July 28 2014
For the last nine summers, The Student Conservation Association has been providing opportunities for high school students (ages 15-19) to work in natural settings in and around Milwaukee. The national nonprofit is headquartered in Arlington, VA and it mission is to “build the next generation of conservation leaders by engaging in hands-on service to the land.”
The SCA’s national program offers the chance for students to work in national forests and parks around the country. Here in Milwaukee, the Community Corps program is focused on local parks and natural land. The program is the result of a partnership between Johnson Controls, the Milwaukee Area Workforce Invest Board, and the SCA.
The students are paid for their work, and this year, about 50 students are working on four different crews around the area. Each crew is supervised by an adult -- usually an SCA alumni -- who is there to guide and assist the students. The crew we met up with was working at the Urban Ecology Center.
Virtues like dependability, service, conservation and cooperation are emphasized throughout the program. In addition, students are exposed to future opportunities for work in the ‘green’ economy.
But even if students don't plan on having an environmental career they still come away from the program knowing how to affect positive change in their communities and environment.
It’s not all work, though. The program also offers training in resume building, water quality testing, and financial literacy. And at the end of the summer, program crews will celebrate their accomplishments with a variety of activities. The crew we met at the UEC is going to cap things off with a canoe trip and a barbeque. A sweet reward for a job well done.
You can learn more about the SCA Milwaukee chapter Here. And click podcast player above to hear Nate Imig's interview with program coordinator August Ball and youth on site.
Below you can listen to Program Manager August Ball talk about getting her kids to set down roots in the city so they can grow and bloom right here in Milwaukee.