Did you know the Student Conservation Association has special roving crews that travel frequently within a state or region?

Roving crews are assigned to various projects throughout an area and typically spend 10 days at a time (also known as a hitch) clearing trails, monitoring water or wildlife, building fences and more.

The 2023 Roving Forest Management Corps worked alongside U.S. Forest Service partners on multiple projects throughout eastern and southern National Forests. Spending anywhere from one week to over a month at each forest, they treated native trees to protect from pests, tackled invasive species, wielded chainsaws, cleared trails and much more. They started their season with a chainsaw and pesticide training in order to aid in specialized forestry projects.

Check out these three SCA roving crews (with their self-given crew names) and where their adventures have taken them this year!

1. Coastal Crew

This roving crew served at Croatan and Uwharrie National Forests in North Carolina, Francis Marion and Sumter National Forest in South Carolina, and George Washington & Jefferson National Forest in Virginia, fostering the growth of longleaf pine, hickory, oak and cherry trees. Without our help, they would have been outcompeted.

The team removed countless invasive species that were causing damage to the surrounding ecosystem and planted prized vegetation to help create a more ecologically sustainable forest. They also cared for trails by removing hazardous trees, taking out trash and providing clearer ways to follow the trail. Thanks to this crew, more than 320,000 feet of trail and 230+ acres of land were improved and 1000+ trees were planted.

2. Road Warriors Crew

This crew served at the Cherokee National Forest and the Nantahala National Forest in North Carolina, Ouachita National Forest in Oklahoma, Angelina-Sabine National Forest in Texas, and St. Francis and Ouachita National Forests in Arkansas.

While in the field, the Road Warriors crew assisted with various projects, including removing invasive species and helping archeologists relocate fish from a drained area to a safer area. Each of the projects were designed to help further the overall U.S. Forest Service goals of caring for the land and serving the people. Overall, this crew helped plant 46 trees and improved 89 acres and 23,760 feet of trails. The Road Warriors covered 1,500 miles!

3. Southern Apps Crew

The Southern Apps Roving Forest Management Crew served at the Cherokee National Forest in Tennessee, Pisgah and Nantahala National Forest in North Carolina, Mount Rogers National Recreation Area in Virginia, and the Redbird and London Recreational Districts at the Daniel Boone National Forest in Kentucky.

This summer, crew members got hands-on experience managing forests, including tree planting, invasive species removal and trail restoration. This crew helped to plant over 13,000 native tree species and improved 326 acres of land and 21,859 feet of trails.

The SCA will have Roving Forest Management crews out in the field again in 2024. You can support these and other conservation efforts by donating to our 2023 Giving Day campaign on Sept. 19. If we reach 300 donors, we’ll unlock an additional $30,000 matching gift! Don’t want to wait? Get your gift in early!