Those of you who know me I have a passion for pollinating species, especially bees (likely a favorite becasue, well, honey!), so of course Rachel shared one of my favorite photos of the semester:

She worked at The Ground Up Garden in Pensacola, a wonderful Community Garden dedicated to growing and teaching about food! They even get to have Bees to help with the labor intensive job of pollinating (something we have been told is an absolute no on the UWF campus, for safety reasons). those of us who have worked directly with bees know the risk is extremely low and the benefits are incalculable! 

Service Learning to Save the Turtles

Isabel Guerra headed out to Gulf Islands National Seashore to do her Service learning hours. She learned about several programs which focus on protecting the endangered sea turtle species which nest on Santa Rosa Island.

light meter studies at GINS

Isabel really gets the benefits of doing service learning in a general education course! Check out what she had to say:

"It is from this program that I became not the cat lady but the turtle lady. I always say that one piece of plastic picked up has the potential to save a life, turning on lights matters, and that every species is important in a community. Professionally, I have gained and am still gaining so much from volunteering with this program. I have not stopped volunteering just because I have completed the hours necessary. I am continuing to volunteer because I know that what I am doing matters a lot and that in my future endeavors it will definitely benefit me. I have learned to work proficiently with a group, participate in each aspect of the project, be on time for the studies, to be completely accurate (a decimal point means a lot), and to always ask questions so that I can have complete understanding of the work I am conducting. Plus, since I am volunteering with a government agency, it’s a great resume builder!"

Helping rescued birds for service learning!

Kaitlin volunteered at Uncle Sandy’s Macaw Bird Park which takes in unwanted and rescued parrots! Some of the parrots are rescued from the wild in habitats where they have been released but they are not native to.

Service Learning in Santa Cruz, California!!

Every semester there is that one project that a student works on that makes me just a tad envious. This is certainly the one! Nicole worked with Monterey Bay's Save our Shores Organization for her service learning project. From Nicole: "Imagine this: a picturesque Monterey Bay, encircled by rocky shores, sea cliffs, golden wave-swept beaches…and wait, what is that in the strandline among the sea kelp? that a shoe? Yes, it is a washed up shoe along with thousands of pieces of plastic and styrofoam, micro plastic, straws, cigarette butts, shoes, and candy wrappers scattered the shore like footprints in the sand. Only they aren’t the footprints left by a nice relaxing walk on the beach. Rather, these are sad footprints of anthropogenic degradation and garbage. I expected to be surprised by this service learning experience but I did not expect to be so moved by the condition of the environment, after all, it is hard to imagine that any garbage would be found in such a serene landscape, but I saw firsthand the how the disposables of our convenient everyday living are devastating the ocean habitat."

And my favorite part of Nicole's journal: "In closing, because of this environmental service learning project, I observed for myself the amount of trash that ends up on our beaches, whether it washed up on shore or it was left there by beach goers we have treated the ocean as an endless resource and a bottomless waste receptacle and I am affected for life. I know that every time you can reduce the amount of paper you use, you are not only saving trees, but also you are not contributing to the endemic American trash pile that ends up in the ocean. In business I can use this experience to support my argument to be a paperless company. Second, in my line of work, as in many others, we keep bottled water on hand to offer waiting clients as a kind gesture. My company even has bottled water with personalized company labels. But I will absolutely suggest investing in a water cooler or pitcher with glass or biodegradable cups in effort to cut down on garbage as well as wasted water (that too is important). The third business lesson I can take away from my Save Our Shores experience is that in addition to the 3 R’s: reduce, reuse, recycle, you must refuse! Refuse plastic straws, refuse non degradable products, refuse disposable plastic bags and bottles as many of them end up in the ocean and on our beaches." 


Deadman's Island, not just a final resting place!

Anastasia got to spend time on the boat to help Heather Reed with Socialize for Education on the Deadman's Island shoreline restoration project!

Dune, oyster and seagrass restoration is helping decrease the amount of erosion at this coastal site and protecting the historic site for future generations! A snippet from Anastasia:

"By working with organizations to preserve and restore ecosystems, the biodiversity of Intertwining ecosystems and species are obtained. Deadman’s island is home to many plant and animal species however, if the shoreline continues to erode, many of these species will lose their home and may not have other places to go. That is why the Deadman’s Island restoration project works so vigilantly to preserve and observe the ecosystem of the island.”."


Sarah provided an excellent service to her community by helping to mark storm drains and educate the public regarding the importance of not dumping anything in storm drains! Check out the photo and blurb she submitted:


"While volunteering for the Lake County Water Authority, my service primarily consisted of marking storm drains with curb markers, and learning how to use their app for keeping track of which drains are marked. The purpose of placing these markers on storm drains is to make people aware that often these drains lead to lakes, and hopefully will discourage any form of dumping down the drain. While placing the markers, I removed waste that was caught in between the gutter and curb, that hadn’t quite fallen into the drain. After marking drains, using the Lake County Water Authorities app called collector we can select streets within city limits and mark whether the street has drains and are marked, had drains and are incomplete, or has no drains at all."