Students help restore Kendall Indian Hammocks park on Gandhi Day

Restoring the land, students put debris into bags at Kendall Indian Hammocks park.

A group of 15 students who participated in Gandhi Day was dispatched to help reclaim the landscape of Kendall Indian Hammocks Park, an area of Miami that is facing environmental threats.

“We are in a battle with this invasive species of air potato plant that is choking out our native environment,” said Victor Robles, the landscaping manager at Kendall Indian Hammocks Park.

Restoring the land, students put debris into bags at Kendall Indian Hammocks Park.

Robles, who has worked at the park for about 13 years explained that the air potato, “an invasive, noxious vine species” from Europe, has caused a lot of “headaches” for the park and its landscapers.

The park has been dealing with the issue of invasive species for the last five to eight years due to “a lack of funding, education and community help.” Robles said that “If we can get more of these projects going and have people more proactive within the community for this park we can get it back to where it was maybe 15 to 20 years ago.”

Excited about Gandhi Day, Robles said he loved that the students came out to help the park.

“We’d love to have a lot more but we’ll take anything we can get,” Robles said. “It looks like everyone here today is motivated and I think we can get in some good work today.”

Gandhi Day drew students from every area of campus to volunteer in the local community.

“My friends and I are here from Alpha Kappa Psi, the business fraternity, and we thought this would be a fun, creative way for us to give back to the community,” said Sam Seidel, a double major in marketing and legal studies. Seidel said that this was her first time at the park.

“It’s more fun than I thought it would be digging up these roots and potatoes and stuff,” she said.

Olivia Ostermann, a biology major, said it’s important “to get rid of these invasive species that people are bringing into the environment and try to preserve what we have left of it.”