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FWC recognizes “Super” Sid Pennington as Sonya Rood Volunteer of the Year

FWC staff and Commissioners with Pennington holding his award
Media contact: Ryan Sheets, 727-282-7642 or Release Date: 05-02-2024   All Articles Tags:

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) announced Sid Pennington as the recipient of the 2024 Sonya Rood Volunteer of the Year award at this week’s Commission meeting in Daytona Beach. The award recognizes one volunteer who demonstrates superior performance resulting in exemplary achievement for the FWC.

Pennington had settled comfortably into retirement until 2019, when he noticed an unusual creature across the street from his house in Fort Pierce — the Argentine black and white tegu. Native to South America, this species is a large omnivorous lizard that poses threats to Florida’s native ecosystems. Pennington has since made himself invaluable to a project responsible for the removal of 876 tegus — 593 of which he removed himself.

Pennington is an integral part of the removal effort of tegus in Fort Pierce. He first served as a point of contact for a trap loan program to provide area residents with a way to remove tegus from their private properties. When the FWC began a trapping project in 2022, Pennington volunteered to join, even participating in a door-to-door canvassing event to raise awareness on his 60th birthday. He now serves as the lead volunteer for the Fort Pierce Tegu Trapping Project, a volunteer-led effort in its third season. In addition to running his own trapline, he also supports an additional volunteer trapline running Monday through Friday, helping with anything from trapping to measuring and weighing tegus to vehicle maintenance and storing equipment.

“‘Super Sid’ is an exemplary volunteer who I’m thrilled to see recognized with this reward,” said Commissioner Sonya Rood. “FWC volunteers are critical to achieving our conservation goals. I’m grateful to Sid, and to every volunteer who gives of their time.”

“Sid is a champion for conservation volunteering with the Nonnative Fish and Wildlife Program,” said Sharon Tatem, FWC Conservation Stewardship Leader. “We are truly grateful to Commissioner Rood for her generous endowment to make this recognition possible.”

The Sonya Rood Volunteer of the Year award requires nominees to meet three or more of the following criteria: demonstrates exceptional commitment; shows exceptional leadership; exhibits innovation; growth in volunteer work; and acts as an ambassador and is a positive force to further the mission of the FWC. The award includes $500 in cash and a commemorative plaque. Volunteers were nominated by FWC staff and reviewed by a committee comprised of members of the Volunteer Standing Team, an internal cross-divisional team that guides the structure, direction and best practices of volunteering, citizen science and stewardship for the FWC.

The FWC benefits from the skills and dedication of its volunteers and strives to offer a fulfilling, meaningful and satisfying volunteer experience. To learn about the many opportunities for volunteering to conserve Florida’s fish and wildlife, visit