Thursday, December 19, 2013

Alternative Help

Everglades National Park (ENP) hosts many Alternative Break (AB) student groups that arrive during the winter holidays and between late February and the beginning of April.  These enthusiastic students volunteer in multiple divisions and in all districts.  By accomplishing volunteer projects park wide, ASB students bring new energy and perspective to ENP.
AB groups typically range from 10-15 individuals, but can be as many as thirty.  They stay from two to five days and generally work from 9a-3p, but some are willing to work a full eight hours.  AB groups can work on any park project, but they normally request to be outdoors.
One brave AB group actually came in the summer. Seven Kansas University (KU) students, coming from different academic backgrounds, experienced ENP’s ecosystem and contributed their time and efforts to complete volunteer projects.

During their week-long trip, the KU students embraced the mosquitoes as they camped in the Flamingo Campground. Their volunteer work included removing exotic Brazilian Pepper from the Hole-in-the-Donut Restoration area, trail maintenance, clearing vegetation to help restore the historic Nike Missile Base, moving benches into storage, and trimming overgrown plants from vistas for better bird viewing. The KU students also enjoyed ranger-led programs and a canoe trip in Florida Bay.

This week, three AB groups from Vanderbilt, Central Michigan University, and Georgia Southern University will volunteer to improve ENP for the enjoyment of current and future generations.

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