Ridge Rangers August Newsletter

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Ridge Rangers at work

August 2014

Upcoming Ridge Ranger Events

Everyone is welcome to participate in Ridge Rangers events. Please click on the links for the full details and to register.

Month View

See a monthly calendar view of Ridge Ranger events

Thursday, August 14: Help eliminate invasive Balsam Apple at Lake June Scrub State Park. The park staff has just discovered a small area of this invasive, and is asking for help pulling the weed before it spreads. Near Lake Placid, led by Park Service Specialist Scott Paterson.

Thursday, August 14 & Tuesday, August 19: Help rescue rare plants at a construction site near Orlando. Volunteers are needed to help rescue plants from a rare scrub habitat in Orlando before the bulldozers start to roll.  We have permission from the developer for this effort, and need to get the plants as soon as possible! Led by Bok Tower Garden’s Juliet Rynear.

Wednesday, September 3: Maintain the Scrub Lupine population at Mackay Gardens. We'll be weeding, cutting back tree limbs, and weed-eating grass at the edge of the site. Near Lake Alfred, led by Bok Tower Garden’s Juliet Rynear.

September 2014:  Ridge Rangers needed to work independently to gather scrub oak acorns for sprouts for next summers’ restoration planting. FWC conservation sites where the gathering will occur include Mountain Lake  (Lake Wales), Silver Lake (Avon Park), Carter Creek (Sebring), and Lake Placid sites Royce Ranch, Lake Placid Scrub, and McJunkin.  You’ll need a ziplock bag, a little temporary storage space in your refrigerator, and the ability to move and navigate along firebreaks on conservation sites. Contact FWC’s Brad Kolhoff (brad.kolhoff@myfwc.com) for the details and maps.

Saturday, September 27:  National Public Lands Day at Bok Tower Gardens. We'll be cutting, pulling, and piling trees to clear undesirable underbrush to help restore sandhill habitat. Near Lake Wales, led by Bok Tower Garden’s Trina Noland

Saturday, October 4: Brad, Birds, and ... Acorns! Join Biologist Brad Kolhoff for two hours of seeing and learning about birds at the FWC Royce Unit, followed by two hours of gathering scrub oak acorns for habitat restoration (You can do both or either). Near Lake Placid

Saturday, October 18: Ridge Rangers Outreach at Boktoberfest. We'll be engaging festival attendees to pot scrub oak acorns ... the resulting sprouts will be used for restoration planting in the summer of 2015. Near Lake Wales, led by Bill Parken

In July 2014, Ridge Rangers participated in Jay Watch, wrapped up the 2014 Blue Bird survey at FWC Royce, did hours and hours of general stewardship at FWC Lake Blue, and way out in damaged & miserably-hot scrub at Royce … planted 2,425 baby oaks!

Reference Links

Ridge Rangers Home Page: http://www.myfwc.com/ridgerangers

See where Ridge Rangers help

For Land Managers: Workday Request Form

Would you like to find out about the Ridge Rangers program, including how to participate? Send an email to the Ridge Rangers Coordinator

You can now apply for the Ridge Rangers online .

The Ridge Rangers Online Calendar has our schedule of upcoming volunteer events.

For Ridge Rangers working independently: find out how to report your hours at this link

Would you like to make a donation to help support Ridge Ranger workdays? See Ridge Rangers 501 (c)(3) Fund

On Flickr? Join the Ridge Rangers group at http://www.flickr.com/groups/ridgerangers

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In this issue ...

2,425 Scrub Oaks Planted for Project Acorn

Hands planting a baby oak

Photo taken by reporter Gary Pinnell while covering the July 12 Project Acorn planting. Courtesy of Highlands Today.

Over four workdays in July and early August 2014, 70 volunteers planted 2,425 baby scrub oaks to restore 10 acres of damaged oak-scrub habitat at the FWC Royce Unit. These scrub oaks were grown from acorns gathered last fall by Ridge Rangers and then potted by attendees at community festivals ... a 10 month project called Project Acorn.  

Although the planting days were very warm, everyone who helped enjoyed a great view of a remote conservation area, and each person felt like they made a real difference towards restoring the habitat.

A volunteer waters in a just-planted oak

A volunteer from the Sebring LDS Church waters-in a just planted baby oak on July 12.

Although the plantings were done in July to take advantage of the summer rains, we wanted to make sure every plant had a good start!

From gathering the acorns thru the final planting ... see 48 pictures from the 10 month project on Flickr.

I helped sticker

Want to help? See the Project Acorn website.

It's Summer: Drink Up! (H2O that is)

Going on a hike or working outside in August? Two key points and a suggestion on staying hydrated:

  1. Thirst is not a reliable signal to prevent dehydration. In hot and humid conditions, you may be so dehydrated by the time you become thirsty that you will have trouble catching up with your fluid losses.
  2. You will sweat it out faster than you can drink it in. A working adult can produce 2 quarts of sweat per hour for short periods, but the rate at which your body can absorb water maxes out at 1 to 1.5 quarts per hour … you may have just filled your stomach with water, but you’re still dehydrating.

What to do? Get a head start on your water intake! Start drinking out of your hiker’s water bottle on the way to the workday or the trailhead, and then keep it up once you get there.

By Bill Parken, July 2013 Ridge Rangers newsletter.

Can you find Kevin Kane in this picture?

Kevin Kane surveys for butterflies

As part of the annual North American Butterfly Count at the Disney Wilderness Preserve in late June 2014, Ridge Ranger Kevin Kane counted 50 zebra swallowtails in this small cypress marsh.   For the day, the count for the entire preserve for this one species was 232 - the largest, single day/one site count for this species ever!  Photo by Linda Cooper.

Do you have a “Ridge Rangers in Action” picture? Please send in to ridgerangers@myfwc.com and we’ll try to include in a future edition.