Environmental Preservation Alternative Spring Break!

For: Beacon Voyages for Service 2018 + St. Josephs Bay Preserves
Port Saint Joe, FL
Organizer: Shannon Murphy
Environmental Preservation Alternative Spring Break! (Beacon Voyages for Service 2018 + St. Josephs Bay Preserves)
of $12,000 goal
39% Complete
Raised by 67 donors

The Story

The Environmental Preservation service trip is one of 10 alternative spring break trips operating through the Beacon Voyages for Serviceorganization at the University of Massachusetts Boston. This spring 14 volunteers from UMASS Boston will head to Port St. Joe, Florida to volunteer with the Friends of Saint Josephs Aquatic and Buffer Preserve to serve the organization in its day to day tasks of maintaining conservation, protection, and restoration of important ecosystems and landscapesin order to protect significant surface water, coastal, recreational, fish and wildlife resources. 

The team will spend the year learning and discussing the different ways in which our natural world is impacted through human activity and what can/is being done on the global, community, and individual scale in order to preserve our wonderful environment.

All costs in order to depart on this trip are raised solely by the participants, and therefore we could really use your help whether it be sharing our page or through financial support in any amount possible. 


Check up on this page later to keep up on how our participants are doing as well as updates on our journey to prepare for our trip in March. We will be announcing different group fundraisers as well as what our team is up to at that time. SEE YOU LATER!

Click here to learn more about Beacon Voyages for Service

Click here to explore the preserve we will be serving in

Fundraiser Updates

Posted on March 4, 2018


Posted on March 4, 2018

his last participant spotlight will tell you all about the amazing Nora Portillo!

Nora is a senior graduating in May (ayyyee) and is majoring in Psychology! Nora was born in Boston and has lived here here whole life. Her parents are originally from El Salvador and they came here in the 90's. In the future, Nora hopes to get her PhD in Clinical Psychology to do research in the field of mental health disparities and childhood development. "Through research and clinical work, I hope to address injustices that many traditionally underserved populations have faced when accessing mental health services. I have also always loved working with kids and I believe that one of the best ways we can better our future as a society is by working directly with the next generation."

On campus Nora is currently working towards these goals by working as a Research Assistant in a clinical psych research lab called the ABCD Early Screening Project at UMass Boston. The ABCD Project aims to identify children under the age of three who are at risk for having autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Much of her present work involves working with Latino families that come from a variety of socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds. "I assist and conduct parts of the developmental evaluations and I am currently doing my Honors Thesis through this lab. My Honors Thesis looks at how demographic factors such as race/ethnicity, poverty status, level of education, and so on, influence the frequency and types of therapies that children with ASD go on to receive after getting a diagnosis through our lab".

Nora has always tried to find different ways to contribute and give back to different parts of her community. For five years she served as a Peer Leader for Access to Theater which is a part of Partners for Youth with Disabilities, a club aimed to celebrate the Latino culture and give the Latino community a voice in the school. During her time in UMass Boston, Nora volunteered in our Office of Student Leadership and Community Engagement through a year with Jumpstart and the the 2016 UMB Spring Day of Service. She's also volunteered at another local preschool for a day to help clean up the school and bring in more resources for the school to use.

Here is why Nora is drawn to BVS: "What I love about BVS is that they want to work WITH communities, and listen to what the community has to say about topics that affect them the most and about what they need. There is a reciprocal and ongoing conversation leading up to the trip, and while we are there as well. This exchange is essential if we hope to affect as much positive change as we can during our time there."
She is also super excited for our trip and to not only visit such a warm and beautiful state, but to also do meaningful work with the Friends of St. Josephs Bay Preserve.

As if Nora wasn't awesome enough she also plays the guitar and ukulele!

"I am so grateful to be a part of such a wonderful team lead by our amazing team leader, Shannon Murphy! All of the team meetings have been so informative and has prepared me even more for our trip! The activities during team meetings have also brought us closer as a team and I look forward to the time we'll be spending together in Florida and the work we'll be doing at the Buffer Preserve."

As you can tell, Nora is such an astounding person! Her passion, compassion, and kindness shows so clearly and she brings such a wonderful feeling of positivity to our team! She always has interesting point to make and KILLED IT with fundraising selling over 45 HC jars in only a few weeks! Our team feels so lucky to have her!

Posted on February 26, 2018


Posted on February 26, 2018

Time to learn all about the wonderful Yoselin Ruiz in this weeks trip participant spotlight!

Yoselin is a Social Psychology major born in El Salvador and raised in East Boston. In the future she hopes to build better educational programs for children and youth from disadvantaged communities by aiding them in breaking down the walls the system puts their way. This year she is excited to be able to apply the knowledge that she will gain over spring break with all the other amazing students on our team to her classes! Yoselin knows the environment is always a hot topic in classes and knowing more about the issues and the beauty of our ecosystems will help her have more background knowledge that she can share with her peers!

In the past Yoselin has served on our UMB Day of Service and has found it to be an amazing way to work with other Umass students! Yoselin is also fantastic where she works with our schools CLA First program, a first year success program through the College of Liberal Arts. She is also a BVS alum! Yoselin served with our programs Animal Welfare team to New Mexico where her and her team worked with Safe Haven Animal Sanctuary during her spring break last year. Yoselin was initially drawn to the BVS mission statement of providing community immersion service learning for social justice topics to students on campus both local and abroad. She was also excited to sign up again this year through her personal desire to continue to learn in a hands on environment.

An interesting fact about Yoselin is she enjoys painting and climbing trees, making her a perfect green team member!

Yoselin's passion for service truly shows and her commitment to learn and serve others is so inspiring and a driving force for others to have the same attitude and outlook on life. She has taken on this topic and its goals with such pure intentions of simply learning more about what she can do so she can bring it all back to UMB with her. Our team is lucky to have her!

"I live for the moments and experiences in life, because the best pictures you’ll ever take are only captured through your eyes."

Posted on February 22, 2018


Posted on February 22, 2018

This next spotlight is all about Val Golina!

Val is a fourth year Computer Engineering major originally from Ukraine but now lives in Stoughton. In the future he would love to work to implement renewable energy sources and work on/with innovative and emerging tech. This year Val is excited for his engineering project which involves embedded systems. He is also excited for our BVS trip to Florida where we will finally have relatively warm weather and summer of course!

Val is no stranger to our university's Office of Student Leadership and Community Engagement and has been involved in the fall and spring community service days held by our office for several years in addition to serving as one of our office's First Year Leadership Institute's mentors for a few years. In highschool Val also worked with a nonprofit calledGreenschoolsin other schools across all middle and high school ages. He also worked to develop an android app for Greenschools as part of a senior year Computer Science project! All such amazing accomplishments and a clear representation of Val's affiliation for computer systems/development, his commitment to volunteering and mentoring, and his appreciation for Green Efforts. We are definitely lucky to have him!

A cool fact about Val is that he loves 80's music as well as a wide variety of other genres.

Val was drawn to BVS because he felt it was a great opportunity to meet new people and try some new service opportunities! He also felt this was a great chance for him to explore his interests in Environmental topics. Val is prepped and ready for our trip and is ready for a great time in Florida and is ready to make some lasting memories with our team.

Val has been an excellent addition to our team! He is always engaged in our discussion topics and always has something interesting to add that keeps us thinking. His past efforts and education in environmental areas shows in his appreciation for the topics we go over and always adds to the meetings good vibes and learning development. He's also been a great help with fundraising where he was one of the organizers for our paint night last week and killed it as our Trivia Announcer.

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