Last week wrapped up Alternative Spring Break in the Everglades. Be sure to check out Teresa’s blogs and follow her adventures with wildlife and restoration projects.
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.
Our last day at the Everglades. Even though it seems like we’ve been here for a long time, I didn’t think too much about leaving throughout the week and now it seems to be coming up very suddenly!
We spent our rec day touring the park, going to all of the neat places we’d passed without visiting on our way to work.
For our last day of work we headed out to the Hole-in-the-Donut, a former agricultural area where invasive plants like Brazilian pepper have overtaken the native habitat. Our worksite was a large artiﬁcially formed mound that would barely count as a hill in the north, but which towered over the ﬂat Everglades like a small mountain.
We left our camp this morning before the sun rose because we had a two hour drive to our worksite of the day, Lake Chekika. After meeting the other park volunteers who would be working with us, we stopped at a pond to see a pair of large alligators and several generations of their babies basking on rocks.
We spent our second day here in the Everglades cleaning the Long Pine Key campground. It’s on one of the Florida Keys – but it’s not an island at this time of year.
Our “before” picture on the social trail
Having been on two SCA trail crews, I usually associate SCA with trail construction (I spent the past two summers on high school crews building trails at Delaware Water Gap in Pennsylvania and Denali Alaska.) But today, my ﬁrst full day with SCA’s alternate spring break crew in Everglades National Park, I did the opposite - I made a trail disappear.
We are please to announce the winners of the I Heart Snow 2012 Photo Contest!
If anyone had told me a year ago that I would spend spring break 2012 planting seedlings on a burned out hillside, yanking weeds from a sandy desert basin, or counting turtles in Southern California, I would probably have been skeptical; but, as things have turned out, this has been a great week.
In keeping with the application of much of our free time around camp, I’ll lead off today’s post with a trivia question: what weighs ﬁve pounds, looks like a pair of pie plates, and likes to hide next to Yuccas, under bushes, and in holes? Answer: the desert tortoise.
Written by SCA alumni and recruiting reps Beth McCarthy, and Deanna Wyatt.
The second extension of SCA’s NPS Academy, a program designed to promote diversity within the National Park Service took place at Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
Our Joshua TreeHuggers were hard at work last week as they battled invasive Sahara Mustard and tracked desert tortoises.
Photographer Michelle Zaﬁco caught up with our Joshua Tree crew last week. Check out the full set on SCA’s Flickr page and enjoy the highlights in this slideshow:
We are halfway through March, and two awesome crews have enjoyed the Alternative Spring Break projects in Everglades National Park and Joshua Tree National Park.
Have you ever pulled weeds in a ﬂower or vegetable garden? If so, I’m sure you’re familiar with the aching feeling that develops in the small of your back and hands after a few hours labor. Now, picture a garden two miles square with weeds as big as a St. Bernard. Just such a land lies on Joshua Tree National Park’s eastern border.
Since all work and no play makes Alternative Spring Break the dull boy, today our crew spent the day enjoying all that Joshua Tree National Park offers its 1.7 million annual guests. After splitting into two groups, half of our team went rock climbing, and half went on a tour of Key’s Ranch.
It occurred to me after I ﬁnished yesterday’s post that you might wonder just how we went about planting trees across that burned out ridge. Since we spent today “plowing” the same ground, I decided to provide a step by step explanation of just what goes in to planting a Joshua Tree.
Dig a Hole.
It sounds simple, but, here in the desert, the ground ﬁghts back.
Picture, if you will, the site of a forest two years after a wild ﬁre. In my mind’s eye, the scene is dotted with burned out pine hulks and heaps of ash, but is dominated by green undergrowth and leafy seedlings. While this might be consistent with the sites of eastern and northwestern blazes, ﬁres in dry climates leave a different, more permanent, impact on the landscape.
Joshua Tree Photo © Jarek Tuszynski / Wikimedia Commons
After walking into the baggage claim area of Palm Springs Airport, I knew from the heap of camping equipment that greeted me that my spring break had begun. I introduced myself to Tyler, our group coordinator, and was shortly on the road to Joshua Tree with seven other students.
The Alternative Spring Break to the Everglades changed my life in so many ways. Not only did I meet an amazing group of people who I made real, lasting connections with, I learned about an ecosystem so unique and different than what I had ever experienced before.
The Everglades is a beautiful place and the national park really shows the diversity of the area.
Written by Evan Escamilla, SCA alum ‘10 and ‘11 and current SCA recruiter.What an amazing couple of days it has been here in the Tetons!
Photos by Erika Barker
We worked at Lake Chekika yesterday, clearing brush and invasive plant species like the Brazilian Pepper Tree. We worked so hard the rangers had to kick us out—we were tiring them out! It was a good thing though because the pepper tree has overtaken the park and the native plant species.
Our 2015 Summer Roadtrip takes you to amazing places and member stories around the country.
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
Where will SCA take you?
A new multi-year study on SCA’s youth impact shows signiﬁcant gains across a wide range of indicators.
Read about the Study here »