(DENALI NATIONAL PARK, AK) August 11, 2011---U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), capped her "best of Alaska" tour with Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI) yesterday with the presentation of a special citation to a Student Conservation Association crew in Denali National Park.
Neither the officials nor the crew let a cool, rainy day dampen their outlooks. The SCA members - six high school-aged volunteers plus two adult crew leaders - were encrusted in mud from making improvements to the park's Savage Trail but Salazar, Murkowski, and Reed eagerly shared handshakes and hugs. Regional Park Service Director Sue Masica, Denali Superintendent Paul Anderson and other park staff were also present.
The senators, DOI and park officials stressed their commitment to expanding youth service opportunities on the nation's public lands, and engaged the SCA crew in an animated discussion of their experiences in Denali.
While noting the importance of Denali to Alaska's economy, a smiling Salazar put his arm around one of the SCA members and said "This administration is committed to youth conservation service and you embody that practice here in this magnificent national park."
The Secretary then presented the team with a framed photograph of Denali in recognition of SCA's ongoing conservation efforts in the park and across Alaska.
"For more than 50 years, SCA has engaged youth in nature, promoted lifelong stewardship, and prepared young people for green careers," says SCA Associate Vice President and Alaska Director Don Hunger. "As SCA expands its own programs, we look forward to supporting the America's Great Outdoors youth engagement initiative and the proposed 21st Century Youth Conservation Corps. In doing so, we will further expand our partners' capacities by adding skilled and motivated hands and accomplishing more of the critical work that needs to get done.
"Additionally, with today's alpine unemployment levels among younger Americans, programs like SCA provide a critical advantage for those entering the job market. We're glad Secretary Salazar and Senators Murkowski and Reed saved the best for last on their Alaskan tour. Together, we can give young people like those here in Denali more opportunities to protect our precious natural and cultural resources."
Last year, SCA youth leaders nationwide were instrumental in developing the America's Great Outdoors youth report, a federal initiative that calls for expanded youth service and employment opportunities to help reconnect youth to nature and meet the needs of public lands. SCA is currently working with the Department of the Interior, the National Park Service and others to create new opportunities for youth to gain valuable career experience in national parks. Concurrently, SCA is implementing its own plan to dramatically expand the number of young people it engages in hands-on conservation service over the next five years to further support the nation's parks and forests as well as the workforce development needs of land management agencies and other green employers.
Seventeen-year old SCA crew member Cailyn Gray of Arlington, VA says she expected to see grizzly bears, moose and eagles while in Alaska, but meeting the federal dignitaries was another story altogether. "They were sincerely interested in hearing about our efforts and experiences," Gray says. "And it wasn't easy for them to get here. They were awesome.'
Senator Reed, chairman of the Senate Interior Appropriations Subcommittee, encouraged the teenagers to consider careers with the National Park Service, stating "you are our best hope." Murkowski closed the session by thanking the crew for sharing their time and passion. "Although you are not from Alaska, you will take Alaska with you," Murkowski said while patting her heart. "And you'll also take the skills you learned here back to your communities and I hope they serve you well."
SCA, a national nonprofit organization that annually places thousands of young interns and volunteers on public lands in all 50 states, recently launched an expansion of its Alaska programs, with a specific emphasis on providing service and job training opportunities for Native Alaska youth. SCA is collaborating with local partners to fulfill the workforce development needs of federal and state agencies and provide young workers with new skill sets and hands-on experience, and is also working with Alaska's youth-focused community of non-profits, Native Corporations, universities and public land agencies to provide integrated programming, leadership and career development opportunities for the state's young people.
Earlier in the three-day tour, Murkowski, Reed and Salazar visited the Bureau of Land Management's Alaska Fire Center in Fairbanks as well as several energy facilities on the North Slope.
The Student Conservation Association 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. More than 4,000 SCA members annually render over two million hours of service to America's public lands. Since 1957, SCA has helped to develop new generations of conservation leaders, inspire lifelong stewardship, and save the planet. SCA maintains offices in Anchorage, AK, Boise, ID, Charlestown, NH, Oakland, CA, Pittsburgh, PA, Seattle, WA and Washington, D.C. For more information, visit www.thesca.org
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SCA is taking over New York City's Times Square! Take a look up if you're in NYC. The SCA-Southwest Airlines Conservation in Action Tour40 is being prominently featured on the streets of Times Square, thanks to American Eagle Outfitters.
After they take on New York City, the Tour40 bus is coming to a city near you. SCA has teamed up with Southwest Airlines to improve the condition of America’s Great Outdoors with the Conservation in Action Tour40.
