Enter the 2014 I

Enter the 2014 I

Yes, it is winter and yes, it is freezing outside, but you’re not going to let that keep you inside-are you? We didn’t think so. Bundle up in your favorite American Eagle Outfitters puffer jacket, sweater and jeans and don’t forget to grab your camera on your way out the door because our Earth-saving friends at the Student Conservation Association are holding their annual “I ♥ Snow” Photo Contest.

The SCA wants to see pics of the sights and scenes that inspire you to embrace the great outdoors no matter how low the thermometer drops. Hopefully the same things that inspire you will inspire others to get out and enjoy nature’s wintry best, too. Enter your chilliest images at contest.thesca.org today. Prizes include a free round-trip plane ticket and cold weather camping gear so share your photos with the SCA now!

Check out some of the photo submissions that are inspiring us to get outside, no matter what Mother Nature brings! Don’t forget to tag your Twitter and Instagram photos of you wearing your favorite AEO cold weather gear with #AEOSTYLE for a chance to be on our AE.com style gallery.

Photo by @amieschiller.

Photo by @amieschiller.

(AEO) This is Aialik Glacier by Katherine Lasak

Photo by @lasak2.

Photo by Jenna O.

Photo by Jenna O.

Photo by Conor P.

Photo by Conor P.

Want to learn more about American Eagle Outfitter’s partnership with the SCA? Check out coverage of American Eagle Outfitters’ $1 million donation to the Department of the Interior, Hurricane Sandy relief and the SCA’s 12 Months of Serving campaign.

American Eagle Outfitters Helps Launch Youth Conservation Initiative

American Eagle Outfitters Helps Launch Youth Conservation Initiative

The following post was written by Anne Pedtke, Student Conservation Association Marketing Outreach Coordinator. The Student Conservation Association, one of American Eagle Outfitters’ national charity partners, is a national conservation force of high school and college students who protect America’s natural resources and restore our environment. Ann had attended the kick off of a remarkable new program called the 21st Century Conservation Service Corps [21CSC] in Washington, DC.

Ann joined Helga Ying, American Eagle Outfitters Vice President of External Engagement and Social Responsibility, and U.S. Department of the Interior Secretary Sally Jewell on the steps of the President Franklin D. Roosevelt Memorial to officially launch the corps and announce AEO’s $1 million donation.


“American Eagle Outfitters Helps Launch Youth Conservation Initiative” by Ann Pedtke



U.S. Department of the Interior Secretary Sally Jewell celebrating the 21CSC launch at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Memorial. Photo credit: DOI/Tami A. Heilemann.


On January 8th, at the President Franklin D. Roosevelt Memorial, members and alumni from the Student Conservation Association [SCA] joined U.S. Department of the Interior Secretary Sally Jewell in announcing the creation of the 21st Century Conservation Service Corps [21CSC]. American Eagle Outfitters’ pledged $1 million to help launch the program. The original Civilian Conservation Corps was founded by President Roosevelt in 1933 as part of the New Deal to provide jobs conserving natural resources and grounds owned by the federal, state and local governments to Americans during the Great Depression. Now AEO is stepping up as the first corporate partner in a federal program that aims to engage 1 million volunteers and provide conservation training opportunities to 100,000 youth across the U.S. every year.

A longtime partner of SCA, American Eagle Outfitters has already made life-changing outdoor experiences possible for thousands of students in SCA’s Alternative Spring Break and Hurricane Sandy Recovery programs.

“The Student Conservation Association was a pioneer 57 years ago,” said Secretary Jewell, “and it has inspired many, many other youth conservation corps around the country. So the work of SCA as a partner with us in our National Parks and other public lands has been critical.”

SCA members and alumni were excited to be on the National Mall to witness the Secretary’s historic announcement. Bundled up against single-digit temperatures, students filled the audience as Secretary Jewell spoke about the importance of youth engagement in the outdoors. “These young people,” the Secretary said, gesturing to the ranks of SCA members who stood behind her, “are getting a taste for what we, as human beings, long for… a connection to nature and the outdoors that feeds the soul. I can’t tell you how exciting it is to know that there are students like these all over the country making a difference in our public lands.”


