For our planet to flourish, we need a rising generation of environmental conservationists - young people giving their energy to protect nature. So that these future environmentalists can discover their passion, we invest in programs that allow young people to see firsthand the beauty and integrity of our country's threatened ecosystems. Founded in 1957, the Student Conservation Association (SCA) provides volunteer opportunities all over the country that equal more than 2 million service hours annually. American Eagle Outfitters has been a proud sponsor of SCA since 2006, donating more than $5M to support SCA projects and programming and to generate more awareness of its great work.
We have also partnered with SCA to establish the SCA Alternative Spring Break program, which sends hundreds of college students on weeklong conservation expeditions across the country. SCA student volunteers have traveled to Florida to work in Everglades National Park and Big Cypress National Preserve. They've trekked to California and camped under the stars in Joshua Tree National Park and the Santa Monica Mountains and Channel Islands National Parks. They've even hiked into the majestic, inspiring Grand Canyon National Park. In these breathtaking environments, student volunteers have removed invasive species, cleared areas burned by wildfires and protected the land against future fires. They've restored wildlife habitats, planted native trees and repaired hiking trails to make them safe for all. These college students camped where they worked to learn firsthand why their efforts were crucial to protecting already delicate ecosystems.
In 2012, we launched our We Donate, You Decide contest, asking our associates and customers to choose the next location for an American Eagle Outfitters and SCA weeklong summer conservation project. Voters decided that the National Parks of New York Harbor damaged by Hurricane Sandy should receive this special summer effort.
"America's extraordinary national parks and public lands depend upon a citizenry that cherishes them, and this partnership with American Eagle Outfitters succeeds in captivating a new generation of young leaders who will value, benefit from and ultimately care for our environment."- Dale Penny, President and CEO,Student Conservation Association
"My spring break, as well as that of all 29 others, could have been spent many other ways. By choice, we all made our way to Big Cypress to harvest, rake, demolish and eradicate in the name of conservation. We were dirty, sweaty and tired throughout, but that did not matter one bit. We knew we were all working for the preserve, for the land, but most of all for one another."- Justin Fisch, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, SCA Alternative Spring Break 2013, Big Cypress National Preserve