About Us

The Student Conservation Association (SCA) is the largest provider of hands-on environmental conservation programs for youth and young adults. Our program participants protect and restore national parks, marine sanctuaries, cultural landmarks and community green spaces across the country. After working with the SCA, program participants emerge with increased environmental awareness, social responsibility and leadership skills.

The SCA is transforming lives by empowering young people of all backgrounds to plan, act, and lead while they protect and restore natural and cultural resources. Through our work, the SCA is building the next generation of conservation leaders while inspiring lifelong protection of the environment and our communities.

Our Story

Founded in 1957, the SCA is devoted to creating equitable access to nature, providing green job opportunities for young people and teaching crew members how to become environmental stewards.

Our Mission

The SCA’s mission is to build the next generation of conservation leaders and inspire lifelong stewardship of the environment and communities by engaging young people through hands-on service projects.

Our Impact

Since 1957, the SCA has provided more than 100,000 young people with opportunities to protect the planet through service projects at national parks, state forests and community green spaces.


Leadership Team

The SCA’s Executive Leadership Team is also comprised of leading experts in the fields of conservation, partnership development, philanthropy, communications and corporate relations. Together, they mentor and guide more than 150 employees across the country. Learn more about our Leadership Team here.

Board of Directors

The SCA is led by a diverse group of Board Members ranging from leaders in both the public and private sectors who care deeply about responsible use and protection of the natural environment and empowering the next generation of conservation leaders. Learn more about our Board Members here.

SCA Founder, Liz Putnam

Liz Putnam founded the SCA in 1957 while attending Vassar College. She modeled the SCA after the 1930s Civilian Conservation Corps and enlisted student volunteers to help with the upkeep of U.S. national parks and public green spaces. Her work earned her a host of awards, including the Presidential Citizens Medal from President Barack Obama, President Ronald Reagan’s Volunteer Action Award, the Garden Club of America’s Margaret Douglas Medal, the Rachel Carson Leadership Award, the Cornelius Amory Pugsley Medal for contributions to public parks, and honorary doctorates from the University of Vermont and SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry. Read more about Liz’s story.

President’s Council

The President’s Council is comprised of distinguished philanthropic, corporate, conservation and youth development leaders from across the country who have agreed to promote the SCA’s mission, advise on strategic matters, and assist in raising public and private funds.

Student Conservation Association