Adventurous Auburnite A Yosemite ‘Bear Intern’

Article, written by Andrew Westrope, appears in the Auburn Journal. Published June 5, 2014.

At 18 years of age, Auburn resident Jessica Hadley is well-acquainted with the wild, wooly fauna of the American outback.
The daughter of lifelong environmentalists, she’s been stalking bears and watching wolves from a distance since childhood, but this summer she’s been enlisted by Yosemite National Park to work within arm’s reach of them.

Hadley has been chosen to be a “bear intern” at Yosemite for three months over the summer, from June 23 through September. She said the aim of the job is to reduce human-bear conflict by educating the public and assisting with “bear management,” which will involve tracking the animals with radio collars and personal observation, finding ways to discourage them from entering campsites and occasionally capturing them for removal.

Hadley is the daughter of park rangers who met and married at Yosemite and now work for the US Fish & Wildlife Service – Dad works on wildfires, Mom cleans up oil spills – and she took a cue from their passion at a young age. She remembers following bears and observing wolf packs on family vacations, and having graduated from Del Oro High School in 2013 and finished her first year at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, she thought a summer job with the Student Conservation Association was the next step.

“At Yosemite, one of the main attractions has always been the bears. They used to have bear shows … but they stopped those a long time ago,” she said. “We will be catching a few, probably. Sometimes we have to euthanize them due to conflict, but they’ve been doing a good job, so there’s been less and less (of that). … We catch them to collar them and put tags in their ears, and monitor age, weight and all of that.”

Park ranger and Yosemite spokesman Scott Gediman said Hadley will be one of only a handful of bear interns in the park, as the position is both competitive and highly specialized, and generally reserved for candidates with at least some college experience.

“Being a park ranger and working in a national park is very popular and competitive. … I’ve hired (SCA interns) over the years, and it’s a great foot in the door,” he said. “If there’s a bear that is breaking into cars in the campground, they’ll capture the bear and ‘haze’ it to give it aversive conditioning or negative reinforcement. They work closely with the bears, and I know SCAs we’ve hired in the past generally have experience working with wildlife, have an interest in working with them or are someone we feel is capable of doing something like that, because it’s a very specialized and difficult job.”

Hadley said her attraction to the challenge is twofold: The animals need protection, and she finds them inherently fascinating — wolves for their ecological importance, and bears for their sheer intelligence. She said bears are also extremely curious creatures, even more so than cats and dogs, and she likes knowing the interest is mutual.
“It’s not completely food-motivated, either,” she said. “They’re still interested in people, even if there isn’t food. I find that really fascinating.”

From Nepal to New York, One Planet to Conserve

Article, written by Amosh Neupane, appears on the SCA website.

To many people, the thought of spending the summer outside working under the sun isn’t a pleasing prospect. The sweat, the sunburn, the awkward tan lines, the freckles, and all the other downsides of outdoor labor make people desire an air-conditioned office workspace over something outdoorsy. But guess what… I just happen to be working for the Youth Conservation Corps (YCC) – a collaborative summer crew program with the Student Conservation Association (SCA) and the National Park Service (NPS) that entails all the challenges mentioned above, and I’m super excited for it!

I’m Amosh Neupane from Queens in New York City, and a warm namaste to you all!

The Youth Conservation Corps is a nationwide program that provides youth my age with an opportunity to engage in conservation projects at a local level. The job includes, but is not limited to, tasks like invasive species and storm debris removal, trail restoration and maintenance, and building climate-resilient local ecosystems. Most importantly, YCC has been fostering interaction among youth from different parts of the country and forging bonds among young minds that share an interest in the environmental and conservation sector.

Having moved to New York a year and ten months ago from Nepal, learning about America and adapting to American culture has been my utmost priority. The differences between New York and Bhadrapur (the quaint little town I hail from) had me taken aback initially. The open spaces back home would remain only in my memory. Having a kitchen garden to grow vegetables would be out of question. I realized I would have to adjust to living in a tiny space in a large city, which was the exact opposite of how I lived in Nepal.

I gradually started learning about and interacting with New York and started liking it. However, I wasn’t truly introduced to the green side of New York until I interned with the Greening Western Queens program during my first summer in the U.S. After the internship, there was no turning back. I started participating in several environmental awareness campaigns and searching for volunteer events. After volunteering at the first SCA ConSERVE NYC event, I started an environmental club at my high school: the Coalition Of Students for Environment and Climate Action (COSECA).

