Passion for Preservation – by Rey Muñoz

Hello, my name is Rey Muñoz, I am a full time student at Miami Dade College Kendall campus, majoring in environmental science. If you are reading this blog, chances are you and I have something in common. Hopefully, it is the passion that I have for nature and the preservation of it. This past Saturday, thanks to The Miami Science Museum, I got to be a part of something special. The plan was to remove the non-native Scaevola plant from Virginia Key North Point beach dune. Scaevola has many different species found all over the world, ranging from the Hawaiian islands to Australia. However, in Florida, this particular species is an invasive plant that does not allow other species of plants to flourish. In order to restore the area back to its native habitat,direct action was needed! So at 9:00am Saturday, myself and about 100 other students, and volunteers from many different organizations and corporations, Such as Wells Fargo and the Y.E.S. club (Yes! For Environmental Sustainability) of Miami Dade College (Kendall, Wolfson, and Hialeah), picked up our tools and the restoration was under way.

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During orientation the volunteers were divided into five groups of about fifteen people in each group. I believe I was part of the Sea Turtle group. Appropriate name, since Virginia Key North Point is a nesting ground for our endangered marine friends. Although all groups had the same agenda, team members had different duties. Some cut down the plants, while others stacked up the piles. Some took pictures for social media sites, and others picked up trash that washed up on shore. Teamwork was for sure in full gear! The event lasted about four hours, but went by very fast. It was a fun day; people came together for a bigger cause, a purpose not to sleep in on a Saturday. I’m sure everyone felt the same satisfaction I felt, knowing that their small but important contribution, collectively made a different in our environment.

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There are big plans for Virginia Key North Point that all residents of South Florida, terrestrial or aquatic, will benefit from. After all the invasive plants have been removed, the beach will be leveled to make this a better nesting ground for Sea Turtles, and native plant species will be re-planted where they once grew without objection. These efforts should finally turn Virginia Key North Point into the paradise it once was. The native plants are scheduled to be planted May through September 2014 with more volunteers. Once again, thank you to the Miami Science Museum for hosting such a vital gathering of people who want to make a difference in our planet. Thank you to all the volunteers that came out, I hope to see you all next spring!

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