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The Student Conservation Association Northwest 

Description

The Student Conservation Association (SCA) is a national movement of young people dedicated to service, stewardship and sustainability. Founded in 1957, SCA envisions a world in which conserving our environment is a commitment shared by all young people as they enter their careers and assume the responsibilities of citizenship. Across Seattle and throughout the Northwest, SCA is building a new generation of conservation leaders and, over the past 30 years, has strengthened the region’s youth, communities and environment.

Mission Statement
SCA’s mission is to build the next generation of conservation leaders and inspire lifelong stewardship of the environment and communities by engaging young people in hands-on service to the land.
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The Student Conservation Association Northwest
1265 S Main St Ste 210 
Seattle 
WA
98144-2009 
(206) 324-4649 

Jarrod Ball 
Regional Director of Programs, Western Region 

Programs

The Student Conservation Association Northwest Programs

SCA was launched in the Northwest when some of the first SCA volunteers reported for service at Olympic National Park more than 50 years ago. Since then over 75,000 members have provided more than 30 million hours of conservation service nationwide – protecting wildlife, restoring habitats, curating historic sites and more in national parks, forests, and urban green spaces.

In the Northwest, SCA provides conservation service opportunities for hundreds of young adults at Mount Rainier and North Cascades National Parks, Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, San Juan Islands National Historic Park, Ebey's Landing National Historic Reserve and many other federal, state and municipal public lands, open spaces and urban farms.  

SCA's Seattle Community Program connects high school-aged youth from all backgrounds with their local environment, providing work experience, career skills and job readiness training. Students also gain leadership capabilities, strengthen their self-confidence and esteem, and embrace an enduring ethic of stewardship. Strategically built as a graduated continuum, SCA's Seattle Community Program provides progressive levels of participation, challenge and growth.

SCA's National Conservation Crews allow high school age students to serve on a month-long summer volunteer crew, maintaining and restoring trails and restoring habitats on public lands. Crews from around the country live and work in the backcountry doing hands-on work and learning outdoor skills.

SCA's Conservation Internships and Corps are geared toward college-age and older volunteers who want to gain valuable on-the-job experience by working alongside experienced natural resource management staff.

Recent Successes and Current Challenges

The Seattle Community Program is a school year and summer program that engages 150 students each year. Summer participants are paid to allow equitable participation regardless of family income, and to provide a realistic alternative to a summer job. These youth learn and work in an intensive program that explores conservation through four initiatives: food systems; habitat; water quality; and climate change. Each focus area is explored through Civic-Engagement, Leadership Opportunities, Equity & Diversity, and Career-Development. Youth members provide local parks and public spaces with hundreds of conservation service hours. 

In 2014, high school-aged youth in the Seattle Community Program directly benefited local communities by maintaining parks, supporting volunteer-run urban farms, and by providing habitat restoration. In the summer season alone, 86 youth spent a total of hundreds of hours of environmental education, worked on over 7,100 hours of hands-on service projects, and spent almost 500 hours learning job-readiness skills. 

A successful new initiative was piloted in the summer of 2014. SCA recruited two hearing impaired youth from the Edmonds area. The youth were accompanied by American Sign Language Interpreters and were active and enthusiastic participants throughout the summer. SCA will continue to recruit deaf and hard of hearing youth for summer programming in pursuit of its mission to create a diverse new generation of conservation leaders.

This local program is supported almost entirely by charitable donations, since many of the agency and non-profit partners are not able to provide funding for the service projects.

Evaluation

The Student Conservation Association Northwest (SCA) provides opportunities for young people to develop the skills, experience, values and passion necessary to help protect the nation's natural resources. The SCA experience can begin in 9th grade and continue into early adulthood.

Accessibility
SCA offers stipend summer positions to encourage youth from all income levels to participate. Over 80% of SCA Community Crew members in King County are ethnically diverse with many of the members coming from immigrant and refugee communities. This is significantly higher than SCA’s programs nationally. They are actively working on raising this percentage even higher and recruiting more diverse crew leaders through engagement with community-based organizations that reach underserved populations.

Best Practices
Their youth and employment training programs provide young people with meaningful work in a supervised context that emphasizes decision making experience and positive peer relationships. Linkages to post-program employment and training opportunities help build an ethic of service while improving the quality of life for the community.

Collaboration
SCA Seattle actively works identifies new land management and non-profit partners to carry out its projects. These efforts have resulted in a broad network of local partners including Forterra, Outdoors for All, the Sierra Club, Earthcorps, Nature Conservancy, Friends of the Cedar River Watershed, Mount Rainier, Olympic and North Cascades National Parks, Nature Consortium, local community colleges, and Seattle Parks and Recreation, among others. Due to the success of SCA’s outreach efforts, it has been forced to build referral relations to managed increase volunteer demand.

Grant History with The Seattle Foundation:

Grants Awarded through The Seattle Foundation Grantmaking Program:

DateAmountPurpose
3/10/2013 $5,000.00support general operating expenses.
3/10/2012 $5,000.00support general operating expenses.
3/10/2010 $10,000.00support general operating expenses of the Northwest Regional Office.
12/10/2007 $10,000.00support general operating expenses of the Northwest Conservation Leadership Corps.
6/16/2005 $8,000.00support general operating expenses of the Conservation Leadership Corps in King County.

Financials

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