SCA to Award Founder’s Medal to Olympic National Park

Friday, August 11, 2017
The Student Conservation Association (SCA), the national leader in youth service and stewardship, will award its Founder’s Medal to Olympic National Park, one of two original SCA partners and the only park to provide young SCA stewards with service opportunities in each of the past 60 years.
 
Margie Brown, chairwoman of the SCA board of directors, will present the medal to Olympic Superintendent Sarah Creachbaum at park headquarters at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, August 12. The program will also include remarks from SCA Founding President Liz Putnam, whose name and likeness adorn the Founder’s Medal. The award recognizes exemplary efforts in advancing the engagement of youth and young adults in hands-on service to the land, and Ms. Putnam is widely recognized as The Mother of the American Youth Conservation Movement. 
 
The presentation coincides with SCA’s 60th anniversary. Ms. Putnam first introduced the idea of a “Proposed Student Conservation Corps” in her 1955 senior thesis at Vassar College, as under-funded parks struggled to keep up with surging visitor demands. Two years later, in 1957, with the aid of fellow Vassar alumna Martha Hayne (Talbot), the first 53 SCA volunteers reported for duty at Olympic and Grand Teton National Parks, and SCA members have served at Olympic every year since.
 
“Since the very beginning, SCA has been about partnerships, teamwork, and banding together to achieve something greater than yourself,” Ms. Putnam said. “Service to nature and empowering youth are among our most noble callings, and that’s why it’s so rewarding to return to Olympic National Park and honor such a deserving medal recipient.” 
 
Among those attending the Olympic ceremony will be SCA alumni who served at the park during the organization’s earliest years. The event will also include the premiere of a new documentary, “National Park Diaries,” which spotlights the work of SCA volunteers in parks from coast to coast.
 
About the Student Conservation Association
The Student Conservation Association (SCA) is America’s largest and most effective youth conservation service organization. SCA conserves lands and transforms lives by empowering young people of all backgrounds to plan, act, and lead, while they protect and restore our natural and cultural resources. Founded in 1957, SCA’s mission is to build the next generation of conservation leaders, and 70% of its 85,000 alumni are employed or studying in conservation-related fields. For more, visit www.thesca.org.