Mercer Volunteers in NM Conservation Program


Reflections from a two-time SCA crew member

Source: The Comet, Catonsville High School, Catonsville, MD

Senior Julia Mercer spent five weeks this past summer as a volunteer living and working in El Malpais National Conservation Area of New Mexico as part of a summer program sponsored by the Student Conservation Association (SCA). The program consists of National Conservation Crews, which contain 6-8 high school students between the ages of 15-19 and two experienced adult leaders, with the goal of preserving America’s national parks, forests, and wildlife refuges.

In 2011, she volunteered at the Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site in Pennsylvania, where she dressed up for “Living History” and cleared a road vista that was previously covered with thorns and other unsightly brush. In 2012, during Mercer’s time at El Malpais, she had the opportunity to create irrigation paths, work on a continental divide trail, create check dams, and aid archaeologists.

“I would do it [a third time],” says Mercer, in regards to volunteering this summer, “except it’s my last year in Catonsville, and I’d kind of like to spend it with my friends, but it’s definitely worthwhile. In the future, I think I may want to to be a leader or go into an adult crew.” Adult crews work for a season, approximately three months, and can be paid for their efforts. Please visit The Comet to read the full article!

Student Conservation Association