Monday, March 20, 2017

UIS students spend spring break working on eco-restoration projects

Hailey Hawkins spent as much time around bleach as she did on a beach the past week while in Florida.

But the University of Illinois Springfield junior has no complaints.

"It was definitely a very different spring break," Hawkins said Sunday. "But I had a lot of fun." Hawkins was among 25 UIS students who traveled to Florida last week as part of the school's alternative spring break program.

The students helped with outdoor eco-restoration projects along the Florida panhandle Gulf Coast.

Past trips include building homes for Habitat for Humanity following Hurricane Katrina, cleaning up damage from Hurricane Ike in Texas and working with the homeless at soup kitchens in Washington, D.C., and New York City.

This year, the students assisted with shoreline restoration, native plant propagation, sea grass restoration, wildlife habitat improvement, dune restoration, storm water treatment, public land restoration and invasive species removal.

Hawkins said her favorite part of this year's trip was helping with an oyster-restoration project.

"It was cool because it was something that we couldn't possibly do in Illinois," she said.

The story was reported by The State Journal-Register on March 20, 2017.

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