Grand Canyon National Park is hosting the Spring Break program sponsored by The Student Conservation Association (SCA) in partnership with American Eagle Outfitters.
The Alternative Spring Break program had two, one-week sessions, starting March 15 and continuing through this week.
The program gives students the opportunity to spend their spring break volunteering in one of America's iconic national parks. Twenty-five students in each of the one-week sessions work with park and SCA staff on a variety of projects directly leading to the preservation and protection of Grand Canyon's natural and cultural resources.
Alternative Spring Break participants assist Grand Canyon National Park staff from the Division of Science and Resource Management with a variety of projects.
Some of the projects include exotic and invasive plant removal at a number of sites on the South Rim and along corridor trails, native plant restoration at Desert View, and remodeling and de-winterizing the park's native plant nursery. Additionally, the Park's Visitor and Resource Protection staff will join the group for a joint project along the park's south boundary that involves fence signing, mapping and exotic plant species removal.
Along with completing the volunteer projects, students have opportunities to learn about park resources and the National Park Service mission, as well as have an opportunity to explore the park on their own.
The SCA is a 50-year-old non-profit conservation organization that places young people in internship positions with land management agencies and conservation organizations across the country. This is the inaugural year for SCA's Alternative Spring Program.
The SCA and American Eagle Outfitters are hosting one other Alternative Spring Break Program at Padre Island National Seashore.
Grand Canyon National Park and Padre Island National Seashore were selected as this year's sites from many applications received by each land management agency.
"For 50 years, SCA has been an important partner with the National Park Service in conserving our national treasures," said Deputy Superintendent Palma Wilson. "Many National Park Service professionals, including myself, got their start as SCA interns. It is especially exciting for me that Grand Canyon National Park was chosen to be a part of the first Alternative Spring Break program. We really appreciate the contributions these students will make to Grand Canyon, and we hope to be able to host the Alternative Spring Break program again in the future."