Aimee Zuniga Miami Service 2021

Photo of Aimee Zuniga at Bryce Canyon National Park. Taken by Diego Carro.


My Name is Aimee Zuniga and I am a senior studying organizational communications. I will be graduating in the summer of 2021. After graduating, I will continue my education at Florida International University and pursue my masters in international business.  I was born and raised in Miami. Miami is full of beaches and as a high school student I would constantly volunteer at beach clean ups. Those clean up made me appreciate different volunteering opportunities that one could find in Miami. 


I did my service hours at Bill Baggs State Park. Bill Baggs provides people with various volunteering opportunities. Opportunities such as beach and park clean ups, vegetable composting and event volunteering. For class, Professor Bailly took us out to the park to pick up trash and help the park rangers shovel sand. I also volunteered at the park in my own time. I volunteered in the beach and park clean ups. I also helped the volunteer coordinator and ranger of the park Shane Zigler with weekly volunteer events.


I volunteered at Bill Baggs state park because it is one of my favorite parks in Miami. I enjoy spending time in nature and being outdoors. In my opinion this state park is the best state park in Miami. I tend to spend most of my time out in this park so when I found out about these opportunities to volunteer there, I could not resist. I have volunteered before in other locations to clean up parks and beaches, but I have never volunteered at a state park. Living in Miami made me feel like I have somewhat of a responsibility to take care of my environment. The urge to volunteer at this state park does not necessarily apply to what I am studying in FIU, but it does have to do with my passions which are nature and contributing to society by helping the environment. 


As a class on February 17th, 2021, we went to Bill Baggs State park to help the rangers with some work. We collected trash and we also shoveled sand and coquina. Coquina is a sedimentary rock which is made up of mostly sand and shells which if not attended to, can become a danger with the high tide. When I went to volunteer in my own time I mostly did trash clean ups around the park. Since I have had experience with beach clean ups, I connected with this volunteering task by actually enjoying and finding it to be a very relaxing hobby to do. The park is on a barrier island where you can see beautiful clear Atlantic ocean water.  I also helped Ranger Zigler organize some of the weekly beach clean ups. The reason why I enjoy volunteering at this park is because it is always full of trash and it is very sad to see the way locals and tourist treat the state park by littering without thinking. At the end of every beach clean up it was very satisfying to see all the trash collected. Most of the time I left that park spotless. 


Photo of Miami In Miami class at Bill Baggs helping the rangers shovel sand to make a new beach acess. Taken By Nicole Patrick. 

            On February 17th, 2021 at 10 AM, as a class we met up at Bill Baggs and met Ranger Zigler.  We were given a tour of the park and learned a lot of history. We were taken to the beach access where the rangers needed our help shoveling. We were shoveling sand to make a barrier that would protect the parking lot behind the beach access. The barrier would protect the lot from weather surges and king tides. 

Aimee Zuniga at Bill Baggs State Park beach clean up event. Photo taken by Fernand Touya

Throughout the months of February and March I went to Bill Baggs to help ranger Shane Zigler with organizing beach clean ups. When I would help Ranger Shane organize the clean ups I would hand out buckets and pickers to the volunteers. I would also hand them out paperwork that gave them their hours. During this I met the entire staff of the park and I met various volunteers from all over Miami. The people I met were from all over Miami and they all had stories of their time here at the state park. We exchanged stories and exchanged our reasons why we were all  participating in the clean-up. I also participated in the beach clean ups. I was given a bucket and a picker every time and off I went around the whole park. I picked up trash in all the trails, the beach, the harbor and the fishing piers. I went every Saturday to collect trash until I got enough hours. Every time I went to clean up, I collected about 3 -4 huge trash bags of trash. Seeing all the trash bags every time I went was a huge accomplishment because I knew I was helping out the local environment. 


Screenshot of hours collected from the MyHonors website.


Photo of the new beach access we worked on as a class. Taken by Aimee Zuniga.

            After the many times I have volunteered in my youth, every time I volunteer somewhere new, I gain a newfound appreciation for my environment. Every single day that I went to volunteer at Bill Baggs I enjoyed every second of it because I was contributing to the environment and our community. One of the biggest accomplishments of my time at Bill Baggs was when I got to see the finished beach access we had worked on as a class. Seeing the new beach access that I had worked on with my class and the park rangers was absolutely accomplishing. It was also very accomplishing picking up about 3-4 bags of trash when I would go to the clean ups. Every single time I volunteered at this beautiful state park, I learned something new, and I helped my local community in an Earth Friendly way. 

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