Every year, SCA provides training, tools and projects that place motivated teens and young adults in the field to effect changes great and small. How do we measure the effects? Sometimes its through decreased CO2 levels or by the tons of trash collected or in the number of trees planted. Our success is also measured by the lessons learned, the perspective gained and the lives we transform—today and into the future. Often when the SCA project is over, the success story is just beginning. Take a look at some of our most recent accomplishments.

The Chemistry Behind Autumn's Awesome Hues

Posted by Joseph Thurston | Thursday, September 22, 2016
A graphic that explains the chemistry of the bright colors of autumn leaves and fall foliage.

There are so, so, so many reasons to love autumn (milder weather, jackets, less crowded parks and trails, fewer mosquitos, less poison ivy, cozier camping, pumpkins, squash, gourds… we could go on forever), but the best—and certainly brightest—may be what happens to the leaves.

But what exactly does happen to them?...

Education, Science

Bugs Out-Bite the Famous Bears at Katmai National Park

Posted by David Kopshever | Tuesday, September 20, 2016

When most think of Brooks Camp, bears and salmon are the first images to pop into our minds. For others, trophy trout fishing is the main attraction. But no matter who you are or what you come here to see, it seems that everyone can agree on one thing: Biting insects are extremely annoying. At Brooks Camp, mosquitoes, white socks, and no-see-ums are the source of much anguish and itchiness.

Adventures, Animals & Wildlife, Backcountry & Wilderness, Parks, Science

700 Volunteers Give Back at Find Your Park Day of Service Events

Posted by Ann Pedtke | Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Through the support of American Express, SCA brought together over 700 volunteers this weekend to mark the 9/11 National Day of Service & Remembrance with Find Your Park Day of Service Events in New York City and Washington, DC.

Parks, People, Volunteer Opportunities

Construction paper bats & bees explain the basics of pollination

Posted by Staff | Saturday, September 10, 2016

Pollinators are important. We all know this, right? And we likely all have a decent understanding of why they’re important—the crucial role they play in the plant reproductive cycles that underlie the smooth functioning of Earth’s ecosystems.

But what if you had to explain this role to a 5-year-old? Like right...

Animals & Wildlife, Education, Kids, Science

Why the Critically Endangered Bird Still Needs Our Help

Posted by Kiki Serantes | Tuesday, September 6, 2016

By Kiki Serantes

ABOVE: A California Condor, one of the small, critically endangered population at Zion National Park. Photo: Madison Roberts

If you’re lucky enough to spot a rare California Condor, you might just feel as if you’ve been transported back to a time when dinosaurs ruled the...

Animals & Wildlife, Endangered Species, Parks

by Rachel Herring, SCA Natural Resource Specialist Intern

Posted by Staff | Friday, September 2, 2016
Rachel holding an endangered Hawaiian Stilt that she assisted with capturing, banding, and fitting with a tracking device.

ABOVE: Rachel holding an endangered Hawaiian Stilt that she assisted with capturing, banding, and fitting with a tracking device.

The IUCN World Conservation Congress is upon us here in Honolulu, Hawai’i with an estimated 8,000 - 10,000 delegates representing 160 nations converging onto the island of O’ahu for the event. The...

By Marcos Anguiano, SCA intern, Kenai National Wildlife Refuge

Posted by Staff | Friday, September 2, 2016

Plastic water bottles have been around since the 1940s helping humans transport fresh, clean water. During Roman times, aqueducts were built to provide water to cities, and animal skins were used to transport water from place to place. Clay and woven materials were molded into water carrying devices so the...

How park lovers formed a giant arrowhead to celebrate NPS' 100th

Posted by Staff | Friday, August 26, 2016

by Kyle Yarusso, SCA NPS Centennial Volunteer Ambassador

As  part of our celebration of the National Park Service (NPS), over 1000 people came together to create a giant version of the agency emblem, the Arrowhead, on the Washington Monument grounds. The event was symbolic in more ways than one. We each...

Parks, People

Changing Lives at Canyon de Chelly

Posted by Kevin Hamilton | Thursday, August 25, 2016
For several years, in partnership with Canyon de Chelly National Monument in Arizona, SCA has managed crews comprised entirely of Navajo, or Diné, students. The teenaged crew repairs trails and restores habitats, though much time is also devoted to better understanding the Diné culture. Park staff routinely share their scientific...

Posted by Kevin Hamilton | Thursday, August 25, 2016
by Song Gao, Centennial Volunteer Ambassador
 
A year ago, I had never heard of America’s national parks. Today, as the National Park Service celebrates its 100th anniversary, I’m a Centennial Volunteer Ambassador at Golden Gate National Recreation Area (GGNRA). 
 
What a short, strange trip it’s been.  
 ...

Posted by Kevin Hamilton | Tuesday, August 23, 2016
Just days before the August 25th centennial of the National Park Service (NPS), the Student Conservation Association convened a high-level NPS delegation to explore new strategies for engaging young conservation leaders for the next 100 years of national parks. 
 
