Follow Me: SCA member blogs from the field

Follow Me is the place to read field dispatches from SCA members serving the planet all over the USA.

Tired and proud machete wielders.

There’s a reason I keep coming back to the SCA. The work is rewarding, the food is delicious, and the locations are beautiful. But all those factors combined cannot trump the best the SCA has to offer: its people.

The SCA draws its participants from a variety of backgrounds.

Over the course of today we got to experience what building a community is truly like, through the destruction of another. You may have seen in Justin and Kenneth’s blogs that they have already experienced the demolition site. Our main goal today was to help remove a house that, through acquisition, is now located in Big Cypress National Preserve.

History of fire at BCNP.

It’s Thursday night, Day 5. Hard to believe we arrived in Southwest Florida just five days ago. In less than 36 hours, our first members will be headed to the airport to catch their flights back north. An intense and fantastic week is in fact coming to a close.

Our project leader, Toby, expressed it best in welcoming us to the Alternative Spring Break adventure.

Today we found ourselves canoeing through mangroves, and trudging through Big Cypress National Preserve at the Gator Hook turn off (in case you want to find it because it’s awesome!), for a day full of sun, adventure, and exploring the wilderness.

The canoe trip entailed traveling down the little crest, and out towards the Gulf of Mexico.

Today was a recreation day, and it was amazing. First we went on a canoe trip on the Black Water River in Collier Seminole State Park. We learned a lot about the different mangroves and the Natives that used to live here.

Yesterday I shared some of the work that we were doing in Big Cypress protecting the RCW’s (Red Cockaded Woodpecker) which is an endangered species. The other thing that is really cool about the RCW’s that many people don’t know is that they build these awesome nests in live pine trees most of the time.

Jacob rests on the front loader following a tough day in the field.

When I signed up for the Student “Conservation” Association’s Alternative Spring Break (ASB), I thought knew what to expect. We’d be doing some planting, some harvesting, some taking care of the land.

So today was a lot warmer waking up, so i must say, I was in an incredible mood. Breakfast was great and I have to give it up to Elliot, our cook. I have a passion for cooking, but I can’t imagine rustling up some of the grub that Elliot does at our campsite. He’s been fantastic.

After breakfast we headed out to our designated worksite.

Just in case you missed the last one, RCW’s are red cockaded woodpeckers, an endangered species. Big Cypress National Preserve is a huge place, so to try and find these RCW homes (specific pine trees) is quite a challenge. Being out in the wilderness in Big Cypress is like being out in a maze; every direction looks the same!

The cohort after a great buggy ride out to the worksite.

From our early ancestors’ use of lightning strikes for ignition, to the discovery of the flint, to the modern-day advancements of spark plugs and lighters, fire has, and will always be, a cornerstone to human civilization.

We as humans depend on fire for cooking. We rely on fire to keep us warm in the harshest of climates.

ASB crew members hard at work. Back (left to right): Nick, Chris, Tom. Front: Kenneth.

Officially, Big Cypress is a National “Preserve”, but why should we be so bland? Why not call it what it really is? After all, we have national forests, national grasslands, national seashores, national lakeshores, etc., etc., etc. The benefits of these descriptive names are many.

Big Cypress National Swamp

Tamiami Trail

Today was a very eventful day! After another chilly breakfast we headed straight out to our designated work sites. We split up into groups so we were all assigned different tasks.

Photo: Only 25% of tents are pictured.

Meeting 35 new people at once is never easy. Never mind getting to know them in the dark of night.

Wrapping up the first full day of ASB with the Student Conservation Association has been a blast! Here is a quick round up of my past 24 hrs: Flew into Ft.

Photo: Air plants

So today was our first day waking up at the campsite in Collier Seminole Park. I must say
it is a bit chillier than I anticipated, or packed for. After waking up and eating breakfast we played a couple games and got to know the friendly faces we have the pleasure of sharing this experience with.

Hello Readers!

Welcome to my little space on the SCA’s Follow Me Blog. I am thrilled that I’ll be serving as your ASB reporter for the week, from the depths of Florida’s immense Big Cypress National Preserve.

SCA’s Alternative Spring Break 2013 kicks off this week at Big Cypress National Preserve in Southern Florida.

Follow along right here as three members of the preserve’s 30-person crew provide daily accounts of their week-long conservation adventure, brought to you by SCA and American Eagle Outfitters.

Look for updates all month, with fresh bloggers every Monday, as this is just the first of

Hello! Greetings from Ohio!

As I prepare all my gear for each trip that I head out on I find myself reflecting specifically on those that I have had before. I find myself wondering, what is in store for me in southern Florida on this alternative spring break with the SCA? I am excited to meet a large group of my peers from all different walks of life.

Andrea Willingham | February 28, 2013

What kind of natural environment did you grow up in? Have you ever considered how it might have affected the way you see the world today?

Andrea Willingham | February 21, 2013

Andrea’s been in Nome, Alaska since this summer, serving as the SCA Multimedia and Graphic Design Intern for Bering Land Bridge National Preserve.

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