Cortland Helton

In today's economy, hands-on internships can make a real difference for young professionals - and those same young people can make a real difference through national service. That's why Cortland Helton, an intern with the Student Conservation Association (SCA), has arrived at Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest to complete a Restoration Wilderness Ranger internship.

Helton, 20 of Shelbyville, Illinois is one of more than 4,200 SCA members helping to protect and restore America's public lands this year. The SCA is the only 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. More than 50,000 young people have served with the SCA since 1957 and as needs outpace budgets, the efforts of SCA members are more important than ever.

I have always planned on a career related to conservation/wildlife but was not clear which direction to go. Having served as an SCA crew member in high school I took the opportunity to use SCA again and applied for an internship hoping it would help me choose the path I want to go down. My eyes have been opened to the many opportunities that exist in the conservation field and now feel that I have even more opportunities than I knew existed. This internship has taught me something very simple that can make all the difference in the world “Pack It In, Pack It Out” and “Leave No Trace” .

SCA members hone a “conservation ethic” through their service, to the benefit of both the land and the individual. SCA experience leads a majority of members to become lifelong stewards and 60% of SCA interns go on to lead successful careers in the conservation field.

The SCA is a nationwide conservation force of college and high school-aged members who serve America's parks, forests, refuges, seashores and communities. For more than 50 years, the SCA's active, hands-on practice of conservation service has helped to develop a new generation of conservation leaders, inspire lifelong stewardship, and save the planet. The SCA is a non-profit headquartered in Charlestown, NH with regional offices in Washington D.C., Oakland, Pittsburgh

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