466 West Hawley Road
Plainfield, MA 01070
SCA Massachusetts, in partnership with AmeriCorps and the Massachusetts Service Alliance, is currently in its sixteenth year of programming. This program partners with the Department of Conservation and Recreation to teach youth about the environment and to complete high priority conservation projects across the Commonwealth.
In October, 17 corps members arrived at the Kenneth Dubuque State Forest and began working at local schools to teach environmental education and standards-based science, plan service learning projects, and assist various nonprofits in the area.
In March, the crew will grow to a corps of 26 to embark on conservation work from new trail construction to building bridges to removing invasive species at parks and forests across Massachusetts.
Over the course of the 10-month program, the SCA Massachusetts corps members will teach and mentor over 1,000 students and complete over 60 high priority conservation service projects. The positive impact that their work will have on the land and people's lives, including their own, will be unquantifiable.
Corps member, Ryan Pennesi, has set up his wildlife camera around the Kenneth Dubuque State Forest to see what resides in our woods. At the far end of the pond, he baited the camera with a dead beaver. Take a look at the pictures he got. Can you identify the 2 different mustelids?The salamander pictures were from the migration this spring and were taken by hand.
Yahsef Johnson is a 5-month Corps member from New York. Yahsef studies at The City College of New York and is pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in the biology field. In the near future Yahsef wants to earn a Master’s degree with a concentration in microbiology. Ultimately, his dream is to become a professor. Yahsef strongly believes in renewable energy and thinks there is a bright future for alternate sources of energy.
Yahsef is very enthusiastic when it comes to studying animals and plant species. It is important to know the organisms around you and how they fill each and every ecological niche. Yahsef endorses that knowledge is power, and as a community, we all have a responsibility to use such power to conserve and protect the environment whenever and wherever we can.
Patricio Portillo comes from Pittsburgh where he has spent the past year working with teenagers. He helped run an afterschool program with NLA and was the JV soccer coach at Taylor Allderdice. Patricio received a Bachelor’s degree in Economics from Temple University and plans on going to graduate school for Natural Resource Economics. In his free time he enjoys reading and playing sports, in particular soccer, basketball, and tennis. He also enjoys traveling and has spent time in Central America, Europe and the Middle East; his next stops are Egypt and Japan.
Alex is a 23 year old from New Jersey. He is really excited for his tenure with the Student Conservation Core because he has always been passionate about conservation, education, and community service. He really enjoys running, reading, and rocking-out; and he cannot wait to do his part in the movement to maintain one of America’s great gems, state parks. After the SCA, he hopes to become a high-school teacher and inspire young minds to study biology, like he did at Brandeis University. He is thankful for this opportunity and he hopes to make a difference.
Sara Wyatt is a recent graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where she received degrees in North American Archaeology and Anthropology. Through UNC, she was involved with archaeological fieldwork and cultural resource conservation in southwestern Mississippi. Following graduation, Sara returned home to Asheville, North Carolina where she tutored Earth science by day and threw pots in her pottery studio by night. Sara enjoys gardening, hiking, climbing, yoga, photography, baking, and crafting.
Allyson is from Greenville, South Carolina, but grew up in northern Utah. While there, she spent many summers hiking and camping with her family and skiing every winter. It was this active childhood that jump-started her passion for the outdoors. Allyson recently graduated from Winthrop University with a major in Biology and a minor in Spanish. She is looking forward to getting her hands dirty as she works with other corps members to maintain trails and carry out other needed projects throughout Massachusetts. Some of Allyson’s interests are swimming, running, hiking, camping, reading, and exploring the outdoors.
After a few years working as an engineer, Garth found himself with a desire to jump out of his office chair and get his hands dirty. He loves to finally be part of a diverse community of like-minded individuals with the same values. To have the opportunity to be involved in projects where he can see the direct effect of his work is both rewarding and motivating.
When Garth isn't working, you may find him biking, canoeing or hiking... with a new love and appreciation for the trails he so recently took for granted!
Thursday, February 21st
SCA Massachusetts AmeriCorps members and staff rallied against the wind and cold to join Quincy residents in beautifying and maintaining a frequently used oceanfront park near Boston last Thursday.
