From Chicago to Middlebury: SCA’s Nicholas Brown Embraces Being a Next-Gen Leader in Conservation


Nicholas Brown remembers volunteering at a forest preserve when he was in grade school. Then when he got to high school, he joined the environmental club. Those were the experiences he listed on his Student Conservation Association (SCA) application.

SCA wanted to know about his experiences in nature and what he might gain from future ones. It was his environmental club involvement that was pivotal.

“The club made me realize there are a whole lot more people who are excited and involved with the environment,” says Nicholas, 19, a graduate of Chicago’s Northside Prep High School.

And now Nicholas is one of those people excited about conservation. His interest led him Middlebury College in Vermont, where he plans to major in environmental studies. His resume also includes three summers with SCA.

“No one in my family is particularly into conservation work,” he says after wrapping up a workday at the River Trail Nature Center in Northbrook. “No one is talking about ways to recycle, how to reduce our carbon footprint. Going to the park is about the extent of their exposure.”

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Student Conservation Association