WASHINGTON, D.C. -- U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Ed Schafer expanded potential conservation work and learning opportunities nationwide for high school and college students to include all USDA's 17 agencies for internships through the non-profit Student Conservation Association last week.



For more than 40 years, USDA's Forest Service has accepted more than 10,000 of the association's interns for conservation and summer trail crews. A memorandum of understanding signed Wednesday by Schafer and Student Conservation Association president Dale Penny expands potential work learning experiences to many other USDA agencies in a variety of scientific and conservation disciplines.



"USDA agencies are very pleased with the dedication, ability and enthusiasm of Student Conservation Association interns," said Schafer. "Today, by expanding this arrangement, more USDA agencies throughout the country can offer development of valuable skills and experiences to young adults interested in conservation. The Student Conservation Association helped forge a career pathway beginning at trailheads and through forests for many of USDA's managers and staff."



In 2008, the Student Conservation Association placed 333 members at U.S. Forest Service sites, including high school conservation crews, as well as six interns in New Hampshire with USDA's National Resource Conservation Service.



Since 1957, SCA's active, hands-on practice of conservation through a nationwide service force of college and high school students annually renders some two million hours of conservation service in support of the nation's natural and cultural resources. Fully 60 percent of SCA interns use their experience to launch careers in conservation. Internships offered by SCA to students 18 years of age and older provide housing, with living expenses as well as round trip transportation to the assignment.



SOURCE: USDA.