Urban Green

Urban Green is a turnkey initiative that advances innovative climate solutions, prioritizes environmental justice and youth development, and leverages the strength of public-private partnerships. SCA has decades of experience connecting urban youth to nature, while also delivering 21st century career skills and readiness. Urban Green provides young people with paid green jobs, from single-day service projects to seasonal work, all the way to year-long internships or fellowships. Urban Green programs are active in 10 strategic cities across the country including Atlanta, Chicago, Cleveland, Houston, Newark, New York, Oakland/Bay Area, Pittsburgh, Seattle, and Washington, D.C. metro area, with further expansion still to come.

Urban Green provides a continuum of opportunities for young people beginning with Urban Treehouse (UTH), where leaders engage students (6-18 year olds) in environmental education. As these students grow, they can transition to youth crews (15-19 year olds) throughout high school years. After high school, graduates can then apply for young adult crews (18-26 year olds) or internships (18+). During their experiences, members typically engage directly with their communities through service days. Post-program our members continue to be engaged throughout their lives with alumni programs.


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, Hammond, Gary, Whiting, Highland, and Hobart. The corps also maintains 3,000+ trees planted in the area by previous SCA teams since 2017.

Pittsburgh Community Foresty Intern

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, WPC has planted over 25,000 trees through the TreeVitalize Pittsburgh program and other initiatives. 

East Bay’s Vallejo Urban Foresters

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, SCA 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, 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. 


In 2021 with support from UPS, SCA launched its first affinity crew in Atlanta consisting of self-identified African American youth. SCA partners with UPS to elevate the youth voice and engage the next generation of conservation leaders in building a more resilient nation with equitable access to green spaces.

Washington, DC

For the past 20 plus years, 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.


Career Discovery Internship Program

Since 2008, SCA has partnered with the US Fish and Wildlife Service to provide summer internships for hundreds of students from culturally and ethnically diverse backgrounds. This award-winning initiative has provided participants with valuable career experience while aiding the agency in fielding a workforce that better reflects the American mosaic.

NPS Academy

SCA launched NPS Academy in 2011 to provide a professional pathway to undergraduate and graduate students from communities that are typically under-represented in national parks. The program, which includes a spring orientation and summer-long internships, immerses participants in NPS’ mission while instilling a strong work ethic, a high sense of professionalism, and ample enthusiasm for “America’s Best Idea.”


Launched in 2018, the GulfCorps Program restores coastal habitats along the Gulf Coast while providing local young adults with meaningful employment in the region’s robust restoration economy. Partners include the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), The Nature Conservancy (TNC), and The Corps Network (TCN), with funding from the RESTORE Council.

If you want to learn more please contact Kelly Runzel, Sr. Director Philanthropy at [email protected] or Matt Gray Sr. VP Programs at [email protected].

Student Conservation Association