SCA interns complete experience at Arabia Mountain National Heritage Area

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Five Student Conservation Association interns, sponsored by The Nature Conservancy of Georgia’s CITY program, took part in a six week internship, maintaining trails and conserving ecosystems. Seen here with LA Allen, GDEI Training and Education Specialist at The Nature Conservancy, who helped manage the program. 


SCA interns helped park rangers spread mulch at a picnic area in the Davidson-Arabia Mountain Nature Preserve. Photo: Susan Caolo/SCA.  




As well as working, the SCA interns spent time learning about the culture, history and nature of the National Heritage Area. That included a tour of the Flat Rock Archives, which preserves the history of the area’s oldest Black community. Photo: Susan Caolo/SCA. 




STONECREST, GA– Five students from four Atlanta-area high schools have completed a monthlong internship maintaining trails and greenspace in the Arabia Mountain National Heritage Area and other sites around Atlanta.

The Student Conservation Association(SCA) paid internships, sponsored by the Nature Conservancy of Georgia’s CITY Program, provided students with practical job training while working with park rangers.

Guided by crew leader Susan Caolo, the students cleared trails, removed invasive species, cleaned up picnic areas, picked up litter, and more, all while learning about the nature, history and culture of the National Heritage Area.

“These students don’t just see it as a summer job, they go beyond that. It’s an experience to connect students with the outdoors, to create stewardship for future generations,” Caolo said.

In addition to job training, the students also went on cultural field trips which included the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historical Park, UPS Smart Hub and Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park.

SCA hailed the internships a success, saying in a statement:

“Atlanta this year joined a roster of nearly a dozen U.S. cities in which SCA offers hands on conservation opportunities for local high school aged youth. We have a longstanding partnership with The Nature Conservancy nationally and are grateful to have been able to partner with TNC Georgia to provide this meaningful paid employment opportunity for Atlanta youth. The Student Conservation Association is America’s oldest and largest youth conservation organization. SCA conserves lives and transforms lands by co-powering young people of all backgrounds to plan, act, and lead, while they protect and restore our natural and cultural resources. Founded in 1957, SCA’s mission is to build the next generation of conservation leaders, and seven in 10 of alumni worldwide are employed or studying in conservation-related fields.”

The internship program is part of a larger effort by SCA, The Nature Conservancy, and other sponsor organizations to support the next generation of conservation leaders.

Speaking at a celebration ceremony for the interns, LA Allen, training and education specialist at The Nature Conservancy, said the program empowers youths to take their own steps toward a lifetime of environmental stewardship.

“What makes Conservation Involving Today’s Youth (CITY) unique is that it’s an opportunity for local youth, no matter what high school they go to, to work in their own backyard on projects that they can share with their family, so that they also get to demonstrate their environmental ethic,” Allen said.

For more information on the SCA, visit”





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