SCA Hudson Valley Corps Moving to Vassar


Alma Mater of SCA Founder Liz Putnam will host new Corps HQ

Imagine the myriad emotions coursing through Liz Putnam when she heard the news.

On Thursday, June 11, SCA’s founder was back at Vassar College for her 60th reunion.  In addition to all the other weekend festivities, Vassar had invited Liz and 50 other guests to an informal dinner where officials revealed architectural drawings for the recently-announced Vassar Conservation and Environmental Engagement Cooperative (VCEE-COOP), an office complex/conference center/research facility designed to advance sustainability efforts up and down the Hudson Valley. 

As Vassar Farm and Ecological Preserve Manager Keri VanCamp unfurled the drawings, she also revealed that SCA’s Hudson Valley Corps program headquarters would be moving to VCEE-COOP when it opens this fall.  The revelation had deliberately been kept under wraps to honor Liz, and every member of the Hudson Valley Corps – fielded in partnership with AmeriCorps – was present. 

Vassar, of course, is where Liz wrote the seminal senior thesis that launched SCA and, with this surprise announcement, things were now going full circle.  Liz was undoubtedly bursting with joy, pride, fulfillment, excitement, humility.  Yet, in addressing her audience, she managed to compress her reactions into a single word.


The crowd’s applause filled any remaining space beaneath the outdoor pavilion, and once it waned Liz congratulated Vassar organizers on the vision behind the VCEE-COOP and lauded the collaborative spirit that would bring SCA back to Vassar and propel the new initiative forward.

The VCEE-COOP will be housed in the historic Vassar Barn, to be renovated over the summer.  The structure is part of the Vassar Farm, a 500-acre sanctuary that is one of the few remaining open spaces in the City of Poughkeepsie, NY.  The site features wooded trails, open meadows and sports fields, as well as work space for various regional organizations including, as of October, the Hudson Valley Corps.

“SCA,” said Liz, “is coming home.”

Other quotes to support photos:

Elise Heffernan, Vassar and SCA alumna, on SCA being an anchor-tenant at the VSEE-COOP: “We’re really excited that we can bring SCA full circle and glad that there will be a permanent presence here.  SCA will be there, in the barn, nine to five every day.  SCA will make this a much more successful project because, I mean, ‘conservation’ is in their name!”

Tim Evans, SCA intern at Vassar Farm and Ecological Preserve, and US Marine veteran who did tour in Iraq: “I work on managing the trails, helping out with deer exclosure research, sapling and shrub sampling.  I hope to help with education and outreach – more on the people-side.  Eight hours a day you get to work outside, it’s awesome.”

For more on VCEE-COOP:

Student Conservation Association