How do I find out about Ridge Rangers volunteer events and participate?
All Ridge Rangers volunteer events -- called “workdays” -- are on our online calendar. Click on each event to get the full details about a workday: what we are doing, where we are meeting, the times, and any special instructions.
To sign-up for a workday, click the register button in the workday event within the calendar, and then follow the instructions (you don't need a calendar “account” to sign-up for a Ridge Rangers workday, but it does streamline the registration). Once signed-up, you are in the loop for any event changes or details you need to know. You will also receive a reminder about the event a few days in advance.
What information is in the Ridge Rangers calendar for each event?
- Dates & Times
- What we are doing
- How it benefits
- Meeting location
- Map to the location
- What to bring
- What to wear
- Contact info
- Any special details
Come out and help!
We welcome everyone to sign-up for an event!
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.
Three things you probably didn't know about the Lake Wales Ridge:
- It’s at least a million years old.
- It’s one of the top locations in the United States for biodiversity.
- It supplies the water we use.
How will what I do help?
You make a critical difference by helping to restore a conservation area to its natural habitat, or by helping to re-introduce endangered native species, or by participating in citizen science to measure restoration or re-introduction progress.
What will I get out of the workday?
While you help to make a critical difference, you get to see a variety of nearby conservation areas, many of which are not well known or are restricted to the public. You also meet and work with like-minded people from your community, as well as biologists and conservationists from many organizations.
You also get the opportunity to do a variety of interesting activities, like planting native plants, removing invasive plants, 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 or 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 are able to coordinate with you.
What do I bring? What do I wear?
You are advised about the specifics for each workday, but in general you will want to wear sturdy footwear that you do not mind getting dirty, and your favorite old work clothes -- including long pants and long sleeves. You will 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 gloves that fit you well. We will have cold drinking water and cups. The Ridge Rangers provide all tools needed for a workday.
Can I bring my child? Can I bring a friend?
Absolutely! If you have someone that you 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 help at your own pace and comfort level – we are grateful for your participation! Each workday 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 learn something new and worthwhile each workday: it might be seeing a nearby conservation area that you didn’t know existed, or what the two unique habitats in our area look like -- Ancient Scrub and Sandhill Pine. 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 learn about the Lake Wales Ridge ecosystem, and what makes it so special. You learn how to support and help re-introduce rare and endangered species, like Scrub-Jays, Red-cockaded Woodpeckers, Scrub Lupine, and many others. You learn how native plants are very rugged and can survive extremes of drought, rain, and temperatures. You learn how agencies, organizations, and individuals work together on the Lake Wales Ridge.
And finally, you learn that one person – you – has the ability to make a critical difference towards the conservation of our valuable resources, right where we live.