Meet Alicia Bickel! An animal lover who is an outstanding young citizen in our community. At thirteen years old (soon to be fourteen) she raises reptiles and has aspirations to be a biologist. She studies violin at The Conservatory School of the Performing Arts in North Palm Beach. She lives with her mom and dad and has an older brother and sister. Her mom is a science teacher, and her dad is a boat captain. They enjoy lots of outdoor activities together in their free time.
Thank you, Alicia, for taking the time to share your story with us and what you love about living in The Palm Beaches. Thank you to Heather Fernandez of Great Imaginations Photography for the beautiful featured photo of Alicia and her pet corn snake, Show.
What is your favorite subject at school?
“My favorite subject is definitely science! Well, more biology than anything else, but all of it is interesting.”
What career do you want to have and why?
“I want to be a field biologist when I am older. I don’t quite yet know what I want to study, but probably either herpetology, entomology, or a study in large canines. The reason why, well, what could be better than being around animals all day? Especially snakes or wolves, two of my favorite animals. As well, I would be ecstatic to make a significant scientific discovery. Doubly so if it could help to further conservation efforts for some of the more misunderstood organisms.”
What is your favorite restaurant and what do you like to order?
“I really prefer to stay home and eat, but if I have to go out to a restaurant, then my choice would definitely be Pizza Alfresco, in Palm Beach. My favorite was the “Palm Beach Pizza” with salmon, my favorite food. It was always a big treat to go, but I am now unfortunately allergic to all dairy products. So no more pizza for me!”
How long have you lived in our community?
“I have lived in our community since I was born, in 2006. I have never lived anywhere else.”
Who is the most interesting person you’ve met here in our community?
“My mom! She is a teacher now, but she used to be a herpetoculturist, which I think is incredibly awesome.”
If you could travel anywhere in the world right now, where would it be and why?
“If COVID-19 were not an issue, I would go to Peru. I have been once to the Sacred Valley with my mom and sister, and I adored it. The culture, history, terrain, and biodiversity are so amazing and immense that there is no shortage of things to do, people to meet, and animals to see! As well, the cuisine there is amazing, which is a bonus.”
What is one of your favorite movies? TV shows?
“My all-time favorite TV series is Gilligan’s Island. The first season, my favorite, is in black and white. My dad used to watch it as a little kid, so it’s our show to watch together. In my opinion, it’s also extremely funny.”
What advice would you give to people?
“Honestly, just be kind and logical. Too many people these days only care about themselves, and not what they do to others or the planet, which we share with everyone. Be smart.”
What is something on your bucket list?
“I really want to go to the Galápagos Islands, to see the biodiversity there. If it were possible, it would be my dream to see one of the tortoises up close. Well, really to see any of the endemic species up close there.”
What is your favorite music or band that you like to listen to?
“It really depends on what kind of mood I am in. I love to play classical and baroque pieces on my violin, but I tend to listen to old rock more. That’s what my mom listens to, so it’s what I grew up on.”
What is your favorite place to visit in The Palm Beaches?
“Probably Frenchman’s Forest. It’s a small nature preserve, and I love to hike there. If you are lucky you can see some gopher tortoises, an endangered species. If no one acts soon, they might be gone in not that long. It’s a special sight.”
What is your favorite hobby?
“Probably breeding my pet corn snakes and crested geckos. It’s incredibly rewarding to raise these tiny snakes and geckos from babies and then see them lay their first clutch of eggs and have those hatch, too.”
What is your favorite thing or something unique about our community?
“Something unique about our community is that once people move here or are born here, they stay here. People love it so much that they just can’t leave.”
Where do you see yourself in 5 to 10 years?
“In five years I’ll be in college, where, who knows. Probably somewhere with a strong biology program. Five years after that, I’ll be twenty-three, and maybe still in school or starting work as a scientist of some sort.”
(Even for friends or family), what is something interesting that most people don’t know about you?
“Something interesting that most people don’t know about me is that I breed reptiles, and have been breeding reptiles since I have been very young. I got my first pair of three striped mud turtles when I was five.”
What is the most beautiful place you have ever been to?
“The most beautiful place I have ever been was probably Machu Picchu. The time, effort, and engineering that went into it is breathtaking, and the view is stellar. You can see the treetops for what seems like miles.”
Favorite month? holiday? and the best single day on the calendar?
“My favorite month has got to be April. It is warmer, but the heat hasn’t picked up steam yet, and the rain makes for lots of little flowers popping up in my garden. The best single day in the calendar, though, has got to be the day after school ends. I don’t have to wake up early anymore!”
What would you rate a 10 out of 10?
“Cheese. Definitely cheese. Extra sharp cheddar, to be exact. Unfortunately, I can’t eat it! That’s probably why I give it a 10/10.”
Who inspires you to be better?
“My mom. She is always encouraging me to do my best. She always does her best.”
What is one or two of your favorite smells?
“I love the smell of mint. Not that fake peppermint smell, but the smell when you go to a mint plant in a garden and rub your fingers over the leaves and then they smell like the oils from the plant.”
Finally, what 3 words or phrases come to mind when you think of the word HOME?
“Three words that come to mind when I think of HOME are Animals, Warmth, and Family.”
Thank you to Heather Fernandez of Great Imaginations Photography for the featured photo.
The Faces of The Palm Beaches is a project showcasing the amazing people that live or work in our community. Who do you know that should be nominated?