Earthsaver of the Month -- Meet Volunteers from around the Nation

This election season has Americans of all political stripes reexamining issues of leadership, character and values. We believe that SCA members represent some of the best in these areas, and that there’s no better time to showcase their contributions — and future potential — to strengthen our nation.

Every year thousands of young people serve the planet through SCA’s crew and internship programs, and even more pitch in through our one-day volunteer service events. In doing so, these young Americans are not only positively impacting public lands, they’re also preparing themselves to be the next generation of conservation leaders by leveraging hands-on experience and mentorship to gain the necessary knowledge and skills.

Leading up to the National Park Service’s Centennial this summer, we’ll be profiling a new batch of these inspiring young “Earthsavers” each month, for, as we celebrate the last 100 years, it is they who will do the work that will keep our parks safe and accessible for the Next 100 years.

At age 16, Jean Bartholomew joined a SCA national crew for a trail project located 15 miles deep into the Yellowstone backcountry and she’s been a true believer in the transformative power of the great outdoors ever since. She stayed connected with SCA throughout her time at the University of Pittsburgh, and following a brief stint in a cubicle she decided to pursue a career that embraced her love of the outdoors. She now works in San Francisco as an educator at the Crissy Field Center for the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy.

“A good leader has to be a good listener – it’s about finding out what motivates people, and then working with people’s motivations to accomplish things together.”

Anthony Peters and other SCA crew members on the trail in DC

“I want to help new generations of students feel the same excitement I felt about protecting our parks when I first joined SCA over nine years ago.”

FEMA Corps Team Blue 3 conducting erosion repair at SCA's Find Your Park 9/11 Day of Service & Remembrance at Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens.

“I serve because it gives me a purpose greater than myself, and I think that is really important.”

After working outside helped Emmett Pegan deal with the stress of coming out as transgender, he decided to try and make a career of it. Now as an SCA Biology Intern at John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge in Philadelphia, he’s learning what such a career might look like before he heads to college in the fall.

As a SCA Museum Intern at Yosemite National Park, Dana Foster (Left) is sharpening her Cultural Resource Management skills and making it easier for people to connect with the historical and cultural resources that illuminate the connections between cultural identities and the land.

Kiara "Kiki" Serantes, a SCA Cultural Resources Intern at Zion National Park, cleans up graffiti in one of the park's famous slot canyons.

As a Cultural Resources Intern at Zion National Park, Kiara “Kiki” Serantes is gaining the experience she’ll need to translate her writing and political skills into a career spent keeping the world’s wilderness safe from environmental negligence for at least the Next 100 years.

Group of young environmentalists from the FBR Branch of Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Washington

“We believe in the old adage ‘service is the rent you pay for living.’”

SCA leader Geovani Caldero leading Find Your Park volunteers

“Our generation has the responsibility (more than any other generation in our history) to confront and deal with serious environmental issues.”

“I love the outdoors and believe that we all need to do our part to make sure that our parks and environmental resources remain intact for others to enjoy.”

“This is fabulous! Truly a great partnership idea !”

SCA leader Aaron Gray pulls invasives at an SCA event in San Francisco

“I try to model a passion for service while working with new volunteers so that I can motivate them.”

SCA Centennial Volunteer Ambassador Aurelia Casey welcomes volunteers in NYC

“SCA helped me realize that I had a lot of potential, and that I could help change my hometown for the better.”

US veterans from The Mission Continues volunteers at SCA's Find Your park beach cleanup in NYC

“We aim to inspire the next generation to view service as part of their lives. Service has given us purpose and we want to keep that going.”

“SCA made me feel that I didn’t have to be limited in what I do.”

Jeremy Taitano is SCA's Earthsaver Volunteer of the Month!

“I believe in the ability of outdoor spaces to inspire, to empower, and to bring us together as a people. All people.”

“Urban parks and farms are some of the most beautiful natural lands to me, because they create hope in neighborhoods that are mostly concrete.”

“Ultimately we are all responsible for our planet — there is no Planet-B!”

Imran Khan, an SCA volunteer, serving during Earth Day 2015 at Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx, New Yorlk

“If I can help to make my peers aware of environmental issues and encourage them to get involved, I can expand our generation’s impact far into the future.”

Heidi Untener (right) and her family volunteering at SCA's Earth Day 2015 Event in Van Cortlandt Park, Bronx, New York

“I serve the planet because I care about the world in which I live, appreciate the beauty in all its great and small things, and know that its resources are not unlimited.”