University of Georgia Students Spend Spring Break Helping Parks at the Beach

Work is the last thing on most college students' minds when they come to the beach for spring break, but some students prefer to do more than sunbathe, drink or party during their vacation.

NewsChannel Seven caught up with a few of them in South Walton County this week.

Neil Martin of the University of Georgia decided to spend his spring break on the Emerald Coast like many other college students, but he's picking up plants instead of girls.

“I love the woods and I love nature. I just thought this would be a great way to go out and kind of show my appreciation for that.”

Neil and 10 other University of Georgia students are taking part in a program called Alternative Spring Break. They'll spend this week in the Point Washington State Forest picking up Hurricane Ivan debris, building nature fences and restoring plants.

Patrick Hartsfield, a state park specialist, says it’s help sorely needed by local parks.

“The work we did yesterday was something that with the amount of staff we have here at the park would have probably taken us about a week to do and we did it with their help in one day.”

Lori Cruz, another U of G student, says it’s a great alternative.

“We all go to college. You can drink anytime you want every other week of the year, so one week not drinking is not going to hurt you, its actually good for you. There are things for everybody. Some people are partiers and some people like getting out and doing things in the community and helping out. They're both good. It's just to each his own.”

If you'd like to volunteer, call your local park or go to the website: and click on “volunteers.”