Biscayne, FLMar 3rd, 2018 to Mar 10th, 2018
Trip Logistics and Participant Requirements:
We will drive as a group and fly to Miami International Airport out of DC on Saturday
March 3. We will then take a 45 minute van ride to a trolley that will transport us to Key
Biscayne. We will return to Charlottesville in the evening on Saturday March 10.
We will be camping in tents on the designated park campgrounds, so be ready for deep
campfire conversations, scrumptious home cooked food and cozy tents full of your soon to be
best friends. No prior camping experience is necessary, and there is no better place to fall in love
with the great outdoors than on a beach in the Florida Keys! Most of the meals will be prepared
at our campsite. For dinners, each participant with be assigned a partner and each pair will cook
a dinner for the whole group during the week. Everyone can show off their culinary skills! On
our last night we will have a celebratory meal at a restaurant locally or in Miami.
Participants should be willing to work hard and get dirty. It is unlikely we will have
access to showers, so the vast Atlantic Ocean will likely be the closest thing we will have for the
week. We’ll be working a lot outside, in addition to hiking, swimming, and building sandcastles
(of course) so an appreciation for the outdoors is recommended. We are looking for participants
with positive attitudes and open minds who are committed to assisting the National Park Service.
Ultimately, you must be willing to embrace a week full of adventures, service-work, and group
Our service work will surround the needs of the National Park Service, doing various
kinds of environmental conservation work. The type of work may include beach/water clean up,
but it is currently unspecified and at the discretion of the park rangers at the time. The NPS
depends on volunteers for assistance so we aim to do quality work that will lessen the burden of
the many things that go into preserving and protecting the park’s beautiful land and waters.
First settled 10,000 years ago by the “Glades Culture” in a floodplain later infilled by
rising sea levels, Biscayne National Park offers a unique history. The area was later possessed by
Spain who lost at least 40 ships to extensive coral reefs in the area. Frequent storms coupled with
the rocky terrain made the area not favorable for agriculture, so it wasn’t very populated until the
20th century when wealthy Miami citizens began to settle the land with luxurious getaways. In
the late 20th century, several coal and nuclear power plants were constructed on the shorelines
which resulted in a backlash from rising environmental advocacy groups. This eventually
resulted in the establishment of Biscayne National Park on June 28, 1980.
The Florida Keys are one of the most famous and most visited archipelagos in the world.
There are over 1700 islands in this archipelago, but only 43 are travelled to by locals and
visitors. Many of the keys remain undeveloped today due to the efforts of environmental
conservationists in the 1960s. These efforts lead to the creation of the Biscayne National
Monument on October 18, 1968. Since then, a lot has changed in the surrounding areas. Greater
Miami has become a Latin American capital, housing many former Cuban refugees after Fidel
Castro rose to power in 1959. The park has undergone many expansions and name changes.
Today it is known as Biscayne National Park and covers close to 173,000 acres.
On the days we are volunteering, we will have time during and after to either explore on
our own or get personal tours of various parts of the park and the neighboring keys by boat and
by foot. At the campsite in the evenings we will enjoy a bonfire, s’mores, stargazing, and camp
games. We have scheduled a day dedicated to non-service activities of our choosing, and we will
be flexible with what the group wants. Some of the possibilities include snorkeling,
canoeing/kayaking, taking an alligator tour in Miami or Everglades National Park, visiting a sea
turtle hospital, touring a dolphin research center, and exploring Miami (Wynwood Art District,
Little Havana, Miami Beach, etc.), among many others. We’re taking this trip not only to help
the NPS with their needs, but also to enjoy our spring break, so we encourage all reasonable
About the Site Leaders:
Riley is a 2nd year Biochemistry major from Atlanta, Georgia, home of Usher, Raven
Simone, and the World of Coke. Last year she participated in the ASB trip to Congaree National
Park in South Carolina where Michael was one of the leaders! She loves to spend her free time
outdoors, running, biking, hiking, camping, and more. She is also a peanut butter fanatic, so
don’t be surprised or scared when she goes through a whole jar in a week.
Michael is a 4th year Human Biology major from Harrisonburg, Virginia. He has been a
participant to Nicaragua and Zion National Park. This past year he was one of the site leaders for
Congaree National Park where he met Riley! Michael has lots of experience outdoors and is very
excited to camp in the Florida Keys! You can find Michael around grounds practicing the
saxophone, scribing at the hospital, and sleeping in the library.