Since June, the SCA Tour40 crew has been traveling in a biodiesel-fueled RV, working on important conservation projects in communities, parks, forests and preserves, all across the United States. Now, they are coming your way.
Join SCA, as we help improve the outdoor spaces in your community.
The Tour40 crew has been joined by hundreds of Southwest employees and customers and lots of SCA friends. They’re hoping to reach 10,000 service hours to America’s outdoor spaces by the time the tour reaches Houston in September. That’s where you come in.
Help us reach our goal of 10,000 hours of conservation service. Register for the event today.
Originally published on August 5, 2011 on mainlinemedianews.com
By Alan Thomas email@example.com
It's hard to believe that you're in Tredyffrin Township.
Ray Clarke calls it "the Northwest Frontier," as Diamond Rock Preserve's 66 acres lie north of the Pennsylvania Turnpike and just a bit east of the Route 29 slip-ramp construction on the south-facing slope of Diamond Rock Hill. It's about as far away from Main-Line Suburban Tredyffrin as you can get and still be in the township. ...continue reading
SCA is making sure that even amid all the political and economic turmoil, Congress doesn’t forget about our country’s natural and cultural resources. SCA President Dale Penny testified on Capitol Hill in support of a bill that would help the federal government address rising youth unemployment by expanding national service and the restoration of our public lands.
SCA DC-based intern Sade Demery attended the hearing and was impressed by the passion and concern of Penny's testimony. "This bill is very important to the SCA and Conservation Community because it allows them to continue to foster stewardship, protect, and preserve our natural wonderlands," Demery said.
Penny’s testimony last month was on behalf of the Public Lands Service Corp Act of 2011 (H.R. 587), which, if passed, would increase the government’s capacity to provide hands-on job training opportunities on public lands and promote the value of stewardship and service.
“SCA provides participants with hands-on service opportunities in virtually every conservation and natural resource field imaginable. SCA members have provided wildfire education and outreach education to ranches, rendered conservation education to farmers, built and repaired hiking trails, and much more. Last year, SCA placed over 4,200 high school, college students, and graduate students on over 500 public land sites across the country,” Penny said in his statement to Congress.
Penny's testimony noted the current unemployment rates of 19% for 16 to 24 year olds and 21.9% for veterans ages 18-24. Alongside these statistics Penny highlighted the SCA survey revealing that 55 % of SCA program participants go on to conservation-related careers and activities. In addition to this, Penny cited the National Park Service (NPS) finding that roughly 12% of the current NPS workforce began their careers with SCA.
One of the things that most stood out to Demery during the testimony was Penny's great detail about the unemployment rate today and how this bill could create future employment opportunities for our youth. "If this bill is passed, this will afford greater career opportunities and training for youth," Demery said.
All these factors, Penny explained, stress the importance of the legislation, which, if passed, “will allow the country to create jobs, provide necessary career training for youth and returning veterans…and help SCA continue its work of ‘building the next generation of conservation leaders.’”
Follow nearly a dozen SCA members working coast to coast as they blog from the field in real time. Together, we’ll embark on a summer of personal, professional and outdoor exploration. Take a minute to share your thoughts and experiences with this summer's authors.
Meet the first four of the nearly dozen Follow Me authors as they share their summer of conservation and exploration with us.
Serena Doose, Aroostook NWR
"When climbing a tree, I need to trust that I can indeed control my arms and legs, and that I am not just going to randomly fall out of the tree. I am in control. It's such a liberating feeling."
Kayla Morain, SW Louisiana NWR
"I am blessed that I get to have this opportunity. Everyone has a starring role in conservation because we all play a role on this earth. What can be more important than the Earth we share with each other? And if I, the artsy Texan who can't tell the difference between a crow and a grackle - I can now - can play a role, then you certainly can make a difference as well."
Katie Serock, Rachel Carson NWR
"I love how different every day is at Rachel Carson. One day I'll be on the beach, another I'll be in the salt marsh, and then the next day I'll be in the office working on some type of project. There are only four weeks left until the end of my internship so I'm going to continue to take in every moment and enjoy the time I have left here."
Alexis Herb, Minnesota Valley NWR
"It was definitely worth being out in the elements, even though I suspect my jeans will never be dry again. The lightning shows in Minnesota are much brighter and send more bolts down to earth and through the sky than the ones I'm used to. If absolutely nothing else, I'll remember the thunderstorms here for years to come."
