Thursday, September 26, 2013

National Public Lands Day

For the last seven years, Ranger Laurie Humphrey has led volunteers on projects involving exotic plant removal, landscape maintenance, and trail clearing during National Public Lands Day (NPLD). NPLD is the last Saturday in September every year, and this year falls on September 28.

NPLD educates Americans about the environment and natural resources, and the need for shared stewardship of these valued, irreplaceable lands; builds partnerships between the public sector and the local community based upon mutual interests in the enhancement and restoration of America's public lands; and improves public lands for outdoor recreation, with volunteers assisting land managers in hands-on work.

In 2012, volunteers cut back the roadside vegetation, mostly Cocoplum from the Tamiami Trail/US41 turn off to the Shark Valley Entrance Station. Since ground breaking for the new visitor center, parking spaces were minimized and this allowed visitors, who park along US41 a safe pathway to the visitor center and tram rides.

In 2011, volunteers removed exotic Brazilian pepper along the old US41 road. This helped manage the spread of Brazilian pepper and provided clear access to the old road for birders, recreationalists, and overflow parking for visitors.
For 2013, volunteers will be dismantling the butterfly garden around the old Visitor Center and creating new ones near the site of the soon-to-be new Visitor Center. It will require digging, lifting, and certainly getting dirty.

Join us and support NPLD’s 20th anniversary and Everglades National Park.

“1/3 of America’s land is yours. Consider spending 1/365 of your time preserving it.”


Thursday, September 19, 2013

International Coastal Cleanup Days

Arriving at Everglades National Park (ENP) in September 2010 as the new Volunteer Coordinator, I had the great opportunity to volunteer for International Coastal Cleanup Day. The acting Volunteer Coordinator, Cerisa Swanberg, introduced me to coordinating and supervising my first volunteer group activity. We were scheduled to collect trash in the Ten Thousand Islands in the Gulf Coast District in ENP.

We met up with a professor of Oceanography from Miami Dade College, his students, plus two Law Enforcement Rangers; one officer’s parents accompanied us while the other’s fiancĂ© joined in. With two boats, trash bags, and energy, we went to Indian Key. Some of us waded along the shores removing hundreds of feet of rope, while other volunteers walked among the mangrove roots collecting bottles, crab trap floats, and additional debris.

Even though I lost my sunglasses, which should be collected in a future beach cleanup event, this was a fantastic experience and insightful to the wonderful Volunteers-in-Parks program at ENP. Join us next time and experience it for yourself!

There will be two separate events with limited spacing:

1. Friday, September 20: Meet at Ernest F. Coe Visitor Center at 8:00am, and then drive to Flamingo District. Volunteers will be transported to North Nest Key to collect trash on the beaches and in the mangroves around the key. Only five (5) spaces available.

2. Saturday, September 21: Meet at Ernest F. Coe Visitor Center at 8:00am, and then drive to Flamingo District. Volunteers will be transported to Cape Sable to collect trash on the beaches. Only five (5) spaces available.

To reserve a seat, contact Kevin Bowles Mohr at 305-242-7752,

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Band of Brothers Volunteer

The McGinnis brothers moved to Sunny Isles Beach about a year and a half ago. Taking a break from pursuing their academic studies, they decided to fill their summer days with field experiences by volunteering at Everglades National Park (ENP).

Alexander McGinnis-Yates is a senior at the University of North Carolina in Asheville. Attending school near Great Smoky Mountains National Park “gives you an inherent fondness for wildlife and nature,” says Alex. An environmental studies major concentrating in ecology and environmental biology, Alex hopes to work for the NPS. Looking for opportunities to get his foot in the door with the agency, Alex started volunteering.

“Living close to the Everglades is a really cool opportunity for me to escape from the city and into new habitats that I am not used to being in,” says Alex. Escaping south Florida’s summer heat and learning about different National Parks and their environments is a great reason for volunteering, too. Generally, Alex says he’s “happy to help out in any way that I can and gain some work experience in the process.”
Aaron McGinnis recently graduated from high school and is attending Worcester Polytechnic institute in Massachusetts this fall. “I plan on majoring in Chemical Engineering,” shares Aaron, “and [I] am considering obtaining a concentration in Environmental Engineering.”  

Besides building camaraderie with his brother, Aaron explains, “I’ll have the chance to learn more about some of the environmental issues and conflicts facing the world today. I hope to gain valuable experience and knowledge that will help me in my future endeavors as we attempt to create a sustainable world that promotes preservation of the environment as well as the advancement of society.”

Have siblings or friends and want to volunteer together? Contact us today!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Sounds Turn Into Music, Volunteer Artist

Collectin urban sounds

September brings the sound of music; the buzz of a mosquito, the croak of a frog, and the masterpieces of Gustavo Matamoros. A Venezuelan composer, Matamoros has established his residence in Miami, since 1979. He has taught critical and creative listening at the Design and Architecture Senior High School and at the Miami International University of Art and Design.

“Sound is audible evidence of a living world in operation and early on I discovered in me an uncontrollable desire to establish a closer relationship with it, so that perhaps through it, I could better understand things.”
Gustavo Matamoros

In the past 20 years, he has largely focused on the making of sound art objects and stand-alone installations. “As a sound artist,” explains Matamoros “I build environmental sound installations which are intended to make audible otherwise inaudible aspects of the ecology and topographic features of a selected site.” His interest in nature comes from his interest in the nature of sound as evidence of a dynamic, ever-changing world.

To read Gustavo Matamoros’ entire biography,