stories from the Field

On April 10th, SCA teamed up with national supporter Exelon to kick off National Volunteer Week with hands-on service at Garfield Park Conservatory in Chicago.

New York City just can’t seem to escape the wintry weather this season, but that doesn’t stop SCA ConSERVE NYC volunteers from working to get the city’s public lands in shape for spring.

By Joseph Thurston

Bears playing basketball. I repeat: Bears playing basketball.

ABOVE: Kahmia (right) yanks invasives at Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge in New York City.

NPS ACADEMY 2015 – NEW YORK HARBOR By: Kahmia Moise

By Joseph Thurston

Can I recycle this plastic bag? What about this candy wrapper? Such questions are frequently asked in these thoroughly packaged times, yet not so easily answered.

SCA Leaders Jean Bartholomew and Emily Fonti made a guest appearance on CNN this weekend — starring in Morgan Spurlock’s “Inside Man” episode examining the role of young people in National Parks.

By Joseph Thurston

ABOVE: Jewel Cave looking all cavey and whatnot. 

Sure. You could spend a few months serving the planet with SCA at a world famous national park, working around tourists, instagramming thoroughly oggled geysers in your spare time. Your friends back home will check their phones and be all like, “Oh. Look at that. Dylan’s hanging out at Yellowstone or something. That’s cool.”

By Joseph Thurston

ABOVE: St. Regis Canoe Area

Sure. You could spend a few months serving the planet with SCA at a world famous national park, working around tourists, instagramming thoroughly oggled geysers in your spare time. Your friends back home will check their phones and be all like, “Oh. Look at that. Dylan’s hanging out at Yellowstone or something. That’s cool.”

Apply early enough and often enough, and it’s possible that we can make that happen.

By Joseph Thurston

If you love parks as much as we do, you’ll L-O-V-E this video from More Than Just Parks. 

The “rock” at :44? Priceless!

MTJP | Joshua Tree from More Than Just Parks on Vimeo.

By Joseph Thurston

ABOVE: Ranger Glenn leads SCA NPS Academy members on an ecology hiking featuring the flora and geology of the Great Smokies.

Each spring for the last 5 years, young conservationists of diverse background have come together from colleges and universities all over the country, converging at select national parks to begin a year-long conservation service experience called SCA NPS Academy.

The Student Conservation Association’s website, www.thesca.org has won a ‘Best in Class’ prize for Nonprofits from the Interactive Media Awards (IMA), with a total score of 491 out of 500. The IMA Competition, held since 2006, recognizes the highest standards of excellence in website development and design and seeks to “elevate the standards of excellence” on the internet.

By Joseph Thurston

SCA has been a proud partner of AmeriCorps since the program was created back in 1994. The 19,000 AmeriCorps members that have served with SCA since that time have dedicated over 10.4 million hours to protecting, studying, and promoting the spaces where nature thrives all over the country, from cozy community parks in bustling urban centers to vast and remote wilderness reserves.

By Joseph Thurston

This week marks the beginning of SCA NPS Academy 2015, as 20 young conservationists hailing from myriad backgrounds gather in Grand Teton National Park for a 7-day look at what it’s like to work for the National Park Service as protectors and promoters of America’s pricelessly wild publics lands. All 20 will continue the experience this summer when they serve as SCA AmeriCorps interns at national parks from coast to coast.

By Joseph Thurston

Humans have been blamed for the demise of myriad creatures…so imagine helping to pull one back from the brink of extinction.

The Key Largo woodrat has a gray-brown back, a white belly, and measures 14 inches from nose to tail. “They’re kind of cute,” states SCA intern and AmeriCorps member Chris Burgess. “They have big Mickey Mouse ears.”

SCA Intern Chris Burgess is helping pull back the Key Largo woodrat from the brink of extinction

Marty Talbot’s conservation credentials are seemingly endless: she’s an award-winning biologist, an accomplished author, and her pioneering research has spanned more than 50 years and 60 countries. Marty is also co-founder of SCA.

Marty Talbot, Scott Warthin, Liz Putnam discuss their work with SCA
By Joseph Thurston

Theodore Roosevelt was a grand man known for grand gestures, thus it should be no surprise that he loved—LOVED—the Grand Canyon. When he visited it in 1903, making him the first president to do so, his reaction was, well… grand. “The Grand Canyon fills me with awe. It is beyond comparison — beyond description; absolutely unparalleled throughout the wide world … Let this great wonder of nature remain as it now is. Do nothing to mar its grandeur, sublimity and loveliness.

By Joseph Thurston

The Danger Six, a “Special Operations Unit” composed of SCA Massachusetts Americorps members and staff, traveled to the city of Boston to aid in snow removal efforts. For three days and two nights, the unit cleared snow and received positive encouragement from many Bostonians. Although their service in Boston is complete for now, the Danger Six remain together and are willing to serve whenever they are needed.

The following text is excerpted from a field statement written by Danger Six member Daniel Dobrosielski

By Joseph Thurston

Today Steph Jeffries is a professor in the Forestry and Environmental Resources Department at North Carolina State University. In the summer of 1992, she was an SCA intern at Chugach National Forest in Alaska. 

Her recent book, Exploring Southern Appalachian Forests, gives readers rich, ecological insights into 30 different popular hikes in the area. She supports SCA because she sees it “…transforming students all the time.” 

By Joseph Thurston
This post was written for Open Spaces, the official blog of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. It’s part of a monthly series featuring SCA interns writing about their experiences working to promote, protect and study wildlife on public lands all over the United States.
By Joseph Thurston

Growing up in Pittsburgh’s troubled Manchester neighborhood in the 1990s, Quincy Kofi Swatson thought most of his doors were closed. “It was a homogenously poor neighborhood,” he says, “and homogenously of one race, and you’d get caught up in the mindset that everyone is in the same situation and there are limited ways to get out.”

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