Thursday, April 24, 2014

Spring Break 2014: Making a Difference

By: Kirrin Peart

Kirrin Peart is the Volunteer Coordinator Assistant for Everglades National Park

As Spring Break begins, many college students flock to snowy slopes or warm sunny beaches to relax. There are, however, a select few who choose to embark on an Alternative Spring Break (ASB) and for some, this means coming to Everglades National Park. This year, students from such institutions as Jackson College, Vanderbilt and Rice University came to Everglades ready to make a difference in this unique, one of a kind place.

During their week-long stay at the park, students embraced the mosquitoes as they camped and the intense heat as they worked. ASB groups work on many projects, including the removal of exotic plants from Flamingo and the Hole-in-the-Donut restoration area and clearing vegetation to help restore the historic Nike Missile Base. While many students worked hard to remove plants, others helped to clean up trash on the beaches of Cape Sable while still others worked to paint the buildings and benches at Hidden Lake Environmental Education Center.
The ASB at Everglades creates a multitude of service learning opportunities for students and allows each group to experience the park as most people don’t. As they progressed through their time at the park, work groups were asked to focus on three key aspects: reflection, education and service. Jackson College professor Kim McKeown, who organized and participated in this year’s ASB program at Everglades does this for many reasons, but predominantly for the goal of inspiring students to become service minded members of their community. By participating in programs such as this, McKeown hopes they will take what they have gained from the experience and carry it with them throughout life.
Everglades Volunteer Coordinator Kevin Bowles Mohr said that the ASB program is important because it provides students the chance to see and explore a national park that they might otherwise not have an opportunity to visit. They are also assisting the park and seeing the park in a new way, while gaining a sense of stewardship, Mohr said.
Thanks to generous funding by the South Florida National Parks Trust, Everglades National Park is able to accommodate over 150 students who donate more than 1,000 hours of service through the ASB program.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Everglades Art in the Community

In Deep
The Deering Estate at Cutler
16701 SW 72nd Avenue, Mami, FL

Experience the integrated relationship between people and the environment through site specific eco and environmental works in visual, literary and performing arts.

Select works from the AIRIE collection will be on display through April 24th.  Works focused on the theme of water are from Harumi Abe, Wendy Call, Mark Dion and Dana Sherwood, Mollie Doctrow, Karen Glaser, Judith Greavu, Joanna Kidd and Danni Downing, Deedra Ludwig, Gustavo Matamoros, Christopher Reiger, and Anne McCrary Sullivan.


Review of the Day Trip with Christy Gast, Board President for AIRIE Inc. the nonprofit that supports the AIRE program at Everglades National Park.

Thanks go out to AIRIE supporters who joined us on Saturday, April 5th in the 'Glades! We heard artists talk about their work, saw a newly captured Burmese Python with volunteer biologist Skip Snow, learned about the elimination of exotic flora, and saw the Nike Missile hidden in the Hole-in-the-Donut. Check out this interview with Christy Gast seen on CBS this week,

Inholdings - continues at Locust Projects, 3852, N. Miami Ave, FL, through April 21st.
March AIRIE resident Nathaniel Sandler blogs for the Knight Foundation

A blog about his March residency in the Everglades at

Save the Date

Flight: Aloft in the Everglades
Presented in partnership with AIRIE

ArtCenter South Florida
The Richard Shack Gallery
800 Lincoln Road, Miami Beach, FL, 33139

Wendy Call | Lisa Elmaleh | Naomi Fisher | Gustavo Matamoros | Adam Nadel | Trong Nguyen | Rebecca Reeve | Nathanial Sandler | Susan Silas

ON VIEW May 3 - July 6, 2014
OPENING RECEPTION Wednesday, May 7, 2014 | 7-10pm

Flight: Aloft in the Everglades
Flight is an exhibition of new work created by artists who participated in the AIRIE residency at Everglades National Park. The artists in the exhibition each spent a month living and working in the park, immersed in the ecological and cultural concerns of the River of Grass. Their works explore many facets of our cultural experience of nature in this World Heritage Site. In Flight, the Everglades are considered through aerial views of suburban encroachment, birds taking wing, the ethereal nature of wind, and even the stark contrast of nuclear missiles housed deep in the wilderness.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Volunteer Appreciation Banquet

