Let the Wild Rumpus Begin!

It’s that time of year again. The last traces of spring linger in the air, the birds are chirping, the grass is green, and coffee consumption in the state of New Hampshire skyrockets as the wonderful SCA staff here in Charlestown, New Hampshire prepares for yet another field season. Yes folks, it’s time for Crew Leader Training 2012.

Somehow the whole lot of us made it to Charlestown in one piece, which is quite a feat considering that rounding up SCA crew leaders can be a similar experience to herding cats. That evening, after satiating my palate with a delicious meal from the beautiful and talented cooks, I watched as the group began to mingle. When this happens at crew leader training a wonderful phenomenon occurs: the hackey-sack appears, a group of leaders start throwing the Frisbee to one another, but the most amazing part, and the part that is truly unique about the SCA, is that this group of people, strangers for all intents and purposes, begin to find connections. You led a crew with my former co-leader, I led a crew in the park where you participated in your first high-school crew, we led in the same park but different years, we will be leading in the same place but different tracks this summer. Some crew leaders even get to see their past high-school participants become crew leaders themselves. This certainly is an inspiring group of people that I have the pleasure of calling my co-workers and my friends.

The next morning, still bleary-eyed while I let a good six cups of coffee bleed through my veins, the lovely Liz Vogel led us in her infectious way through a leadership compass activity, Lori Robertson drew out our creative juices in an environmental education session, and Nelson Bruni begged us to please, for the sake of his sanity, PLEASE label our ripped tents and broken gear. Much to everyone’s delight, the risk management slides this year involved adorable kittens and rainbow-vomiting unicorns! Crew Leader training really does get better every year.

Aprentice crew leader Adrian Willis and SCA Founder Liz Putnam

Late in the day, just as hunger was beginning to cloud our vision and the afternoon heat started to take its toll, a ripple surged through the group as Liz Putnam herself stepped nonchalantly onto the back porch. As if every eyeball in the entire place wasn’t on her. It was a solemn moment as this incredible woman regaled us with the tale of how theSCA was born. While she spoke I took a moment to steal a look at my fellow leaders; everyone was quite literally on the edge of his or her seat hoping, it seemed, to soak in just a drop of her eloquence, her courage, her audacity, her poise.  Liz Putnam’s vision is truly an inspiration for young conservation workers, so to her I think I speak for everyone at training when I extend a very thorough and heartfelt thank-you.

To wrap up this whirlwind event, we made our way to the Springfield Rec Center where Robin Liston paid a bank-breaking fifty dollars to rent the entire place for one night. I saw my life flash before my eyes as I strapped roller skates to my feet for the first time since the fourth grade. The roller rink, which served double duty as a basketball court, was an interminable death trap, but as I hurtled through throngs of wobbly roller-skaters and rogue basketballs, realizing too late that the front-break was a major engineering flaw in the development of the roller skate, I couldn’t help but smile. It’s not just the coffee that keeps us going, it’s our shared vision, our enthusiasm, our commitment, and our creativity. Crew leaders, staff, high school students alike, we’re all in this for the same reason: to change the world, of course.

Nora Kaufmann, National Crew, Field Leader

Crosscut Sharpening Course

Join us for a 3-day class focusing on  sharpening, tuning, and overall maintenance and care for crosscut saws. The class will be taught by Dolly Chapman, formerly with the U.S. Forest Service. Cost for all 3 days is $150. There are only five spots left!

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Crew in the News: BLM’s El Mapais National Conservation Area

Two crew leaders: Meredith Whitney and Justin Johnson and their five member crew have been working in the BLM’s El Mapais National Conservation Area. Later this week the local paper in Grants, NM will be running a press release about their hard work and dedication.


The article expounds upon the unique opportunity that the SCA offers it’s members and leaders. “For many of the youth, this experience includes a lot of firsts in their lives: their first time in the Southwest, their first time camping, their first time away from the comforts of home.”

Kate, one of the crew members, had this to say about her first SCA experience: “Once you come out and do this hard work and visit these beautiful places, you can never go back and just sit on the couch for a summer. It makes you want to continue exploring and learning about the outdoors.” Congratulations to Justin and Meredith for succeeding in inspiring the next generation of conservation leaders!

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Last summer was the first time that the BLM had hosted a crew in El Malpais, due to their magnanimous success they are hosting two this summer and I am guessing the trend will continue. BLM’s Supervisory Park Ranger Ken Jones had this to say about the El Mapais SCA Crews: “We appreciate their amazing work ethic and we would never be able to get this kind of work done without their dedication to conservation.”

Keep up the great work leaders!

Link to Article

Community Crew Leader 5-Crew Awards!

A few leaders every season reach an important milestone with the SCA, the 5-crew award. These exceptional individuals have shown their continued passion and drive to make a palpable change in their own communities through conservation. This year at the Seattle Community Crew Leader training we celebrated three Community Leaders who have reached this crowning achievement!

All of us here at the SCA would like to take this opportunity to wish the following leaders a whole-hearted congratulations and of course the coveted 5-crew thermos!

Andrew Simons, Milwaukee (Center)                             Moleek Busby, Oakland (Center)

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Mike Stenger, Seattle (left)



It’s a Beautiful Trail

As you anxiously countdown the days until your crew, remember to complete the following:

*Book travel to training
*Contact your Co-Leader
*Turn in Your Hiring Paperwork
*Complete the Online Risk Management training
*Read the CL handbook for other pre-program responsibilities
*Contact your cohort manager if you have questions
*Watch the latest SCA music video! Produced and edited by the SoMo TRACers (Bobby Woelz, Nettina Conkey, and Daniel Espinoza-Riser):


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Map of National Crews in 2011

SCA Conservation Crews work all over the country. To give you an idea of the wide range of sites, here are the locations and a few photos taken by SCA members & leaders during the 2011 field season. For a larger map see here.

View Larger Map


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