Welcome to my little space on the SCA’s Follow Me Blog. I am thrilled that I’ll be serving as your ASB reporter for the week, from the depths of Florida’s immense Big Cypress National Preserve. Recently packed up and headed south, I would like to take a moment to introduce myself to you, giving you some insight on the perspective I will undoubtedly bring to my writing throughout the course of the coming week.
I am a 22-year old student, obsessed with the outdoors. Throughout university, I served as a guide for the University of Florida Travel and Recreation Program (TRiP) (https://www.studentinvolvement.ufl.edu/GetInvolved/TRiP), guiding students on everything from backpacking to skiing trips. A few years ago, I lead for Quetzaltrekkers Nicaragua (http://leon.quetzaltrekkers.org/), trekking up a multitude of volcanoes on Nicaragua’s western coastline. In my personal pursuits, I have undertaken extensive backpacking trips in Iceland, Taiwan, and Brazil, among other places.
When I am not hiking, I dabble in various educational pursuits, my latest undertaking being law school. As of August 2012, I have begun studying towards a BCL/LLB degree at McGill University, in Montréal, Québec. Previously, I studied Political Science, Geography, and Sustainability Studies at the University of Florida, graduating in May 2012 following an exciting four years. During my time at UF, I had the opportunity to study abroad four times, in Taiwan, Korea, Brazil, and El Salvador, exploring each of these countries’ vast natural landscapes with interest and excitement.
Believe it or not, this is not my first time blogging. Throughout the summer of 2012, I wrote for National Geographic, editing the Nat Geo Education Blog (http://blog.education.nationalgeographic.com/). Most recently, I took a little break from law school to blog my way around the island of Taiwan (http://tour.youthtravel.tw/travel2009/iblog/main.php?id=349178&secureChk=64ba93b896f7f171dc81).
ASB Big Cypress 2013 will be my third alternative spring break with the Student Conservation Association (I am fairly certain that this must be some kind of record). I previously served as an ASB crew member at Grand Canyon National Park in 2010 (https://www.thesca.org/hands-on/2010/03/alternative-spring-break-grand-canyon) and at Joshua Tree National Park just last year. Each of the experiences has been unique and equally exciting. Coming from the past two trips in the desert, I am greatly looking forward to the humid weather awaiting us in Florida this coming week.
Let me just say, ASB is awesome. It’s no surprise I keep coming back. Actually, I’m fairly certain one of the reasons I stayed in school was to remain eligible to apply for ASB. The rewarding work, the lasting friendships, and the jovial group are just not possible on the beach in Cancún.
I am bouncing with excitement at this year’s adventure, starting tomorrow. We will all gather at Collier SeminoIe State Park for a Sunday evening dinner, on the outskirts of Big Cypress. I will have my pen and paper ready, taking in everyone’s exciting stories, and doing my very best to communicate our stories with you from the sawgrass prairie and palm hammocks of the Preserve. In doing so, I hope that I will convince you to apply for the program next year.
Throughout the week, please make this blog an open avenue of communication about our work. What would you like to know about conservation? How does the SCA intrigue you? What motivates all these students to come work during their spring? Please me comments and let me know how I’m doing. The national parks are our shared treasure, and nothing should be more open than the manner by which we care for them.
All the best,