American Eagle Outfitters and the Student Conservation Association recently announced the expansion of their six-year partnership to engage students in service to America's national parks. The partnership will, for the first time, involve in-store digital signage promotion of SCA activities in more than 800 AEO stores in the U.S. and Canada, visibility on AEO's 25-story-high digital billboard in New York City's Times Square, and an online contest enabling the public to determine which national park will benefit from the next collaborative project in the  partnership.

These components are in addition to AEO's sponsorship (since 2007) of SCA's Alternative Spring Break program and other general support.This expanded partnership will heighten awareness of SCA with AEO's coveted customers and encourage youth to explore volunteer and job opportunities in conservation and the growing "green" economy. SCA develops conservation leaders by providing college and high school students with service opportunities in all 50 states, from urban communities to national parks and forests. The National Park Service, for example, says that up to 12 percent of its workforce started with SCA, according to the announcement.

Highlights of the new campaign, which will run from Feb. 15 to March 11, include in-store promotions in more than 800 AEO stores featuring window signage highlighting SCA, digital signage displays containing footage from an SCA project in the Santa Monica (Calif.) Mountains, and customer point-of-purchase materials. The video footage also will be featured on AEO's digital billboard in Times Square, atop AEO's 25,000-square-foot flagship store. The billboard will provide SCA with prominent visibility in one of the world's best-known pieces of real estate. An online contest — called "We donate. You decide." — will enable the public to determine which national park will benefit from the next collaborative AEO-SCA project.

Participants can vote at www.thesca.org/aevote for one of three parks: National Parks of New York Harbor (N.Y. and N.J.), including Gateway National Recreation Area, much of which was heavily impacted by Hurricane Sandy, such as Sandy Hook (N.J.) and Breezy Point (N.Y.); Olympic National Park (Wash.), one of the most ecologically diverse conservation areas in the nation; Yosemite National Park (Calif.), which was central to the idea of creating a national park system and is visited by nearly 4 million people each year.

The winning national park will benefit from a crew of 12 college students working for one week during the summer to help improve the park. Individuals may apply to participate in that crew and earn an all-expenses-paid, weeklong volunteer trip to the selected park.

"American Eagle Outfitters is pleased to grow our partnership with SCA and foster an initiative close to our hearts," said American Eagle Outfitters Foundation Director Marcie Eberhart, in the announcement. "It is important to us to encourage the ideals of conservation and activism and to share our love of the outdoors with current and future generations. We're honored to be a part of the greater program with SCA and to bring awareness to what is a passion project for us."

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