Florida State Parks Honors its Volunteers




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A Message From Eric Draper

A graphic featuring an image of people gathered under a pavilion

"Thank you for your continued support of our outstanding state parks!  Now that Spring is finally here, we could use your help reminding people it’s a great time to enjoy the outdoors.  Bring your family and friends to a park near you.  Explore a Florida State Park today!"


Wekiwa Springs Serenity Garden

A group helping to clear an area for the Serenity Garden

The construction of a Serenity Garden at Wekiwa Springs State Park in Orange County is taking an innovative and exciting approach to expanding access and enhancing the park experience for visitors with diverse abilities and special needs. Florida State Parks is partnering with the Wekiwa Wilderness Trust, a nonprofit, volunteer group, to build the garden utilizing the American Therapeutic Horticultural Association’s design principles for therapeutic and enabling spaces. “Nature heals the mind, body, and soul. While everyone deserves to be provided opportunities to be in nature, for many, physical obstacles in the environment preclude their access to nature,” said Dr. Amy Wagenfeld, occupational therapist, award-winning author and one of the project’s partners. “I see the Wekiwa Spring Serenity Garden as being the model project for all other state and national parks.”

                                   Learn More About the Serenity Garden


Florida Keys Overseas Heritage Trail Maintanance 

 A group picture of Florida State Park Staff after a work day

Staff at Lignumvitae, Bahia Honda and Long Key State Parks recently teamed up to maintain the incredible The Florida Keys Overseas Heritage Trail. Together the team helped mow, weed, clear trails, trim coconut palms and perform other important maintenance to keep the pristine multiuse trail in top shape. The Florida Keys Overseas Heritage Trail is an impressive trail, stretching more than 100 miles, from Key Largo to Key West. The trail boasts 90 linear miles of paved trail that is excellent for cycling, running, roller blading and even has plenty of points to launch a kayak or canoe. The dedication shown in the trail management is a firsthand example of how Florida State Park staff is committed to providing award winning natural recreation.

Learn More About Resource Management


 Haz-Mat Recycling Day Success

Hazardous Materials and Waste tires collected at Topsail Hill Preserve

The staff at Topsail Hill Preserve State Park in Walton County helped the county host a successful Solid Waste Recycling and Tire Amnesty Day. The park was one of two locations in the county for residents to drop off hazardous materials like pesticides, used oil, paint thinners and other chemicals that would be incredibly harmful in a landfill. Residents were also able to bring in old, unusable tires. More than 150 vehicles carrying about 200 people participated at the park’s collection, and county officials were able to take loads of environment harming chemicals to be properly recycled. Walton County is not the only partner Topsail Hill Preserve has team up with to help clean up the community. Volunteers, the Friends of Topsail Hill Preserve State Park, Florida Forest Service, and others consistently assist us to improve the health of Florida's ecosystems! 

See More Park Events 


Volunteer Appreciation Awards

A group photo of Eric Draper with Volunteer Award Recipients

Florida State Parks is honoring its incredibly vital volunteers this month with 5 district award ceremonies. Nearly 40 award recipients were selected across the state in various categories to honor individual achievements, group projects, Citizen Support Organizations and other outstanding volunteer performances. The award recipient’s accomplishments were widely ranged, and included giving exceptional service while leading tours; cleaning up post hurricane trash on a beach, just as sea turtles were about to lay their eggs; planning an exceptional cultural event that brought incredible numbers of visitors into the park; and multiple 20+ year service awards. Florida State Parks wants to give a huge thank you to the more than 14,400 volunteers and 83 Citizen Support Organizations that make Florida’s parks one of a kind!  For all the details, check out the Florida State Parks webpage.

   Read More About Our Volunteers!


Getting the Job Done at Jonathon Dickinson State Park

A prescribed fire burning at Jonathan Dickinson State Park


Park Staff at Jonathan Dickinson State Park in Martin County recently completed a 200 acre prescribed fire. To help gain some firsthand experience, a group from a week long Basic Wildland Firefighter Class was in attendance for the fire. The prescribed fire was considered “technical,” meaning there were structures, roads, and homes nearby. However, through meticulous planning, park staff were able to accommodate these factors and complete a successful prescribed fire. “Currently, we are in the middle of the dry season and some folks locally are getting anxious about the threat of wildfire,” Rob Rossmanith, the park’s Environmental Specialist said. He was among the 12 trained and skilled staff involved in the prescribed fire.  “Multiple years of planning, good line preparation, and skillful execution of this prescribed fire led to a successful burn.”  This is just another way Florida State Parks are using good fires to prevent bad ones.

Learn More About Prescribed Fire 



Find An Adventure at a Florida State Park!


Event Details First Friday Garden Walks

April 6

Come out to Washington Oaks Gardens State Park in Flagler County for a Ranger guided tour of our Historic District and Gardens. Learn about the history of Washington Oaks, while taking in the beauty of the Gardens.

 Get event details here! 


Event DetailsTarkiln's 20th Anniversary 

April 14

Join us at Tarkiln Bayou Preserve State Park in Escambia County and celebrate 20 years of protecting, preserving, and enjoying the park. There will be educational interpretive displays and ranger guided nature hikes at 10:00 a.m. and 12:00 p.m. 

Get event details here! 

Event DetailsClean-up Day

April 21

Join the Friends of Ichetucknee Springs State Park for a day of giving back in Columbia County. helping to clean up trash and debris around Dampier's Dock 

Get event details here! 

Be sure to check Facebook April 5th for a special deal on camping!






 #FLStateParks in the News! 

"Sarasota fifth-graders become wildlife biologists for a day“ 

"Vote for Caladesi Island State Park" 

"Dallas named Volunteer of the Month"