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.

We catch up with the Secretary at our MLK Find Your Park Day of Service

Posted by Staff | Thursday, January 21, 2016
US Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell with SCA Alum Roland Richardson at SCA's Find Your Park Day of Service at Anacostia Park in Washington, DC, in memory of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., January 18, 2016

For the second year in a row, Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell spent her Martin Luther King Day serving with SCA alongside hundreds of community volunteers in Washington DC’s Anacostia Park. After a busy morning of picking up litter and cutting down invasive plants, she was nice enough to...

600+ Volunteers Join SCA's Find Your Park Day of Service

Posted by Ann Pedtke | Monday, January 18, 2016
SCA's Roland Richardson walks with Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell

In honor of the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Day of Service, SCA rallied 604 volunteers in Washington, DC for our largest service event to date. The Find Your Park Day of Service event, sponsored by American Express, is one of many that SCA will organize over the next year in celebration of the National Park Service Centennial.

Coasts & Water, Parks, Volunteer Opportunities

SCA Alum Roland Richardson's remarks at the MLK Day of Service in DC

Posted by Staff | Monday, January 18, 2016
SCA Alum Roland Richardson, pictured second from right, spoke to the hundreds of volunteers gathered for a day of service at Anacostia Park

SCA and American Express gathered over 600 volunteers on Monday at Anacostia Park in Southeast DC, to celebrate the Dr. King holiday through a morning of service. Among those 600 volunteers, was SCA Alum Roland Richardson (pictured above, second from right), who joined Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell and...

350 Volunteers Restore Urban Beaches at Find Your Park Day of Service

Posted by Ann Pedtke | Saturday, January 16, 2016
Volunteers gather storm debris along Jamaica Bay

In honor of the MLK National Day of Service, SCA brought together 350 volunteers this weekend at Gateway National Recreation Area in New York City. The event was the first Find Your Park Day of Service of 2016, as SCA and American Express team up to celebrate the National Park Service Centennial.

Coasts & Water, Parks, Volunteer Opportunities

Reflections from the MLK National Historic Site in Atlanta, GA

Posted by Staff | Thursday, January 14, 2016
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. speaking at the March on Washington, DC in 1963.

By Camille Vincent, SCA Centennial Volunteer Ambassador at the MLK National Historic Site in Atlanta, Georgia.

Growing up in the South, including four years at Spelman College, a historically Black school in Atlanta, I felt the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. as ever-present. The “I Have a Dream” speech on...

Diversity, History

Board member Ernest C. Wong on how SCA can help bring diversity to our parks

Posted by Staff | Tuesday, January 12, 2016
SCA Board member Ernest C. Wong (inset) and Ping Tom Memorial Park in Chicago

Look around a national park and you may see brown bears, blue herons, or Redwood trees.

But you’re less likely to see any people of color.  Statistically, 80% of park visitors are white as are park staffs, even as projections show whites will be in the minority within 30 years.

As the...

Career Success, Diversity, Parks

Posted by Staff | Friday, January 8, 2016
SCA Members have been working to protect monarch habitat all over the nation. Photo by docentjoyce via a CC license

For many, Monarch butterflies are magical. Yet their numbers are falling dramatically. But SCA interns from Dallas to Des Moines and Denver have a few tricks up their sleeve and are determined to extend the Monarch’s reign.

Endangered Species, People, Science, Sustainability

Thank you for supporting the Student Conservation Association

Posted by Staff | Wednesday, December 30, 2015
Bryce Canyon is blanketed in snow

SCA members make a significant difference in our national parks, forests, and community green spaces across the country. As we enter 2016, America needs more strong young leaders – leaders with conservation values who are equipped to succeed in an increasingly complex world. SCA programs instill the skills and self-confidence...

Posted by Staff | Wednesday, December 16, 2015
The SCA Cafe Press store, shopping via Amazon Smile and Giving to SCA are all ways you can support Conservation this holiday season

Considering where we are on the calendar, it seems likely that you’ll be doing a little shopping sometime in the very near future. Considering that it’s 2016, odds are some of it’ll take place… on the internet. Here are three ways to support SCA (and therefore the future of conservation) just...

SCA Centennial Volunteer Ambassador Jacob Breslin Considers Why Parks Need Year-Round Advocates

Posted by Ann Pedtke | Thursday, December 10, 2015
SCA Centennial Volunteer Ambassador Jacob Breslin at Shenandoah National Park

“This year, as the funding deadline approached, the stress in our office was palpable.”

