SCA Hudson Valley AmeriCorps Celebrates 20 Years of Conserving the Region’s Resources

Student Conservation Association
Tuesday, November 5, 2019

(FISHKILL, NY) November 5, 2019 —- The 20th season of the Student Conservation Association’s Hudson Valley AmeriCorps Program was among its most productive, organizers reported at a ceremony recognizing the accomplishments of the program’s 40 young adult members.

The SCA Hudson Valley Corps provides participants with internship opportunities across the region, through which they protect, restore, and interpret a range of vital natural and cultural resources. Members serve with various partner agencies and organizations including the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation; the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, local Soil & Water Conservation Districts, Scenic Hudson, Audubon New York, and Vassar College.

“Since 1999,” stated SCA Hudson Valley Program Manager Libby Young, “some 900 SCA Hudson Valley Corps members have performed 1.7 million hours of service with a value of $30 million, delivering extensive ecologic and economic benefits to communities throughout the region.”

At a November 1st event held at the Sharpe Reservation in Fishkill, NY, Young revealed the 2019 team alone had:

  • Improved more than 96 miles of land and waterways
  • Mapped and/or monitored 3,650 acres of recreational lands and habitat
  • Provided environmental education to nearly 36,000 regional residents and visitors
  • Rendered more than 71,000 hours of service, valued at $1.7 million

“This year marks the 20th anniversary of collaboration between the Student Conservation Association, DEC, State Parks, and environmental partners to support the Hudson Valley AmeriCorps program,” said DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos. “By engaging children and families in outdoor education and recreation, SCA AmeriCorps members promote healthy lifestyles and help grow future environmental stewards. DEC applauds the dedication and service of the Hudson Valley AmeriCorps members and is proud to employ several former program participants as they begin their environmental careers.”

“SCA continues to play an important role in the conservation and protection of natural resources in New York,” added New York State Parks Commissioner Erik Kulleseid. “Their members have worked on countless miles of trail and rehabilitation projects that benefit all New Yorkers and preserve our natural heritage. Many valued employees now at Parks have gotten their start at SCA, so the group’s influence will help fuel our public conservation work for many years to come.”

Sarah Davies, an alumna of the original Hudson Valley Corps, is now an environmental educator in charge of New York State Parks AmeriCorps and education programs. “SCA was the best decision of my professional life. It was the catalyst for my 20 years in government service,” Davies said, adding that in her current position, she relies on the contributions of SCA corps members every year.

The SCA Hudson Valley Corps consists of young men and women aged 18+ from all backgrounds and geographies, who work in individual placements while participating in group trainings and corps-wide service projects on a monthly basis. Members receive biweekly living stipends and are eligible for an AmeriCorps Education Award after successful completion of service. Participants are also provided with housing or a monthly housing stipend. 

The Hudson Valley program is based at the Vassar Farm and Ecological Preserve in Poughkeepsie, NY. SCA Founder Liz Putnam first proposed a “Student Conservation Corps” in her Vassar senior thesis in 1955. Ms. Putnam is widely recognized as the “mother” of the American youth conservation movement, and holds numerous awards including the Presidential Citizens Medal, among the nation’s highest civilian honors.

About the Student Conservation Association Hudson Valley Corps
The Student Conservation Association (SCA), the national leader in youth service and stewardship, created the SCA Hudson Valley Corps in 1999 to serve the conservation needs of the region through a joint partnership with the two largest resource agencies of New York, the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation and the Department of Environmental Conservation. SCA is a nationwide conservation force of college and high school volunteers who protect and restore America’s parks, forests, and other public lands. Since 1957, SCA’s active, hands-on practice of conservation has helped to develop a new generation of conservation leaders and inspire lifelong stewardship. To learn more, visit www.theSCA.org

About AmeriCorps
AmeriCorps is administered by the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), the federal agency for service and volunteering. CNCS annually engages more than five million citizens in service at more than 60,000 locations in 8,500 cities across the country through AmeriCorps, Senior Corps, and other programs.  National service participants address the most pressing challenges facing our cities and nation, from educating students for the jobs of the 21st century and supporting veterans and military families to preserving the environment and helping communities recover from natural disasters.

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