1500 SCA Volunteers in 14 Cities Get to Work for the Planet
SCA ramped up Earth Day celebrations to new heights this year, marking Earth Day with hands-on conservation service in 14 cities coast to coast and engaging 1,500 volunteers nationwide.
In New York City and Washington DC, SCA joined forces with American Express to hold large-scale service events at historic urban parks.
In NYC, 410 SCA volunteers gathered at Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx for SCA’s largest Earth Day event ever, removing four acres of invasives and planting 200 new trees in woodlands damaged by fire. The following weekend, SCA rallied 360 volunteers in DC to renovate trails at Fort Totten Park, part of DC’s historic Civil War Defenses.
“We know parks and public lands play an important role in attracting visitors and supporting vibrant communities,” said Timothy J. McClimon, president of the American Express Foundation. “This Earth Day, we’re thrilled to join forces with SCA to deploy volunteers to protect and revitalize some of America’s treasured parks.”
Meanwhile, SCA volunteers were also hard at work in other cities across the country. In Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Detroit, and Chicago, SCA led mass clean-ups to remove debris and invasives from local parks. In Milwaukee, volunteers improved native prairie habitat. In Seattle, volunteers planted hundreds of native ferns. And in the Bay Area, volunteers built resiliency by installing culverts and improving drainage on local trails.
“With our Earth Day focus on city environments,” said SCA President and CEO Jaime Matyas, “SCA is strengthening the connections between urban populations and our natural world, while empowering young people from diverse backgrounds to take on leadership roles in their own communities.” SCA’s success in reaching diverse young people this Earth Day was clear: 82% of volunteers across the country were under age 35, and 58% self-identified as non-white.
In the Northeast, SCA’s Corps Programs also brought Earth Day volunteers into the field. In New Hampshire, SCA members blazed trail with NH Audubon, while in Massachusetts members led environmental education activities for dozens of local students. In New York, members of SCA’s Hudson Valley Corps planted 2,000 seedlings in New Paltz, maintained half a mile of trail in Hyde Park, and educated 1,000 students and park visitors at Earth Day celebrations at Bear Mountain.
Overall, SCA Earth Day volunteers provided 5,478 hours of conservation service — valued at over $126,000 — and improved a grand total of 20,461 acres of public lands across the country. The impacts were appreciated by volunteers and partners alike. “SCA helped us break a new record for volunteer turnout,” said Christina Taylor, Executive Director of Friends of Van Cortlandt Park in New York City. “We have a staff of three, to manage 1,146 acres. Without SCA, we never would have been able to handle those numbers and accomplish so much.”