The "Great Outdoors" has always lured people for a variety of reasons. But more and more young people are heading to places like Tioga-Hammond & Cowanesque Lakes, a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers project in Tioga, Pa., because it's the right thing to do.
They want to give back to the environment while exploring possible careers in conservation.
Brittany Golas, an intern with the Student Conservation Association (SCA), a volunteer from Eagleville, worked over the summer as a Wildlife Management Intern at Tioga-Hammond & Cowanesque Lakes.
As needs outpace budgets on America's public lands, the efforts of SCA volunteers have become essential.
Some 50,000 young people have volunteered through SCA since 1957, and National Park Service Director Fran Minella recently stated that "we can ‘t do without SCA."
The energy and idealism of the volunteers allows federal and state land-management agencies, as well as non-profit organizations, to meet the needs of the public in ways which wouldn't otherwise be possible.
Golas, 21 served at Tioga-Hammond & Cowanesque Lakes in order to make a meaningful contribution to its environment.
Brittany Golas said "My work at Tioga/Hammond was very rewarding for me, as I hope it was for them. Being able to work closely with others that share the same interests and aspirations for this world that I do is very gratifying.
"Working almost 500 hours this summer has really allowed me to experience working in the conservation field. I am a biology-animal Science major at Delaware Valley College; having the in class work is one thing, but the actual field experience is a whole other world. I hope that this experience leads to great endeavors in the coming years. "
SCA members learn a "conservation ethic" through their hands-on service, and its benefits both the land and the individual.
The experience leads many of them to become lifelong stewards of the land, and 60 percent of SCA interns go on to successful careers in many areas of conservation.
The Student Conservation Association is dedicated to encouraging a new generation of conservation leaders, advancing the land ethic, and helping to conserve our nation's natural and cultural resources.
The organization places nearly 3,000 high school, college, and graduate student members in the field each year, and they provide more than 1.5 million hours of conservation service in national parks, forests, and other public lands.