SCA’s Original Eagle Logo

A hand-painted version of the original Student Conservation Association (SCA) logo.

A Brief History of the Patch & Its Designer

Prior to the adoption of the much celebrated and now defunct “Space Eaglelogo in the 1980’s, SCA was represented by an earthbound eagle on a shield patch that intentionally nodded to the National Park Service’s Arrowhead insignia.

Below you’ll find a brief history of that logo and its noteworthy creator. Feeling nostalgic? Join the SCA Alumni Facebook group to swap memories and photos with fellow alums from throughout the years. 

Ted Wirth, the logo’s designer, originally set out to create an identifying shoulder patch for SCA members’ uniforms (dark denim jeans or skirts with light blue denim tops). The design was soon adopted as the org’s logo and remained such until supplanted by the Earth and Eagle logo in the 1980s.

Elizabeth "Liz" Titus Putnam, SCA founder, displays an original Student Conservation Association logo patch at her home in 2015.                             SCA founder Liz Titus Putnam displays an original SCA logo patch from her collection. 

In addition to being the son of the NPS director, Wirth was also the landscape architect for Grand Teton NP and went on to a rather decorated career in park landscaping. As noted here, “as the third generation Wirth landscape architect, Ted was the namesake and grandson of Minneapolis Park Superintendent Theodore Wirth (1863-1949) and the son of Conrad Wirth (1899-1993), the landscape architect who was the longest serving director of the National Park Service (NPS). Since 1950, Ted had designed and implemented a broad range of plans and projects in nearly every state in the country, as well as abroad.

An SCA volunteer sporting the original SCA logo patch.An SCA volunteer sporting the original SCA logo patch.

“Early in his career, Ted had worked for the National Park Service. One of his first projects had been planning public access to Rocky Mountain National Park. By 1955, he had become the planning director and landscape architect for the NPS’ Western Division, where he was in charge of all planning and development for Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks.

The original SCA logo in full technicolor glory, as worn by an SCA volunteer in the '80s. The original SCA logo in full technicolor glory, as worn by an SCA volunteer in the ’80s. 

“In 1961, Ted established Wirth Design Associates in Billings.Wirth Design produced more than 350 municipal, state and national park projects. Some well-known examples of state park projects that Ted designed are Lake Tahoe State Park in California; LBJ Ranch State Park in Texas; Carver State Park in Minnesota; and Custer State Park in Custer, S.D. He also designed the North Dakota State Park System Master Plan.”

 

BELOW: The “Space Eagle” logo that replaced the original shield in the mid-’80s.