William, Hall & Lily Rockefeller


SCA 2006, 2009, 2012

William Rockefeller | SCA 2006, Independence Mine State Historical Park

Student, Hampshire University


Hall Rockefeller | SCA 2009, Inyo National Forest, 2010 Isle Royale National Park

Student, Yale University


Lily Rockefeller | SCA 2012, Denali National Park

Student, Brown University


Yesterday, we profiled Allison Whipple Rockefeller, a two-time SCA alumna and lifelong conservationist. Today we have a conversation with Allison’s three children, each of whom followed in their mother’s footsteps to join an SCA crew.

Did your mom have to twist your arm or is this something you did willingly?

Will: I was apprehensive about all I didn’t know about Alaska, but as soon as I got off the plane and met my crew leaders, I said “this is going to be great.”  And it was.

Hall: My brother came back with rave reviews, and my mother had been telling me anecdotes since I was three.  So it was an absolute no-brainer.

Do you debate over who had the best site or experience?

Hall: Not really.  I’d have liked to see Alaska like my siblings but if it’s a contest, mom certainly wins.  She had real isolated backcountry adventures [at Arches and North Cascades National Parks].

What do you remember most?

Lily: As we returned to our campsite one day, we saw a massive grizzly wandering just five feet from my tent. We followed all the bear protocols but it was the most terrified I’ve ever been.  There’s nothing like looking at a giant grizzly from 500 feet away.

Hall: There were so many positive, happy moments. On June 25th at Isle Royale, six months before Christmas, we celebrated a fictitious holiday: “Moose-ness.” We adorned a tree with bandanas and a tin foil star, and everyone got a Tipsy [Lolly] Pop. 

Will: The weather!  There were torrential downpours, it was cold and miserable – and all I could think was this is the most fun I ever had!

What did you learn that still guides you today?

Lily: The most significant thing is the diversity of this country, in terms of its beauty and landscape but also its people.  I was exposed to so much goodness about the country.  It really opened my eyes to what was out there. 

Climate change may well be the defining issue of our time.  How do you define it?

Lily: When you read about how bad the situation is right now, it’s really scary.  What’s scarier is the apathy about it.  I talk to kids at school and they don’t realize it’s a huge problem that is only going to get worse. 

Will: My main concern is this issue has become politicized, that it would somehow benefit the left or the right if they could win the debate. 

That’s actually just what your mother told us.

Hall: I see this as the one issue; it is so universal.  Some people think it doesn’t affect them but this is the only issue that affects everyone.  If people would just realize that, we could take action.


Student Conservation Association