Environmental Impact in Puerto Rico

Environmental Impact in Puerto Rico

Kelley Cardiff

Puerto Rico Paradise 2021

Pacifica Christian High School 2022 | Kelley is working toward being a neurosurgeon. | She loves to travel, play tennis and read books.

All images were provide by Kelley. Read her story below!

This summer I went to Puerto Rico and made impactful memories and had eventful experiences. We learned about our environment and how to better it for future generations. I had so many fascinating experiences and moments that I will never forget.

One of my favorite days in Puerto Rico was on my birthday. We were about halfway through the trip, headed to a place called Seven Seas. We were driving from the top of the mountains where there were caves, ancient artifacts, and local people.

We went to this beautiful beach, and the water was so warm. The weather was so perfect because it wasn’t hot, and it was raining for a bit. I couldn’t believe this was where I was spending my 18th birthday.

Then we started picking up trash on the beach, and there were a lot of beer bottles, plastic caps, and other pieces of trash. We did it in groups and walked all across the beach. I learned how important it is to recycle and reuse what I could.

Even before we cleaned the beach up, we were split into groups a couple of days beforehand to talk about what we could do to make our environment better. This conversation got me thinking about what I could do at home daily. I started reusing my Starbucks cups, taking shorter showers, reusing plastic water bottles, and so much more.

When we cleaned up the beach it gave me a bigger picture and idea of what our environment looks like and what I can do to help. It was seeing that made me stop and think of what I could do better.

Another one of my favorite activities was when we went kayaking at night to see the bioluminescent. We started kayaking and there was a ton of algae in the water. It was hard to paddle and push through the water. Then it started to get dark, and the sunset on this big estuary area.

Then once it got dark, we finally got a pick sheet that covered our heads. It became completely dark. I gently shook my hand in the water, and the water glowed. It was so cool because I have never seen anything like that in the water.

They explained it was because of animals who have luciferin and when that reacts with oxygen it makes them bioluminescent. It was amazing to see the light in the water and learn how animals use this as a defense mechanism against predators. I loved learning about the bioluminescent because learning excites me, and I never knew what this was before Puerto Rico.

In conclusion, there were just so many great moments of this trip and just such a fun overall experience. I learned more about the environment, I learned about myself, and I had an amazing experience overall. I did learn and grow in my thinking, and this was amazing to experience culture, in not just a classroom setting, but in the real world. Learning can be anywhere, and I made friends and connections.

Learn more about Rustic Pathways programs Puerto Rico, or view more Alumni Stories here