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.

Elizabeth Braatz wants to help you save the Monarch

Posted by Elizabeth Braatz | Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Today, Elizabeth Braatz checks in from St. Croix Wetland Management District in Wisconsin. She’s part of the Career Discovery Internship Program, a collaboration between SCA and USFWS that’s strengthening the next generation of conservation leaders by connecting culturally and ethnically diverse college students to wildlife-focused career opportunities.

Early on in my SCA internship at St. Croix Wetland Management District, I learned three interesting facts about monarch butterflies.

1. Monarchs journey up to 3,000 miles between Mexico and the northern United States and Canada. each year, and this annual epic journey is actually undertaken by four generations of butterflies.

Endangered Species, Sustainability

Endangered species just minutes from downtown Philadelphia

Posted by Staff | Friday, July 24, 2015
SCA Interns tracking Great Egrets at John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge

by Bianca Perez

Great Egrets are a common sight right now at John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge at Tinicum in Philadelphia, PA. We are America’s First Urban Refuge which means that we are not in a far-away area secluded in the wilderness, but are actually 993 acres of fresh water tidal...

Animals & Wildlife, Coasts & Water, Endangered Species, Science

Patuxent Research Refuge

Posted by Staff | Thursday, July 23, 2015
Black Rat Snake in a Bird Next Box at Patuxent

Sonam Ahluwalia on the natural order

As a Biologist and Environmentalist, the circle of life is a concept we study and understand; however, when observing this phenomena first hand, the concept unfolds emotional dimensions. When we view nature, we do not always think about the interdependency of living creatures or how...

Backcountry & Wilderness, Endangered Species, Wetlands

Get your Guide to Safe Camping in Black Bear Country

Posted by Dakota McCoy | Tuesday, July 21, 2015

ABOVE: A black bear wets its whistle at Yosemite National Park. NPS photo by SCA intern Dakota McCoy.

Yosemite National Park in California is one of the most visited parks in the entire National Park Service system, receiving approximately 4 million visitors each year. Out of those 4 million people, more...

Conservation on the Santa Fe Trail

Posted by Noah M Schlager | Tuesday, July 21, 2015

“I thought such an expanse of flatness would be about as stimulating as a parking lot, but instead some part of my brain that remembers itself to be a savannah ape was switched on. The slope of the land and color of grass stood out in my mind like a living Van Gogh painting. It was one of the most beautiful and alien spaces I have ever encountered.”

Adventures, History, Parks, People, Trails and Hiking

3x Member on the SCA Continuum

Posted by Staff | Tuesday, July 21, 2015
SCA Member Kailon Lang with Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel

Chicago’s Kailon Lang, 19, is on his third SCA hitch. After two summers as an SCA community crew member, he’s returned as an apprentice crew leader, advancing along the SCA conservation continuum. Kailon talks about learning communication skills, team building tactics and leadership skills, all while gaining a deeper connection to nature.

Diversity, Education, Parks, People

Study quantifies and qualifies SCA's Impact

Posted by Staff | Thursday, July 16, 2015
SCA Interns receive lifelong skills for success while helping to save our environmental heritage.
by Kate Hagner, SCA Program Quality Manager

Kate leads SCA’s national initiatives that use research and data to continuously improve programs.

At SCA we’re no strangers to data. But on the front lines of the youth conservation movement, our data is more likely to come from ducks or bees or even GPS-collared bears than from ourselves.

Over the past three years SCA has been amassing another type: data that reveals the ways SCA experiences impact participants. It has always been our mission to build the next generation of conservation leaders, but we wanted to know whether we could do more, and how we might build on the strengths of our programs to do it better.

We embarked on a project with one central question: Are participants transformed by their SCA experiences? As realists firmly grounded in science, we knew that the answer might not be what we hoped to find.

Posted by Staff | Wednesday, July 15, 2015

SCA CEO Jaime Matyas was the featured guest recently on the Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Wednesday. As part of the “Building Trust” video series, Jaime discusses the importance of volunteers at nonprofits with Herman “Art” Taylor, president and chief executive officer of the BBB Wise Giving Alliance. 


Centennial Volunteer Ambassador Joshua Kezar at Big Cypress

Posted by Staff | Thursday, July 9, 2015

ABOVE: My office for the afternoon…

“On the edge of a moment, in a land that we love, at a time that our best has to be good enough. Like all those before us, we start out alone, we race from our schoolyards into the unknown…you and I, we will live differently…this...

SCA member Angel Bai writes from Big Muddy

Posted by Staff | Thursday, July 9, 2015
SCA Member Angel Bai's intro to Big Muddy National Fish and Wildlife Refuge

Growing up in LA County, the Los Angeles River was rarely more than a dry concrete channel. The current drought is among the most severe California has ever experienced, forcing residents to drastically cut water usage. You hear about distant lands with earth so dry it becomes hard and cracked,...

SCA member Jessica West is helping to restore a critical wetland habitat

Posted by Staff | Tuesday, July 7, 2015
ABOVE: a sandhill crane. Photo via Wikipedia.

Try to imagine a place where all of the plants look exactly the same; where there was once a beautiful, unique environment that was thriving with a multitude of diverse plant species. An environment that has undergone this change is the Cowles Bog at the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore. What...

Animals & Wildlife, Endangered Species, Invasives, Wetlands

SCA member Sarika Khanwilkar helps mitigate a global conservation problem

Posted by Sarika Khanwilkar | Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Members of the Boys & Girls Club of Martin County gathered at Hobe Sound National Wildlife Refuge with Sarika Khanwilkar for a marine debris beach clean-up.