Denver, Vegas, San Fran, LA, Phoenix and more. SWA and SCA are sweeping the nation...literally. The SCA crew and SWA volunteers are cleaning, mulching, weeding, and planting as they complete community service projects throughout the nation. The tour is on!
They have left the west coast, are in the heartland of America, will drive East and then land back in Texas. They are coming to a city near you very soon. Check out the Tour40 dates and register for a community service project in your area.
The SCA crew has been blogging along the way, sharing experiences of heat waves, removing invasive species, maintaining trails, making friends and having a great time all while engaging with local community members and SWA employees. Read the crew's road reports and check out the Tour40 flickr stream to learn about Conservation in Action.
Read more at http://tour40.thesca.org/.
“SCA provided me with my first big job adventure,” Sarah Dylla said of her internship at Virgin Islands National Park. The ad might have read: Virgin Islands National Park seeks a cultural landscape planner for historic site in ruinous state on deserted island in former commercial hub of West Indies. Must be OK with mosquitoes [lots!] indoor camping [electricity spotty], rats roaches, lizards. But, also, white sand beaches, amazing barbecue, wonderful people.
“When I saw the position description on the SCA website, I knew it was for me. It spoke to me! I was very interested in the challenge of preserving cultural heritage for future generations. I called Mark Hardgrove, the VIIS Superintendent, and forced him to hire me,” Sarah said.
Mark apparently didn't need much convincing. “Within two weeks of asking SCA to help us find an intern, we had a list of impressive applicants, but when we saw Sarah’s qualifications, there was no question. She was it.”
Right out of college with a degree in art and architectural history, Sarah was to work with an interdisciplinary team of local planners, high school teachers, the St. Thomas Historic Trust, and park professionals to develop a draft cultural landscape plan for Hassel Island in St. Thomas harbor. Sarah’s specific assignment was to determine the site’s period of significance; inventory the elements that were still on the landscape; determine how best to interpret the history and artifacts of the site to visitors; create a plan, and gather public input before submitting it to the National Park Service for funding and implementation. She had six months.
For extra credit, she was to develop a trails plan for the island.
Acquired by the Park Service in 1978 and left untouched until now, the site was in a “severe state of ruin” according to Hardgrove. Immediate work was needed to stabilize crumbling and collapsing historic structures to make it safe for visitation.
While the site has been occupied for thousands of years, it was determined that its heyday had been the mid-19 century when prevailing trade winds brought sailing ships directly to the West Indies and St Thomas harbor, known as the best shelter in the Caribbean. When the Royal Mail Steam Packet located its West Indies hub there, Hassel Island became a bustling trade center. It was the age of steam. Coal to power the huge ships arrived via sailing vessels, slower but cheaper, and was carried onto steamships by local women.
One of the significant historical elements on Hassel Island, the Creque Marine Railway, had been used to hoist ships as big as 700 tons out of the water for repairs. The marine railway was in operation right up into the mid-60s and its huge Boulton steam engine is the only one of its kind known to still exist.
Sarah recently presented the draft plan at a public meeting where it was extremely well received. “Everyone melted after she spoke,” Hardgrove said. “She convinced them to preserve the site in its 19th century state rather than cover it with palm trees.”
Superintendent Hardgrove had very kind works for Sarah and SCA. “She was awesome. Every time we have used the SCA, it gets better and better. It is one of the solutions to many of our problems. Not just for the quality of the interns, which is fantastic, but for the return on our investment. We get great value. The interns are very project oriented. ”
The plan will be submitted to the Park Service soon with 2013 as the target date for opening the Hassel Island National Historic Site [confirm exact name] to the public. Exhibits are to be constructed based on Sarah’s 3D mockups. And, yes, she did manage to do the trails plan as well.
As for Sarah's next adventure, she’s headed to a job with the University of Virginia as a digital humanities specialist. Her dream -- work for the Park Service again someday.
by Anna Brown
When I was 15 years old, I met two people who changed my life. Their names were Steve and Brooke, and they were quite the pair. Steve was a graduate student from Washington State, somewhat quiet and reserved, but at the same time wonderfully sincere and full of random information that made him the best trivia player I had ever met. Brooke was a fearless twenty-something year old who was training for a marathon and had a chipped-tooth grin so wide and cheeks so rosy that her smile was contagious. My first encounter with Steve and Brooke was at an airport, where (you guessed it), they had come to meet me and five other wide-eyed and red-blooded teenagers for an SCA High School Conservation Crew at Wind Cave National Park.
