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The most important benefit to volunteering is the immeasurable satisfaction derived from being a member of one of Florida's finest conservation, wildfire suppression and emergency response teams.
Volunteers work on improving a rest area at Goethe State Forest.
As a member of the Florida Forest Service's volunteer team you may work in either a rural or urban area or work in an office or in the forest. We have several Volunteer Service Areas to choose from.
For more information, please contact the Field Unit Manager
for the county you wish to work in.
- To volunteer you must be at least 18 years of age, or obtain written consent of your parent or guardian.
- Individuals and groups may volunteer depending on the needs of the Florida Forest Service.
- Due to the physical nature of some of the volunteer work, volunteers must have the health and physical condition sufficient to permit carrying out the volunteer services without jeopardizing his or her well-being or the well-being of others.
- If the volunteer activity involves driving a state vehicle, then a valid drivers license without any serious infractions will be required.
How Long Can I Serve as a Volunteer?
Depending upon the type of volunteer service needed, volunteer activities may be one time events or long-term projects.
The Tangible Benefits of Volunteer Service
Volunteering offers you experiences that are personally rewarding and challenging, on the job training for certain program areas, and consideration of volunteer service time as official service when evaluating the qualifications of volunteers who seek Career Service employment. Where duties require, Florida Forest Service uniforms are provided with specially designed volunteer insignia. You will receive official Certificates of Appreciation for volunteer work, signed by the Commissioner of Agriculture and Director of the Florida Forest Service, official service pins and other awards for each 1000 hours of volunteer service, and coverage against claims for injury.
Volunteer Service Areas
Volunteers can help in many ways, such as:
Educational & Interpretive Programs
Survey Assistance of Threatened/Endangered Flora & Fauna
Tree-seedling Nursery Operations
Forestry Computer Operations
Forest Fire Protection
Campground Host Service:
Campground Hosts stay on-site at one of the Florida Forest Service recreation areas and assist managing the campground. Hosts answer camper's questions, give directions, pass out literature, help with light maintenance and make themselves available for late-night emergencies. In return, campground hosts get a free campsite for the time they volunteer and the satisfaction of knowing they are helping folks fully enjoy their forest experience. For more information on how to volunteer as a campground host, please contact Blackwater Forestry Center, Withlacoochee Forestry Center, Lake Talquin State Forest, or Tate's Hell State Forest.
Educational & Interpretive Programs:
Depending upon an individual's background and experience, and with a little training, the volunteer will assist with or conduct various educational and interpretive programs such as:
Programs may be given at recreation areas, forest headquarters, schools, and for civic groups.
- Wildfire prevention/Smokey Bear
- Tree identification
- Forest history
- Forest ecosystems
- Threatened and endangered plants and animals
- Other cultural and natural resource programs
Volunteers may have the opportunity to work at the main headquarters of a Forestry Center or District Field Office or in Tallahassee. Copying, filing, answering telephones, greeting the public, sharing information about the forest and its operation, issuing fuel wood permits or giving directions are all key volunteer activities.
As stewards of the forest, professional foresters, biologists and ecologists study the health and condition of the forest. Projects that remove exotic plants or plant native trees and grasses help restore the vigor and condition of the forest system. Volunteers have helped greatly with these types of projects.
Whether you use hiking, bicycling, motor-cycling, or horseback riding trails, the upkeep and maintenance of trails is an on-going challenge. Volunteer groups have played an integral part in maintaining the forests' various trail systems by keeping them clear and well marked.
Survey Assistance for Threatened or Endangered Flora and Fauna:
As the Florida Forest Service receives more state lands to manage, it is important to know what cultural and natural resources exist in order to develop a comprehensive management plan for the land. Surveys of threatened and endangered plants and animals and for the cultural resources assist the Florida Forest Service's professional foresters, biologists and ecologists in managing these resources so they will be available for future generations.
Tree-seedling Nursery Operations Assistance:
The Florida Forest Service has a tree nursery in Chiefland where bare root pine seedlings, tubeling pine trees and wiregrass are grown to reforest public lands. Help is needed for sowing seed, thinning and transplanting seedlings and boxing trees as well as weighing, sorting and bundling bare root trees.
Forestry Computer Operations Assistance:
To keep pace with technology, the Florida Forest Service is now using Geographic Information Systems (GIS), network systems, Global Positioning Systems (GPS) etc., to conduct natural resource data collection and management. Computer data entry assistance is needed to input information into the GIS systems information about land boundaries, trails, forest types, etc.
Forest Protection Activities Assistance:
As volunteer Forest Rangers or Volunteer Forest Ranger Assistants, individuals will have the opportunity to assist Florida Forest Service Firefighters with suppressing forest wildland fires or conducting prescribed burning. Volunteer Forest Rangers must have the same certification as a Forestry Firefighter and pass the Florida Forest Service's health and physical fitness program. Volunteer Forest Ranger Assistants are not involved in wildfire suppression but serve in a vital support role maintaining firefighting equipment, manning radio transmissions and patrolling the fire line under the direct supervision of a certified Forestry Firefighter.
- Contact the Field Unit Manager for the county you wish to volunteer in.
- Lorna Radcliff, Recreation Specialist
Florida Forest Service
3125 Conner Blvd. C25
Tallahassee, FL 32399-1650
Telephone: 850-414-0871 FAX: 850-921-6724