All of us live on Earth, but nowadays the natural world is hard to find. Most of us spend the day surrounded by asphalt roads,...

Coasts & Water, Education, Endangered Species, History, Kids, Science, Sustainability

Written with pride by Kahmia Moise

Posted by Staff | Monday, July 6, 2015

ABOVE: Kahmia at Gateway National Recreation Area’s NYC Pride table. 

Centennial Volunteer Ambassador Proud Moment #1:

I brought Gateway National Recreation Area to NYC Pride!!!

The idea first sparked in my head last year while interning in Washington, DC for National Capital Parks- East at the Mary McLeod Bethune Council House National Historic...

Career Success, Education, People

Remarks at Announcement of BP America's Contribution to SCA in Chicago

Posted by Staff | Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore Superintendent Paul Labovitz’s comments on BP’s $1 million contribution to Student Conservation Association for projects at the lakeshore and along the Calumet River in Chicago.

A Step by Step Guide to Conducting Duck Surveys & Enjoying Ice Cream with Your Fellow Interns

Posted by Elizabeth Braatz | Monday, June 29, 2015

A field dispatch from SCA member Elizabeth Braatz, currently serving as a Career Discovery Internship Program intern for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

I have never identified ducks before. Nor have I ever driven a UTV (Utility Task Vehicle), searched for Karner blue butterflies, or sloshed through wetlands in...

Science, Wetlands, Animals & Wildlife

A Field Dispatch from Dakota McCoy, SCA Bear Management Intern

Posted by Dakota McCoy | Thursday, June 25, 2015
SCA Bear Management Intern Dakota McCoy puts a GPS Collar on a 9-year-old male bear named Blue 54

ABOVE: Blue 54, a 9-year-old male, after receiving his new GPS collar. (NPS photo by Katie Rodriguez)

The Dogwoods have bloomed and the Sierra’s snow caps are melting, which can only mean one thing in Yosemite National Park – summer! Waking up to the rumbling sound of Yosemite...

Adventures, Animals & Wildlife, Parks, Science

Posted by Staff | Wednesday, June 24, 2015

There are many new things I’ve learned while working with the SCA, from how to chop wood to what a lap joint is and the alarmingly massive amount of Cheez-it’s hungry people can consume. Not only have I gained these new skills (except for my impressive cheez-it consumption- that’s always...

SCA alum Lian Law on her time as a Live Stream Video Intern at Denali National Park

Posted by Joseph Thurston | Friday, June 19, 2015
SCA alum Lian Law at Denali National Park, Alaska

This is PART 2 of our Q & A with SCA alum Lian Law. CLICK HERE FOR PART 1.

Working 5 days a week in an iconic park like Joshua Tree, after a while, does it just start to feel like any other place?
Sometimes after I’ve spent my...

Adventures, Backcountry & Wilderness, Career Success, Education

Lian Law, SCA alum, inspires awe with photos & video of America's parks

Posted by Joseph Thurston | Friday, June 19, 2015

An SCA internship at Denali National Park and Preserve may not seem like a natural choice for a a Film and Media Studies major, but for Lian Law, who grew up taking family vacations to parks all over the country, an NPS Live Stream Production Internship was a perfect fit....

Urban High School Students Learn & Serve with SCA

Posted by Ann Pedtke | Friday, June 19, 2015

New York City’s first SCA Conservation Leadership Corps wrapped up a semester of learning and service this weekend with an urban camping trip on Jamaica Bay.


Our 2015 Summer Roadtrip takes you to amazing places and member stories around the country.

75000 Members have served with SCA

Throughout the Summer of 2014 we marked our 75,000th member with 75 stories of the women and men have served with SCA - read them here.

Read about the women and men who helped build America’s oldest and largest youth conservation service organization here

Meet some of the amazing women who blazed a trail with SCA

Member Bloggers

Rachelle Hedges
San Mateo County Parks
See Posts by Rachelle Hedges
Sarika Khanwilkar
Hobe Sound National Wildlife Refuge
See Posts by Sarika Khanwilkar
Elizabeth Braatz
St. Croix Wetland Management District
See Posts by Elizabeth Braatz
Noah M Schlager
National Trails Intermountain Region
See Posts by Noah M Schlager
Dakota McCoy
Yosemite National Park
See Posts by Dakota McCoy
Ariel Lepito
Necedah National Wildlife Refuge
See Posts by Ariel Lepito
Jessica Zamudio
Yosemite National Park
See Posts by Jessica Zamudio

Staff Bloggers

Ann Pedtke
New York City
See posts by Ann Pedtke
Joseph Thurston
Washington, DC
See posts by Joseph Thurston

Alumni Stories

Where will SCA take you?

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...
“Something different” is what Jessica Aronson Cook was looking for when she first joined the Student Conservation Association (SCA) as...

New findings on SCA's youth impact - read about the Search Institute's study

A new multi-year study on SCA’s youth impact shows significant gains across a wide range of indicators.
Read about the Study here »

Michelle Bobowick, Interning with SCA in Yellowstone National Park, 1985
It was 1958, when our family affair with the Student Conservation Association began. Since, then our family has continued its commitment to improving the world around us through SCA.
During the summer of ’69, twenty students arrived at Great Smokey Mountains National Park ready to clear windfall damage in...
When Student Conservation Association (SCA) supporter and 1983 alumnus, Bob Kachinski, was fresh out of college, he went on what...

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