To commemorate the accolades of our volunteers, Everglades National Park hosted a Volunteer Appreciation Banquet on the Ides of March (15th).
Superintendent Dan Kimball has been the keynote speaker at this event for 10 years. Mr. Kimball has never missed the Banquet and feels it is the most important event at the park. For Mr. Kimball, acknowledging the volunteers for their outstanding efforts and support has been his priority, and hopes the next superintendent feels the same. Below is a short list of the accomplishments and contributions of our volunteers last year.
In FY13 1,512 volunteers contributed 54,235 hours. This is equivalent to 26 FTEs at a value of $1,200,762. South Florida Collections Management Center (SFCMC) VIPs deciphered, cataloged, and labeled 3,000 microscope slides, inventoried in excess of 4,000 insects, processed 10 linear feet of science records, and numbered 10,000 photos individually. These contributions resulted in the SFCMC submitting 11,400 natural history recatalog and new catalog records for the National Submission, the highest the Park has ever submitted.
The Artist-in-Residence-in-Everglades program, held its first exhibition of donated artwork at Florida International University from Oct. - Dec. 2012. A series of four more exhibitions were scheduled and partnered with Miami Dade College, National Parks Conservation Association, ArtSouth, Homestead’s Town Hall Museum, and the City of Homestead. As a result, a VIP developed a database to maintain the records of artists and their donated artwork. A VIP assisted with the design and production of 300 CDs containing scientific reports by the South Florida Natural Resource Center. The VIP also produced nearly 100 Hurricane preparedness cards.

As part of the Natural Resource Emeritus Program, a retired employee continued his role in python data management and research, including 29 python necropsies. Env. Edu. Camphosts engaged 3,783 students and teachers. The VIP Program launched a blog with 29 posts and 6,172 pageviews, and an E-newsletter with 789 subscribers.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Israeli Artist is April Artist in Residence

Dana Levy, who works in the mediums of video, video installation, and photography, will be the AIRIE Fellow for the month of April. Under the guidance of the Artis Contemporary Israeli Art Fund, Ms. Levy is able to participate in the AIRIE program. Artis is an independent nonprofit organization that provides resources for artists and art professionals to develop lasting partnerships with the global art community. Ms. Levy was born in Tel Aviv, and now lives in New York.

Dana Levy’s work investigates the historical, social, and political situations, while dealing with memory, identity and the relationship between culture and nature, the wild and the cultivated man-made. Ms. Levy wants to create imagery that would express different aspects of man’s relationship with nature. For example, staging a man wrestling with an alligator, and make it a poetic symbol of the tension between two forces: mankind and wildlife.

Levy shares, “I’m fascinated with the domestication of nature, classifying mechanisms, and cataloging, mainly responding to man’s basic instinct to control the environment and to subdue the ‘Wild.’”
Ms. Levy is also drawn to the Native American history in the Everglades. She wants to learn about what aspects have changed in their culture and how, and what has been preserved, such as the sense of connection with the land.

“Spending uninterrupted time in such a raw, wild and rich environment as in the Everglades [is] a dream come true for me, explains Levy.  “My approach is to be open enough to let the unique local environment influence the work I create.”

Learn more about Dana Levy at

Other Events
1.     Save the Date: Everglades Day Trip April 5th

A tour in which all proceeds will benefit the Artist-in-Residence-in-Everglades (AIRIE) Program. Miami-based artist and AIRIE Board Member Christy Gast will host a day trip to the Hole-in-the-Donut region of the Everglades in conjunction with her solo exhibition at Locust Projects entitled Inholdings. The tour begins at Locust Projects with a private chat about the work in the show. From there we will board an exclusive motor coach with artists and scientists and tour the sites that inspired the work--slash pine forests, tomato fields, an ecological restoration project and a nuclear missile base. The tour will include a picnic lunch, and will last about 6 hours round trip.  RSVP to

2.     Learn about the next stage of an Artist-in-Residence-in-Everglades.

Performance artist Ana Mendez was an Artist-in-Residence-in-Everglades (AIRIE) in June 2013.  Since then, she has been taking her inspiration from the residency and performing throughout Miami.  See more at