Award winning UNF alum encourages environmental activites


Pierce Turner, Features Editor

When was the last time you went rock climbing? What about kayaking? More importantly, when was the last time you did something to help the environment? For all of these questions, the answer is “very recently” for new UNF graduate and Senior Service Award winner Nikki Adams.

Adams graduated this December with a degree in Ecology though that wasn’t her first choice. She loves the great outdoors—she has ever since her father took her kayaking as a kid—and her original career choice of becoming a doctor just “didn’t fit” with her passion.

“The feeling that I get from being outside is just one of the most incredible and peaceful experiences that I can have, and I think that’s something really special and should be shared with other people because it’s something that’s helped me a lot throughout my life,” Adams said.

Adams knows what she does is special, and she wants others to know the feeling too. In her last year at UNF, she became the president of the Environmental Center Student Coalition, where she managed environmental projects for fellow students to take on. The most significant was building racks to store donated kayaks on the Timucuan Preserve here in Jacksonville. She is always happy to work towards a better environment, but Adams was also happy to get students involved.

“They got to participate in a project that was something outside of what they would normally do,” Adams said. “It was a weekend of firsts for a lot of people, myself included.”

Nature challenges Adams, and that’s why she loves it. She thinks if others discover what she has, they’ll love it all the same.

“My biggest passion is wilderness survival,” said Adams. “I think that’s just a true test of your abilities. That’s the way I like to test myself the most is stripping myself of all the things that I really love like my phone, and my bed, and my cat, all of those comfortable things, and just being really uncomfortable. It’s not even uncomfortable for me anymore; it’s just natural.”

Since graduating, Adams has been preparing for the GRE and looking at her options for the future. She’s considering several paths including becoming a park interpreter or working with the National Park Service, which she interned at. No matter where nature takes her though she will keep her passion, the environment, in mind.

“Our planet needs us to care about it because it’s the only one we have,” Adams said. “By connecting people to the planet they’re more likely to care and take actions that will alter their impact and their footprint.”


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