NPS Director Jonathan Jarvis, Associate Director for Workforce, Relevancy and...
Career Success, Parks

Alums Reunite & Reconnect at Sagamore Hill National Historic Site

Posted by Ann Pedtke | Wednesday, August 17, 2016
SCA alumni from 1960s to 2016 gather on Long Island

On August 6th, a record number of SCA alumni gathered in the New York City region to reunite and reconnect with SCA.

Parks, People

...That Every Teen Should Learn

Posted by Joseph Thurston | Wednesday, August 17, 2016
6 Outdoor Life Lessons That Every Teen Should Learn

Time spent enjoying the great outdoors is more than just fun. It’s an essential part of life, and an especially essential part of growing up. Time spent in nature, or even just time spent gazing at greenery through a well-placed window, has lately been shown to have a variety of...

Adventures, Backcountry & Wilderness, Forests, Kids, Parks, People, Trails and Hiking, Volunteer Opportunities

Entering college with purpose after a year spent serving the planet

Posted by Staff | Tuesday, August 16, 2016
Sarah Newsham

SCA offers a variety of activities to help you gain life experience and perspective during your gap year, all while serving the planet. Don’t take our word for it though. Hear what life lessons Sarah Newsham acquired during her gap year experience:

A couple of weeks ago I was...

Education, People

SCA's Dana DeSousa on Working with Leatherback Sea Turtles

Posted by Dana DeSousa | Monday, August 8, 2016

Ever wonder what it’s like to work with dinosaurs? Well I can’t tell you what it’s like to work with a Tyrannosaurus rex, but I can tell you about working with a reptile whose ancestors were around during the Cretaceous period.

Adventures, Animals & Wildlife, Coasts & Water, Endangered Species

Posted by Staff | Thursday, August 4, 2016

by Jaime Matyas, President & CEO, SCA

 
I recently returned from Alaska where I went for several reasons: to understand better the unique challenges to accessing and serving public lands in our nation’s largest state; to appreciate more fully the similarities and differences in the SCA experience for Alaska Native...

When Dozens of Bears Gather, Drama Unfolds...

Posted by David Kopshever | Wednesday, August 3, 2016

From the Brooks Falls viewing platform, I count thirteen individual brown bears. Since the beginning of July, it has been nearly guaranteed to see bears at the falls, but thirteen is the most to date. My routine remains the same—I make note of which bears are present, and begin a count of how many fish each catches. I also start a running list of interactions between the bears—skirmishes, fish stealing, displays of aggression, etc.

Adventures, Animals & Wildlife, Parks

An object biography of a conservation icon

Posted by Dana Foster | Wednesday, August 3, 2016

These four artifacts, all currently on display at Yosemite National Park, each have a story to tell about the man who used them: John Muir.

History, Parks, People

by Kiki Serantes, SCA Intern, Cultural Resources

Posted by Kiki Serantes | Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Hema Lochan hopes to use her position as an intern in the Zion Museum to cultivate and revitalize a human connection with wilderness.

Diversity, Parks, People

by Kiki Serantes, SCA Intern, Cultural Resources

Posted by Kiki Serantes | Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Swiss-native Helena Looser has only lived in the United State for two years. While being away from her family is difficult, she says that Zion’s wilderness opportunities have helped her become more mindful of her own dreams and goals.

Parks, People

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Meet some of the amazing women who blazed a trail with SCA

Our 2015 Summer Roadtrip takes you to amazing places and member stories around the country.

75000 Members have served with SCA

Throughout the Summer of 2014 we marked our 75,000th member with 75 stories of the women and men have served with SCA - read them here.

Member Bloggers

Rachelle Hedges
San Mateo County Parks
See Posts by Rachelle Hedges
Sarika Khanwilkar
Hobe Sound National Wildlife Refuge
See Posts by Sarika Khanwilkar
Elizabeth Braatz
St. Croix Wetland Management District
See Posts by Elizabeth Braatz
Noah M Schlager
National Trails Intermountain Region
See Posts by Noah M Schlager
Dakota McCoy
Yosemite National Park
See Posts by Dakota McCoy
Ariel Lepito
Necedah National Wildlife Refuge
See Posts by Ariel Lepito
Jessica Zamudio
Yosemite National Park
See Posts by Jessica Zamudio
Dana DeSousa
Sandy Point National Wildlife Refuge
See Posts by Dana DeSousa

Staff Bloggers

Ann Pedtke
New York City
See posts by Ann Pedtke
Joseph Thurston
Washington, DC
See posts by Joseph Thurston

Alumni Stories

Where will SCA take you?

On Wednesday, July 27th, SCA joined the National Parks Conservation Association for a joint networking happy hour.
As a Centennial Volunteer Ambassador at Padre Island National Seashore, I’ve gotten to meet some pretty cool people. Recently I...

New findings on SCA's youth impact - read about the Search Institute's study

A new multi-year study on SCA’s youth impact shows significant gains across a wide range of indicators.
Read about the Study here »

Michelle Bobowick, Interning with SCA in Yellowstone National Park, 1985
It was 1958, when our family affair with the Student Conservation Association began. Since, then our family has continued its commitment to improving the world around us through SCA.
During the summer of ’69, twenty students arrived at Great Smokey Mountains National Park ready to clear windfall damage in...
When Student Conservation Association (SCA) supporter and 1983 alumnus, Bob Kachinski, was fresh out of college, he went on what...

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