Thanks to nine volunteers from the Center of Cultural Interchange (CCI) Greenheart Club, who provided enthusiasm and three hours of hard labor last April, Everglades National Park's Florida Bay Interagency Science Center's new butterfly garden is well on its way.
The high school exchange students come from around the world and shared their mission of connecting people and the planet through environmentalism. “They are here with the Flex and Yes programs sponsored by our State Department,” says Mary Ellen Schweiger, Regional Manager for CCI. “Part of the program requires the students to do community service projects in the community.”
“We came to the Everglades to learn about why we have the Everglades and the reason why we are preserving them,” explains Schweiger. “We want to teach the students about helping the world and keeping the world a cleaner place. These are things they don't do in their countries.” The students were from Kyrgyzstan, Ukraine, Russia, Kazakhstan, Georgia, Egypt, and Germany.
The CCI students also built on work initiated by CCI volunteers last February. The February group came to the Everglades as part of the Alternative Spring Break program in which they volunteer for a week in the park. One project they worked on was restriping the parking lot at Chekika.