Florida Keys, FL
Type of Service
Biscayne National Park
Site Leader Description #1
Austin McNichols is a 3rd year from Fredericksburg, Virginia. She is double majoring in Environmental Science and Political Philosophy, Policy, and Law. She believes taking this trip to a new location in Biscayne National Park is incredibly exciting and will provide an opportunity to have a positive impact on the plastic waste problem that impacts the Florida Keys. And she is looking forward to exploring a new area with a great group of people! Her hobbies around Grounds include hiking, climbing, and volunteering with the Rivanna Conservation Alliance. This is going to be a great trip!
Site Leader Description #2
Louis Diment is a 3rd year student from Folkestone, England in the UK, completing a BS/MA 4 year program in Chemistry and a Minor in Environmental Science. He is excited for the prospect of being a trip leader for this new location at Biscayne National Park, taking knowledge from his role as a site leader for the NOLA 2022 trip to make Spring Break 2023 an unforgettable experience.. Louis is passionate about Motor racing, particularly Formula 1, and uses this knowledge as a member of the Aero design team on grounds. He is super excited to explore the upper keys in Florida with this year's group!
Our trip will start bright and early on Saturday, March 4th for a 10.5 hour drive to Valdosta, Georgia where we will be staying the night; the next morning, we will finish our drive to Homestead, Florida, a 7 hour drive. We will be using site leaders’ cars for transportation to and from Charlottesville, as well as any excursions. We will leave Homestead on Friday March 10th, spend the night in Valdosta, Georgia, and return to Charlottesville on March 11th. We’ll be staying in an Airbnb close to Miami with access to a kitchen and shower. We’ll be able to make breakfast, pack lunches, and have group dinners both at home and around the local area!
Our shifts will start early at 8am and work will be strenuous, but hard work is worthwhile when it has a direct influence for protecting our environment. For that reason, be down to get wet and dirty! In order to get to Elliott Key from the mainland, we will travel by park boat. We will also spend significant time in and around the water, so be sure these are activities you are prepared for and enthusiastic about! - You must be able to swim!
We will be working with Biscayne National Park to clean up turtle nesting beaches of the barrier islands such as Elliott Key. Cleanups last from 8am until 3pm, and involve taking park boats across the bay. Work will include wading in waist deep water and walking over sharp rocks at points, as well as bending down and lifting heavy debris.
In the town of Homestead where we are staying, there is a commercial berry farm that we will be visiting. During this time there will be strawberry picking and we are visiting during their Sunflower Festival!! We will have the opportunity to harvest strawberries, and even pick sunflowers! This will be a super cute activity and allow everyone to feel relaxed and have fun together.
We will be driving from homestead to Everglades National Park for an afternoon of hiking and sightseeing in one of America’s most famous National Parks! This will offer us the opportunity to see some incredible, unique natural beauty as well as the potential for some exciting wildlife sightings- even alligators!
Another day of the trip we are planning to take a short drive to Key Largo where we will rent snorkeling gear and do some off the shore snorkeling in John Pennekamp State Park. At the beach there we will have the opportunity to see amazing schools of fish, seagrasses and even a near-shore ship wreck! No prior snorkeling experience required- this is a very lowkey, safe, swimming environment!
On our last night in Florida, following our service for the day we will drive into Miami Beach to see the incredible art deco and latin cultural center, Ocean Drive, and have dinner at an exciting Miami restaurant.