Secretary Jewell speaks with SCA crew leader Tom M.

Secretary Jewell speaks with SCA crew leader Tom M.


American Eagle Outfitters’ Helga Ying added, “This public-private partnership is one close to our customers’ hearts and directly reinforces our company’s community engagement principles. Through this initiative, we are able to provide opportunities for students to work together to protect our planet and improve our country through a deeper connection to nature, civic engagement and community development.”


Helga Ying of American Eagle Outfitters

Helga Ying, VP of External Engagement and Corporate Responsibility, speaks about AEO’s donation. Photo credit: DOI/Tami A. Heilemann.


After the announcement, Secretary Jewell led the students on a walking tour of the memorial, then invited four SCA members back to Department of the Interior headquarters for lunch. “Having lunch with Secretary Jewell was a once-in-a-lifetime experience,” said Tai Schroeder, a three-time alum of SCA now studying zoology at the University of Wisconsin. “We talked about our experiences with the outdoors and what sparked our interest in environmentalism. I learned that no matter what age you are you can make an impact.”


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Secretary Jewell took the time to speak with students and tour the memorial after the announcement.


Jeremy Taitaino, an alum of SCA’s community crews now majoring in biology at Temple University, agreed. “Youth are the most important part of the conservation movement … We are the people who are going to be running this country in the future, so if we get involved in conservation early, we can really make a difference.”

Find out how you can become involved with AEO Better World and the SCA by visiting the #SCAserve website.

Follow along on social media:

Twitter: @the_SCA; @Interior; @SecretaryJewell

Instagram: @the_SCA; @USInterior

More coverage:

NPR: “Interior Secretary Wants to Create Jobs for Conservationists

Washington Post: “American Eagle Outfitters Pledges $1 Million for Public Land Effort

Official Press Release: “Secretary Jewell Announces $1 Million Private Funding Commitment to Advance Youth & Conservation Initiative

12 Months of Serving the Planet with The Student Conservation Association

12 Months of Serving the Planet with The Student Conservation Association

Our friends at the Student Conservation Association know that saving the planet means caring for every last bit of it, especially the parts closest to where you live. That’s why in 2014 they’re bringing you new opportunities each month to get together with other local conservationists and serve the planet in your community.

Check SCA’s events page for frequent updates on upcoming single day projects throughout year. This month you’re invited to join the SCA in celebrating the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with hands-on conservation service in 11 different cities, including  New York, Seattle, Pittsburgh, and Washington, DC. Click here to find the event nearest you and RSVP.



Join the SCA and American Eagle Outfitters with 12 Months of Serving.


Live in New York? Then you’ll want to know about ConSERVE NYC, SCA’s monthly series of weekend service days in parks and community greenspaces all over the 5 boroughs. Head here to sign up for this month’s event and check out photos from previous projects.

Whether you’re at an SCA service event, or serving on your own, inspire others by sharing your service on the web. Use #servetheplanet to show the world how and why you serve on Instagram and Twitter. Be sure and follow @the_sca! You can also share your conservation inspiration on SCA’s Service Wall by tweeting with the hashtag #SCAserve or clicking here to post photos.


Be sure to share your photos with #SCAserve.

Be sure to share your photos with #SCAserve.


With SCA’s single day service projects you’ll meet others who care about the planet as much as you do and team up with them to make a positive impact on your local environment. Bookmark SCA’s events page to find new projects each month and sign up for emails to stay informed about events in your city. Let’s work together to make 2014 the year of serving the planet!

Give Back This Season with SCA

Give Back This Season with SCA

Our outdoorsy friends at The Student Conservation Association want to clean up 2,000 miles of hiking trail in 2014 but they can’t do it without your help!


student conservation association american eagle outfitters

See how far your gift will go!


Donate before December 31st and you’ll be matched dollar for dollar. A $25 gift will have the impact of $50… Imagine a whole mile of fresh hiking!

