Alumni Council

Since our Alumni Council was formed in 2007, our mission is to organize alumni in support of SCA and SCA’s Alumni Engagement Plan. Whether through assisting as volunteer leaders at service days, helping organize outreach events, or contributing content to SCA’s blog and social media pages, the Alumni Council works to build community and engagement among SCA alumni.

Each year, current council members select new recruits from alumni nationwide for a two-year term. With a diversity of SCA service backgrounds – from former high school crew members, to special initiative interns, to year-long conservation corps programs – Alumni Council members represent the wide range of SCA’s programs and locations. Each member is equipped to represent and connect with SCA’s 100,000 alumni.

Specifically, the Alumni Council goals are to:

  • Support SCA service projects and alumni-focused events including social, professional development and continued learning opportunities
  • Contribute to SCA’s online content in the form of blog posts, social media sharing, and editorial writing
  • Build support for, and strengthen, SCA’s reputation as the nation’s preeminent youth conservation organization among partner organizations, agencies, and the general public
  • Serve as a source of counsel for SCA staff and board members, as requested

Email [email protected] if you have any questions about the council or if you are interested in being considered for the AC. Recruitment of new members begins in November each year.

Alumni Council Bios

CHAIR: Tony Gurzick, Denver, CO

Name: Tony Gurzick
Current Location: Denver, CO
SCA Program(s) Served: National high school trail crew Rocky Mountain National Park (1985)
Current Position: After 30 years with Colorado Parks and Wildlife, Tony retired in 2021 and is now working as a private consultant.
Education Background: B.S. Wildlife Biology, Colorado State University; Masters of Public Administration, University of Colorado, Colorado Springs; Certified Wildlife Biologist, The Wildlife Society

VICE CHAIR: Deidra Goodwin, Asheville, NC

Name: Deidra Goodwin
Current Location: Asheville, NC
SCA Program(s) Served: Grand Teton National Park Service Academy (2016), Environmental Education Intern New River Gorge National River (2016 NPSA position), Historical Interpretation Intern Minuteman National Historical Park (2016), Grand Teton National Park Service Academy Peer Mentor (2017)
Current Position: ACE EPIC Member Coordinator for the NPS division (overseeing National Park Service Academy)
Education Background: B.A. Integrated Studies (Florida Gulf Coast University); M.S. Recreation & Sport Administration (Western Kentucky University); M.S. Experiential & Outdoor Education (Western Carolina University; expected 2023)

SECRETARY: Elyria R Little, Medina, OH

Name: Elyria R Little
Current Location: Medina, OH
SCA Program(s) Served: Pacific Crest Trail Roving Backcountry Crew (2004), Randolph Mountain Club Trail Crew (2006)
Current Position:Consultant and small business owner at Home Harmonizers, LLC; Programming & Communications Manager with Michelle Belanger, LLC
Education Background: B.A. in Environmental Studies (Vassar College) & M.S. in Environmental Management and Sustainability (IIT), LEED AP

Celeste Arista Glover, Dallas, TX

Name: Celeste Arista Glover
Current Location: Dallas, TX
SCA Program(s) Served:Summer Work Crew at Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historic Park (2000); Summer Work Crew at Yellowstone National Park (2002); Intern at NOAA National Marine Fisheries Santa Rosa, CA (2008)
Current Position: Senior Community Philanthropy Officer at Communities Foundation of Texas
Education Background:B.A. in Biology (University of Texas at Austin) and M.A. in Community Development and Planning (Clark University, Worcester)

Kelly Burnett, Houston, TX

Name: Kelly Burnett
Current Location: Houston, TX
SCA Program(s) Served:Centennial Volunteer Ambassador, Mississippi National River and Recreation Area (2015-2016)
Current Position: Activation & Volunteer Manager, Houston Parks Board
Education Background:B.S. in Natural Resource Ecology and Management from Oklahoma State University; currently pursuing a Master’s in Public Service and Administration from Texas A&M University

