How do I find out about Ridge Rangers volunteer events and participate?
All Ridge Rangers volunteer events -- called “workdays” -- are on our online calendar. You can click on each event to get the full detail on what we’re doing, where we’re meeting, the times, and any special instructions.
To sign up for a workday, you’ll click on the register button in the workday event, and then follow the instructions (you don’t need to have a calendar “account” to sign up for a Ridge Rangers workday, but it does streamline the registration). Once signed up, you’ll be in the loop for any event changes or detail you’ll need to know, and you’ll also receive a reminder a few days in advance. We welcome everyone to sign up for an event and come out and help!
Where do the Ridge Rangers volunteer?
The Ridge Rangers help restore wildlife habitat in conservation areas on the Lake Wales Ridge and nearby areas – home to a very special ecosystem which includes two unique habitats and is one of the world’s hotspots for biodiversity. The conservation areas where we work are owned by state or federal agencies, or by non-governmental organizations like the Nature Conservancy, Archbold Biological Station, and Bok Tower Gardens.
How will what I do help?
You’ll make a critical difference helping restore a conservation area to natural habitat, or helping to re-introduce endangered native species, or doing citizen science measuring restoration or re-introduction progress.
What will I get out of the workday?
While you’re helping make a critical difference, you’ll see a great variety of nearby conservation areas, many of which aren’t well known or are restricted to the public. You’ll also meet and work with like-minded people from your community, as well as biologists and conservationists from many organizations.
You’ll have the opportunity to do a variety of interesting needs, like planting native plants, removing invasives, citizen science/species surveys, and restoring old ranch lands to native habitat.
How long is a Ridge Rangers Workday?
A workday is generally 3-4 hours long. We usually meet at 8 to 8:30 AM, and are finished by noon.
Can I come late or leave early?
Of course! We ask that you please let us know in advance so we’ll be able to coordinate properly with you.
What do I wear? What do I bring?
You’ll be advised the specifics for each workday, but in general you’ll want to wear sturdy footwear that you don’t mind getting a little dirt on, and your favorite old work clothes -- including long pants and long sleeves. You’ll want to wear a hat for sun protection as well as sunscreen. Although we have extra work gloves, you may wish to bring your own that fit you well. We’ll have cold drinking water and cups.
The Ridge Rangers provide all tools needed for a workday.
Can I bring a friend? Can I bring my child?
Absolutely! If you have someone that would like to come along for the day please bring them! Children under 16 must be accompanied by their parent or guardian, and are also very welcome.
How hard are the workdays?
You’ll help at your own pace and comfort level – we’re grateful that you’re participating! Every work day also has less-physically demanding but much needed jobs; like managing tools, workday paperwork, drinking water, etc. We take at least one break during the event, and of course everyone takes breaks as they need.
What will I learn?
You’ll learn something new and worthwhile to you on every workday: it might be seeing a nearby conservation area that you didn’t know existed, or what the two unique habitats in our area -- Ancient Scrub and Sandhill Pine – look like. It might be how to work as a team in removing an old unneeded barbed wire fence, or how two people working together can easily plant a pine seedling every minute.
You’ll learn about the Lake Wales Ridge Ecosystem, and what makes it so special. You’ll learn how to support and help re-introduce rare and endangered species, like Scrub Jays, Red-cockaded Woodpeckers, Scrub Lupine, and many others. You’ll learn how native plants are very rugged and can survive extremes of drought, rain, and temperatures. You’ll learn how agencies, organizations, and individuals work together on the Lake Wales Ridge.
And finally, you’ll learn that one person – you – has the ability to make a critical difference towards conservation of our valuable resources, right here where we live.