Every year, SCA provides training, tools and projects that place motivated teens and young adults in the field to effect changes great and small. How do we measure the effects? Sometimes its through decreased CO2 levels or by the tons of trash collected or in the number of trees planted. Our success is also measured by the lessons learned, the perspective gained and the lives we transform—today and into the future. Often when the SCA project is over, the success story is just beginning. Take a look at some of our most recent accomplishments.

Posted by Cecilia Aleman | Wednesday, November 17, 2021

The U.S. Forest Service places the number of trees in and around Chicago at 157 million. These trees store 62 million tons of CO2, annually remove another 677,000 tons of carbon from the air, and are valued at over $50 billion. SCA crews are helping to maintain these extraordinary ecological assets....

The Chemistry Behind Autumn's Awesome Hues

Posted by Joseph Thurston | Friday, October 15, 2021

There are so, so, so many reasons to love autumn (milder weather, jackets, less crowded parks and trails, fewer mosquitos, less poison ivy, cozier camping, pumpkins, squash, gourds… we could go on forever), but the best—and certainly brightest—may be what happens to the leaves.

But what exactly does happen to them?...

Education, Science

Posted by Cecilia Aleman | Friday, October 15, 2021

Some spooktacular service is taking place this fall season and the SCA Massachusetts (MA) Historic Preservation Corps has the inside scoop!

Prioritizing Preservation

Preservation is a key part of conservation and ensures that places with historic and cultural significance are protected for future generations. Through progams like the MA Historic Preservation Corps, SCA...

Posted by Kevin Hamilton | Tuesday, September 28, 2021

By Ernesto Paz

SCA Crew Member

Fifty miles southwest of Chicago, hiding in plain sight, sits a time machine.

Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie is one of the last remaining ecosystems of its kind, offering a glimpse of the landscape that defined the Midwest for centuries, right down to the (reintroduced) bison herd. The...

Posted by Cecilia Aleman | Tuesday, September 7, 2021

As we approach the 20th anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks, SCA shares a collection of unique perspectives.

Most are tied to Richard Guadagno, who in 2001 was manager of Humboldt Bay National Wildlife Refuge and among the courageous passengers on United Flight 93. Since 2015, the Guadagno family has...

Posted by Kevin Hamilton | Monday, August 30, 2021

The final diary entry from a melancholy Team Leader Jake Westrich:

I can’t believe it’s over. One guy on my team asked Patrick [Gallo, SCA program manager] very early on how long the season might feel, and he was told it depends on his experience.

...

Posted by Cecilia Aleman | Wednesday, August 18, 2021

It has been quite an eventful summer season for SCA crews! From clearing trails in the Atlanta area to rebuilding bridges in Washington, DC, SCA members helped protect parks and public lands across the country. Here are six snapshots of the amazing work they accomplished!

1. Arabia Mountain Crew – Georgia

...

Posted by Kevin Hamilton | Wednesday, August 18, 2021

Here’s the very latest from Team Leader Jake Westrich:

After finishing up our work on the Golden Gate Trail, we transitioned to another neat locality called Marmot Hill. One of Rainier’s most popular trails is called the Skyline Trail, also based out of Paradise, and Marmot Hill is just one half-mile...

Posted by Kevin Hamilton | Friday, August 6, 2021

Just a few days after getting back in from Bonny Lakes, we hitched up our trailer and drove Dusty five hours from Enterprise, OR to Longmire, WA: the Park Service’s main hub for Mount Rainier. Unlike our time in Oregon, our work in Mount. Rainier National Park is all in...

Posted by Cecilia Aleman | Saturday, July 24, 2021
SCA Alum Luis and Crew outside with planters
To celebrate #LatinoConservationWeek, meet SCA Alum Luis Cabrales! Luis (pictured above on the bottom right) is a Natural Areas Worker at the Chicago Park District and is also an Environmental Organizer for the Southeast Youth Alliance.
 
SCA: What is your first memory of nature/spending time outdoors or do you...

Posted by Cecilia Aleman | Thursday, July 22, 2021
Three SCA leaders with Sam Vergara in the middle
In celebration of Latino Conservation Week, we are recognizing SCA staff, members, and alumni who identify as Latinx. Meet SCA’s Chicago Program Manager, Samuel Vergara!

About Sam

Sam (pictured above in the middle) is a native Chicagoan who grew up in the Greater Lawndale Area. He strives to rebuild connections with nature through...

Posted by Kevin Hamilton | Wednesday, July 21, 2021

By Jake Westrich, Team Leader

So for our final hitch in the Oregon Wilderness, we went to work on trails near Bonny Lakes in the Eagle Cap Wilderness. We had been running out of gas on Day 6 of our previous 10-day hitches, so I decided to split this last one into...

Posted by Cecilia Aleman | Wednesday, July 7, 2021

The world’s seven-warmest years have been the last seven (2014-2020) and should this trend continue, heat waves are likely to become more frequent, more severe, and more extended. As heat waves continue to blanket the country, it’s never been more important to focus on heat safety and taking precautions while outdoors....

Posted by Kevin Hamilton | Tuesday, July 6, 2021

By Jake Westrich, Team Leader

This hitch, they sent us to the aptly-named Hells Canyon National Recreation Area/Wilderness for more trail clearing. An intense heat dome that affected much of the Pacific Northwest. One day we worked in 105+ degree conditions, and the next day we had to leave because we...

Posted by Kevin Hamilton | Monday, June 21, 2021

Imagine being part of a roving SCA backcountry trail team, working six weeks at Wallowa-Whitman National Forest in northeast Oregon followed by five weeks in Mount Rainer National Park south of Seattle. You live in tents, hike from worksite to worksite, and spend your days maintaining trails in the wild.

Well,...

Posted by Cecilia Aleman | Wednesday, June 16, 2021

DOUBLE MY GIFT

As we approach SCA Founder’s Day on June 24, we always like to take a look back at the woman who started it all. Liz Putnam kicked off a movement that has continuously inspired young people to make their mark and serve our cherished public lands.

During...

Posted by Cecilia Aleman | Wednesday, June 16, 2021
On June 24, SCA will celebrate its 64th birthday! It all started when our beloved founder, Liz Putnam, envisioned a way to enlist student volunteers to assist with the upkeep of national parks and public spaces.
 
Liz is an active member of the conservation community to this day, so...

Posted by Cecilia Aleman | Wednesday, June 16, 2021
SCA prescribed fire crews along the Gulf coast just closed an amazing season in which they burned more than 132,000 acres – an area almost as large as the entire city of Mobile, AL – in less than five months!
 
If you’re not familiar, prescribed burning is a tool...

Posted by Cecilia Aleman | Wednesday, May 19, 2021

By Chambers English, SCA Forest Technician Intern

Smoke trails behind me as I hike up the next drain along Falling Creek at Piedmont National Wildlife Refuge. Drip torch in hand, I paint a ribbon of fire near the ecotone of hardwoods and pines as the trees leaf out and dogwoods bloom...

Posted by Cecilia Aleman | Monday, May 17, 2021

All across the nation, SCA crews are working to protect public lands, and the summer 2021 season will be no exception. With projects ranging from trail maintenance to removal of non-native plant species, SCA members will work to improve parks and greenspaces in multiple U.S. cities. Here’s a glimpse of...

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