I am Andro Bailly, and I am a junior at FIU. My major is international business, and I am also an Honors college student. For this Miami service project, I volunteered with the Deering Estate. I selected this specific volunteering opportunity because of my extensive past with the Deering Estate. I care deeply for the environment and in this modern day there is crisis that does not seem to be getting any better. Pollution and global warming are permanently changing life on earth and without any change 99% of life is at risk of permanently perishing.
I have spent lots of time working with the Deering Estate and have been interacting with this institution for many years. My relationship began in 2013 when I was part of a homeschool educational program that revolved around science. During the summer of 2016 I completed over 120 hours of community service as Junior Naturalist at the Deering Estate. Since then, I have hosted multiple ocean/land clean ups with the Deering Estate to help the environment and raise awareness. I appreciate the experience the Deering Estate has provided and look forward to coordinating more cleanups. I have embarked on the Chicken Key clean up adventure multiple times. These experiences have allowed me to connect with this opportunity along with my “Finding Miami” class dedicating a session to this event.
Although my major is international business, sustainability and the health of the earth are strong interests of mine. It is only common sense that people should care for the earth that makes life possible. The truth is that our current trend is not sustainable and deadly consequences will need to be faced. Specifically, my generation will have to take on this problem head on, letting the future generations take care of this problem is not an option. The facts are that population sizes of animals have decreased by at least over 50% in the past few decades. Everyday species are going extinct, and the rate of this decline is not expected to become better any time soon.
For this service project that occurred on April 17th I showed up to the Deering Estate at 10:30 am. The plan for the day is to have the group load up into canoes and then begin our journey to Chicken Key island which is roughly 5 miles away from the Deering Estate. I arrived slightly late because of a previous class that I was attending. Upon reaching the ocean I could see that the group had departed and was about halfway to the island. A fellow clean up member that had car troubles showed up at the same time as me. My new friend and I hopped in the canoe that was left for us and began our trip to the island. Fortunately, he was in shape and experienced with how canoes worked so we quickly gained on the group and managed to show up just 10 minutes after the main group arrived at the island. We were welcomed by the group that was enjoying an ocean swim to cool off before the hard day of work ahead.
After joining the group for a swim and conversing about life it was time to get to work. Everyone dried off and began equipping themselves with supplies required to walk through wild mangroves and pick up trash. I took a leadership role and motivated a group of 6 people to follow me south because of my experience I know that there tends to be more trash down there. To my surprise there was an unusually small amount of trash because of the frequency of clean ups that were occurring on the island. My group talked and had fun while we slowly but surely filled up our personal trash bags. We reached about 90% of the way to the most southern point of the island until my group members began to complain and stated they wanted to start heading back.
I gave into the complaining of the group and we decided to start migrating back to main camp. Once we arrived at our destination it was time for everyone to start eating lunch. The sun was extremely hot and lots of students started gravitating towards the ocean once they had finished eating. I was conversing with a friend of mine and he asked if I wanted to go back conquer the southern point of the island. I was encouraged by his enthusiasm and gathered two other students that were nearby. With our stomachs full and sweat dripping down our backs we began our march back to the southern point of the island.
Upon reaching the southern part that we had not made it to before we encountered a large amount of trash that I had originally expected to find. Our team quietly got to work and started filling our bags. There was so much trash that an entire other clean up could be done exactly in that southern perimeter. After working for a while, we had gathered a very large amount and I decided that we had reached the limit that the canoes could carry so we began our hike back to the canoes. Professor was ecstatic with the very large haul that the four of us had brought back. We began distributing the weight between the canoes. We hauled the canoes filled with trash back to the main group of students. We then relaxed in the ocean for 20 mins before embarking back to the Deering Estate.
The journey back is where people tend to struggle because they are tired from picking up trash and the weight of the trash makes it difficult to control the canoes. I was able to canoe back with the same new friend I made. Our quick pace allowed us to reach the Deering Estate before everyone else. Once we reached land, we dropped off our supplies and upon request we went back out into the ocean so that we could provide support to people struggling. Eventually everyone had returned to land and gathered our trash for an epic victory picture.
This experience was a success. Having individuals that are in shape is the key to hauling back the maximum amount of trash. Working in groups makes the cleanup process enjoyable and helps pass the time. There really were not many problems that occurred besides the fact that some people in the group tended to complain or slack when it came to working. Overall, this service project was a success and we helped make a difference for the ecosystem of Chicken Key island.