This holiday season, help SCA deliver the wonders of nature. Head over to SCA’s site to donate and make an impact!


SCA x AEO: Sandy Recovery One Year Later

SCA x AEO: Sandy Recovery One Year Later

On Saturday, October 26, the SCA kicked off the ConSERVE NYC storm readiness service series with a coastal restoration project commemorating the one-year anniversary of Hurricane Sandy at Gateway National Recreation Area. American Eagle helped kick off SCA’s Sandy recovery efforts at the very same park last spring with the “We Donate, You Decide” campaign. It was so great the get back to Gateway and celebrate all the work we’ve accomplished together in just one year!

Want to join in the effort to strengthen NYC’s weather defenses? Volunteer at SCA’s next ConSERVE NYC event in Manhattan on November 9th.

Here’s an excerpt from SCA Outreach Coordinator and blogger Ann P.‘s blog post about Saturday’s project. Head to SCA’s blog, Conservation Nation, to read the entire recap.

“Bundled up in the brisk autumn weather, over 80 volunteers gathered for the project at Great Kills Park on Staten Island, a unit of Gateway National Recreation Area. Some groups tackled storm debris, collecting trash and uprooting tires, barrels, and driftwood. Others focused on erecting erosion fencing to protect the dunes and the native vegetation on Crooke’s Point.”

American Eagle Outfitters SCA Hurricane Sandy Recovery Great Kills Kick-off, group shot

Picking up debris in Great Kills on Staten Island.


American Eagle Outfitters SCA Hurricane Sandy Recovery Great Kills Kick-off, group shot

Rebuilding fences at Great Kills on Staten Island


“By the end of the morning, when volunteers gathered back at the Beach Center for lunch, over 800 feet of dune fencing had been completed, and over 1700 pounds of debris had been removed from two miles of beachfront.”

Project Live Your Life Takes Over the SCA

Project Live Your Life Takes Over the SCA

From June 16th to June 22nd, former Project Live Your Life cast member Jason traveled to New York City on behalf of American Eagle Outfitters to participate in the “We Donate, You Decide” service project with The SCA. Read his personal reflection of his experience below.

When you think of New York City, camping out in a field and cleaning up beaches is typically not the first thing that you think of, but my experience doing just that has become one of the most satisfying experiences of my life. American Eagle Outfitters and The Student Conservation Association partnered together to send 17 individuals to Floyd Bennett National Airfield for a week of service and fun volunteering at New York Harbor Parks which was stricken by Hurricane Sandy.

No one really knew what to expect as we were driving through the city only to come out to an old World War II airfield which we would call home for the next week. For many of us it was a shock: no electricity, no showers, no HBO to watch the season finale of Game of Thrones, but over the course of the week those were soon forgotten with all the hard work and fun we were having.


Jason with other service members on the beaches of New York.

At the first site we went to we were all shocked by the amount of damage still left from Sandy, which almost happened a year ago. There is still so much work left out there to do and I was honored to have the opportunity to help clean it up.

Arriving at the airport, I instantly knew I was in for a great week when I met the other campers. Volunteers came from as close as Brooklyn to as far away as Hawaii. Though we came from across the country, we all found out we had so much in common and were all service-minded individuals looking to make a difference.

We did numerous projects including trail work, fixing an old building, and building a boardwalk for a garden. After we finished, we held a boardwalk fashion show showing off our AE and SCA swag. The trip wasn’t all hard work: we had tons of fun as a group as well, whether we were sitting around the camp fire roasting s’mores, singing songs, or taking a day to run around the city.



Jason walks the newly completed boardwalk.

Looking back, I can’t believe how much we all grew. For some of us, this was our first “real” camping experience and for others, this was another opportunity to hone our skills by sharing our knowledge with the rest of the group. Either way, we all took something from this experience and left with a sense of satisfaction that we were helping change the world.


Jason during the an SCA “round up”.

Click here to learn more about AEO and the SCA joining efforts to help restore Gateway National Park.



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