What did this experience with the SCA teach you about conservation?
When I was earning my degree at Northern Arizona, it was in environmental studies so naturally I learned a lot about conservation. I know that I don’t know everything about anything so I was still able to learn about conservation. From learning about how we can conserve the sparse budget of the Army Corp through the visitor use surveys, to bringing new life to the playground, to helping to restore trails to their original beauty and having the public able to see nature in its beauty although altered for their enjoyment. Basically, showing that just because something is old doesn’t mean that it is useless. It just needs some TLC (tender loving care) and some blood, sweat, and tears (almost literally) to make it all look like new. Additionally, I learned about conservation about not being as wasteful as I am through Sophie. It deﬁnitely takes getting used to reusingEVERYTHING but after a while it just becomes second nature. It helps to think about how much more life you can get out of something you would have otherwise thrown in the garbage. It is something I will try to take back home.
The SCA taught me to be more involved within my community. I also learned more about leaving no trace behind while I am traveling to the woods or any national park. We shouldn’t interact with animals because that would cause tension. Another thing about leaving no trace is you keep your trash with you and never leave them in the wild. The SCAteaches you how you could be more involved in the community and how you can teach people how to conserve and leave no trace.
My time with the SCA this summer has taught me many diﬀerent things about conservation. Some of them may seem small to other people, but even a little change can help a lot. I have now become more conscious of what I do while out in the woods with regard to trash and other things. I now pick trash up when I see it in my areas in the woods. I have also gotten a better appreciation for the outdoors that I had not had beforehand. I have always loved the outdoors, but focused mainly on what I could use with hunting and other wildlife related things. I never really took a chance to go on pleasure walks or anything to appreciate what we have with our great natural resources.
My experience with SCA this summer season has enlightened me to the scale of conservation work that currently exists in the U.S. To my surprise, the extent of conservation eﬀorts in this country carried out by the Student Conservation Association is much larger than I was previously aware. The training session prior to the work season was very informative, expanding and refreshing my base knowledge of past and present conservation issues. As a young person growing up through the nineteen-sixties and seventies, the training also reminded me of the conservation movement that took place during this era, and how my awareness of it was impacted. Learning about the origins of the SCA, its beginnings, and the people most inﬂuential in making its existence a reality was very interesting. I was most impressed with how the organization has grown nationally over the years. I knew coming into the season that performing visitor use surveys at recreational lakes would be work necessary and beneﬁcial to Army Corp of Engineers goals. I also realized the work would fall short of my own expectations of preserving and protecting natural resources, such as forests, rivers, wildlife, and important historical sites, through management and working closely with the land. From a personal standpoint, our weekly day-long conservation projects in numerous locations throughout northern Mississippi were very fulﬁlling. Trail maintenance, community supported agriculture, and recreational playground improvement were some of the projects in which I had valuable learning experiences. I received a great sense of achievement and accomplishment in knowing that my work was appreciated and beneﬁted many neighboring communities. My experience with SCA has more importantly given me direction, in recognizing where my energies are best focused, and where they will be most useful when continuing with my conservation eﬀorts.
The experience that SCA taught me about conservation would have to be recycle, compost, saving energy and water. The recycling part that SCA taught me would be instead of throwing everything away I can recycle it. That will help the environment as well and I can reuse some of it as well for example pickle jars, and some plastic. The compost idea is just putting degradable things in a container and then throwing it outside so it can go back to the earth. SCA also taught me how to conserve energy and water by using less of it. By saving energy and water I can unplug what I am not using and cut the lights oﬀ when no one is in the room. The water I can cut down on shower time and washing dishes. Also by doing these things I am bettering the environment.