Urban Green

The SCA is a national non-profit changing lives through hands-on conservation work in the outdoors. For decades, the SCA has been connecting urban youth to nature. Our program participants protect and restore national parks, marine sanctuaries, cultural landmarks and community green spaces across the country.

As America’s most effective youth conservation service organization, the SCA is developing the next generation of conservation leaders by building equitable access to nature, providing green job opportunities to young people and teaching our members how to become environmental stewards. After working with the SCA, our members emerge with increased environmental awareness, social responsibility and leadership skills.

The SCA’s Urban Green program advances innovative climate solutions, prioritizes environmental justice and youth development, and leverages the strength of public-private partnerships. Our Urban Green program provides young people with paid green jobs, including single-day service projects, seasonal work and year-long internships or fellowships.

Urban Green provides continuous programming for young people beginning with Urban Treehouse, where leaders engage students (ages 6-18) in environmental education. As these students grow, they can transition to working on our youth crews (ages 15-19) throughout their high school years.

After high school, graduates can then apply for our young adult crews (ages 18-26 year) or internships (ages 18+). During their experiences, our members typically engage directly with their local communities through service days. Following completion of our programs, members often go on to work in conservation careers, and continue to be engaged with the SCA throughout their lives with our alumni programs.

Urban Green programs are located in Atlanta, Chicago, Cleveland, Houston, Newark, New York City, Oakland/Bay Area, Pittsburgh, Seattle, and the Washington, D.C. metro area, with further expansion still to come.


Chicago’s Calumet Tree Conservation Corps

The SCA Calumet Tree Conservation Corps plants and cares for 500 trees in the Grand Calumet watershed communities of East Chicago, Ill., Hammond, Ind., Gary, Ind., Whiting, Ind., Highland, Ind., and Hobart, Ind. The corps also maintains 3,000+ trees planted in the area by previous SCA teams since 2017.

Pittsburgh Community Foresty Interns

The SCA’s Community Forestry Interns placed with the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy provide basic tree care and maintenance activities throughout the growing season (May-August) for newly planted trees. To date, the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy has planted more than 25,000 trees through the TreeVitalize Pittsburgh program and other initiatives. 

East Bay’s Vallejo Urban Foresters

The SCA partners with the U.S. Forest Service on Mare Island, the Greater Vallejo Recreation District, and the City of Vallejo to employ youth from Jesse Bethel and Vallejo high schools for urban tree planting, tree maintenance, seedling propagation, and computer-based mapping.



Since the early 2000s, the SCA’s Houston Community Programs have helped local young leaders connect with their community and environment through hands-on service to the land. In our award-winning response to Hurricane Harvey and other natural disasters, the SCA is working with the City of Houston to plant green infrastructure and make the city and its parks more resilient to flooding and hurricanes. 


With support from The UPS Foundation and L.L. Bean, the SCA expanded to Atlanta and launched its first conservation crew for Black youth in 2021. These partnerships help elevate the youth voice and engage the next generation of conservation leaders by building a more resilient nation with equitable access to green spaces.

Washington, DC

For more than 20 years, the SCA has provided students from the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia with opportunities to serve their broader community by completing conservation projects in national, state and regional parks, and participating in valuable curriculum-based environmental education activities.

To learn more about Urban Green or how to become a corporate sponsor, please contact Kelly Runzel, SCA Sr. Director Philanthropy at [email protected] or Matt Gray, SCA Sr. VP of Programs at [email protected].

Student Conservation Association