My name is Amaranta Mattie Bailly and I am a proud Cuban-French-Floridian. I have grown up in Miami for the Majority of my life but have had the privilege to travel much of the world at a very young age. My education, passions, upbringing and goals drive me to constantly learn more about the world that I live in and how I can better it. I consistently find myself fascinated with various forms of artistic expression, as well as the environment and understanding its intricacies. Comprehending the profound history and facets of my hometown Miami will undoubtedly provide more clarity regarding where I hope my life, as well as hard work, will take me.
Mother Nature; The Peaceful and Powerful
Through this course, not only have the Miami in Miami class and I been exponentially educated regarding the history of Miami, but we have grown to understand the value of caring for the land we inhabit today. Being immersed in the thick vegetation surrounding the Deering Estate as well as Chicken key awoke my inner child. As a youth, I homeschooled and later taught at the Deering Estate, so I have previously felt a strong connection to the protected area. Although, to be reunited with Chicken Key and the Deering Estate was not less enjoyable simply because I have explored the area at length beforehand.
When we arrived on Chicken Key I aided everyone in tying up their canoes, and quickly got to work. Somehow everything began to feel a bit dimmer. Our mission for the day was to clean up as much trash off the island and bring it back to the mainland. When we arrived, it was explained to us by our professor that Chicken Key had been consistently maintained by employees of the Deering Estate but because of a lack of transportation, they were not able to set aside time often to make the voyage. I didn’t realize until I actually got to picking up pieces of debris, how quickly garbage is piled up. At first I was with my classmates and began to lightly chat over unusual objects we would find. Over a short period of time I once again became isolated, this time in the winding mangroves. My frustrations began to grow the farther apart I grew from my peers the more engulfed they became in the mangroves. With each step I took I found more objects that needed to be discarded. Another golf ball, bottle cap, shoe, plastic bag, hair tie, article of clothing, beer bottle, rope, and other miscellaneous objects that would reappear a week after I’d leave. How could people be so careless? How could anyone consistently make the same reckless mistake, recognize the consequences of their actions, and not take responsibility? Each object I picked up became another person I hold resentment for. Through this project I grew to recognize the value of the natural world I have the privilege of caring for, but I have also developed a newfound anger for those who make a choice every day to destroy the same world through their carelessness.
Through professional and business-related connections, Professor John William Bailly was able to set up this beach cleanup and organize our day around benefiting Chicken Key to the best of our abilities. We borrowed boats from the Deering Estate employees and packed them to the brim with garbage to return to the mainland. We then had the assistance of many Deering Estate park rangers in properly discarding of the garbage we collected and cleaning our reusable trash bags.
After a few hours of cleaning out Chicken Key, we had filled a copious amount of the trash bags we brought along with us and no longer had room on our rafts. We departed around three in the afternoon and made our way back to the Deering Estate. The ride back was swift and calming, I thought my anger shifted into a logical viewpoint that I could use to protect the wildlife I am around. The water glistened below me and the seaweed danced for me as I paddled by. Occasionally, I would even pause to run my hands and feet through the current so that I could feel the cool pressure against my palms. I wasn’t just trying to go home, I was attempting to enjoy my journey and be one with the wildlife I’m more a part of than I’d ever thought before.
I’ll continue to incorporate the care in anger I felt in the state into my future. I will not forget or take for granted the gifts that mother nature has bestowed to the surface of the Earth. Floating through the waters of the Atlantic brought me an unparalleled sense of peace and cleaning of Chicken Key brought me a strong sense of pride. I will continue to care for the world I live in, and prove it through my continuous actions to conserve it.