Thursday, April 18, 2013

Alternative Spring Break Volunteers - Helping Hands by the Numbers!

Trash Collection at Cape Sable
Over the course of the 2013 Spring Break time frame, 17 Alternative Spring Break (ASB) volunteer groups came to Everglades National Park (EVER) ready to make a difference in our beautiful National Park! The groups averaged 10-15 students who each volunteered about 5 hours per day.  In order to accommodate the 200+ student volunteers, EVER collaborated with Biscayne National Park (BISC) and Big Cypress National Preserve (BICY).           
Redefining the pavement edge

ASBs are hardworking, dedicated students who want to have meaningful experiences, and give back to the greater good of humanity.  They travel from Wyoming and Pennsylvania, Canada and Florida, and include aspiring herpetologists to English majors, business students to engineers, and outdoor enthusiasts to city dwellers. Their typical work week involved volunteering Monday-Tuesday at EVER, Wednesday was a day off to explore the park and surrounding communities, then volunteer at either BISC or BICY on Thursday-Friday.  This provided a diversity of experiences in different Parks and volunteer projects.  It was a great success.  

Removing brush along the fence at the Nike Site

ASBs diligently worked to clear most of the vegetation growth from the Nike Missile Base, remove exotic plants from Shark Valley, Chekika and the Hole-in-the-Donut restoration area, trimmed brush on trails, roadsides, and around facilities in all districts, and even camped out on Cape Sable and collected more than 20 bags of trash!
Pulling exotic Brazilian Pepper

Even though Spring Break is a high season for Alternative Break volunteers, Everglades National Park also receives Alternative Fall and Winter Break students, too. Are you a college student or know someone that is? Please recommend that they research the possibility of joining an Alternative Break volunteer group and come to the Everglades!

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