FORT MYERS — A group of Florida Gulf Coast University students and faculty members joined ecologically-minded citizens across the globe Sunday by working on campus with the international climate crisis in mind. Their efforts as part of 350.org’s Global Work Party were mirrored at similar events worldwide in as far-reaching places as Madagascar and New Zealand.
More than 80 students and faculty divided into groups to accomplish specific tasks aimed at reemphasizing the university’s green policies. Students planted red maples and mangrove trees around the campus’ Library Lake as an investment in offsetting the carbon dioxide produced by the campus.
Another group struck out in canoes on the same lake to collect litter while yanking invasive species like dog fennel and primrose from the waters.
For the wildlife living on campus, other volunteers built bat and bird housing while others constructed and placed a basking platform for the numerous alligators living across the campus.
Ben Kampschroer, 21, of Fort Myers, helped organize the event and he said the project’s efforts were immediately apparent.
“It is something tactile that you can actually see the results helping the environment,” said Kampschroer.
Several of the students tied ribbons on the trees they planted in order to track their progress of growth.
Student organizer Tanheya Small, 21, of Labelle, grew up around the trees of her parents’ nursery and she said she can’t separate the environment from her future.
“A future without trees is terrible. Personally for me, it is important for my children to have trees to climb and fresh air to breathe. That is why I came to FGCU because it is a sustainable campus,” said Small.
“To be able to walk barefoot around campus reminds me of my childhood,” Small added.