I still haven’t fully explored the greener aspects of the city. That being said, can anyone claim to know New York City completely? For a city of such magnitude, influence, ever-changing population, culture, and diversity, one can only ever claim to have interacted with New York at a certain stage, on a certain level. I’ve known New York as my second home. I’ve come to know the neighborhoods of New York, the people of New York, the food of New York, and the languages of New York. I now know that the largest urban rooftop garden in the world is in New York, a few blocks from my house. I know that the Croton Reservoir that supplies water to the largest city in the country is a train ride away. I know that Great Kills Park, the innovative dump-site-turned-park on Staten Island, is a ferry ride away. But I also know that I would fail any quiz about these sites if I were given one.

So I’m excited for my forthcoming internship. I have never been more ready to venture out into the urban wilderness and learn more about the city I now call home. New York may be a shopper’s paradise, an art lover’s mecca, and a foodie’s dream, but it can also be the Sierras for any budding young John Muir. And this kid intends to discover the side of New York where nature and the city meet. Brace yourself New Yorkers – I am marching into the New York City wilderness and a little sunburn and sweat isn’t going to stop me!

2014 Corps Legacy Achievement Award Winner, Scott Weaver

Scott Weaver
SCA - the Student Conservation Association


Click here to read an Interview with
Scott Weaver

Scott Weaver, Senior Vice President for Government and Agency Affairs for the Student Conservation Association (SCA), has been a longtime advocate for Corps. He helped develop and pass the Public Lands Corps Act in the early 1990s and has been an ardent supporter of Corps in recent years in his work for the Public Lands Service Coalition.

Scott has spent the last 30 years serving SCA. Prior to his current position, he worked as Vice President of Programs, Director of SCA’s High School and Resource Assistant Programs, and he worked in the field as an SCA Conservation Work Crew Leader. Before joining SCA, Scott worked for the National Park Service in Yosemite National Park for nine years.

Scott serves on the Advisory Board of American Trails and is a member of the Association of National Park Rangers, the National Parks and Conservation Association, the Yosemite Fund, and the Public Lands Service Coalition.

Boiler Plate: 
Scott Weaver, Senior Vice President for Government and Agency Affairs for the Student Conservation Association (SCA), has been a longtime advocate for Corps. He helped develop and pass the Public Lands Corps Act in the early 1990s and has been an ardent supporter of Corps in recent years in his work for the Public Lands Service Coalition.

SCA's Veterans Fire Corps Receives National and Local Press Attention


Thank you to Kevin Hamilton, SCA, Vice President of Communications, for sharing these articles

The Student Conservation Association's Veterans Fire Corps recently received press coverage in Stars and Stripes, The Buffalo Bulletin (Wyoming), and The Craig Daily Press (Colorado). Click the links below to read the articles in their entirety and find out how the Corps helps veterans transition back to civilian life.


Stars and Stripes

By Michael A. Madalena 

The men and women I’m training know we’re about to confront a merciless enemy. We are all military veterans, and in the field we have an objective, a plan, and the flexibility to change tactics midstream — just as in the armed forces.

In this case our adversary isn’t al-Qaida or any of the other combatants I faced with the U.S. Marines in Afghanistan and Iraq; it’s not even human but it eats, breathes and grows.

It’s the nearly 32,000 wildfires that the U.S. Department of the Interior says have burned more than 3.4 million acres nationwide this year. These are not low-intensity ground fires, but “mega fires” created from lack of mitigation and irregular historic fire regimes.

I’m a crew leader for the nonprofit Student Conservation Association’s Veterans Fire Corps...keep reading.


The Buffalo Bulletin

By Holly Kays

When Joe Svidron’s days as an active member of the U.S. Marine Corps ended and his time as a park management major began, the transition was anything but smooth. After four years in the military, college was like a foreign land, full of younger students whose world of fashion and fads was nothing like the one Svidron left when he enlisted, and military discipline had nothing in common with college life.
“Going back to school wasn’t so great, and it was hard to acclimate because everybody’s five, six, seven years younger than you,” Svidron said. “The things they’re doing now you had no clue were going on when you were in the military, so it’s kind of foreign to you. You’re looking for that camaraderie and that sense of purpose and accomplishment again, and it’s not really there in the civilian sector.”
All that changed when Svidron stumbled across an advertisement for the Student Conservation Association Veterans Fire Corps...keep reading.


The Craig Daily Press

By Matt Stensland

After spending a year deployed with the Army in Iraq, Elder Pyatt had to adjust to civilian life when he finished his service in 2008.

Life in the military moves much faster, said Pyatt, who served to earn money for college.

