Women have always led the way at the Student Conservation Association (SCA). Starting with a movement launched by the SCA’s inspirational founder, Liz Putnam, young women have continued to break down barriers within conservation and service work, demonstrating outstanding leadership and dedication to protecting public lands. Here are a few examples of how women at the SCA have – and are – currently making a difference across the country.
Chicago Women’s Crew
The SCA has fielded a women’s conservation crew in and around Chicago every year since 2013. The team maintains hiking trails and controls invasive plant species in city green spaces while, in the process, upending misguided notions of gender roles in parks, recreation and conservation.
The most recent women’s crew improved around 928,000 square feet of land by treating invasive plants within natural spaces of the Chicago Park District. The team promoted the growth of native plants by planting 2,693 plugs of native forbs, grasses and sedges at multiple sites and by planting 20 trees at Big Marsh Park.
In partnership with the Chicago Park District, the SCA is recruiting candidates for the 2023 Women’s Young Adult Crew.
Alaska Women’s Fire Corps
In 2022, the National Park Service (NPS) fire management program in Alaska hosted a seven-person SCA wildland fire crew of all women. The team worked to reduce fuels (grasses, shrubs, tress) in Katmai National Park & Preserve, Denali National Park & Preserve and at the interagency wildland fire camp in Willow to complete a fire assignment and to receive NPS red card certifications. At the end of the season, the team had improved 18 acres of land, felled over 1,000 trees and received Wilderness First Aid/CPR, Red Card and S-212 Chainsaw certifications.
This program aims to provide opportunities in wildland fire work for women and to inspire women to pursue wildland fire-related careers. Because of their impactful experience, last season’s crew members have all expressed continued interest in wildland fire and conservation work.
The SCA is currently accepting applications for the 2023 season.
In honor of Women’s History Month, help the SCA continue to provide conservation opportunities for young women.