SCA, Pisces Foundation Team to Add Citizen-Science to Chicago, San Mateo Crews

(Arlington, VA) March 23, 2017 — The Pisces Foundation, which seeks ways to accelerate to a world where people and nature thrive together, has awarded the Student Conservation Association (SCA) a grant of $166,000 to develop and pilot citizen-science modules within its urban conservation crews in Chicago and San Mateo (CA).
SCA, the national leader in youth service and stewardship, annually engages more than 4,000 young adults in hands-on service-learning programs across the U.S. Approximately 25% of SCA participants are students aged 15-19 who live in urban areas and protect city parklands while they gain important career skills and training.
SCA President & CEO Jaime B. Matyas notes that this summer, SCA will add a soils analysis component to its Chicago crew activities, and the San Mateo crew will build upon the work of SCA GIS crews that have been collecting data in county parks to help inform local planning and policy.
“Our experience shows it is critical for crew participants to feel that their work truly matters and will have a long-term impact on their community,” states Matyas. “A curriculum that focuses on science practices related to pollinator habitats, water quality, and other local conservation priorities firmly fits this criterion and we are grateful to the Pisces Foundation for supporting such stimulating and pertinent field work.” 
Jason Morris, Senior Program Officer, of the Pisces Foundation, notes that adding scientific investigation to out-of-school experiences engages young people in science in ways that complement and enhance classroom learning. “These hands-on service-to-nature experiences will provide context for students to appreciate the value of their work and the importance of science to understanding and protecting their community,” Morris says. 
Crew members recruited from all backgrounds and communities will serve for 4-6 weeks over the summer vacation period, conducting conservation projects that include biological sampling, GIS technology, resource inventory protocols, accuracy and precision, experimental design, plant and wildlife identification, and observation. 
SCA’s urban conservation initiative has been cited by the U.S. Conference of Mayors as one of America’s top green jobs programs for youth. In addition to providing potential professional pathways, SCA programs have been shown to strengthen numerous life skills that foster optimal advancement and help teens prosper. Improvements are seen in an array of developmental areas including self-awareness, emotional competence, communication, decision-making, and teamwork.
About the Pisces Foundation
The Pisces Foundation believes if we act now and boldly, we can quickly accelerate to a world where people and nature thrive together. Pisces mainstreams powerful new solutions to support innovators who know what it takes and are doing what’s necessary to have clean and abundant water, a safe climate, and kids with the environmental know-how to create a sustainable world. To learn more about Pisces’ work and collaborations, visit:
About the Student Conservation Association
The Student Conservation Association (SCA) is America’s largest and most effective youth conservation service organization. SCA conserves lands and transforms lives by empowering young people of all backgrounds to plan, act, and lead, while they protect and restore our natural and cultural resources. Founded in 1957, SCA’s mission is to build the next generation of conservation leaders, and 70% of its 85,000 alumni are employed or studying in conservation-related fields. For more, visit 
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Student Conservation Association