Thursday, May 9, 2013

Student with Honors, Volunteers a Hand, then Paints a Wall

Solangel Rodriguez painting in the FIU Green Library

Solangel Rodriguez is an honors student at Florida International University (FIU).  Last year, she was enrolled in Dr. Peter Machonis’ and Dr. Devon Graham’s seminar class “The Everglades: From Beginning to End?” This course places students deep into the Everglades – physically, mentally, and emotionally.  Students read Everglades inspired literature, participate in Ranger programs, and become stewards through a volunteer experience.
Rodrieguez (center, kneeling) with volunteer group at Nike Site

Ms. Rodriguez, instead of just being involved in the class scheduled volunteer service, decided to volunteer on her own.  She joined two park sponsored public events to clean up the Nike Missile Site, enhancing her connection with the park beyond the class’ syllabus.

Ms. Rodriguez also organized a guided trip into the Everglades to further her understanding and appreciation of the park through the eyes and experience of a former long-term volunteer, Anna Scharnagl.
Anna Scharnagl (right) guiding Rodriguez (taking photo) and friends
From her volunteer experiences, the classroom lectures and coursework, and the field trips associated with her FIU honors class, Solangel Rodriguez has been inspired to artistically present her connection to the park by painting a large mural on a temporary wall inside the Green Library at FIU’s Modique Modesto campus.  The completed mural is 8' by 30' and depicts scenery such as cypress trees, sawgrass, and shorelines.

View Solangel Rodrieguez’s three minute video called “Everglades Art as a Subversive Activity.”  It provides insight to her experiences.

Let the Everglades inspire you, too! Become involved on a regular basis or join us on one of our scheduled volunteer events.

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