SCA and American Eagle Outfitter’s Alternative Spring Break kicked off yesterday with the arrival of 30 excited crew members at Everglades National Park! Over the next four weeks, 120 college students will be working in the Everglades and at Joshua Tree National Park to conserve some of the country’s most beautiful and endangered wild areas. This week’s crew will be working on a restoration project at the Nike Missile Base. Tucked within an area that was historically agricultural, the military base was operated by US Army soldiers during the Cuban Missile Crisis to contain defensive missiles, including the Nike Hercules Missile. The crew’s work this week will help maintain this historic treasure for future generations of visitors to learn about the base and Everglades’ Cold War era history. The crew will also be working on invasive plant removal in the Chekika area, which is home to over 100 species of birds. Alternative Spring Break crew member Taylor Holan will be blogging from the Everglades this week, and keeping us up to date on her crew’s work. Taylor is a Communications major at John Carroll University in Ohio, and she is passionate about environmental issues affecting Appalachia. Taylor says: “The first time I really took an interest in the environment I was on an immersion trip to Appalachia. For a week I was able to immerse myself in the culture and got an in-depth look at the environmental issues the area faces due to coal, natural gas and wind power. I became a crusader against mountaintop removal mining. I did more research on Mountaintop Removal Mining and wrote articles and research papers about it. I even changed my major so that I could better pursue a career in public relations for a nonprofit organization that works with the environment. Since this experience, I have tried to learn as much as I can about the environment and how to protect it.” Check back later this week for an update on Taylor’s crew’s first days of Alternative Spring Break!