From March 8th -12th, 2010 college students from Bowling Green
State University, in Bowling Green Ohio, gave up their spring break to volunteer and work for the Florida State Parks!
Students worked in Big Lagoon, Perdido Key and Tarkiln Bayou Preserve State Parks.
While many college students would be partying and
indulging in spring break activities, twenty eight students and two faculty members from Bowling Green State sacrificed their
week for a much greater cause! During their "Alternative Spring Break" students provided a variety of invaluable work
and services for Pensacola area State Parks. Throughout the week students learned a great deal about the natural
history of Northwest Florida, the environment and animals, and challenges that face Florida State Parks and Park management.
Students also had an opportunity for personal growth and enrichment.
Some of the work projects included:
1) Extensive trash and debris removal. Students removed
about six dumpsters full of trash and debris from Pensacola area State Parks! Much of this debris remained after the
hurricanes and tropical storms of years past (that were in very difficult places to reach).
2) Constructing and installing five interpretive educational signs.
3) Planting 768 plants in sensitive coastal dune habitat.
4) Drift fence maintenance and repairs (for ecological surveys and research).
5) Installing pedestrian cross-throughs along several fence lines.
6) Installing numerous posted signs, posts and rope to keep people out of sensitive dunes
7) Cleaned and preped fire lines for future controlled burns in Pensacola area State Parks.
8) Installed fence posts for new fencing.
It wasn't all hard work during the week as students
had a lot of fun and were able to explore the State Parks by hiking, canoeing, kayaking, swimming, photography and nature
study. The group also visited nearby Pensacola attractions, while getting an early Spring sun tan!
I must say that I was extremely impressed by the students
continued dedication and hard work during the week of their visit. I've never seen young adults continuously
ask for more work to do as these students did! The important work that the students completed in one week would
have taken State Park personnel many months to finish! I'd like to extend a very sincere thank you to all the
students and faculty members (Nick Hennessy & Bryan Cavins) of Bowling Green State University for their hard work, dedication,
sacrifice and going above and beyond normal college students during spring break!
I'd also like to thank Douglas Wagoner, Alisa Meyer and Teresa Hoffman of
Green Earth Outdoors for coordinating and setting up the details for the entire week of the spring break visit. Douglas, Alisa
and Teresa took care of many of the details and support work during the week which allowed the students much more time to
complete projects and for personal fun and adventure!
On this webpage I have posted numerous photos of the
students in action and some of their work projects throughout their stay. Enjoy the photos! Sincerely, Karl