On Location: Florida
Lake Wales Ridge is in central Florida, about an hour's drive south of Disney World. But it's a world apart from almost every other image you might associate with Florida. The ridge is an ancient sand dune that extends about 100 miles north and south down the middle of the Florida peninsula. About 2 million years ago, this Ridge was the only piece of dry land around here. This isolation contributed to the evolution of numerous plants and animals that can only be found in this particular region today. This isolation also increases the chance that some of these species will have trouble surviving. And in fact, 26 species of plants and animals that live on the Ridge are listed as endangered or threatened by the federal government.
In order to protect this special habitat, more than 30 conservation sites have been established along the Ridge. These sites are managed by a variety of agencies and organizations, such as state and federal natural resources agencies, and private organizations such as The Nature Conservancy.
|Young sand pines at the Archbold Biological Station in Highlands County, Florida. Photo by Christine Hawkes, ABS.|
The Nature Conservancy is a nonprofit conservation organization committed to protecting plants and animals and natural communities that represent the diversity of life on Earth. One way the Conservancy is doing this in Florida is by using a technique called prescribed burning.
A prescribed burn is the controlled application of fire under specific weather and ecological conditions. The broadcast will take you to Florida to watch a prescribed burn and to learn how this technique not only helps improve habitat for wildlife but also helps protect nearby homes from the threat of fuels buildup.