Chicago, IL

SCA fielded its first community conservation program in Chicago in 2010. Partnering with Enlace Community Organization, twenty high school students came together to design, construct, maintain, and advocate for increased green space. Since that first year, more than 500 youth in the Chicago region have participated in SCA programs. Thanks to local environmental organizations, schools, youth development organizations, and numerous community groups, SCA continues to provide conservation opportunities to Chicago’s young people each year.

The SCA Chicago Community Program provides year-round conservation opportunities divided into two seasons: school-year programs (running October through May) and summer programs (running July through August). The Chicago Community Program offers both volunteer and paid service opportunities. Volunteer programs occur on weekends, while paid service programs run Monday-Friday in the summertime, but require evening and weekend participation during the school year. Members serve at sites in and around Chicago. Participants build trails and restore habitat while exploring green career opportunities, building leadership skills, and learning about the local environment through environmental education field trips, outdoor recreation, and service projects.  

During the program, participants learn how to work as members of a diverse team of peers; gain knowledge of public land resources, environmental issues, and career readiness skills; increase understanding of environmental and trail restoration techniques; acquire experience in public service and outdoor recreation; and develop valuable professional skills through teambuilding and leadership activities.

Trainings Offered: 

  • CPR Certification
  • Resume Building       
  • Leave No Trace (LNT) Outdoor Ethics
  • Financial Literacy
  • Habitat Restoration
  • Trail Skills

Eligibility Requirements: 

Applicants must be at least 14 years of age or in high school for teen school year and summer programs. For young adult programs, applicants must be at least 18 years of age. Other requirements vary by position. In order to participate in paid programs, applicants must be able to produce valid citizenship documents. 

Key Partners:

SCA Chicago Office

P.O. Box 30245
Chicago, IL 60630
O: (312) 239-1665
Applicants for Chicago region Community programs should direct their questions to Program Manager, Samuel Vergara ([email protected]

Calumet Tree Conservation Corps

*Click to open Web PDF

The application period for the 2021 Chicago Summer Conservation Leadership Corps (CCLC) Program is now open.

SCA’s 2021 Chicago Summer Conservation Leadership Corps Program will have crews of high school members, aged 14-19, working in forest preserves throughout the Chicago region. The crews will work Monday through Thursday each week during the summer program. Members work 28 hours per week.

Eligibility Requirements:

Applicants must be at least 14 years of age to participate in high school programs. Members must be currently in high school or recent high school graduates.

  • Earn up to $1,680 (pre-tax).
  • Uniform and Boots Provided.
  • Program runs July 6, 2021 to August 13, 2021.
  • Work 28 hrs/week, Monday-Thursday, 8:00 am - 3:30 pm (*includes one half hour unpaid lunch break).
  • Work in local forest preserves doing hands-on work. 
  • Obtain valuable work-skills and green jobs training.
  • Work in beautiful outdoor settings and make lifelong friends!
  • Work on teams with other High School team members (with 2 adult team leaders 21+)
  • Serve to give back and better your local communities and natural areas.
  • If accepted into the program you MUST be available for the ENTIRE length of the program!

Application Process:

  • Application deadline is April 2, 2021.
  • This program is VERY competitive and not all applicants will be accepted into the program. Select applicants will be invited to an interview in April and will be informed of their position offer by end of May. *Not all applicants will be accepted into the program.*
  • Please apply by clicking here! We run this program in partnership with Friends of the Forest Preserves and have a joint application! 
  • If you are an alum, you will still need to submit an application through the link above AND you will want to update your Community application through MySCA* 
  • Please email Chicago Program Manager; Samuel Vergara at [email protected] if you have any questions.