Christine Chung, Frazier Park, CA

Name: Christine Chung
Current Location: Frazier Park, CA
SCA Program(s) Served: Native Revegetation Project (2019), SCA Alumni Trail crew (2019), US Fish and Wildlife Service: Conservation Internship Program (now CDIP - 2009, 2010), Alternative Spring Break Grand Canyon (2009), US Forest Service Bear Management Intern (2008)
Current Position: Fire Apprentice, U.S. Forest Service
Education Background: B.S. in Environmental Sciences: Wildlife Conservation (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign)

Igor DaCruz, San Diego, CA

Name: Igor DaCruz
Current Location: San Diego, CA
SCA Program(s) Served: High School Crew, George Washington and Jefferson National Forests (2005)
Current Position: Managing Director, Life Sciences at Runway Growth Capital
Education Background: B.S. in Finance (University of Massachusetts Boston)

Karissa DeCarlo, Colorado Springs, CO

Name: Karissa DeCarlo
Current Location: Colorado Springs, CO
SCA Program(s) Served: High School Conservation Crew: Cumberland Gap National Historical Park (1997), High School Conservation Crew: Ouachita National Forest (1999), Conservation Intern/AmeriCorps (2001): Mount Rushmore National Memorial
Current Position: Partnerships & Philanthropy Specialist at the National Park Service
Education Background: B.S in Environmental and Sustainable Resources (University of Louisiana at Lafayette) & M.S. in Recreation, Parks and Tourism (West Virginia University)

Jonathan Fennell, Olympia, WA

Name: Jonathan Fennell
Current Location: Olympia, WA
SCA Program(s) Served: Historic Preservation Corps, Delaware Water Gap, NJ (2014); Desert Restoration Corps, Ridgecrest, CA (2014-2015); Havasu Wildlife Refuge Chainsaw Leader Team, Mohave Valley, AZ (2015)
Current Position: Hydrogeologist, Water Quality Program Specialist, Washington Department of Ecology
Education Background: B.S. Geology, Mining Engineering, University of Pittsburgh

David Kurapka, Berkeley, CA

Name: David Kurapka
Current Location: Berkeley, CA
SCA Program(s) Served: Acadia National Park national high school crew, Assateague Island National Seashore internship
Current Position: Writer/Editor
Education Background: B.A. in English, with minor in Natural Resources, University of the South

Lou Lunte, Picabo, ID

Name: Lou Lunte
Current Location: Picabo, ID
SCA Program(s) Served: 1977 national high school crew in North Cascades and 1978 Sherpa crew in Olympic National Park
Current Position: After 31 years with The Nature Conservancy, Lou has come full circle to once again be the Silver Creek Preserve Manager for the Idaho Chapter. With his partner and wife, Cindy, as a volunteer, they are sharing the wonders of nature with others every day.
Education Background: B.S. Bacteriology, University of Idaho

Patricio Portillo, Coachella, CA

Name: Patricio Portillo
Current Location: Coachella, CA
SCA Program(s) Served: Massachusetts Conservation Corps (2013), Pittsburgh Community Crew Leader (2014)
Current Position: Senior Advocate at Natural Resources Defense Council
Education Background: B.B.A. in International Business & M.A. in International Economics

Amie Schiller, St. Paul, MN

Name: Amie Schiller
Current Location: St. Paul, MN
SCA Program(s) Served: National Park Service Academy: Grand Teton National Park (2015), Biological Technician: Invasive Species Management: Mt. Rushmore National Monument, Trails Partnership Intern: Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park (2015-2016), GIS Specialist: National Park Service Headquarters- Washington D.C. (2017-2018)
Current Position: Stewardship Associate, Minnesota Land Trust
Education Background: B.S. Wildlife Biology, minor in Geospatial Technology (GST), University of Vermont

Tommy Sheridan, Cordova, AK

Name: Tommy Sheridan
Current Location: Cordova, AK
SCA Program(s) Served: Northern Southeast Regional Aquaculture Association Conservation Intern (2002)
Current Position: Independent fisheries consultant and educator
Education Background: B.S. in Environmental Studies (Florida State University), Undergraduate Certificate in Fisheries Technology (University of Alaska Southeast), Graduate Certificate in Fisheries Management (Oregon State University), & M.S. in Fisheries and Wildlife Administration (Oregon State University)

