Washington, DC


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 Washington, DC, 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 Anacostia Park, Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens, or distant locations like Yellowstone and Yosemite. 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.

An SCA experience may last only a few weeks or months, but its impact lasts a lifetime. Conservation begins here.


Under-served city teens enjoy what is often their first real exposure to the outdoors in this summer education/employment initiative, which SCA pioneered here in Washington nearly 20 years ago. Members improve local parks and neighborhoods throughout the District while gaining work skills and experience in what the US Conference of Mayors calls “one of America’s top green jobs programs for youth.” Read more about Washignton DC Community Crew programs here.


SCA provides innovative environmental education programs and activities for DC-area K-12 youth on topics including urban ecosystems and watersheds, waste and recycling, conservation and sustainability, environmental ethics, wildlife, and ecology. At our base in Anacostia Park, generously donated by the National Park Service, programs include hands-on and interactive components to complement an active outdoor environmental curriculum. Read more about Urban Tree House here.

“After my experiences with SCA, I am now a more confident, resilient, imaginative individual with a strong drive for quality and discovery. I gained a strong work ethic and a passion for the environment which now defines me as a person.”

– Eli Livezey, Washington, DC Crew member


  • D.C. Aquatic Resource Education Center (AREC)
  • District Department of Transportation (DDOT)
  • District Department of the Environment (DDOE)


  • DC Recreational Trails Fund
  • Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz


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SCA National Office

4245 North Fairfax Drive

Suite 825

Arlington, VA 22203



1875 Connecticut Ave NW
10th Floor
Washington DC 20009


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