Thursday, September 18, 2014


Every Fall is the beginning of new places, faces, and adventures at University and college campuses throughout the US. Being home to several  campuses in south Florida, it’s a given that the Everglades is one of those new places that academic institutions are trying to introduce their new faces, students, through service learning projects.

The University of Miami (UM) is one such school. They create a service learning event for students to explore the Everglades called Orientation Day. Last year, thirteen students, under the supervision of the Maintenance staff, worked on trimming brush around the campsites at Long Pine Key Campground in preparation for its opening later in the fall.

Two years ago, Orientation Day involved nearly 50 students working at the Nike Missile Base, removing the vines and shrubs along the fence line and around the buildings. In conjunction with Orientation Day, UM supports a volunteer fair to encourage other students to volunteer and explore in their National Parks.

UM is not alone in this endeavor. Florida International University (FIU) and Miami Dade Colleges (MDC) also offer orientation trips and volunteer fairs to involve their students in the environmental community. How about you and your organization, school, or company? Have you been oriented to your local National Parks? Set up a service learning trip or plan to participate on a Ranger guided tour today!

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