Donor supports conservation in her backyard


SCA combines two things I deeply believe in: nature conservation and young people.

Louise Shelley of Washington, DC, is a generous SCA contributor who also donates her time, contacts, and considerable energy to advancing the cause of youth conservation service right in her own neighborhood – literally. Louise’s magnificent backyard garden is a stone’s throw away from the Battery Kemble unit of Washington DC’s Rock Creek Park.  

Like much of the green space in Washington, Rock Creek is owned and managed by the National Park Service. Battery Kemble was part of the ring of Union defenses around Washington during the Civil War but now is a treasured, wooded community resource for hiking, bird watching and walking the family dog for community residents and visitors alike.

Like many of her neighbors, Louise became concerned about the impacts of so much use on the Park, as well as the onslaught of exotic plant species, such as English ivy, that are invading the park and impacting native flora. She knew that NPS budgets for trail maintenance and exotics removal are stretched. In partnership with SCA, her good friend Vera Connolly, and close neighbors Michael and Cleo Gewirz (Michael grew up playing in Battery Kemble), Louise initiated a neighborhood fundraising effort to sponsor an SCA high school crew to help restore the Park. The SCA Rock Creek Park/Battery Kemble Restoration Fund was launched with a goal of raising $25,000. Through the generosity of many local people, the Fund is more than half-way to that goal. You can learn more about the effort and support the cause, too. Your support could help put us over the top.

“SCA combines two things I deeply believe in: nature conservation and young people. I feel very strongly about the transformative effect of nature,”said Louise.

Louise also advances the cause of conservation in her professional life. She is a Professor at George Mason University’s School of Public Policy, where she founded and directs the Terrorism, Transnational Crime and Corruption Center (TraCCC). She is a leading expert on the relationship among terrorism, organized crime and corruption as well as human trafficking.  Louise is now involved in groundbreaking work to apply this expertise to tackling the illicit international wildlife trade and is about to embark on a project to protect the rhino in Africa. You can read more about Louise’s professional work and accomplishments here.

Louise sees many connections between the success she has had in her career and skills she feels young people acquire from SCA, particularly the discipline of sticking to something, seeing it through and the sense of accomplishment it provides. Louise provides a great model for students involved in SCA who want to be the environmental leaders of tomorrow.