The project, organized and coordinated by corps members and staff, was part of SCA Massachusett's Boston service week. With the help of Alexandra Echandi and Kevin Hollenbeck of the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR), SCA worked with over 50 dedicated volunteers to pick up garbage and clear trails at Squantum Point Park.
In the morning, the seventeen corps members divided up and led hard-working Boy Scout troops in a guided cleanup as well as a Leave No Trace Workshop. They introduced and enacted, while working, Leave No Trace principles to help Scouts earn a Leave No Trace merit badge. Others donned hardhats and joined generous Quincy high school students to assist with lopping and widening trail areas.
In the afternoon, many enthusiastic college students from an Eastern Nazarene College Ecology class and a local garden club member furthered progress on lopping and trash cleanup. In spite of the inclement weather, it was a productive and fun afternoon. All told, 14 bags of trash and 6 bags of recyclables were removed from the park and over 1 mile of trail was brushed, in addition to several historical displays.
For more pictures, open the pdf below!
Our Summer Nature Program will be June 25 - June 28 this year for students aged 6-12. Explore the forest and learn about local animals!
Applications are available below. Applications are due by June 6. Please fill out both attached documents and email them to firstname.lastname@example.org or mail them to SCA Massachusetts, 466 West Hawley Rd, Plainfield, MA, 01070.
(Ashfield, MA, February 1)- Kindergarten thru sixth grade students at Sanderson Academy will be experiencing a variety of winter activities this Friday. AmeriCorps members from the SCA Massachusetts program in Hawley will take the students outside to explore their local environment in winter.
Students will be split into small groups and will rotate through a variety of stations, including animals in winter, tracking, and snow shelters. They will have the opportunity to play a variety of active winter games and learn about physics concepts with tubes from Berkshire East. Corps members will eat lunch with the students and entertain them with a skit about animals in winter and related songs.
This is the fourth year of the Sanderson Winter Enrichment event. Kare Marshall, Math Interventionist at Sanderson Academy, said that she loves the positive energy the corps members bring to the event each year and notes that they are always “educationally flexible” with last minute schedule changes due to weather. The purpose of this event is for the students to be active and enjoy the outdoors during winter in Massachusetts.
The seventeen AmeriCorps volunteers from the SCA Massachusetts AmeriCorps program taught environmental education at the Martin Luther King Jr. Charter School of Excellence in Springfield, MA on Friday, January 25. SCA has had a four year collaboration with the Martin Luther King Charter School, beginning in 2009 when they helped to build a trail behind the new school building on Dorset Street.
For the environmental day event, eighteen classes of kindergarten through fifth grade students will have an opportunity to work with the AmeriCorps volunteers. Lessons followed the Massachusetts Curriculum Framework for each grade level, with an environmental focus. Members taught the students about their local habitat and how animals prepare for winter. The AmeriCorps volunteers hope to teach environmental education lessons that inspire curiosity and stewardship for the natural world.
On November 19, the seventeen AmeriCorps members of SCA Massachusetts went to the Abbott School in Florida, MA, to teach environmental education and help with school service projects.
The corps members worked with students from preschool to eighth grade. To help the students think about the upcoming holiday, the younger students had the opportunity to dress up like a turkey, sample fall foods that come from plants, act out a story, and create drawings of the things for which they are thankful. Fourth and fifth grade students worked with corps members to put the school garden to bed for winter, covering it with straw. Sixth through eighth grade students built a compost bin and raised garden beds for future school gardening.
Camilo Gonzalez recently graduated from Rutgers University with a bachelors in Political Science. He is currently participating in SCA Massachusetts and is looking forward to learning various new skills pertaining to environmental education and conservation. This is his first environmental position though he’s had some minimal exposure through political science classes. His other interests include acting, dancing, singing, swimming, running, philosophy, and French & Spanish culture & language.
