Every year, SCA provides training, tools and projects that place motivated teens and young adults in the field to effect changes great and small. How do we measure the effects? Sometimes its through decreased CO2 levels or by the tons of trash collected or in the number of trees planted. Our success is also measured by the lessons learned, the perspective gained and the lives we transform—today and into the future. Often when the SCA project is over, the success story is just beginning. Take a look at some of our most recent accomplishments.

We are now into our second week of our first hitch. We are the first ever NH Corps crew to have a full hitch in Maine. The project is to replace a boardwalk through the Saco Heath near the mouth of the Saco River in South East Maine. A heath is a form of a bog. In Saco, two adjacent ponds were filled in with peat.

At the end of the Harding Icefield Trail, it feels like the end of the world.

There is no grand finale, no plunging cliff, no soaring overlook. Just flags through the snow, and tracks, and then nothing. Snow, and rock, and Exit Glacier, and the far reaches of the Harding Icefield on the horizon, still heavy-coated with thick sugary white.

Erryday I’m shovelin’. (Shovelin’, shovelin’.)

Shovelin’ out the Harding Icefield Trail, that is—scooping snow out of the track, piling it on switchbacks or trampled vegetation to protect plants and the trail from erosion.

This is my first SCA internship. Right now, I’m on my first hitch doing conservation work for the first time. I’m living in a large community, cooking and doing chores on a mass scale – all for the first time.

On January 6th, when a fellow member Stamati picked me up in New York to go to Bear Brook we talked at length of what it would be like. What would the cabins be like? How do we cook?

Now that our trail was finished all we needed to do was build the benches and trashcan holder in order to complete our project. But we ran into a few bumps along the road, at first the wood wasn’t in on time and when it came in it wasn’t the correct kind. Luckily Bobby was nice enough to take it to the store and exchange it that same day.

“Stupendous.”
“Singularly stupendous.”
“Indeed, simply marvelous, sir.”
“Even though the rain put a dapper on the day, it was splendid nonetheless.”
“DAMPER, not dapper, you idiot.”
“Quit being such a nuisance.”

They call over to us as we cross the Exit Glacier parking lot. “Hey, are we a nuisance yet?”

I can’t help but burst out laughing at the YCCs.

I like to rock climb, a lot. When I looked at this internship based out of Bear Brook State Park, the second thing I did was find out the location of the nearest cliff/boulder field. Since coming to New Hampshire, I’ve been able to get around to some really cool places. My friend Scott and I went to Franconia Notch State Park to climb Cannon Cliff.

“EPMT training, day four: Today, I pulled out baby trees by the roots and left them by the side of the road to die. And I feel great about it.” I pulled a mock sad face.

One of the biotechs working in eastern Alaska laughed. “You should totally feel great about doing some good for the ecosystem.” She hefted a bright orange weed wrench and grinned.

Double rainbow, coming from grocery shopping on the way to Colter Bay, sweet first day!

Another of my travel adventures begins. This time I get to intern in one the most awesome parks in the U.S. I was so happy to be placed close to mountains, whereas in Texas you barely see anything sticking out of the ground.

My first couple of days here I met most of the people I’ll be working with.

The Houston crew started off first thing Monday morning with orientation at the office. Everyone was able to meet for the first time, learn the names of tools they’d be using and learn what projects they will be doing in the next six weeks. Orientation also gave students a chance to get a feel for what they would be doing out in the field.

At first, the idea that the upcoming work week was to be spent solely in the fire office in Marblemount was kind of a drag. After all the cool places we had traveled to around the North Cascades National Park, we were going nowhere this week but back and forth between computer desks.

Our ‘before’ picture, as the crew enters Wind Cave for the first time.

This morning we met at the park headquarters and mixed up a batch of herbicide to spray for invasive Cattail and Reed Canary. After loading up our sprayers and numerous bottles of herbicide we piled in the truck and made our way to the site. We started off driving on HWY 12 along the stretch that wraps around the southern region of Lake Michigan.

When I was younger, I heard about communes and communal living; I was told they were strange and absurd. In college, a friend of mine spent a weekend with a community that shared religious, spiritual, and communal beliefs. He came back in awe of the generosity and kindness he felt, but also uneasy about the distance and isolation, which this community kept themselves in.

Getting up in morning isn’t easy. After a day of traveling and 10 days spent in the woods near Mt. SI Washington, I was ready to come back to my new home in Chesterton, IN. Training in Washington was very draining but worth every second! The scenery was beautiful, nestled in the Pacific North Western Mountains.

Congratulations to Amy Brown on winning the 2011 E3 Washington Award of Excellence in the Informal Educator category! She is an SCA Alumnus and a long-time partner with SCA in the North Cascades WILD partnership. Check out the full story and photos from the ceremony.

This month marks SCA’s 55th Anniversary. To date, SCA has engaged nearly 70,000 young people in conservation internships and jobs, resulting in more than 30 million hours of service on federal, state, and local lands. Two-thirds of SCA alumni remain active in conservation.

Editor’s note: The essay below, a tale of triumph and tragedy, was written by SCA Pittsburgh member Siraji Hassan for his graduation from SCA’s Leadership in the Environment Advancement Program (LEAP), a conservation program for youth in poverty. Siraji’s presentation won an award that evening and his story may well win your heart.

Seventeen year old Lakey Peterson is a champion surfer, conservationist, and spokeswoman for SCA. Check her out in this interview from Teen Kids News June 5, 2012 episode.

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SCA Themes

Our 2015 Summer Roadtrip takes you to amazing places and member stories around the country.

75000 Members have served with SCA

Over 75,000 women and men have served with SCA - read some of their stories here.

Read about the women and men who helped build America’s oldest and largest youth conservation service organization here

Meet some of the amazing women who blazed a trail with SCA

Member Bloggers

Rachelle Hedges
San Mateo County Parks
See Posts by Rachelle Hedges
Sarika Khanwilkar
Hobe Sound National Wildlife Refuge
See Posts by Sarika Khanwilkar
Elizabeth Braatz
St. Croix Wetland Management District
See Posts by Elizabeth Braatz
Noah M. Schlager
National Trails Intermountain Region
See Posts by Noah M. Schlager
Dakota McCoy
Yosemite National Park
See Posts by Dakota McCoy

Staff Bloggers

Ann Pedtke
New York City
See posts by Ann Pedtke
Joseph Thurston
Washington, DC
See posts by Joseph Thurston

Alumni Stories

Where will SCA take you?

“Something different” is what Jessica Aronson Cook was looking for when she first joined the Student Conservation Association (SCA) as...
Mary Nghe and Stacey Kinney -- two CDIP Interns with the Student Conservation Association
Growing up in Houston, Stacey Kinney says she only saw ducks on office park ponds. Now, here she was at...

New findings on SCA's youth impact - read about the Search Institute's study

A new multi-year study on SCA’s youth impact shows significant gains across a wide range of indicators.
Read about the Study here »

Michelle Bobowick, Interning with SCA in Yellowstone National Park, 1985
It was 1958, when our family affair with the Student Conservation Association began. Since, then our family has continued its commitment to improving the world around us through SCA.
During the summer of ’69, twenty students arrived at Great Smokey Mountains National Park ready to clear windfall damage in...
When Student Conservation Association (SCA) supporter and 1983 alumnus, Bob Kachinski, was fresh out of college, he went on what...

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