Stories from the Field

Welcome to SCA’s new website! Take a look around and let us know what you think by leaving a comment on this blog post.What do you like? What would you change? What’s missing?We want to hear from you!P.S… While you’re here, make sure you sign up to receive Hands On, our monthly electronic newsletter.  It’s the best way to stay up-to-date with SCA!

SCA staff member Ashley Hansen provided us with this account of volunteering on Inauguration Day:I witnessed history.I witnessed hundreds of volunteers gather for a 5 am check-in to serve our country.I witnessed my fellow volunteers flow into Starbucks on the corner of 14th and New York Ave to stay warm while the staff called in for backup and fixed the broken toilet.

SCA Alumni Editorial Board member Angie Mrozinski sent us her reflections on the inaugural events today:”What is required of us now is a new era of responsibility, a recognition, on the part of every American, that we have duties to ourselves, our nation and the world, duties that we do not grudgingly accept but rather seize gladly, firm in the knowledge that there is nothing so satisfying to the

SCA’s own Emily McGinty sent us this update yesterday from Pittsburgh’s MLK Day events: I had a great time with the SCA crowd today—from crafts and drumming to ice skating and dancing, we had a really fun time and got tons of people, especially kids, hyped up about MLK Day. Our event ended at 4:30pm and I’ve just come home with the pictures. I am actually headed to the inauguration in about an hour and a half with 30 kids from my school and 150 people from Pittsburgh—-pretty crazy!!

What was truly astounding about spending today with SCA in DC was the palpable spirit of service. In a moment of clarity amid the bustle and energy of the day, I realized just how much we were embodying the spirit of Martin Luther King Jr.

We all know President-elect Obama is a strong proponent of service, but everyone has different ideas about what that should mean.Naturally, here at SCA we’re focused on conservation service. And we’d like to know, as an SCA alum or supporter, what would you tell the President if you had a chance to chat with him about conservation service?Leave us your thoughts here in the comments section.

The Economic Progress Through Conservation Project was a public planning project which deployed SCA interns working under the direction of the staff of the Progress Fund to create an economic development plan based on tourism in the Laurel Highlands region.The Project was developed by the SCA (Student Conservation Association, Inc) in partnership with the Progress Fund and was financed in part by a grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Bureau of Recreation and Conservation under the Growing Greener Program.ScopeThis Project seeks to provide an economic development plan based on tourism in the Laurel Highlands and to understand how to best leverage successful regional achievement in conservation, integrating regional resources such as Park and recreation areas, historic conservation areas, and areas of natural beauty into a plan that will provide a framework for supporting sustainable economic development for the benefit of rural communities in the four-county Laurel Highlands area of Southwestern PA.Download the full report - Economic Progress Through Conservation - 1.77MB .PDF

American Eagle Outfitters announced today it is offering an AE Better World holiday gift card program to benefit its three charity partners, Jumpstart, Big Brothers Big Sisters and SCA.

We need your help now to close the funding gap for AmeriCorps and the National Service Trust.

SCA has just learned that there is potentially a very problematic situation brewing around funding for national service. The Appropriations Committee is, at this moment, finalizing the Omnibus appropriations bill (the money bill). For a variety of reasons, they are estimating that they will be $41 million short in funding for AmeriCorps State and National and the National Service Trust. Losing the AmeriCorps educational awards will make it hard, or even impossible for many young people to serve through SCA and other organizations.

If someone from the National Park Service ever hands you a business card, flip it over. On the back, you’ll find the simple slogan “Experience Your America.” My most recent experience was among my most powerful…and the fact that it was delivered via 12 hours of watching TV is an irony that has yet to wear off.

SCA alumnus and hip-hop/blues crooner G. Love describes his 1990 SCA experience at Yellowstone as “magical” in the November issue of Best Life magazine. [full text quoted below] The article asks 40 “of the world’s greatest adventurers” to share the secrets of their most significant travel experiences.

Vice Admiral Conrad Lautenbacher and SCA President Dale Penny with SCA members in Washington, DCThe National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and SCA signed an agreement on October 10 that will pave the way for SCA conservation interns to protect some of our most valued coastal natural resources, working in collaboration with many of the nation’s premier marine scientists.

This past Saturday in Newark, NJ, members of SCA’s Newark Community Crew spent a day off from school creating a green space in their neighborhood. Helped by local volunteers and staff from Prudential Financial and the Greater Newark Conservancy (GNC), students worked to convert a small unused residential lot into a community garden.

All last spring and summer, SCA high school summer crews worked to reclaim abandonded lots in Pittsburgh.Their first job — clear the lots. Wading through knee-high Japanese knotweed they removed bricks, rotting timbers and trash, making pile upon pile of debris that City workers hauled away.

Student Conservation Association trail crew constructs a hiking bridge on the Salmon-Challis National Forest in 2008

Learn more about our High School Conservation Crews

ServiceNation is drawing to a close, but it’s not over yet! After the break, thoughts from Senator Hillary Clinton, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, and rock star philanthropist Jon Bon Jovi…“Whether you are a Republican or a Democrat, it is impossible not to admire Hillary Clinton,” says Ann Moore, Chairman and CEO of TIME, Inc.