In Jasmine Jone’s endeavors to travel across the nation, expanding on environmental protection efforts and contributing her acquired skills to the sustainable industries, the search for the launch of her career has brought Jasmine to the SCA. During her undergraduate years, she was active in many professional science organizations and various non-science leadership positions, mentoring programs, research in plant sciences, ecological surveys, and stewardship projects. She also designed and instructed entomology curriculum for a field based ecology program newly implemented in February of 2012 at her University. As an Army Corps Visitor Use Survey SCA intern and contributor to the conservation projects conducted by her crew throughout the summer of 2012, she had hoped to acquire new skills, expand her network, disseminate awareness, and add to the productivity of their efforts. With these objectives in mind, Jasmine developed a new technological skill using a handheld data point collector unit participating in a GIS project, learned new natural pest management skills at a local community garden, and throughout the rest of the team’s trail restoration and carpentry projects experience field work. Now as a 10 month member the SCA Massachusetts Corps, Jasmine has continued to further extend her quest for environment enrichment through environmental education once again and further conservation efforts through trail work.
Hannah Colbert comes from Cornwall, Connecticut. She graduated from Bennington College last spring after studying Spanish, German, and translation. Growing up in the woods, going on family backpacking trips, and leading a college pre-orientation trip all led her to pursue outdoor leadership, and she is excited to learn more about environmental education. She hopes to combine her academic and recreational loves of translation and seasonal outdoor work in some symbiotic way. Apart from those she enjoys cooking, fencing, writing, and reading.
Maya Randolph is a political science and psychology double major at Wellesley College. She was born and raised in Pittsburgh, PA where she learned a love of the outdoors through city parks. Last January, Maya spent a month volunteering on an organic farm in Greece. This past summer she led a community trail crew of high school aged students doing trail work in her hometown. She enjoys the entire education process and eventually wants to become a professor. Maya also loves sports, the outdoors, being a camp counselor and community advocacy work. She is excited to embark on this environmental education adventure with the other corps members and the children in the surrounding towns.
Evelyn grew up in the Northern Adirondacks and spent a lot of time outdoors as a child. In 2012, she graduated from SUNY Geneseo where she majored in Geography and minored in Environmental Studies. At Geneseo, she taught as a lab instructor and occasionally in small scale outdoor settings, and found joy in spreading enthusiasm for our environment. After graduation, Evelyn spent 3 months traveling the country with her brother and 2 months working at St. Regis Canoe Outfitters. Evelyn enjoys learning and teaching in an active, hands-on setting where the student becomes their own teacher.
John E. Aldridge’s hometown is a little mountain community near Rocky Mountain National Park. He is currently taking online classes via Oregon State University, where his major is Forest Ecosystems and Society, with a minor in Natural Resources Management and Policy. He is also a recent graduate from Front Range Community College in Fort Collins, CO. There, he earned his Associate's of Applied Science degree in Forestry, Wildlife, and Natural Resources, and had a lot of fun tracking mountain lions, catching fish, and playing many outdoor games. His favorite hobbies include snowshoeing, painting, and singing. As a teacher’s assistant at his alma mater, he completed various tasks in the Natural and Environmental Sciences department, and had the opportunity to supervise the training of safe chainsaw usage. Finally, he worked in aquariums for many years at PetSmart, where he sold fish, provided information for healthy fish tanks, and promoted enthusiasm for responsible pet-keeping in his community. He is very much looking forward to working with teachers and students during the next several months!
|SCA Massachusetts February 2010.pdf||490.04 KB|
|Wildlife in Hawley|
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|Winter Newsletter 2013|
|Hawley Summer Program Application|
|Special Thanksgiving service and education event at local school|
|The Corps Members Start School Service|
|2012 Conservation Season Newsletter|
|Winter 2012 SCA Massachusetts Newsletter|
|2011 Conservation Season Newsletter|
|Education Season Newsletter 2010-2011|
|Emily Michele Olmsted|
|Bryan Blankenstein, Program Director|
|Jessica Harwood, Education and Service Learning Manager|
|Melissa Patterson, Conservation Service Manager|
|Vickie Leavitt, Program Coordinator|
|SCA Massachusetts Works with 60 Volunteers at Squantum Point Park|
|Students at Sanderson Academy enjoy outdoor winter activities with AmeriCorps members|
|SCA Massachusetts Teaches Environmental Education in Springfield|