“There is an adjustment period,” he said.

In the Army, Pyatt used mechanic’s tools to work on large military vehicles. This summer, he is removing limbs from beetle-killed lodgepole pine trees near Stagecoach with a chain saw, which he never really had used before.

“Not in this capacity,” Pyatt said. “Like yard work kind of stuff.”

Pyatt, whose goal is to earn a master's degree, is joined by three other veterans and a crew leader...keep reading

[Video] Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell Highlights The Corps Network and Student Conservation Association for Volunteer Opportunities in Earth Day Chat

On Monday of this week, our new Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell participated in a special Earth Day webchat.

When asked a question about the Department of Interior partnering with nonprofits and corporations to boost volunteerism on public lands, here's what Secretary Jewell had to say:

Baltimore Teens Trade Summer in the City for Conservation in the Wilderness


They traveled 2,000 miles from home, trading high-rise buildings for towering trees, city lights for twinkling stars, and an urban cacophony for the melodies of songbirds.

Relaxing? Hardly. These six Baltimore teenagers aren’t on vacation. They are working long, hard days to restore the wilderness character of Carson National Forest in New Mexico.

All six are members of the Student Conservation Association (SCA), a national nonprofit organization that engages young adults in hands-on conservation to build connections with nature and provide career skills and training. In June and July, the crew members worked in urban parks back home in a pioneering SCA program that employs under-represented city youth in green summer jobs near their own neighborhoods. When given the option of performing similar work in a national forest, the teens jumped at the chance.

“There’s not many wide open places like this left, so we have to do what we can to protect them,” says 17-year-old Malik Moore. “Plus, I get to go out West for the first time. No way was I going to pass this up.”

None of the SCA team had ever traveled this far before; few had even been more than a few miles from home. During the day, they build hiking trails, restore campsites, and remove invasive plants before heading to basecamp to prepare their own meals over an open fire, take in environmental lessons from their crew leaders, and retreat to their tents for a restful sleep. “This is an adventure, no doubt about it,” states Howard Thorne, Jr. “But we all know why we’re here. There’s work to do.”

The project is part of the Forest Service’s 10-Year Challenge to achieve specific stewardship objectives at more than 400 US Forest Service sites by 2014, the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act. S. Elwood York, Jr., the Forest Service’s wilderness program leader in Washington, D.C., says he also had another objective in mind in creating the Carson opportunity for the SCA Baltimore crew.

Read more about this story here.

Our Google Hangout with the Student Conservation Association and the Peace Corps was a Success!

Yesterday we were thrilled to participate in our first Google Hangout with our partners at SCA and the Peace Corps.

If you weren't able to join us live, you are in luck! You can watch the recorded program via Youtube.

Mary Ellen Ardouny, our Interim CEO, joined Bob Coates, Senior Vice President for Programs at SCA, and Carrie Hessler-Radelet, Acting Director for the Peace Corps,  along with several other guests to discuss service opportunities both in the U.S. and abroad. It's highly recommended to watch the segments toward the end with Kaylee Poleschook of Mile High Youth Corps and Louise Liller, an alumnae of many Corps programs and SCA. They are also both Returned Peace Corps Volunteers and speak eloquently about service and the role it can play in your life.

Among many memorable things said, Louise Liller said that "I can trace back almost every major career move that I've made in my life, I can trace back to that one year that I spent working in an AmeriCorps program, and AmeriCorps program that's part of The Corps Network... It was an important step in my life and my future."

Legacy Achievement Award Winner: Elizabeth Putnam


Early in her life, Elizabeth Cushman Titus Putnam felt the need to respond to the threats facing America’s national parks. Her senior thesis at Vassar College in 1953 proposed the development of a volunteer student conservation corps to perform essential service for these endangered natural resources. This led to the creation of The Student Conservation Association (SCA), which has become one of the largest providers of youth development and conservation service opportunities in the US.

Ms. Putnam dedicates her life to ensuring that America’s treasured but fragile public lands are preserved for future generations and that those generations become future stewards of the land. Ms. Putnam has volunteered with SCA’s leadership and staff to commit SCA to a strategic vision, emphasizing national leadership in programs that both engage young people in conservation service; i.e., hands-on work that benefits national or community interests; and highlights the capacity of conservation service to build future leaders.

