Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Student Conservation Association Community Crews are hard at work

For at least the past decade, Mount Rainier National Park has worked with the Student Conservation Association to bring a special group of young people to the park for 15-day conservation leadership experiences. These are SCA's "Community Crews," recruited from the urban communities of Seattle. Most have participated in SCA's school year programs, and their two weeks at Mount Rainier are a culminating experience that builds on many previous months of service and team-building.

The first Community Crew worked on
the Trail of the Shadows at Longmire.
Community Crew alumni often go on to do other types of environmental service: the North Cascades Climate Challenge, for instance, or longer summer internships with SCA. Some even graduate into the "green and gray," working as seasonal park rangers in the National Park Service. For all of them, Community Crew service is a foundational experience that makes a dramatic difference in their lives.

We're excited to be working, this year, with not only students from Seattle, but also youth from Joint Base Lewis-McChord, through SCA's "Base to Base Camp" program. This year's three Community Crews, each made up of 8 youth and two crew leaders, are about half-and-half students from Seattle and JBLM. The first crew, pictured here, was in the park from June 30 through July 14, working on trails near Longmire. The second crew arrived this past Sunday, and will be working on the east side of the park until August 4. A third crew will be back on the west side of the park from September 11 to 25.

The Community Crew programs are supported by grants from the Youth Partnerships Program of the National Park Service, and the America's Best Idea program of the National Park Foundation.

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