FIU’s Geology Club: Stepping stones to environmental awareness

Geology Club members on a trip to the Everglades National Park | Katelyn Garcia

Natalie Gutierrez  | Staff Writer

FIU’s Geology Club shows its passion for education with a down-to-earth approach by trekking into the wilderness and letting members experience the natural world for themselves.

Originating in the Modesto Maidique Campus, the club offers a space for those who love the natural world and consists mostly of geology, earth, environmental science, and meteorology majors. 

Katelyn Garcia is a junior majoring in geological sciences and vice president of the club. Garcia notes that the club encourages active participation through frequent field trips and social events. 

“What I think makes the club stand out are the free trips. We’ve gone on hikes, attended the Bi-Annual Gem Show for Miami, and participated in different geology-related events,” said Garcia. 

Given current environmental problems, including CO2 emissions and energy consumption, Garcia believes that the club is geared toward raising awareness and encouraging environmental participation.

“It matters to me on a few fronts. Not only is climate change happening right now, but understanding how our ecology and natural habitats work is important,” Garcia explained.

Julian Soto, a member of the club and a senior majoring in biology, commented on the club’s impressive ability to foster learning despite his recent joining. 

“I joined because of some of the [field trips and workshops] they were hosting. I’m interested in paleontology, so I wanted to see what it was all about,” said Soto.

With FIU’s rich diversity and global perspectives on climate change, Soto comments on the interest of students and their interaction with these issues. 

“We are an international university and some people come here with their own understanding of these concepts and they’ll have things to add,” explained Soto.

“On a global scale, it is important for institutions to be aware and offer the resources to combat these environmental issues.” 

The club hosted a trip to the Everglades National Park on Mar. 11 in collaboration with FIU’s Garden Club. 

Members hiked through the Everglades, where they visited solution holes, or pits in the ground formed through chemical weathering, and observed the native wildlife, with students witnessing the alligator mating season and some coming face-to-face with the large reptiles for the first time.  

“I loved it because I got to connect with others in an outside setting. It was a trip getting there, but we were able to see these features in real-time and interact with the Everglades. It really is our backyard here in Florida,” said Garcia.

Soto also believes that one of the club’s defining characteristics is its exposure to experts in the field. 

“When I showed up to the first event, there was a professor from the geology program and I got a chance to speak with someone who really knew their stuff. It was cool to have a one-on-one conversation with him because I was able to talk to an expert and ask about Florida and how it has developed geographically,” said Soto.

In addition, the club demonstrates that education and fun are not mutually exclusive with activities such as dinosaur egg-breaking and gemstone collecting.

Garcia shared her high hopes for the club as new members join. 

“I’m looking forward to learning more about the department. I am excited to reach out to more students and see how far this club can grow,” said Garcia.

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