Stories from the Field

By Joseph Thurston
ABOVE: Another entry by grand prize winner Bernice Ngo, this one titled Ready to Climb.

Wow, what a winter it’s been! For the I <3 Snow Photo Contest, we called for images that would inspire people to embrace the great outdoors in spite of the cold. It’s a good thing we got a very, very inspiring response, ‘cause it sure turned out to be a very, very cold winter.

By Joseph Thurston

ABOVE: Ranger Glenn leads SCA NPS Academy members on an ecology hiking featuring the flora and geology of the Great Smokies.

Each spring for the last 5 years, young conservationists of diverse background have come together from colleges and universities all over the country, converging at select national parks to begin a year-long conservation service experience called SCA NPS Academy.

The Student Conservation Association’s website, www.thesca.org has won a ‘Best in Class’ prize for Nonprofits from the Interactive Media Awards (IMA), with a total score of 491 out of 500. The IMA Competition, held since 2006, recognizes the highest standards of excellence in website development and design and seeks to “elevate the standards of excellence” on the internet.

By Joseph Thurston

SCA has been a proud partner of AmeriCorps since the program was created back in 1994. The 19,000 AmeriCorps members that have served with SCA since that time have dedicated over 10.4 million hours to protecting, studying, and promoting the spaces where nature thrives all over the country, from cozy community parks in bustling urban centers to vast and remote wilderness reserves.

By Joseph Thurston

This week marks the beginning of SCA NPS Academy 2015, as 20 young conservationists hailing from myriad backgrounds gather in Grand Teton National Park for a 7-day look at what it’s like to work for the National Park Service as protectors and promoters of America’s pricelessly wild publics lands. All 20 will continue the experience this summer when they serve as SCA AmeriCorps interns at national parks from coast to coast.

By Joseph Thurston

Humans have been blamed for the demise of myriad creatures…so imagine helping to pull one back from the brink of extinction.

The Key Largo woodrat has a gray-brown back, a white belly, and measures 14 inches from nose to tail. “They’re kind of cute,” states SCA intern and AmeriCorps member Chris Burgess. “They have big Mickey Mouse ears.”

SCA Intern Chris Burgess is helping pull back the Key Largo woodrat from the brink of extinction

Marty Talbot’s conservation credentials are seemingly endless: she’s an award-winning biologist, an accomplished author, and her pioneering research has spanned more than 50 years and 60 countries. Marty is also co-founder of SCA.

Marty Talbot, Scott Warthin, Liz Putnam discuss their work with SCA
By Joseph Thurston

Theodore Roosevelt was a grand man known for grand gestures, thus it should be no surprise that he loved—LOVED—the Grand Canyon. When he visited it in 1903, making him the first president to do so, his reaction was, well… grand. “The Grand Canyon fills me with awe. It is beyond comparison — beyond description; absolutely unparalleled throughout the wide world … Let this great wonder of nature remain as it now is. Do nothing to mar its grandeur, sublimity and loveliness.

By Joseph Thurston

The Danger Six, a “Special Operations Unit” composed of SCA Massachusetts Americorps members and staff, traveled to the city of Boston to aid in snow removal efforts. For three days and two nights, the unit cleared snow and received positive encouragement from many Bostonians. Although their service in Boston is complete for now, the Danger Six remain together and are willing to serve whenever they are needed.

The following text is excerpted from a field statement written by Danger Six member Daniel Dobrosielski

By Joseph Thurston

Today Steph Jeffries is a professor in the Forestry and Environmental Resources Department at North Carolina State University. In the summer of 1992, she was an SCA intern at Chugach National Forest in Alaska. 

Her recent book, Exploring Southern Appalachian Forests, gives readers rich, ecological insights into 30 different popular hikes in the area. She supports SCA because she sees it “…transforming students all the time.” 

By Joseph Thurston
This post was written for Open Spaces, the official blog of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. It’s part of a monthly series featuring SCA interns writing about their experiences working to promote, protect and study wildlife on public lands all over the United States.
By Joseph Thurston

Growing up in Pittsburgh’s troubled Manchester neighborhood in the 1990s, Quincy Kofi Swatson thought most of his doors were closed. “It was a homogenously poor neighborhood,” he says, “and homogenously of one race, and you’d get caught up in the mindset that everyone is in the same situation and there are limited ways to get out.”

On February 7th, flurries were in the air and over a foot of snow already blanketed Roberto Clemente State Park in the Bronx. But that didn’t stop 65 volunteers from coming out to the riverfront for February’s ConSERVE NYC event.

By Joseph Thurston

Everyone (that we asked) is in agreement. This year’s superbowl will be decided by which team is more in tune with conservation, nature, and the great outdoors.

Now, obviously you’re thinking, “You guys. One team has a formerly endangered, sea-faring bird as its mascot, while the other has, what? A Revolutionary War reenactor? This is a no-brainer!”

By Joseph Thurston

Above: SCA Veterans Fire Corps members Wesley Adams, Benjamin Pattyson, Andrew McFarland, Laren Nowell, Demetric Wade, and Ramon Delgado.

Here we have a photo of one of our Veterans Fire Corps crews all geared up and ready to go for a prescribed burn at St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge last week near Tallahassee.

By Joseph Thurston

This past Monday we celebrated Dr. Martin Luther King’s Birthday by participating in the “California King Tides” citizen science project. This event was hosted by Acterra, a Peninsula-based environmental non-profit in the SF Bay Area. We had a great turnout (close to seventy people!), at the East Palo Alto Bay Trail, participating in the event. 

Despite freezing temperatures, over 450 DC-area residents rallied together at Anacostia Park to celebrate the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Day of Service through a morning of volunteering on the riverfront. Among the volunteers in attendance were special guests Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell, National Park Service Director Jon Jarvis, and SCA President and CEO Jaime Matyas.

By Joseph Thurston
Leah Duran is a three-time SCA alum who just finished a three-year stint on SCA’s Alumni Council. Soon after serving with SCA she began working for the National Park Service, first at Lassen Volcanic National Park, then at John Muir National Historic Site, and now at San Francisco Maritime National Historic Park.
By Joseph Thurston
This post was written for Open Spaces, the official blog of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. It’s part of a monthly series featuring SCA interns writing about their experiences working to promote, protect and study wildlife on public lands all over the United States.

In honor of the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Day of Service, SCA rallied almost 250 volunteers for our largest service event to date in NYC — joined by special guest U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power.

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