AEO gets students engaged with national parks

WASHINGTON -- American Eagle Outfitters has expanded its partnership with the Student Conservation Association to engage students in service to America's national parks. The partnership will, for the first time, involve in-store promotion of Student Conservation Association activities in more than 800 AEO stores in the United States 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 stemming from this 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, states up to 12% of its workforce started with SCA.

Highlights of the new campaign, which will run from February 15 to March 11, include:

In-store promotions in more than 800 AEO stores will include window signage highlighting SCA, video displays containing footage from an SCA project in the Santa Monica Mountains, and customer point-of-purchase materials.

The video footage will be featured on AEO's 25-story-high digital billboard in New York City's 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 for one of three parks:

National Parks of New York Harbor (NY and NJ), including Gateway National Recreation Area, much of which was heavily impacted by Hurricane Sandy, such as Sandy Hook (NJ) and Breezy Point (NY);

Olympic National Park (WA), one of the most ecologically diverse conservation areas in the nation;

Yosemite National Park (CA), 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, week-long, volunteer trip to the selected park.

Another highlight of the expanded partnership is continued AEO support for SCA's Alternative Spring Break initiative, which has grown to include 120 college students from around the country who will work at Big Cypress National Preserve (FL) and Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area (CA) during the month of March.

"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. "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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