Women’s Equality Day is celebrated on Aug. 26 to honor the work and achievements that paved the way for women’s rights today. This celebration commemorates the ratification of the 19th Amendment in the United States, officially granting women the right to vote.

Founded by Liz Putnam in 1957, the Student Conservation Association (SCA) is devoted to creating equitable access to nature through hands-on conservation work in the outdoors. The SCA offers programming for crew members who self-identify as women. Cis and trans women, as well as non-binary and gender non-conforming people, are welcome.

With generous support from Comic Relief US, the SCA launched its first Black Women’s Conservation Crew for young adults in Atlanta this summer. This crew of 12 is a safe space for women of color to learn, grow, gain new technical skills and explore careers in environmental conservation. Crew members worked on various service projects, including invasive species removal, habitat restoration, litter abatement and trail work at multiple locations throughout the area, including the West Atlanta Watershed Alliance and Atlanta Botanical Garden.

SCA Atlanta Black Women's Crew
The Student Conservation Association’s Black Women’s Conservation Crew removing invasive plants in the woodland area at the Atlanta Botanical Garden, Wednesday July 26, 2023.

The SCA and the U.S. Forest Service teamed up earlier this year to launch the Women’s Wildland Fire Crew which included three Forest Service fire leaders who mentored SCA interns based out of Clemson, South Carolina.

The crew worked and traveled throughout the Forest Service’s Southern Region, gaining hands-on experience in prescribed fire, hazardous fuels reduction and fire suppression alongside the Forest Service firefighters. In fire management, every bit of training is essential. It’s the path to the certifications needed to move up in rank and pay, and a key risk management tool that keeps these crews safe in a high-risk environment.

Last year, the SCA piloted its first women’s fuels management crew with the National Park Service in Alaska. The crew members gained skills that would allow them to progress and excel as wildland firefighters in the future.

The SCA also renewed its Alaska Female Fire Corps with the National Park Service and recently launched its Wildland Fire Academy with the U.S. Forest Service. By joining forces, both the SCA and the Forest Service want to increase the number of women and people of color entering the field while also increasing the overall amount of trained wildland firefighters and fuels staff entering the profession. 

Women's Fire Crew conducting prescribed burns.
U.S. Forest Service Region 8 Women’s Fire and Fuels team conducting prescribed burns.

Inspired by our women’s crews? You can support the SCA’s 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!