There is more than I can list that was magical about that crew: being away from home for four weeks, sleeping under the stars, learning how to cook, building a bridge with nothing but hand tools and logs, wearing a birthday cape one day while working on that bridge (it was my sixteenth), climbing the highest mountain in South Dakota, discovering fluffer-nutter sandwiches, climbing a way higher mountain in Wyoming, spelunking in one of the world’s longest caves, and discovering unexpected friendships that would change the way I thought about the world. It wasn’t until years later, when I became an SCA crew leader myself, that I realized how much of that “magic” was not merely serendipitous, but directly attributable to the tireless and dedicated work of Steve and Brooke.
Though the intimate details of Steve and Brooke’s personal experiences with our crew will never be fully known to me, I’ve realized that part of their experience must not have been so different than that of SCA crew leaders today. Here at crew leader training, I suddenly sense that I am more united with Steve and Brooke now than I was when I was fifteen years old (though I have been out of touch with them for years). That’s because now, I share in their vision, as all SCA crew leaders of the past and present do. We’re part of a circle that never diminishes – it is only capable of growing larger.
The energy at training is contagious. Last summer, my crew members invented a word that is the best I have yet come across to try and describe the SCA energy that was present then and is here now: posi-enthusi-tude. That’s right: positive, enthusiastic, attitude. It’s the kind of feeling you get when you look out at the horizon and see endlessness. It’s the wave of heat that flushes across your chest when you realize something that makes you feel expansive. It’s spring. It’s starting over. It’s sensing the limitlessness in the complexity of a single flower.
We come from all walks of life. We’re college students, and school teachers and mothers and fathers, and gourmet ice cream connoisseurs. We vary from the wandering types to the family types to the professionals, and everything in between. We come from the east coast, west coast, no coast, and some of us have been coasting for so long it is hard to define where we come from. But we all have one thing in common – we are all dedicated to empowering young people and hold a conviction that the outdoors is our greatest classroom. We are united in our vision of the future - one where all people tread mindfully on this great landscape of life and hold each other up when we have to scale mountains. Above all else, we hold in our hearts an unwavering faith in the power of young people, and we find hope in that. The shirts on our backs say “SCA”, and we wear them proudly, because this is the organization that has brought us together to do the great work.
And when we gaze up at the stars at night, we remember that we are all sleeping under the same roof.
I’ve got three weeks left to prepare for the summer crew season. This time around, I’ll be leading crews at Yosemite and The Virgin Islands National Park. There is so much hard work that goes into these crews even before they begin. Contacting students, writing letters, communicating with agency partners, completing paperwork and planning logistics is all part of the job description of an SCA Crew Leader. But the most important component to our preparation occurs internally – it is the intricate work that we must do inside each of our hearts and heads before any of this can begin. So here I stand grinding my feet into the ground, and I pick up a Pulaski – the empress of tools.
Ahead of me on the trail I see the faces of all the 2011 high school participants, who will soon arrive wide-eyed and red-blooded at airports across the country. Behind me, I see Steve and Brooke, and I remember one of the first things they taught me about trail work. They taught me that trails are hand hewn. They taught me that the work is a slow, mindful process. And deliberate. But that when it’s all said and done, you’ll be able to walk an unwavering path. You’ll be able to stand and gaze out at the horizon, and know that is endless – that it stretches far beyond all these things that are immediately in front of us, these distractions that sometimes block our view.
In my mind, I’m out on that horizon, and I’m holding a Pulaski. I picture Steve’s quiet gaze, the way he listened so intently whenever we talked, like there was nothing more important in the world. And I picture Brooke’s rosy cheeks and chipped-tooth smile. I grin. We all grin.
We’re all in this together.
Carpentry Skills Training
Rigging Instructor - Will
Amanda and JR
Southwest Airlines and SCA are teaming up this summer to celebrate SWA's 40th anniversary. "Tour40" hits the road on June 17th from Dallas TX with a select SCA crew, a big ole biodiesel bus, and 40 community service events planned for 25 US cities. Sign up starting May 23rd or follow the action on SCA's Facebook page.
What better way to promote hands-on conservation and spread awareness about stewardship than by traversing the county in a head-turning, custom-wrapped 40ft biodiesel RV! San Antonio was the first leg of Tour40 where, after weeks of looking at one-dimensional renderings, it was awe inspiring to see it for real. It's like a big Southwest airplane that takes command of the road as opposed to the air. We are delighted to partner with Southwest Airlilnes for this rolling green tour.
We thought you might enjoy this time-lapse video of "wrapping the bus."