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.

Today, we got the insider view of some of the struggles the National Park Service is currently facing.

Pedro Ramos, the Big Cypress National Preserve superintendent, came to our campsite and joined us for dinner. After our delicious meal, we gathered around the campfire. He asked us what he can do to improve the National Park System. The main issue was relevance.

On March 4, a culturally and geographically diverse bunch of students gathered with SCA in the Grand Tetons to learn what it takes to run a national park. Here are a few highlights from the week.”On the second day we did a lot.

Session 2 of NPS Academy 2013 commenced on March 10 at Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Here are some highlights from a week of training and camaraderie amongst a diverse group of conservation-minded young people.”Lance, our facilitator, spoke on the importance of a key element in all relationships, including our own with the NPS: trust.

The third session of NPS Academy 2013 took place in Kenai Fjords National Park, Alaska, during the week of March 11. Here’s a sampling of the hijinks that ensued.@the_sca NPS Academy AK hiked to Tonsina Point outside of Seward for lunch and discussions on day two!!

Shake-Off time! Here they are, all together, student-produced Harlem Shake vids from all three NPS Academies: Alaska, Great Smoky, and Grand Tetons.Which one reins supreme? Tell us in the comments!

We begin by rubbing our fingers together. The sound, imperceptible, is obscured by a light breeze and the occasional bird overhead. Next, we snap our fingers. It’s hard in the cold, but the sound is persistent, an organized cacophony. Better still is the light clapping. The tips of our fingers on our right hands meet the palms of our left. With 42 campers the rhythm is undeniable.

After a restful Wednesday, my fellow campers and I visited Rio Sierra Vista State Park — one of only 5 Mediterranean climates in the world alongside the Mediterranean Basin, Chile, Southern Australia and South Africa. To say the least it was a rare sight to behold.

There were rolling hills, for miles it appeared, and expanses of dense green.

Hello, readers!

My third day of camping and serving with the Student Conservation Association (SCA) in the Santa Monica Mountains has wrapped up.

Yesterday was a day of toil well worth the exhaustion. We spent several hours at Santa Monica Beach Park removing the rest of the leafy carnations and clover weeds.

Today we picked up right where we left off at Malibu Lagoon State Beach. We picked up a ton of knowledge about native and invasive plants yesterday, and the Park staff was extremely impressed that we remembered pretty much everything. No reiteration necessary!

“Today, we’re ripping out weeds,” Mark, a mountain-of-a-man with weather-beaten skin, said this morning. Mine and my fellow camper’s toes were still thawing out.

Santa Monica Beach State Park, the host of an Alternative Spring Break with the Student Conservation Association is gorgeous, but deceptive. Mine and my group’s first day, Sunday, was warm.

Today was my first full day with the Student Conservation Association, and already I know this will be a memorable experience. I traveled from Atlanta, with a layover flight in Las Vegas, then to Burbank, CA. At the Burbank airport I was greeted by jovial and enthusiastic participants, project leader, and staff.

Written by Kate Hagner, SCA’s AmeriCorps Program and Evaluation manager, in celebration of AmeriCorps week, March 9 -17th. SCA and AmeriCorps share a common history: President Roosevelt’s Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC).

By Apoorva Mahajan, NPS Academy 2013This week on Conservation Nation, we’re bringing you blog updates from session 2 of NPS Academy 2013.

Tired and proud machete wielders.

There’s a reason I keep coming back to the SCA. The work is rewarding, the food is delicious, and the locations are beautiful. But all those factors combined cannot trump the best the SCA has to offer: its people.

The SCA draws its participants from a variety of backgrounds.

Over the course of today we got to experience what building a community is truly like, through the destruction of another. You may have seen in Justin and Kenneth’s blogs that they have already experienced the demolition site. Our main goal today was to help remove a house that, through acquisition, is now located in Big Cypress National Preserve.

History of fire at BCNP.

It’s Thursday night, Day 5. Hard to believe we arrived in Southwest Florida just five days ago. In less than 36 hours, our first members will be headed to the airport to catch their flights back north. An intense and fantastic week is in fact coming to a close.

Our project leader, Toby, expressed it best in welcoming us to the Alternative Spring Break adventure.

Today we found ourselves canoeing through mangroves, and trudging through Big Cypress National Preserve at the Gator Hook turn off (in case you want to find it because it’s awesome!), for a day full of sun, adventure, and exploring the wilderness.

The canoe trip entailed traveling down the little crest, and out towards the Gulf of Mexico.

Today was a recreation day, and it was amazing. First we went on a canoe trip on the Black Water River in Collier Seminole State Park. We learned a lot about the different mangroves and the Natives that used to live here.

Yesterday I shared some of the work that we were doing in Big Cypress protecting the RCW’s (Red Cockaded Woodpecker) which is an endangered species. The other thing that is really cool about the RCW’s that many people don’t know is that they build these awesome nests in live pine trees most of the time.

Jacob rests on the front loader following a tough day in the field.

When I signed up for the Student “Conservation” Association’s Alternative Spring Break (ASB), I thought knew what to expect. We’d be doing some planting, some harvesting, some taking care of the land.

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SCA Themes

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

75000 Members have served with SCA

Over 75,000 women and men have served with SCA - read some of their stories here.

Read about the women and men who helped build America’s oldest and largest youth conservation service organization here

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

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

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?

“Something different” is what Jessica Aronson Cook was looking for when she first joined the Student Conservation Association (SCA) as...
Mary Nghe and Stacey Kinney -- two CDIP Interns with the Student Conservation Association
Growing up in Houston, Stacey Kinney says she only saw ducks on office park ponds. Now, here she was at...

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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