Parks, People

SCA Centennial Volunteer Ambassador Jimi Hightower Considers the Value of Parks at the Brink of a Shutdown

Posted by Ann Pedtke | Thursday, December 10, 2015

I had an unconventional childhood. After my dad took a job that kept him on the road for months at a time, my parents decided we should join him so we could all be together. We bought a motorhome, began to homeschool, and hit the road – stopping at national parks along the way. We saw ancient forests, historic buildings, fascinating museums, national monuments, and dramatic landforms – all national parks. While I didn’t have much space of my own, traveling to these magical places allowed me to explore my greater backyard and make it my own. I learned that national parks belong to us all and their purpose is to conserve OUR history, OUR culture, and OUR landscapes.

Education, Parks, People

Recommendations from SCA's Gear Guru

Posted by Joseph Thurston | Wednesday, December 9, 2015
The Modular Hauler Outdoor Gear Organizer would make a great gift for any gear-loving conservation adventurer.

Shopping for a true lover of the great outdoors can be tough. More than anything, they’ll appreciate gifts that make getting out and connecting with nature easier, lighter, and more seamless, but they likely have high standards when it comes to such things. How do you make sure your gift...

SCA Alums Gather for Fall Events in NYC, DC, San Francisco & Chicago

Posted by Ann Pedtke | Tuesday, December 8, 2015
SCA alumni explore Pullman National Monument in Chicago

Over the past month, SCA brought together more than 100 SCA alums in a series of fall alumni engagement events across the country. From New York City to San Francisco, from Chicago to Washington DC, SCA alums gathered to reconnect and spend time together enjoying the spectacular public lands in...

A Brief History of the Patch & Its Designer

Posted by Joseph Thurston | Thursday, December 3, 2015
A hand-painted version of the original Student Conservation Association (SCA) logo.

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...


SCA Intern Alex Kirk's Summer Removing Non-native Brook Trout from the White River National Forest

Posted by Staff | Wednesday, December 2, 2015
SCA Intern Alex Kirk uses an electro-shocker to stun non-native brook trout in the White River National Forest

This past summer I had the opportunity to work with fisheries biologist Matt Grove along with my two crew leads Mark and Graham in the heart of the Rocky Mountains within the White River National Forest. At the beginning of my internship, I heard foreshadowing stories from the guys about...

SCA Crews Support the NYC Parks 2015 Urban Street Tree Census

Posted by Ann Pedtke | Tuesday, December 1, 2015
SCA members survey NYC street trees

As fall foliage peaked in New York City this season, SCA members hit the streets to support TreesCount! 2015 — a NYC Parks initiative to map and catalogue every street tree on every block in NYC.

Forests, Parks, People, Sustainability

A Message of Thanks from Jaime Matyas, CEO and President, SCA

Posted by Staff | Monday, November 23, 2015

A message of thanks from Jaime Matyas, CEO and President

A Parent's perspective on the SCA experience

Posted by Staff | Friday, November 20, 2015
SCA Alum Parker Davis seen in his Crew days at Mount Rainer in 2010 and at his college graduation this year.

Parker Davis is a four-time alumnus of SCA’s Seattle community crew program. When an SCA staff member saw the announcement of Parker’s college graduation in June 2015, he sent a note Kit Lewis, Parker’s mother. Kit’s response was powerful and poignant, and as you’ll see she’s...

Career Success, People

Getting DC National Parks Ready for Winter

Posted by Ann Pedtke | Tuesday, November 17, 2015
SCA Volunteers Gather for Veterans Day service in DC

SCA joined forces with Friends of Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens to celebrate Veterans Day this past weekend in Washington, DC. Over 130 volunteers of all ages came together to honor veterans who have risked their lives to protect America’s freedoms, continuing their legacy of service with hands-on volunteer work in their local community.

An Intense & Beautiful Wildlife Survey for SCA Forest Service Intern Mia Callahan

Posted by Staff | Sunday, November 15, 2015
A Forest Service wildlife surveyer triumphantly (and delicately) displays the object of her search, a Sacramento Mountain Salamander.

by SCA Intern Mia Callahan

It’s a Wednesday morning, and we five members of the Smokey Bear Ranger District wildlife crew (well, two members, two interns, and me, a Student Conservation Association recreation intern tagging along for the adventure) are in our office for the week: the Sacramento Mountain Wilderness. In...

Adventures, Animals & Wildlife, Backcountry & Wilderness, Forests, Wildfires