Chicken Key Cleanups with Nicole Patrick

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Meet Honors College student Nicole Patrick, a Hospitality and Tourism major, who has a passion for giving back. During the Fall 2019 semester, Nicole organized two Chicken Key Cleanups after she participated in the experience through John Bailly’s Honors course, Miami in Miami. “In order to understand a community, one must serve it. As one of the most rewarding parts of this class, we serve our community through volunteering. Miami In Miami, as a class, volunteered at the Deering Estate’s Chicken Key, which is an uninhabited island located inside of Biscayne Bay,” says Nicole.

Using social media, Nicole recreated the experience for others. She created a group of 22 FIU students and alumni to volunteer in a Chicken Key Cleanup. Nicole communicated with the volunteers leading up to the cleanup to make sure they were prepared in knowing what they would be doing, what time to arrive, and what items to bring.

“It was pretty nerve-wracking to be hosting my first ever cleanup, but something that I learned it that sometimes your position is to lead.” admits Nicole, “I am very humbled and grateful for my leading experience and all of the volunteers that came. Together, we filled eight canoes with debris that we collected off of Chicken Key. During our reflection, each volunteer had taken something out of this experience from communicating directions while canoeing to paying attention to the details in collecting micro plastics.”

Since then, Nicole managed to organize another cleanup earlier this month and is already planning the next one.