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New officers hit the ground – and water – running!

Protecting Paradise

Friday, June 27, 2014

Media contact: Katie Purcell, 850-459-6585

As she sat in the dark near a private tract of land known for poaching, looking for headlights and listening for any sign of the suspect, Officer Ashley Tyer knew she had picked the right career. After completing her first week of field training, Tyer has already found herself engaged in a variety of issues.

“I love the excitement and the constant change of scenery,” Tyer said. “My first week was a blast.”

The married mother of two graduated from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) academy last month along with 14 others. After getting settled in their respective counties of assignment – Tyer reported to Polk County, where she grew up – the group began their field training period last week and faced a steep learning curve.

“So far, I have learned a lot about the job,” Tyer said. “I can see how documenting information, having good contacts and keeping good records will help me be efficient. I’m also working to expand upon the skills I learned in the academy, like bird and plant identification and radio procedures.”

FWC officers are responsible for protecting all of Florida’s natural resources – like protected species, freshwater and saltwater fish and other animals and their habitats – and people – particularly when they’re out boating, hunting, hiking, fishing and enjoying recreating outdoors. They enforce all state laws as well as federal fisheries and wildlife laws.

“My experiences and outdoor interests, like hunting, fishing and scuba diving, sparked my desire to work for the FWC,” Tyer said.

Tyer’s passion and respect for the outdoors started at a young age and led her to pursue a bachelor’s degree in natural resources and conservation before joining the FWC.

“Hunting and fishing are things usually done with few onlookers, so personal ethics are important” Tyer said. “I knew I wanted to be part of instilling those good ethics in others.”

She has already started on that path during her first week on the job. In addition to dealing with a wide variety of issues, including a possible panther predation, a derelict vessel, a gopher tortoise case, an alligator bite and a nighttime poaching case, Tyer spent time at a youth fishing camp last week.

“I could tell the kids were fascinated,” she said. “I hope we left a positive impression with the future users of our natural resources.”

Tyer realizes that protecting paradise and ensuring that those in the future have the opportunity to access all the natural resources and beauty that Florida has to offer is what being an FWC officer is all about.

The FWC is looking for more officers who love the outdoors and want to protect it for future generations. To learn how to apply, visit

FWC Facts:
Vessels must be registered and numbered within 30 days of purchase.

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