The National Park Service turns 107 on Aug. 25. The National Park Service was created by Congress in 1916 to “preserve unimpaired the natural and cultural resources and values of the National Park System for the enjoyment, education, and inspiration of this and future generations.” There are more than 400 national parks of different shapes, sizes and things to do.
Founded in 1957, the Student Conservation Association (SCA) placed its first conservation crews at Olympic National Park and Grand Teton National Park. Since then, the SCA has expanded to include crews at multiple national park sites nationwide. Below are a few of the many national parks where SCA crew members can be found.
Indiana Dunes National Park (Porter, Ind.)
Stretching along 15 miles of the Indiana coast, Indiana Dunes National Park boasts shifting dunes, miles of trails and diverse bird and plant populations.
Starting at the end of August, the SCA Indiana Dunes Crew, sponsored by the National Park Foundation, will provide services at high-priority park areas, including West Beach, Portage Lakefront and Great Marsh. The crew will assist with removing invasive species that will help protect multiple rare habitats, including Cottonwood Dune Open Woodlands, Pannes and Great Marsh, as well as protect dozens of rare plant species.
Channel Islands National Park (Ventura, Calif.)
Channel Islands National Park is a marine sanctuary with five oceanic islands off the coast of Southern California. Due to its remoteness, the park provides habitat to an abundance of exclusive wildlife species like the Island Fox – the only carnivore unique to California.
The SCA Youth Restoration Intern at this location assists with planning several high school and college trips for students to participate in wildlife habitat restoration projects on the Channel Islands.
Rock Creek Park (Washington, D.C.)
Nestled within the nation’s capital, Rock Creek Park is a vibrant urban oasis. The park includes Meridian Hill Park, Dumbarton Oaks Park, Montrose Park, Old Stone House, the Francis Scott Key Memorial Park, Fort Stevens and many more sites throughout northwest and northeast D.C.
The SCA Volunteer & Youth Programs Fellow at this location works to establish new youth engagement opportunities at the park and also assists with youth corps programs.
Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park (Woodstock, Vt.)
Marsh-Billings Rockefeller is the only national park in Vermont. Located in the village of Woodstock, this 400+ acre site boasts more than 20 miles of hiking trails, carriage roads and features sugar maples and 400-year-old hemlocks.
The SCA Preservation & Facilities Intern at this site works with a highly-skilled team of historic preservation staff to upkeep historic buildings and cultural landscapes. The park contains diverse structures with rich histories and unique architecture, including the Rockefeller Mansion, Bowling Alley, fallout shelters, art collection and beautiful gardens and grounds.
Big Bend National Park (Texas)
Located in the Chihuahuan Desert of West Texas, Big Bend National Park is sprawling with more than 1 million acres of public hiking and 1,200 species of plants. The Chisos Mountains – the only mountain range to lie within the boundary of a national park – have mixtures of vegetation from cactus plants to oak trees.
The SCA Big Bend Environmental Restoration Team at this site is working to address the pressing issue of invasive grasses such as buffelgrass, which causes an increased fire risk and habitat degradation in various areas of the park.
Interested in helping protect our public lands? You can support the SCA’s conservation efforts by donating to our 2023 Giving Day campaign on Sept. 19. If we reach 300 donors, we’ll unlock an additional $30,000 matching gift. Don’t want to wait? Get your gift in early!