Aurelia Casey


Featured Earthsaver for the Next 100

As a SCA NPS Centennial Volunteer Ambassador in New York, Aurelia Casey is gaining the experience she’ll need to help lead America’s parks through the #Next100 years.

What’s your SCA story?

When I first joined SCA, I did not know anything about conservation. I was not a person who liked to get dirty either. I knew that I liked science, but I did not know what I wanted to do with it. However, after doing environmental projects at different National Park sites in New York City, I knew I had found my passion: environmental conservation. SCA helped me realize that I had a lot of potential, and that I could help change my hometown of NYC for the better. Now I know that I want to spend my life educating young people about conservation, and I’m beginning to do that as an SCA Centennial Volunteer Ambassador.

What inspires you to serve?

I grew up in Staten Island in New York City. When Hurricane Sandy hit New York, my family lost part of our roof during the storm, and we were without electricity for a week. But we were lucky. Other parts of Staten Island were even more greatly affected. I knew that it was important to go back out to volunteer and help clean up my city after Sandy, and protect it for the future.

Why are urban green spaces important?

As a native New Yorker, I appreciate the importance of having National Parks in urban areas. Besides protecting our coastlines against storms like Hurricane Sandy, parks make a great escape from the bustle of NYC life — and you can use your metro card to get to them. Many people overlook the urban units of the National Park system, but they are a necessity — especially for people like me, whose families may not have enough money to afford to travel across the country and visit parks like the Grand Canyon. I can find my park right here at Gateway National Recreation Area.

What is your dream for the future?

My dream is that people who look completely different from each other can work together to make our environment healthier, and share a common passion for taking care of our planet.