The volunteer ranger program for Turkey Creek and Ruffner Mountain Nature Preserves is brought to you by Wild South. With support from the Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham, The Goodrich Foundation and Youthserve, a stewardship program has been developed and modeled after Wild South’s successful Volunteer Wilderness Ranger program. The program has been adapted to suit the needs of a nature preserve without the federal stipulations imposed on federally designated wilderness areas. The idea of the program is still the same: to educate visitors about public lands and provide stewardship to the preserve that will involve trash pick-up, suggesting hikes, light trail maintenance and assistance in an emergency situation.
Preserve rangers will patrol in pairs. This is an excellent opportunity to team up with a friend, spouse or significant other. Seek out a partner and get involved!
Training is easy! After an interview you will be paired with a mentor for 8 hours of training in the field!
Volunteers will learn cultural history and become familiar with the flora and fauna of the preserve.
Must be 18 years of age or older and able to pass a background check.
CPR training will be partially reimbursed.
Here are testimonials from the volunteers we trained in April 2015:
“Getting outside and being of service is good for my soul. The fresh air and exercise (like hiking) helps me to clear my head, relax, and rejuvenates my spirit. Being of service enhances my sense of community and of belonging.”
“I love going to Ruffner Mountain. I am passionate about conversation and park preservation. I thought this would be a way that I could be congruent with myself and give back to our environment.”
“I’ve always loved being in the woods, hiking, watching nature. Being retired, I now have a chance to give back and hopefully help others get the same enjoyment from the beauty of our natural world.”
“I became involved in this program because I wanted exactly that, to be more involved. It’s a small step towards doing what I actually want to be doing and I know that every little bit helps. I love learning about everything I come into contact with on the trails and becoming knowledgeable about my surroundings so I can further educate others on how to help keep our trails maintained so we can enjoy them as long as we’re here.”
“I joined to become involved in the local conservation community, further my naturalist education, and gain some much needed time in the outdoors. This program is particularly attractive to me because it focuses on two places that I have enjoyed for years and that happen to be near where I live.”
“I always enjoyed the outdoors and spent most of my vacations hiking in whatever wilderness I could find. I truly enjoy Alabama’s wilderness areas but being as busy as everybody else, I am confined to the parks in 30 min reach. In the past I helped trail blazing, developed trails, maintained trails, and invited friends out on the Mountains to enjoy the views, the flora, fauna, and exercising without the need to join a gym. Ruffner provides a great opportunity for City dwellers to experience why Alabama is called beautiful and I would like to make their visit as enjoyable as I can.”
“I joined the Preserve Ranger program to help contribute to protecting and promoting awareness of the natural world. I also wish to strengthen my connection to place by spending more time in the preserves, learning and observing the native flora and fauna.”
“I am involved in the Volunteer Ranger program because it is my dream to one day be an Interpretive Ranger at Yosemite National Park. Before this program was created, the only way for me to gain relevant experience was going out of state for seasonal internships. This program offers me the unique opportunity to prepare for my career close to home. It will help me to build a resume and gain field experience while still being able to work and go to school. In addition to helping me along my career path, I feel that this program will greatly benefit my health/wellbeing. I feel better both mentally and physically when I spend more time outside hiking and observing nature. This program is a great motivator to stay active and keep following my dream.”
If you don’t have time to commit to volunteering but you would like to make a donation to Wild South to help support the work we do in the preserves and other public lands, click the link below where it reads, “donate”.