On March 9, 2020, Werner-Boyce Salt Springs State Park conducted an ecological burn with great success. We covered 254 acres that will now benefit from the fire. The burn was preformed by our staff, Adam Belden - Park Manager, Michael Faustini – Park Services Specialist & Burn Boss, Karen Strawn - Park Ranger, Hannah King - FLCC member, Brenna Robe - FLCC member, and Michael Emmerich - Retired Ranger & volunteer. The burn was also assisted by the V.I.P.E.R. Team (Vanguards Igniting Pyric Ecosystems for Restoration), Park Rangers from Honeymoon Island, Myakka River, and Weeki Wachee state parks, and Emily May Park Services Specialist at Weeki Wachee. Emily took these wonderful photos.
This burn was Michael Faustini’s first burn as Burn Boss and he did an amazing job! Anyone who attended our First Day Hike on January 1st, learned how much planning and work is completed by the Burn Boss before any prescribed fire ever begins. “We had an amazing and experienced crew which mad everything go well,” said Faustini.
The March 9th burn was Brenna’s first experience working a fire. Brenna said, “As this was my first experience on an ecological burn, I gained valuable knowledge from the entire team and I’m so grateful for their guidance and support”.
We look forward to getting more of these environmentally beneficial burns done as weather permits with Burn Boss Michael Faustini leading the way.
After the burn, Volunteer Burt Golub went into the burned zone with Adam Belden to locate and mark on GPS coordinates for the locations of cat-faced trees dating back to the 1800’s. We found several examples including one that was cat-faced on two sides and well preserved. Burt is very knowledgeable on the history of the area and will be a guest speaker at one of our upcoming Salt Springs Alliance meetings. Burt will be able to explain exactly what a cat-faced tree is and how they are a part of our local history.