Ms. Putnam remains SCA’s premier ambassador.  She is actively involved with SCA and in the environmental arena. She meets with young people, participates in community service events, and tells the inspiring story of SCA’s volunteers across the country. She has been recognized by the Department of the Interior, the National Wildlife Federation, the National Park Service, and the Garden Club of America for her achievements and her ongoing commitment to the natural world.  Her enthusiastic call to action and hard work on behalf of the nation’s public lands encouraged more than 60,000 SCA volunteers over the past 53 years. 

Ms. Putnam’s commitment to ensuring SCA volunteers and the conservation arena reflect the multiculturalism of American society led SCA to establish its Urban and Diversity Outreach, which connects youth from diverse backgrounds to nature and provides positive experiences in the outdoors. 

Each SCA member has provided valued and essential service to national and state parks, forests, refuges and urban green spaces. The results are felt on a national and at the “grassroots” community level. It is reported that more than 55% of these young people continue their engagement in conservation through career, education or volunteerism. In 1971, she presented testimony before the U.S. Congress that led to legislative approval of the Youth Conservation Corps.

In 2010, Ms. Putnam received the Presidents Citizens Medal from President Obama recognizing her for her service to the conservation and Youth Service movement. Today the fruits of her labor continue to pay off, as SCA provides an opportunity for thousands of volunteers to restore and protect the environment and gain a sense of pride and accomplishment.

The Corps Network and Planters Unveil New Park in Historic Washington, DC Neighborhood


The Corps Network and Planters Unveil New Park in Historic Washington, D.C. Neighborhood

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today The Corps Network, the voice of the nation’s Service and Conservation Corps, and Planters, America’s leading snack nut brand, unveil the second of three planned urban parks known as Planters Groves in Lincoln Heights, a historic Northeast Washington D.C. neighborhood. The Corps Network’s local members, Washington Parks & People, Earth Conservation Corps, and the Student Conservation Association worked withPlanters and many other community partners to transform land into the peanut-shaped park. ECoRe, a provider of engineering services that emphasize sustainability and renewable energy, managed the build and helped coordinate the Volunteer Corps work on site.

The Washington, D.C. Planters Grove is located at 50th Street and Nannie Helen Burroughs Avenue, NE. U.S. Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (Washington, D.C.) and Mayor Vincent Gray will join other local dignitaries, community members, and Mr. Peanut to celebrate the new park with a day of volunteer planting. Planters envisioned its Groves as a means to transform underdeveloped and underutilized urban land into vibrant, green spaces. They are an important part of Planters 2011 “Naturally Remarkable” Tour, an effort to advance the brand’s values of healthy lifestyles and sustainability.

Sally Prouty, President and CEO of The Corps Network remarked, “The Planters Grove now takes its place as a nexus of neighborhood revitalization, community service and outdoor activity. Our work with Planters is proof that public-private partnerships can seed community transformation and growth.”

Designed by renowned landscape architect Ken Smith, Planters Groves are part urban revitalization, part urban art. Each Planters Grove features unique elements that promote sustainability and reflect the neighborhood’s unique culture and heritage. The Washington, D.C. Planters Grove includes:

• 39 newly-planted fruit and nut trees, in addition to 67 serviceberry trees,which expand Washington, D.C.’s tree canopy, as well as provide health and environmental benefits to local residents such as improved air quality and lower summer air temperature   

• A border of reclaimed porch columns frames the park’s unique peanut-shape and highlights the neighborhood’s “front porch” culture

• A rainwater garden collects storm water excess and helps decrease the amount of pollution reaching the adjacent stream

• Azaleas incorporated into the park’s design note the beginning of America’s urban environmental movement, which began when Lady Bird Johnson responded to the plea of local eight-year-old John Hatcher for azalea bushes for his housing development

The Washington, D.C. Planters Grove builds upon recent efforts by the D.C. Department of Parks & Recreation to redevelop the broader Marvin Gaye Park corridor into a hub of outdoor recreation, civic participation, and public-private partnership. Additionally, the Planters Grove complements the D.C. Department of Transportation’s sustainable streetscape improvement project currently underway. 

“The Planters Grove is a welcome addition to a location that has deep historical and cultural significance and fits in perfectly with the District’s goals of providing healthy lifestyle choices for residents of all ages for generations to come,” said Jesùs Aguirre, Director of the D.C. Department of Parks & Recreation.

Scott Marcus, a Senior Brand Manager for Planters said “Peanuts are truly a ‘naturally remarkable’ food. They have a rich American heritage and, in many ways, are both good for you and good for the earth. Planters is excited to work with the local D.C. community to create a natural space in our nation’s capital that celebrates the peanut and promotes healthy living and sustainability.” 

