Avon Park Air Force Range is requesting assistance from the Ridge Rangers to help continued restoration efforts on native wet grasslands, scrub and rare plant habitat on the base. We would like the Ridge Ranger volunteers to assist with the removal of woody encroachment, including slash pines, sand pines and myrtles, that have invaded into some of our otherwise intact wet grassland and scrub habitats. Removal of the young pines and shrubs in rare plant habitat will enhance and ensure the long term viability of some of our rarest orchids and other plants in the region.
We’ll be using hand tools to cut
down small slash pines and myrtles to help restore the original prairie habitat
to help rare and endangered species.
Slash Pines taking over prairie in a conservation area at Avon Park Air Force Range
Please wear long pants, long sleeves, a hat and BRIGHT COLORS or SAFETY ORANGE as it is hunting season. We'll have all the tools and gear needed, but bring your work gloves. We'll also have plenty of cold drinking water.
The guard at the entrance may ask for a photo ID, please be sure to bring one.
We'll be meeting at Building 236 (the first building on the right after the gate) at the Air Force Range.
Take US Hwy 27 to Avon Park. At the light at US27 and Main Street turn east on Main Street (CR64) and follow CR 64 for about 10 miles until it ends at the Avon Park AFR security gate. The guard can help with directions to building 236 where we will be meeting. It will be the first building to the right after the gate.
The Avon Park Air Force Range’s extensive natural and cultural resources are managed to maintain their unique ecological characteristics and to ensure the long term sustainability of the Range’s military training mission. The program is one of the most extensive in the Air Force and encompasses protecting wetland and endangered species habitats as well as utilizing these resources for numerous benefits.
More than 54,000 acres of wetlands are found on the APAFR. These areas are protected to make sure their ecological integrity is not compromised. The Air Force is currently working with the US Army Corps of Engineers for the restoration of the Kissimmee River, which flows along the eastern boundary of the Range, and with the South Florida Water Management District to improve over 2,500 acres of floodplain of Arbuckle Creek, as a part of the Lake Okeechobee Protection Program.
Please see APAFR's official website for more at http://www.cfrpc.org/jlus-avonparkafr/conservation-and-wetlands-protection-and-restoration/