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Colloquium department to hold nature trail cleanup

EN Photo / Jack Lowenstein

The University Colloquium Department is holding its biannual nature trail cleanup event 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. Saturday, October 29.

The goal of the event is to clean the university’s nature trails, which includes picking up trash and removing invasive plant species, both native and non-native. Invasive species can devastate an ecosystem by overgrowing, killing important native species and upsetting the overall balance of an environment.

“This event really gets people onto our campus trails,” said Taylor Hancock, one of the student naturalists and organizers of the event. “Many people don’t even know they’re there. We educate students on the different environmental policies of Florida.”

Five FGCU student naturalists, along with Patty Krupp, the colloquium office manager, will be conducting the event. The most well-known role of the student naturalists is their involvement in the colloquium course’s field trips; they help guide and educate students during the trips. They will carry out a similar role during the nature trail cleanup. This event is also an opportunity for students to receive service-learning hours.

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All FGCU students are required to take the colloquium course. The goal of the class is to educate students on the importance of sustainability and its symbiotic relationship with the environment. Events like the nature trail cleanup build on this notion of sustainability by showing and teaching students the delicateness of the natural world and how humans can impact these ecosystems.

  The event will focus on cleaning up the trails and, for the first time, conservation areas by North Lake Village that have been littered with rusty bicycles, lacrosse and soccer balls and other kinds of trash. Students will also be able to participate in a wet walk where they will be treading through knee-high swamp water in the university’s cypress dome.

“It’s really cool to see the teamwork when a tree has fallen across the trail that needs to be moved,” Hancock said. “We can just have the school’s grounds crews deal with it later, but it’s really fun to have the students use whatever tools we have to chop up the log and take it out ourselves.”

All 50 available spots for the event have been filled, but interested students can visit the Facebook page of the Campus Student Naturalist Program, @FgcuNature, for more information and for future service-learning opportunities.

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