by Leanne Serrato, ’93
I'm very excited about a new SCA initiative in New York, not only because it’s my home state but also because I’ve come full-circle with SCA. I originally served with SCA in 1993 in the Winema Forest in Oregon, and now I will be one one of the Buffalo crew leaders. Although I’m a certified biology teacher, I’m currently working as a probation officer. SCA’s NY program is so inspiring that I want to switch careers and get back to my conservation and environmental roots. I look forward to the opportunity to expose Buffalo area youth to “green” projects and career exploration.
Buffalo is one of three Empire State communities included in this initiative. The others are New York City/Long Island and the Hudson River Valley. All three will be bases for summer community crews putting teenagers to work in New York State parks.
The funding comes originally from President Obama’s stimulus plan through the Department of Labor; Labor contracted with the Parks, and the Parks granted the SCA funding to run the program. The stimulus dollars are “being used exactly as intended – to provide opportunities for youth where there are often few or none,” says SCA National Director for Community Conservation Programs Laura Herrin.
The teens are being recruited from youth development organizations. The population of teens will be low-income and non-college bound youth who might never have had a chance to participate in conservation. They’ll work in selected state parks on trail restoration, invasive species removal and similar projects, with a long-term goal of being hired by the New York State Parks Department.
Hands-on career training, environmental education, and a paycheck? What a great way to spend the summer!
Meanwhile, SCA is introducing other new summer community programs in Chicago and Philadelphia, bringing its total of local conservation programs to 21 -- from Seattle to Jacksonville and San Francisco to Washington, D.C. Now you can serve “the environment” wherever you are, whether you're in the back country caked in mud or beautifying an urban neighborhood park.
Note: if you or someone you know is looking for a meaningful conservation job, SCA is hiring 40 Crew Leaders to lead crews of 10 youth in New York. Check out the full job description and instructions to apply.
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