Michiko Squires, Chico, CA

Name: Michiko Squires
Current Location: Chico, CA
SCA Program(s) Served: Interpretation and Outreach Intern, Biscayne National Park (2006), Environmental Education Intern, Great Smoky Mountains National Park (2011)
Current Position: Regional Data Manager and GIS Specialist, US Fish and Wildlife Service
Education Background: B.S. in Biology, B.S. in Computer Science (University of Miami); M.S. in Forest Resources and Conservation with a concentration in Geomatics (University of Florida)

Kyle Yarusso, Washington, DC

Name: Kyle Yarusso
Current Location: Washington, DC
SCA Program(s) Served: Centennial Volunteer Ambassador intern (2015-2016)
Current Position: Volunteer and Youth Programs Coordinator at the National Park Service (Rock Creek Park)
Education Background: B.S. in Applied Ecology and Environmental Science, minor in Communications

Alumni Council Member Stories From Our Blog

Author: Christopher Fernández, SCA Alumni Council Member

Posted by Megan McVey | Monday, April 24, 2017

Two years ago I was blessed with the opportunity to work with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) as an intern in the Career Discovery Internship Program (CDIP). Every student and mentor who participated in the program had such inspiring stories and aspirations to share! It was wonderful to...

Posted by Megan McVey | Monday, April 3, 2017

Adjusting to life in a big city was exciting, but I quickly realized there was something missing: I no longer had the ability to drive to a remote trailhead and head out for a hike. As an SCA alum who loves the great outdoors, this was frustrating, but exploring Washington revealed a lot of great opportunities to connect with nature.

Featured Earthsaver, SCA Alumni Council

Posted by Michael Cronin | Wednesday, February 15, 2017

“Future generations have a right to experience the beauty of wilderness… it’s important that we work to actively protect it.”

Featured Earthsaver, SCA Alumni Council

Posted by Staff | Thursday, December 22, 2016
SCA Alumni Council member Daniel Dryburgh participates in a river wildlife survey with his SCA NPS Academy classmates at Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

SCA Alumni Council member Daniel Dryburgh is a strong believer in the transformative power of outdoor immersion and conservation service. He hopes to use his digital media chops and conservation community connections to help make powerful nature experiences truly accessible to people from all backgrounds and communities.

SCA Alums Gather for Fall Events in NYC, Oakland, Chicago, & DC

Posted by Michael Cronin | Friday, December 16, 2016
SCA alumni hike Great Falls Park

This autumn, SCA brought together almost 150 alumni in a series of fall engagement events across the country. From New York City to the Bay Area, from Chicago to Washington DC, SCA alums of all ages gathered to reconnect and share stories while enjoying their beautiful urban public lands.

Featured Earthsaver, SCA Alumni Council

Posted by Staff | Thursday, December 1, 2016
Jean Bartholomew, second from left, leads a community hike with Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy.

At age 16, Jean Bartholomew (above, 2nd from left) joined a SCA national crew for a trail project located 15 miles deep into the Yellowstone backcountry and she’s been a true believer in the transformative power of the great outdoors ever since. She stayed connected with SCA throughout her time...

Recipient of The North Face "Never Stop" Campaign Grant

Posted by Staff | Friday, August 28, 2015
SCA member Jeremy Taitano engaged in various outdoor and conservation-related activities: surveying salamanders, doing a back-flip, hiking. The North Face chose to honor Jeremy in their NEVER STOP campaign because of his relentless commitment to realizing a world where conservation is a priority for everyone.

As part of their brand new NEVER STOP campaign, The North Face is recognizing SCA member Jeremy Tatiano for his relentless pursuit of a world where conservation is a priority for all. We are excited to announce...

Earthsaver of the Month

Posted by Ann Pedtke | Thursday, April 30, 2015

“Ultimately we are all responsible for our planet — there is no Planet-B!”