In February 2020, 12 volunteers traveled from mainland USA to Puerto Rico to aid environmental efforts and experience the islands' rich ecotourism. Volunteers hailed from the states of Delaware, New York, Massachusetts, Texas, Nebraska, South Carolina, Virginia, Wisconsin and Louisiana.
Activities included planting over 250 trees to restore a coastal area damaged during the 2017 hurricanes, as well as removing debris and trash at El Yunque National Forest. The volunteers enjoyed free time kayaking through the Bio Bay luminescent waters, visiting historical Old San Juan and eating the local cuisine.
"Attending the Puerto Rico mission trip was such an enriching experience. I learned so many things about our amazing world! For example, I learned firsthand about bioluminescence, which is the production and emission of light by a living organism. When we were kayaking at night, it looked like we were in a Cinderella-like world with dazzling lights all around us!" - Malika Yates, Delaware
"My favorite part of the trip was planting almost 300 trees. We planted over three different species in order to replenish a lot of what was lost during hurricane Maria. The coastal view from where we were planting was breathtaking. I even got to see a few bees! Helping the natives plant all of these trees and seeing their smiles afterwards felt so rewarding. I look forward to going back in the future and continuing to make a difference." - Sydni Terradot, Louisiana
"While collecting trash and debris, we hiked 4.5 miles to the top of El Yunque National Rainforest, North America's only tropical rain forest consisting of 28,516 acres. El Yunque is home to 23 native plants and hundreds of small animals exclusively found in this forest." - Amanda Sowards, South Carolina
Each of these volunteers independently funded her own travel to Puerto Rico and actively raised charitable gifts within their communities. Beauty Beyond Borders extends a heartfelt thank you to all who contributed to make this mission possible.