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One Family Makes a Difference
The Coconut Grove Children's Environmental Club started with one family who saw that there was much to be done to clean up the bay.

By Michelle Santana
Posted Monday, May 9, 2005

We fell happier being in the ocean then on land. We also like it because we get to go clean up islands and get to help the environment.

The Coconut Grove Children's Environmental Club started when a man named Guillermo Rodiles began taking his eight children out around the islands of Biscayne Bay. Guillermo and his children would go out in their skiff and fish, go snorkeling and just enjoy the bay and the fresh air. Guillermo's love for the ocean and the life within it was contagious, and five of his children, Michelle (12), Anthony (11), Michael (8), Cristian (5), and William (3), soon adopted his philosophy and passion for the outdoors.

Guillermo and the children went out on the water often, so they could not help but notice the trash on the islands around Coconut Grove, a waterfront area in Miami, Florida. Because they loved the water and wanted it to be clean, they began picking up the trash on the islands whenever they went out. Then, they began helping birds with fish hooks caught in their beaks, or in their wings. School friends and children from the neighborhood joined them after school and on weekends as they learned about the need to preserve the ecology of the bay.

The Environmental Club took shape when Guillermo and his kids realized that there was a lot of work to be done in the bay, but there wasn't any one doing it. Committed to making their environment cleaner for everyone, the children started clean up projects on the barrier islands, floated and salvaged sunken vessels, took afflicted birds and wildlife to local sanctuaries, and captured it all on film and video. The children have presented their documentaries to the City of Miami Commission and other government offices in order to demonstrate the conditions affecting the bay and its wildlife.

"We have been thinking of some up coming projects like teaching kids about boats and maybe how to make them. We have also thought about teaching kids about boat engines, well it was really my brothers' idea, and we have thought of teaching kids all they need to know to survive in the ocean waters. Now I don't know if these ideas will come true but were there's a will there's a way," says Michelle.

THE COCONUT GROVE CHILDREN'S ENVIRONMENTAL CLUB

The ocean is a mystery. For people who've been there and even for people who've never been there. There is so much stuff people don't know about the ocean, Take me for example I love the ocean but I don't know everything I need to know about it. I'm willing to try though because I've mastered almost everything and I'm sure you can too. You can do anything if you set your mind to it.

What we've learned

Christian- I learned to keep animals habitats in the ocean how you want yours, and to keep it clean and not nasty.

Michael- I've learned that it is real bad to throw pollution into the environment and not to kill something if your not going to eat it.

Michelle- I have learned a lot of stuff like how to fish, how to scuba dive, to know that water is your friend and not your enemy, and most importantly how to work together with my sibs as a group. Anthony- I learned never to get to close to an animal and invade its privacy.

What We Hate About The Ocean

Michelle-I hate the fact that theirs glass all over the islands and in the water so that when you step on it you get cut. That's why my dad says to always wear shoes in the water or anywhere you go.

Anthony-I hate when birds get stuck in plastic beer rings, and choke to death.

Christian- I hate that people don't have any respect towards living animals in their habitats on ocean grounds.

Michael- I hate when people throw things in the water like cans, plastic bottles, etc.

As you can see we care about the community and no one can stop us from keeping it clean.

By: Michelle Santana

How we feel in the ocean

We fell happier being in the ocean then on land. We also like it because we get to go clean up islands and get to help the environment. We get around in the boat we have. That is how Coconut Grove Children Environmental group feels about the ocean.

By: Michael Rodiles

 
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