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Voluntourism Spotlight: Florida Ridge Rangers’ National Public Lands Day

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Two weeks ago we highlighted National Public Lands Day, which is running events across the country on September 29. In this week’s  Voluntourism Spotlight, we’re showcasing five of those events run by the Florida Ridge Rangers in central Florida’s Lake Wales Ridge–just 20 miles from Disney World. Check back every Wednesday for more voluntourism opportunities and tune into Peter Greenberg Worldwide Radio on Saturday for more information.

Most people who have visited Florida are no stranger to the gorgeous beaches and exhilarating amusement parks that the state has to offer, and many appreciate the forestry and wildlife that abound. So if you will be in Florida at the end of September, think about giving back and help protect the native landscape.

Saturday, September 29 is National Public Lands Day, the largest single-day volunteer event dedicated to enhancing and restoring the nation’s invaluable public lands. That means that plenty of voluntourism opportunities are popping up, and today we are highlighting the events scheduled by the Florida Ridge Rangers.

This group is dedicated to preserving and cultivating the native habitat of central Florida’s Lake Wales Ridge, an area that is home to the scrub jay, gopher tortoise, and many others. These indigenous species are all threatened by the presence of exotic species, and the volunteer efforts sponsored by the Ridge Rangers are all focused on the removal of such invasive plants that harm the Ridge’s environment by crowding out native vegetation. With events hosted just 20 miles from Disneyworld and 80 miles from Vero Beach, the Florida Ridge Rangers’ National Public Lands Day events present a perfect opportunity to volunteer.

These five events include the removal of exotic plants at Archbold Biological Station, Highlands Hammock State Park, the Nature Conservancy’s Tiger Creek Preserve, Bok Tower Gardens, and FWC Hilochee Wildlife Management Area. Right now twenty to 100 volunteers are needed for only three or four hours at each site. All are welcome and no prior training or experience is necessary, though they do recommend wearing long sleeves, pants, and work gloves.

For more information on each of these events and to sign up with a group, visit the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s website.

To find out more about National Public Lands Day (NPLD) and how to take part in events across the country, visit their website.

By Alex Francis for