In 2011, the first Planters Grove opened in New Orleans. An additional Planters Grove will be created later this year in New York City.

To follow The Corps Network’s partnership with Planters and get updates on our work, you can “Like” The Corps Network on Facebook at and“Like” Mr. Peanut on Facebook at

To learn more about Corps in your state and ways to volunteer, visit     

About The Corps Network: Established in 1985, The Corps Network is the voice of the nation's 158 Service and Conservation Corps. Currently operating in 48 states and the District of Columbia, The Corps Network enrolls more than 33,000 young men and women annually in service in addition to mobilizing approximately 227,000 community volunteers each year. For more information contact Rob Spath at or visit

About Planters: Planters, America’s leading snack nut brand, has a long history of pioneering industry firsts. This inventiveness is delivered through a diverse portfolio of nutritious and delicious plant-based snacks such as peanuts, cashews, almonds and other nuts. Planters NUT•rition offers a distinctive line of nut mixes that focus on specific nutritional needs. Planters almonds and pistachios are roasted with real herbs and spices, delivering extraordinary flavor. Planters Trail Mix blends roasted nuts, delicious fruit and other wholesome ingredients to help fuel an active lifestyle.

About Planters Sustainability: Planters has made considerable investments in greening their facilities through energy and water conservation, as well as waste reduction. As part of its brand citizenship, Planters has committed, in collaboration with The Corps Network, to developing green, natural spaces called Planters Groves across the U.S. The brand's commitment to nut farmers is extended through the African Cashew Alliance (ACA), an initiative to improve cashew production, sustainability practices and increase the cashew-related income of 150,000 cashew farmers by 2012.

About ECoRe: ECoRe is a provider of engineering consulting services, specializing in clean technology development, engineering and integration of renewable energy solutions, and developing sustainable communities. ECoRe focuses on addressing diverse energy-related needs by forming integrated management teams to develop energy solutions that foster sustainable communities and provide affordable, tailored solutions.  Their team of engineers and sustainability professionals bring sustainable solutions – both financially and environmentally – to the people and companies that have traditionally been underserved by the sustainability community. Learn more at

About Parks & People: Washington Parks & People began 20 years ago with Meridian Hill/Malcolm X Park, receiving the National Park Service's highest organizational award for leading the transformation of the single most violent park in the capital region into one of its safest. We lead greening initiatives across the city -- massive land reclamation, native reforestation,  watershed restoration, public health and fitness programming, urban agriculture, and green job training -- to help revitalize once forgotten communities. Learn more at

About Earth Conservation Corps: Earth Conservation Corps is a nonprofit youth development and environmental service organization located where the heavily polluted Anacostia River flows through our nation’s capitols most disadvantaged communities. Since 1989 we have been successfully reclaiming two of America’s most endangered resources — our youth and our environment. We use the challenge and promise of restoring the Anacostia River to engage unemployed community youth for a transformative volunteer year of environmental action and community service. Learn more at

About The Student Conservation Association: The Student Conservation Association (SCA) is a national organization that develops tomorrow's conservation leaders by providing high school and college students with conservation service opportunities in all 50 states, from urban communities to national parks and forests. Since 1957, SCA's hands-on practice of conservation service has helped to develop new generations of conservation leaders, inspire lifelong stewardship, and save the planet. SCA is a non-profit headquartered in Charlestown, NH and maintains regional offices in Boise, ID, Oakland, CA, Pittsburgh, PA, Seattle, WA, and Washington, D.C. For more, logon at




The Corps Network Participates Public Lands Summit


Photo of Glacier National Park 
via Flickr under a Creative Commons license

The Corps Network, along with member organizations Student Conservation Association, Los Angeles Conservation Corps, Conservation Corps North Bay, Montana Conservation Corps, American Youth Works, and Southwest Conservation Corps, participated in a national summit with the Public Lands Service Coalition concerning the implementation of a 21st Century Conservation Corps. 

President Obama and Interior Secretary Salazar have pushed to include more youth in plans for our nation’s public lands, and this summit was a discussion between youth corps from across the country and the land management agencies that oversee the public lands. Agency staff from the White House Council on Environmental Quality, Department of Interior, Bureau of Reclamation, Bureau of Land Management, National Park Service, Fish and Wildlife Service, US Army Corps of Engineers, US Forest Service, Department of Agriculture, Department of Labor, and the Corporation for National and Community Service met with corps staff to plan how best to get our nation’s youth into the outdoors. 

For more information on the PLCS or the meeting, please contact
 Mary Ellen Ardouny at The Corps Network.