"College trained me to be a wildlife biologist and SCA and the bird refuge have given me incredible experience in this field," Micah says. "They have also allowed me to explore other areas of conservation and public outreach, and this has given me valuable awareness in planning my future goals."
Just days after graduating from Ohio University, SCA intern Micah Knabb reported to Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge in Utah. As part of SCA's new tribal intern program, Micah, a Cherokee, surveyed grasslands, inventoried bird species, and studied abnormalities in Northern Leopard frog populations. Armed with a fresh biology degree and field experience, he is eager for his next discovery.
Micah is one of 16 interns in the new tribal intern program. Agencies like The Fish and Wildlife Service, which also partners with SCA on other youth diversity initiatives, depend on these programs to develop a more inclusive workforce while building stronger connections with under-represented communities.
But for Micah, his SCA internship at Bear River was an opportunity to gain real, hands-on experience in conservation work. Micah wrote about his summer experience in his own blog, Wildlife Wanderer.
Geese Catchin in airboats:
Written by Micah Knabb, '11
By far, one of the most fun and wild experiences took place during my second week working at the Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge. The Fish and Wildlife service conducts surveys and bandings on a yearly basis for the Canadian Geese that inhabit the waters of our country. And, to do this, they must first catch them, which is where I came in.
First, however, we had to make sure that there were in fact Canadian Geese upon the refuge's wetlands, and thus myself and the refuge's main wildlife biologist, Howard Browers, took the truck around the entire 80,000 acre area and scouted for the birds with binoculars. We didn't see hardly any the entire 8 hours we were out, until the very end of the loop in which, as luck had it, we spotted 300 or more geese. The FWS was called out for the next day.
And how does one catch a Canadian Goose, masters of flight and migration? Why, wait until they molt their flight feathers of course. And how does one catch the birds who reside in water and are masters of swimming? You guessed it: Airboats.
So, the interns geared up in life jackets and goggles and boarded four large and powerful airboats with the intention of catching the elusive birds with bare hands. In order to do this, we were instructed to lay flat on our stomachs, half hanging over the front of the boat, arms extended to grab any part of the bird possible...all while cruising at full speed. Amazing fun, to say the least.
Upon capture, the geese were loaded into large crates onboard and then brought to shore once max capacity was reached. Each was unloaded one by one, and brought to the professional banders. Their sex recorded for each. Each were released, and scrapes were treated...and off they went.
Show us how you get out and connect with nature. Enter the SCA's Got Dirt? Photo Contest today.
There's only one week left in SCA's Got Dirt? Photo Contest. At SCA, we believe in getting out. In giving back. In getting dirty. We want to see how you connect and enjoy the great outdoors. Enter your photo and you could win great prizes including roundtrip Southwest airline tickets, a rugged/ waterproof Panasonic digital camera, or Deuter backpacks.
Not a photographer? That's ok. You can still win great SCA gear. Enter our bi-weekly contest by Fri, Oct. 21st and you can win.
Share the Got Dirt? Photo Contest with your family and friends who also love the outdoors. Post our contest website on your Facebook or Twitter accounts.
Visit https://contest.thesca.org/ for more information.
Sometimes it's easy to lose sight of what's important.
Answering emails or listening to conference calls is important, but not always inspiring. Recently, I had a chance to get out on a rare sunny Seattle day and visit some SCA members in North Cascades National Park.
Although North Cascades is the least-visited national park in the lower 48, it's hard to imagine why with glacier-carved valleys, old-growth forests, and towering granite peaks I dropped in on five interns performing a range of projects from fire monitoring to habitat restoration, and also checked in with a trail crew. Between visits, I explored a section of Cascade Pass where the crew had been the previous day.
Almost immediately, a black bear lumbered across the path just in front of me. I watched him scamper up a slope and disappear into the thick forest, both of us undoubtedly buzzing with excitement. I proceeded further up the trail, climbing through the dense cedar forest into open alpine slopes of wildflowers, talus and snow.
At the pass, two mountain goats cavorted in the snowfield above me, and I played interpreter for a few delighted but curious families. All too soon, it was time to race down the switchbacks to meet the SCA crew and Mike Brondi, their park supervisor.
Mike is a local legend as he has been working alongside SCA crews for many years. When I mentioned my bear sighting, he grew still for a moment, though genuinely happy. "When you see a bear," he said, "it means that you're living your life in a good way because you're putting yourself in the right kind of places."
Mike went on to explain "how much my own life is enriched by the opportunity to work with the young people from SCA."
It occurred to me that this day had captured many of the reasons why I am part of the SCA community: partnerships with land managers, camaraderie borne through trail work in a wild and remote place, close encounters with the natural world, and seeing communities (both human and animal) benefitting from the direct work that SCA is doing to conserve wild places.
That is what I will try to remember when the phone rings for my next conference call.
Wanna join a group of people, businesses and nonprofits helping to move the world forward? Interested in an "association of pragmatic idealists making our world work"? If so, then check out www.good.is.
We are. In particular, we check out their environment section. This week's feature? How to Cut Buildings' Energy Use Without Expensive Renovations.
Good.is is an online and print magazine dedicated to social causes. Subscription fees to their print magazine go to charities. (No SCA is not one of their charities, but we're working on it!) Good has gotten quite the rave since its inception in 2006. Recently, it merged with Jumo, the social networking site for nonprofits started by Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes. So, we'll definitely be watching them.
