Phoenix Field School

SCA Phoenix Field School Member earning Chainsaw Certification

The Phoenix Field School is a 16-week education and training program for young adults ages 18-21. The program was created through a partnership of the Student Conservation Association (SCA), the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Arizona Call-a-Teen Youth Resources (ACYR), and Phoenix College (PC).

SCA Certified: Conservation Field Specialist CertificationThe Field School provides opportunities to gain meaningful, hands-on conservation experience through a variety of field-based projects, trainings, and certifications. The crews work on important conservation projects in Arizona, including trail construction and repair, riparian habitat restoration, biological monitoring, and invasive plant management.  In addition to the field work and trainings, the youth also earn 12 college credits through PC by taking classes in areas related to conservation and career development.

Throughout the 16 weeks, crew members gain the necessary skills and experience to become successful and employable in natural resource careers, while making a substantial contribution to Arizona’s natural and cultural treasures. Students gain networking connections with land agencies including the BLM, USFWS, NPS, and USFS.

Students are primarily based out of Phoenix, but the program includes conservation projects around Arizona which require camping in the field for 4-5 days at a time.

Field School graduates earn SCA certification as Conservation Field Specialists. 

Additional trainings offered include: 

  • CPR Certification
  • Wilderness First Aid Certification
  • Leave No Trace (LNT) Outdoor Ethics
  • SCA Conservation Work Skills Training – Trails
  • Federal Chainsaw Certification – S-212
  • Wildland Firefighting Training – S-130/190

Eligibility Requirements: 

If you are between the ages of 18 and 21, able to pass a background check, have a high school diploma or GED, and are a resident of the City of Phoenix or Maricopa County, you are eligible to apply for this program! If you are interested, please contact Jessica Proehl at

Related Posts & Program Information

This week the crew ventured to the North Maricopa Wilderness Area to work on the Margie’s Cove Trail. The trailhead can be found off of Highway 85 just outside of Gila Bend, AZ. The trail starts in a valley and winds up a wash between the mountains. Because the trail lies in a wilderness area, it cannot be marked with signs. Rock cairns serve as guides through the washes, but, water often washes away the cairns. This left us the task of rebuilding the cairns to mark the way.

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Our week at Copper Mountain learning all about trail construction got off to a rocky start when, just before we arrived at our campsite, we hit a bump in the road and busted a piece of our 100 gallon water tank and lost a whole week’s worth of water on the road. After a quick visit to Home Depot in Prescott Valley, and the expert fix-it abilities of our workskills instructor Chris, we were back in business.Back at the site, we took a hike on the trail where we learned about the differen

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We started off week three with our first real day of school at Phoenix College. It was a nice rainy day, such a treat for Phoenix, but not so good for watching birds, which we were supposed to do for biology. We were still able to listen to bird calls and learn ten common Arizona birds including the mourning dove and the red tailed hawk.

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Our thirteenth week was a short one, with just three days in the field before getting five whole days off for Thanksgiving. We returned to the rock work site to see if we could finish our rock retaining wall and maybe even move beyond it to begin digging the trail through the rocky outcropping.

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The final week of the program found the crew at Agua Fria - Riverbend site. It was timber work skills week for the crew. SCA Alum and work skills instructor, Tanya Henderson, taught the team the finer points of working with timber. Hopes were high as we set out to built a timber retaining wall to stop soil erosion. The juniper provided a tough obstacle as far as getting the wall built.

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