The Student Conservation Association (SCA) strives to inspire youth to engage with nature and to become lifelong stewards of the environment through hands-on service opportunities. Student volunteers learn important life skills while doing crucial work to help preserve national parks and other public lands. You can donate Southwest Rapid Reward points to this valuable organization.
SCA is good for its volunteers. Participants report that they feel empowered to protect parks, are better at working with a team, more confident to lead and more prepared for their next job after taking part in SCA projects. An impressive 79 percent plan to volunteer in their communities after returning home.
The organization also provides invaluable services. In 2016, SCA participants restored nearly 180,000 acres of land, improved over 10 million feet of trail, protected 3 million feet of shoreline, supported over 450,000 native plants and animals, and built or maintained over 20,000 structures. Volunteers worked in parks and on other sites in all 50 states, including the 30 most visited national parks.
In 2009 Southwest became the official airline of the Student Conservation Association. The airline wanted to get more engaged with environmental causes.
“Southwest really goes above and beyond,” says Dan McCabe, Vice President of Corporate Partnerships at SCA. Transportation to and from work sites is typically the responsibility of the student volunteers. These sites can be far from home and located in remote parts of the country, making travel expensive. Point donations from Southwest Rapid Rewards members help provide free airfare for volunteers who need it.
“We do a lot of work with youth from lower income or other disadvantaged backgrounds. Being able to get them to their summer service site allows them to participate in what is often a life-transforming experience,” says McCabe. Without donations and Southwest’s support, many students simply couldn’t afford to volunteer.