Other sections to keep on your radar include:
SCA keeps tabs with Good.is so we too can help move the world forward. What other sites, videos or books are you watching? Let us know by posting a comment.
Have you ever tried to clean up a forest floor? On September 28th approximately 80 volunteers had that opportunity!
Houston marked the final stop of the Conservation in Action Tour where Southwest employees, and SCA staff removed leaf litter and debris around Memorial Park Forest at the Houston Arboretum and Nature Center. High humidity and heat were no match for the volunteers who cheerfully worked up a sweat while creating a "defensible zone" to protect the beautiful nature center in the event of a wildfire.
This project was a fitting end for the SCA Tour40 crew who traveled more than 11,000 miles this summer on a custom bio-diesel RV to engage thousands of volunteers in over 6,000 hours of conservation service work ranging from invasives species removal to trail building and maintenance.
Big thanks to Southwest Airlines (Tour40 sponsor and the official airline of SCA) and contributing sponsors American Eagle Outfitters and Sony for an amazing summer of service. For more Tour40 fun facts watch the video, read the crew's blogs and view photos at Tour40.thesca.org.
At SCA, we believe in getting out. In giving back. In getting dirty. And we believe that dirty is pretty. Pretty as a picture.Enter the SCA "Got Dirt?" Photo Contest today. It doesn't matter if the dirt comes from protecting a national park, planting a community garden, or taking a hike. Wherever and however you engage with the outdoors, just show us your favorite way of connecting with nature and you could win our grand prize - airline tickets. Get your friends to vote and they could win SCA gear, too.Got dirt? We got prizes. Enter the Got Dirt? Photo Contest visit https://contest.thesca.org/.
By Max Bearak - This article originally appeared on the NY Times Green blog."I'm a senior in college, which means that everyone I meet feels entitled to ask me, "So, what are you planning to do after you graduate?" But I'm at a liberal arts school, so I always respond with an "I'm not sure yet" or an "I'm going to take what comes my way." The truth is, over the last couple of summers I've been scratching a few itches - a few jobs that I probably won't pursue after college but that were nonetheless appealing. Two of the most overwhelming urges were to use my hands for some physical labor and to work outdoors, preferably somewhere stunningly beautiful. So this summer I packed up an old Chevy Impala till it was almost bursting and drove out to Ely, Nev., to work in Humboldt National Forest as a wilderness ranger. ...continue reading
On Sept. 15th, hundreds of SCA alumni and friends joined thousands of service advocates in calling Congress to show their support of national service programs, like Americorp. SCA supporters made up nearly 20 percent of the calls made to Congress.
Before Thanksgiving, Congress must identify $3 trillion in federal budget cuts and by all accounts the funds for national and community service are primed for elimination. As a key member of the Save Service coalition, SCA is appealing to its constituents to take action.
Youth service strengthens individuals and communities. It builds experience and generates jobs. It is an investment in our future. SCA members alone render more than two million hours of conservation service every year in America’s parks, forests, refuges and communities. Countless park rangers, wildlife biologists, environmental educators and others started their careers through SCA service programs.
Many of SCA’s programs rely on national service funding to implement our youth conservation and job training programs. In addition, endless numbers of national parks, historic and cultural sites rely on these youth service programs to tackle a backlog of maintenance issues.
As American policymakers consider a proposal that would zero out funding for the Corporation for National and Community Service, SCA will continue to mobilize its alumni, parents and friends in support of the service programs that so many of our youth rely on.
Please stay tuned as we continue to share updates and ways you can get involved in the Save Service campaign.
Original Article From Daily News LA, By C.J. Lin, Staff Writer
When a group of young conservationists set foot in the blackened landscape of the Angeles National Forest more than a year ago, many were daunted by the sheer scope of their task.
The 2009 Station Fire -- which started two years ago Friday -- had ravaged nearly 161,000 acres, leaving blackened trees, burned buildings, shells of incinerated cars and in some places, more than two feet of ash and mud that had sloughed off the mountainsides.
Some of the group -- made up of about 90 high school and college-age students from all over the U.S. with the Student Conservation Association -- doubted they could help restore the damage over the 2 -month program.
"A lot of the kids thought, `How are we going to make an impact on this when everything around is dead, everything around us is a disaster?"' said Melissa Madrid, a 31-year-old crew leader from Rancho Cucamonga who had often hiked and fished in the forest with her family.
But after two summers of building trails and removing invasive species, the group has already been rewarded with some signs of success.
"Now, it's green. It looks more lively," Madrid said. "It doesn't look like we're walking into something dead anymore. It's starting to look more like a forest." ... continue
More Coverage of SCA and the 2009 Station Fire Recovery
Base camp is where climbers begin their climb on Mount McKinley, the tallest mountain in North America at 20,320 ft. Base camp is at 7,200 ft on the Kahiltna Glacier. Denali National Park and Preserve Mountaineering Rangers from the Talkeetna Ranger Station are camped here during the climbing season from late April until early July. It is common for tourist glacier landing flights to land at base camp so they can see where climbers begin and end their expeditions.
I wanted to go to base camp to experience the excitement of the climbers and to experience life on the glacier. However, because of the weather and the limited space on flights, it is difficult for park employees to make it up to base camp. So, I was lucky when my supervisor, Bob, arranged a trip for me. Bob wanted me to experience base camp so I would feel more confident in presenting the Ranger Program about climbing Mount McKinley.