SCA Houston Community Crewmembers helping to replant outdoor spaces

Today, only 6% of children play outside on their own. Those who do enjoy less than eight minutes a day in unrestricted outdoor activities. Yet the average teenager spends 10 hours a day staring at an electronic screen.

In urban areas, the disconnect between youth and nature is even more acute. But here in Houston, SCA—which launched the American youth conservation movement nearly 60 years ago—is spearheading a new drive to engage young people in hands-on service in the very neighborhoods they call home.

With an active focus on under-served populations, we provide students from all backgrounds with empowering opportunities to preserve city parks, explore the local ecology, and discover their own potential. Independent studies confirm that SCA members gain greater self-esteem and direction, enhanced critical-thinking and focus, and improved fitness and stamina.

Additionally, as students advance along a continuum of conservation experiences, they build the skills and insights necessary to lead effectively, practice lifelong stewardship and succeed in their careers.

Following their initial service, some SCA members return to lead the programs on which they once volunteered; others progress to become interns at the Houston Arboretum, Atwater Prairie Chicken National Wildlife Refuge, or distant locations like Yellowstone and Acadia. And with seven in 10 SCA alumni employed or studying in the conservation field, their influence will reach across local governments, businesses and communities for many years to come.

SCA Houstons' Programs have engaged over 2,000 young people and given over 300,000 hours of service to Houston's outdoor spaces

Houston Special Initiatives:

ConSERVE Houston

In collaboration with Houston Parks and Recreation and others in the community, SCA conducts service projects throughout the city to strengthen the Houston environment and sow the seeds of civic engagement in a new generation of student leaders. Activities include park clean-ups, invasive species removal and trail construction/rehabilitation.

Community Conservation Crews

Under-served city teens enjoy what is often their first real exposure to the outdoors in this summer education/employment initiative. Members improve local parks and neighborhoods throughout the Houston area while gaining work skills and experience in what the US Conference of Mayors calls “one of America’s top green jobs programs for youth.”

Urban Wildlife Refuge Program

In partnership with the US Fish and Wildlife Service, SCA is nurturing a new conservation constituency by engaging youth from under-represented communities in meaningful, collaborative ways that build sustainable, broad-based support for wildlife conservation in and around Houston.

“I want to help preserve our natural world for future generations to enjoy, and SCA can provide an excellent entry to forestry and wildlife or conservation.”

– Anthony Sanchez, SCA alumnus, Houston, TX


  • Buffalo Bayou Partnership
  • Houston Parks and Recreation Department
  • Memorial Park
  • Mercer Arboretum and Botanic Gardens
  • San Jacinto Battleground Conservancy
  • Texas Coastal Ecological Services, US Fish andWildlife Service
  • Texas Parks and Wildlife Department
  • US Fish and Wildlife Service Urban Refuge Initiative


  • The Brown Foundation
  • Motiva
  • Marathon Oil
  • The Robert and Janice McNair Foundation
  • Phillip66
  • Shell
  • Wortham Foundation

News, Stories & Projects

The B-52s are more than a bestselling rock band — they are also conservation rock stars! This weekend in Texas, concert-goers had a chance to get their hands dirty before the show by stepping up to serve with SCA.

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The first project for SCA’s Houston Summer Crew this year took place at the White Oak Bayou and Park, in Houston, TX.

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Volunteers from throughout the Greater Houston area provided a little sweat labor recently to beautify areas of Lake Houston Wilderness Park in New Caney.

More than 75 volunteers converged on the park on April 12 to help install park benches, build and install bat boxes and bird houses, and helped create a new trail around Lake Isabel.

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Another post in our “best-photos-of-all-time” series. When it rains in Houston, well, it really rains. But this SCA crew didn’t seem to mind. They planted lots of trees and had some fun doing it.Thanks Misty Knight, Houston crewleader, for the great photos. Sign Up for News & Stories

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Contact Info

SCA Houston
2990 Richmond Avenue
Suite 400
Houston, TX 77098

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