Florida Department of Environmental Protection Release
KEYSTONE HEIGHTS – Commemorating the 2012 year of service to Florida’s state parks, 45 Florida State Parks AmeriCorps members completed their last service project at Mike Roess Gold Head Branch State Park. Individual projects included exterior and interior restoration efforts of cabins built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s, removing encroaching landscape around the Civilian Conservation Corps water tower to help preserve it and increase its visibility to the public and collecting wire grass seeds for use in habitat restoration efforts in the park and other nearby state parks. Florida State Parks AmeriCorps members were also treated to a year-end appreciation ceremony held at the park.
“We are extremely thankful to these dedicated and passionate individuals for their love of Florida’s environment and service in our state parks,” said Florida Park Service Director Donald Forgione. “Florida State Parks AmeriCorps members inspire visitors daily and create a lasting legacy of community pride in our parks.”
Florida State Parks AmeriCorps members spend a year of service in various state parks, working to positively impact both the natural and cultural resources of that park. The AmeriCorps Florida State Parks program is administered by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and operates in Florida's 161 state parks and their surrounding communities. In cooperation with park staff, local organizations and schools, AmeriCorps Florida State Parks members provide service in the areas of habitat restoration, Americans with Disabilities Act compliance, prescribed burning, trail maintenance, cultural and historical restoration, environmental education and volunteer recruitment.
“Florida State Parks AmeriCorps is a life changing opportunity that has had endless rewards and outcomes! It has prepared me for my next adventure and career in life, and I wouldn’t be the same person I am today without being an AmeriCorps member," said Catlin Minnis, Florida State Parks AmeriCorps member at Jonathan Dickinson State Park. "I am AmeriCorps and I will recommend it to everyone that wants to better their lives. Being an AmeriCorps member is something that I will always remember.”
“Florida State Parks AmeriCorps is a great educational experience. I am stronger and more confident," said Samantha Hudson, Florida State Parks AmeriCorps member at Ponce de Leon Springs State Park. "I am AmeriCorps. Being an AmeriCorps member is setting out to do something and knowing you’ll make a difference.”
As of Oct. 31, 2012, the 2012 Florida State Parks AmeriCorps program has:
- Contributed approximately 75,000 hours of service to Florida State Parks.
- Treated nearly 10,000 gross acres for invasive exotic plants.
- Participated on the fire line of approximately 32,000 acres of prescribed fire.
- Improved approximately 1,500 miles of trails.
- Provided interpretive programs to more than 9,000 participants.
- Recruited more than 1,500 new volunteers who provided Florida State Parks with nearly 5,000 hours of volunteer service.
AmeriCorps Florida State Parks began in 1997 and is part the national service movement AmeriCorps. Nationwide, AmeriCorps engages more than 50,000 citizens of all ages and backgrounds each year in results-driven community service in the areas of education, public safety, human needs and the environment. In return, AmeriCorps members earn an education award for their service.
The mission of AmeriCorps Florida State Parks is to serve and strengthen Florida State Parks' natural and cultural resources by addressing critical environmental and human needs. Visit the website to find out more information about the program and how to become a member.