Stories from the Field

By Joseph Thurston

Cover: Natural Bridges Nat’l Monument, known for its starry nights, NPS/David W. Frank

Sure. You could spend a few months serving the planet with an SCA internship at a world famous national park, working around tourists, instagramming well-known geysers in your spare time. Your friends back home will check their phones and be all like, “Oh. Look at that. Taylor’s hanging out at Yellowstone or something. That’s cool.”

SCA’s NPS Academy 2014 is off and running! Hundreds of college students have converged on four national parks to get a first-hand view of what careers in the National Park Service (NPS) are all about. 

This year, more than 120 students from diverse backgrounds are visiting Grand Teton, Great Smoky Mountains, Alaska’s Kenai Fjords and National Parks of New York Harbor.  But, as most SCA NPS Academy members will tell you, they are really learning much more than professional possibilities.

By Evan Escamilla

The National Park Service Director’s Partnership Award annually recognizes the outstanding accomplishments and/or lifetime achievements carried out by national park partners nationwide, everyday. It’s a great honor to SCA’s Community Crew program to be nominated by our long time partner Mount Rainier National Park. 

I had two job offers for the summer before my junior year of high school, and I went for the one that came with new boots. The job was with Student Conservation Association (SCA), a program that offers youth the opportunity for real jobs in the conservation field.

SCA teamed up with the National Park Service at Gateway National Recreation Area to organize the largest ConSERVE NYC event to date, bringing over 100 volunteers to Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge on March 1st to continue the storm recovery process.

By Joseph Thurston

Forget diamonds. Nothing says forever like a 6 million year old mountain range. Ever evocative of enduring beauty, mystery, discovery, and commitment, it’s no wonder that national parks and public lands play setting to some of the most cheek-dampening marriage proposals and wedding ceremonies that you’re ever likely to see.

By Christine Remein

The SCA and SWA braved a possible two inches of snow forecasted for later in the afternoon in Atlanta to volunteer in Piedmont Park on Monday, Feb.10.

If there’s one thing I have learned over my career, and particularly here at SCA, it’s that partnerships are uniquely powerful enterprises. They can enrich and elevate on a scale without rival.
 

Hundreds of SCA volunteers across the country took to the field yesterday to celebrate the MLK National Day of Service. From pulling invasives with National Park Service Director Jon Jarvis in DC, to cleaning up a historic park in Harlem, to rejuvenating community gardens in California, SCA members carried on the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. through hands-on service.

By Joseph Thurston

TOP PHOTO: NPS Director Jon Jarvis surveys the litter haul with DC Community Crew member Ashley C. during SCA’s MLK Day service project in Ft. Dupont Park

It’s not every day that you’ll find Jonathan Jarvis, Director of the National Park Service, out tromping around the woods in southeast Washington, DC, gathering up all

SCA volunteers braved rain, sleet, and snow at January’s ConSERVE NYC event in Manhattan – and kept going strong! The project was an auspicious start to a weekend of SCA service events nationwide to mark the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Day of Service.

By Joseph Thurston

This year we celebrate MLK Day’s 20th anniversary as a national day of service. While the birthday of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr has been a federal holiday since the early eighties, it wasn’t until 1994, when an act of Congress created the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), that we began to observe the date as a “day on, not a day off.”

On January 8th, at the memorial dedicated to the president who founded the Civilian Conservation Corps, SCA members and alumni joined U.S. Department of the Interior Secretary Sally Jewell in announcing a $1 million pledge from American Eagle Outfitters to launch the 21st Century Conservation Service Corps.

The winter weather didn’t stop more than 90 volunteers from coming out to Van Cortlandt Park on Saturday, December 7th, for SCA’s biggest ConSERVE NYC event so far.

Your support is an essential ingredient in our time-tested recipe for success: Investing today to build the conservation leaders of tomorrow.

To express the gratitude of everyone at SCA, we’re sharing another recipe that has proven successful year after year: Our founder Liz Putnam’s very own Thanksgiving apple pie.

Next spring, a 600-ft section of slope along Riverside Drive in upper Manhattan — badly eroded by stormwater runoff — will burst into bloom again with 850 bluebells and daffodils planted by SCA volunteers at this weekend’s ConSERVE NYC event.

This year, SCA is inviting alumni, partners, and members of the public to take part in ConSERVE NYC, a series of service events across the city. With Saturday conservation projects at new sites across the NYC region each month, ConSERVE NYC offers volunteers the opportunity to help build resiliency in New York City’s public lands—and to network with others who share an interest in urban conservation.

On Saturday, October 26th, SCA kicked off the ConSERVE NYC initiative with a coastal restoration project to commemorate the one-year anniversary of Hurricane Sandy.

For the 2013 Got Dirt? Photo Contest, we asked you to show us how you connect with the natural wonders we all work hard to protect. Your responses were as varied as they were impressive, and it’s been our pleasure to share some of our favorites with you over the last several weeks. 

But picking just three winners out of so many great entries? That was no walk in the park.

When the organizers behind the West’s wildest music festival brought over 2000 conservation thought leaders to Austin, Texas this month for the 2nd annual SXSW Eco conference, SCA was there!

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