Alternative Spring Break Participants Contribute to Preserving Grand Canyon's Natural Resources
By Allyson Mathis, Kassy Theobald and Christi Sorrell
In March 2009, Grand Canyon National Park hosted the second annual Alternative Spring Break program sponsored by the Student Conservation Association (SCA) in partnership with American Eagle Outfitters. Sixty students plus SCA crew leaders and support staff donated over 3500 hours of service to the park in two one-week sessions. The students worked on a variety of conservation projects in collaboration with park staff.
SCA is the nation's largest youth conservation leadership organization. It offers volunteer conservation opportunities in collaboration with land management agencies and organizations such as the National Park Service. SCA has been offering a variety of internships that engage young people in hands-on service to the land for 50 years.
In 2008, SCA sponsored their first Alternative Spring Break programs at Grand Canyon National Park and Padre Island National Seashore.
In 2009, the SCA Alternative Spring Break program was only offered at Grand Canyon. Students from 48 colleges and universities throughout the country traveled to the canyon for a week of service, learning and fun.
The crews spent much of their time working on restoration projects near the Grand Canyon Visitor Center at Canyon View Information Plaza and the new Desert View entrance station, which was completed in 2008.
The rescued plants were placed in pots in a temporary on-site nursery that will be maintained by park vegetation staff members and volunteers until they are replanted after road and parking lot construction has been completed.
The students also removed more than 7000 invasive plants, including horehound, knapweed, Scotch thistle, and Russian thistle from Desert View and Grand Canyon Village areas.
Jan Balsom, Deputy Chief of Science and Resource Management said, “The amount of work that the students accomplished during their spring break here in the park was incredible.
"We also really appreciate the SCA program as a whole; a large number of SCA volunteers and interns have made huge contributions to the National Park System over the many years of this volunteer program. We couldn’t do the work we do without them.”
"We hope that we all continue on with service and a conservation-minded lifestyle and with the spirit of sharing, hard work, and community building that we all experienced on the south rim of the Grand Canyon this March.
"All of us were able to assist the park with their vegetation program while exploring the world of Grand Canyon National Park and while being part of a group of people who, although all different and unique, came together to share in an experience that might help us define ourselves.”
Last updated: April 30, 2023