SCA Names Top States, Universities & Sites for Conservation Volunteers


SCA Members Build Nearly 1 Million Feet of New Trails in Parks across Nation

WASHINGTON, DC – November 14, 2013 – The Student Conservation Association (SCA), the national leader in youth service and stewardship, today announced the states and universities that provided the most youth volunteers to its conservation programs in national, state, and local parks during the year from October 1, 2012, to September 30, 2013. SCA also revealed that the National Parks of New York Harbor, where some 200 volunteers restored beaches, habitats and other resources damaged by Hurricane Sandy, topped its list of service sites and partners.

In total, 4,189 young people – primarily college and high school students from all 50 states plus Washington DC, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands – served with SCA, including those from the following states and universities:

The Top 10 States Volunteers
1. Pennsylvania 414
2. California 368
3. New York 304
4. Illinois 238
5. Washington 221
6. Michigan 212
7. Maryland 194
8. Texas 190
9. New Jersey 174
10. Massachusetts 169

“Where these students are from is often a source of pride for their home states and institutions, but the most exciting part is where they are going,” says SCA President Dale Penny. “These young people are the next generation of conservation leaders – destined to become park officials, scientists and environmental educators – and they’ve only just begun their contributions to creating a more sustainable planet.”

The Top 10 Universities Location Volunteers
SUNY – College of Environmental Science and Forestry Syracuse, NY 28  
University of Vermont Burlington, VT 23
University of Massachusetts – Amherst Amherst, MA 21
Humboldt State University Arcata, CA 19
University of Florida Gainesville, FL 19
University of Michigan – Ann Arbor Ann Arbor, MI 18
Pennsylvania State University – State College State College, PA 17
Michigan State University Lansing, MI 16
University of Wisconsin – Madison Madison, WI 16
Colorado State University Fort Collins, CO 15

In addition to fielding volunteers in hundreds of national parks and state forests last year, SCA placed more than a thousand teens in urban greenscapes through its pioneering community conservation programs.  These summer jobs programs engage under-represented local teens in conserving hometown parks in more than 20 cities across the U.S. and dominated the high end of SCA’s top 20 Sites list:

The Top 20 Sites/Partners Location Volunteers
National Parks of New York Harbor New York, NY 204
City of Pittsburgh Pittsburgh, PA 174
District of Columbia Washington, DC 131
City of Seattle Seattle, WA 126
City of Detroit Detroit, MI 91
SF Bay Area Oakland, CA 89
Friends of the Forest Preserves Chicago, IL 85
Santa Monica Mountains NRA Calabasas, CA 81
City of Milwaukee Milwaukee, WI 73
City of Houston Houston, TX 72
Big Cypress National Preserve Ochopee, FL 67
Great Smoky Mountains National Park Gatlinburg, TN 59
US Army Corps of Engineers Vicksburg, MS 49
City of Chicago Chicago, IL 48
Grand Teton National Park Jackson, WY 45
Allegheny National Forest Marienville, PA 44
City of Baltimore Baltimore, MD 41
Blue Ridge Parkway Vinton, VA 41
Yosemite National Park Yosemite Village, CA 40
Denali National Park Healy, AK 39

Once at these locations, Penny states SCA volunteers enjoyed a particularly productive year of conservation, generating many important improvements while racking up some impressive outcomes including:

  • Nearly 1 million feet of new trails constructed
  • Nearly 10 million feet of existing trails maintained
  • More than 1 million acres restored, assessed and/or mapped
  • More than 1 million visitors engaged or educated in conservation
  • More than 2 million hours needed service rendered to America’s public lands

In addition to its Hurricane Sandy restoration program, Penny states significant SCA conservation programs over the past year include the SCA Veterans Fire Corps, which prepares recent-era military vets for careers in forestry while easing their transition back to civilian life, in collaboration with the U.S. Forest Service; the National Park Service Academy and Career Development Intern Program, workforce diversity initiatives with the National Park Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, respectively, that prepare under-represented youth for careers in conservation.

SCA members are supported nationwide by generous sponsors including American Eagle Outfitters, ARAMARK, Domtar, Dr Pepper Snapple Group, Exelon Foundation, Hearst Foundation, Johnson Controls, Kendeda Fund, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, National Forest Foundation, Shell Foundation, Sony, Southwest Airlines and Wells Fargo.

About the Student Conservation Association: 

The Student Conservation Association (SCA) is the only national organization that develops tomorrow’s conservation leaders by providing high school and college students with service opportunities in all 50 states, from urban communities to national parks and forests. Since 1957, SCA’s hands-on practice of conservation service has helped to develop a new generation of conservation leaders, inspire lifelong stewardship and save the planet. SCA is a nonprofit organization headquartered in Washington, DC, with offices in Boise, ID, Charlestown, NH, Chicago, IL, Oakland, CA, Pittsburgh, PA and Seattle, WA. For further information, visit

Student Conservation Association