Diverse Young Conservationists Gather for NPS Academy 2015


Building a Public Lands Workforce that’s as Diverse as the America that it Serves

ABOVE: Ranger Glenn leads SCA NPS Academy members on an ecology hiking featuring the flora and geology of the Great Smokies.

Each spring for the last 5 years, young conservationists of diverse background have come together from colleges and universities all over the country, converging at select national parks to begin a year-long conservation service experience called SCA NPS Academy.

The program, a nationwide collaboration between NPS and SCA, provides students with an immersive look at what it’s like to work for the National Park Service as protectors and promoters of America’s pricelessly wild publics lands. It begins with a spring break orientation session and continues in the summer when participants take on 12-week SCA AmeriCorps internships at national parks from coast to coast.

SCA NPS Academy provides diverse college students with a clear path to public lands stewardship career opportunities, making it part and parcel to the broader goal of developing a public lands workforce that is as diverse as the people that it strives to serve—all Americans.

2012 NPS Academy alum Millie Jimenez is now the Diversity Outreach and Volunteer Coordinator for Grand Teton National Park.

2015’s second round of NPS Academy orientation sessions takes place all this week, with 20 students each at Great Smoky Mountains, Kenai Fjords, and the National Parks of New York Harbor. Check back here for daily highlights from all three.

The first session went down last week at Grand Teton National Park. Scroll down or head here for a slew of snowy photos from Wyoming.

America’s parks are for everyone to enjoy. SCA NPS Academy is one way that we’re working to make sure that people of all backgrounds feel welcome to enjoy them.

Highlights From Kenai Fjords, Alaska

Highlights from the Great Smoky Mountains

Members of SCA NPS Academy’s class of 2015 gathered Sunday at Grand Teton National Park.

Ranger Glenn zooms in on his ecology hike with this year’s SCA NPS Academy members. 

Higlights from The National Parks of New York Harbor

NPS Academy members conclude their Lady Liberty tour with a requisite group photo.

One of this week’s many NYC ferry rides.

NPS Academy members were treated to hardhat tour of the historic hospital on Ellis Island.

Higlights from Grand Teton