News Releases

Volunteers needed on National Public Lands Day

News Release

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Media contact: Gary Morse, 863-648-3852

In celebration of National Public Lands Day on Sept. 28, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s (FWC) Ridge Rangers Program is looking for volunteers to help conservation efforts at nine sites throughout the Lake Wales Ridge area. Each site is different and has a set of unique conservation goals suited to volunteer efforts.

“Volunteer events include removing invasive plants, restoration of native plant communities, trail maintenance, debris removal and acorn gathering. Some events also include a guided hike and eating watermelon,” said Bill Parken, FWC Ridge Rangers coordinator. “This is the 20th anniversary of National Public Lands Day, and we’re hoping for a big turnout!”

Areas on the Lake Wales Ridge targeted for volunteer help are Louisa State Park, Hilochee Wildlife Management Area, Pedersen Preserve, Lake McLeod Unit of the Lake Wales Ridge National Wildlife Refuge, Bok Tower Gardens, the Arbuckle Tract of the Lake Wales Ridge State Forest, Highlands Hammock State Park, Royce Ranch Unit of the Lake Wales Ridge Wildlife and Environmental Area and the Archbold Biological Station.

The Lake Wales Ridge is an ancient sand ridge that runs from north of Clermont to south of Lake Placid and was once the only part of peninsular Florida not covered by oceans. Due to this ancient island’s isolation, the ridge developed a unique ecosystem of plants and wildlife that survives to this day.

Ridge Rangers are FWC volunteers who work with a number of conservation agencies and nongovernment organizations on and near the Lake Wales Ridge to help restore wildlife habitat.

To sign up for National Public Lands Day events on the Lake Wales Ridge, or for more information about Ridge Rangers, go to or contact Bill Parken at or at 863-661-3368.

FWC Facts:
Young whooping cranes are capable of flight when they are 80-90 days old.

Learn More at AskFWC