Student Conservation Association Joins US Disaster Response Program

Monday, October 28, 2013

In Support of Corporation for National and Community Service and FEMA

(WASHINGTON, DC) October 28, 2012 – The Student Conservation Association (SCA), the national leader in youth service and stewardship, has signed a formal agreement with the federal Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) to assist in disaster response and preparedness in communities across the country.

CNCS, which engages millions of Americans in service through its core programs – AmeriCorps, Senior Corps, and the Social Innovation Fund – and leads President Barack Obama’s national service initiative, United We Serve, also partners with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) on disaster preparedness, mitigation, response, and recovery.

The SCA-CNCS agreement adds to the government’s disaster response capabilities while offering young people additional opportunities to serve their country and fellow citizens, often when aid is most urgently needed.

“Disaster response is critical to limiting the pain and suffering of those affected and providing care and comfort,” states SCA President Dale Penny.  “While we hope there will be no need to call on SCA members, they stand resolute and ready to lift the lives of others should circumstances warrant.”

SCA – currently celebrating 20 years of partnership with AmeriCorps – brings considerable expertise to the partnership.  One year ago, in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, members of SCA’s Veterans Fire Corps grabbed their chainsaws to free New Jersey Shore residents from a maze of downed trees and debris and clear access for other first responders and vital supplies.  The Corps is comprised of recent era military veterans training in national forests for careers in wildfire mitigation.

Additionally, SCA joined the federal government’s response to the Gulf of Mexico oil spill and provided community relief in the wake of storm flooding along the Florida coast.  SCA’s credentials also include several major ecological response programs, including an ongoing Hurricane Sandy recovery initiative at the National Parks of New York Harbor, an extensive effort to restore flood-ravaged Mount Rainier National Park, the rebuilding of recreation areas and habitats in Angeles National Forest following the 2009 Station Fire, and a three-year restoration program after the devastating Yellowstone National Park wildfires 25 years ago.

“SCA staff and members are highly trained in incident command systems, wilderness risk management and other emergency protocols, and bring many years of relevant field experience.  These are critical qualifications that will aid them as well as the victims of natural or other disasters,” notes Penny.

Once activated, SCA AmeriCorps members aged 18-24 will join a cadre of 15 AmeriCorps programs specially trained in the area of disaster services and work directly with disaster survivors, support recovery centers and share disaster preparedness and mitigation information with the public.

Last year, more than 106 million Americans were affected by disasters which led to human losses, social problems, economic harm, and environmental damage.  In addition to adding speed and capacity to any federal emergency response, volunteers help to reduce government costs in delivering post-disaster services.

About the Student Conservation Association:

The Student Conservation Association (SCA) is the only national organization that develops tomorrow’s conservation leaders by providing high school and college students with service opportunities in all 50 states, from urban communities to national parks and forests. Since 1957, SCA’s hands-on practice of conservation service has helped to develop a new generation of conservation leaders, inspire lifelong stewardship and save the planet. SCA is a nonprofit organization headquartered in Washington, DC, with offices in Boise, ID, Charlestown, NH, Chicago, IL, Oakland, CA, Pittsburgh, PA and Seattle, WA. For further information, visit www.thesca.org.

 

# # #