Students clean up Everglades on break

Anica Graney, Design Director

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Getting away from the cold winters of Wisconsin is a chance not many people would pass up, and Madison College recently gave students that option with an Alternative Winter Break service opportunity in Florida that happened Jan. 7-14.

This trip allowed the 12 students who went to better the world by cleaning up some of Florida’s National Parks, which helped reduce the amount of waste destroying the natural beauty of the everglades.

The service members traveled to three different locations to help with relief: Everglades National Park, Biscayne National Park, and a botanical garden, Fruit and Spice Park.

Student Carolyn Kosabucki was one of the Madison College trip coordinators.

“The trip was amazing,” Kosabucki said. “The Everglades were beautiful and peaceful. It was endless terrain that went on forever, similar to being out in a wheat field.”

In total, the group collected 1,500 pounds of trash during their time at the national parks. Some of the trash was from local fisherman waste such as beer cans or fishing line, but most of what the group picked up washed into the parks from the ocean.

Each day, the group would measure how much trash they picked up, giving them an idea of the difference they were making.

“We were one of 22 groups that traveled down to help with habitat restoration. The handheld weight that we used to weigh the trash really showed us the measurable impact we were making,” Kosabucki said.

At the Fruit and Spice Botanical Garden, students cleared out a 40 square-foot area overgrown with tropical foliage.

“The stems were the size of your wrist and the leaves were the size of elephant’s ears,” said Kosabucki.

The clearing they made will be the site for a future exhibit.

An upcoming Alternative Spring Break trip is available for students to go out to Utah on March 15-21 and help out the Best Friends Animal Sanctuary, which is the largest animal sanctuary in Utah.

The sign-up deadline for this trip has already passed, but there are service opportunities during spring break available to students here in Madison. For $15 students are able to serve locally and can choose to volunteer a single day or the whole week of spring break.