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Natural Resources 101

Posted 3/18/2014   Updated 3/18/2014 Email story   Print story


by Airman 1st Class Alex Echols
325th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

3/18/2014 - TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla.  -- Tyndall spans more than 28,000 acres. Much of this land is undeveloped and protected containing many species of plants and animals.

The 325th Civil Engineer Squadron Natural Resources office's mission is to make sure the human and the animal population of Tyndall can cohabitate. They also enforce the hunting and fishing regulations, protect historical locations and artifacts and maintain the walking trails on base.

To succeed in their mission, the office must first educate the members of Team Tyndall about the animals they live with and see every day, said John Jennings, 325th CES Natural Resources wildlife technician.

Potentially Dangerous and Protected Wildlife:
Tyndall has many potentially dangerous animals including: alligators, black bears, bobcats, coyotes, raccoons, opossums, sharks, snakes and spiders. These animals do not actively seek out and attack humans, but they are attracted by things humans do.

"If you go into the woods, the probability of encountering one of these animals is pretty high," said Jennings.

There are also many different dolphins, beach mice, sea and land turtles and shore birds that are protect or endangered living or nesting on base. These animals have delicate lives and ecosystems that could be damaged by the slightest human impact.

Whether the animal is potentially dangerous or protected, the following tips will help keep people and the animals they encounter safe:

-Never feed any wild animals on base.
-Always close trash containers and secure the latch.
-Put away grills and bird feeders when not in use.
-Keep out of the dunes and do not remove the sea oats.
-Dogs are not allowed on the beach.
-Leashes are required for all dogs outside of a fenced-in area.
-Slow down and watch for deer on the roadways.
-Do not approach any wild animals.

"The best thing to do if you see a wild animal is observe from a distance," said Jennings. "Don't approach or feed it, and if you want to take pictures, do it from a distance."

Hunting and Fishing:
With around 14,000 acres of huntable land, four ponds and a long fishable coast, Tyndall is a viable option for hunting and fishing. Game on Tyndall include: deer, duck, turkey, squirrel, rabbit, dove, coyotes, bobcats, raccoons and opossum.

Donald Jenkins, 325th CES conservation officer, is in charge of Tyndall's hunting and fishing programs and enforces all state and federal conservation laws.

"The big reasons we have the hunting and fishing regulations are safety and maintaining the herd," said Jenkins. "We want to make sure we keep healthy herds, but we also want to have enough reduction that we don't have animals running everywhere. If you don't, you run into problems of disease and overpopulation."

Safety is paramount when doing any outdoor activity, especially anything involving weapons. Jenkins has worked on base since 2005, and there have been no hunting related accidents during his time here.

"I think it has a lot to do with our rules and regulations on base," said Jenkins.

View the Hunting, Fishing and General Recreation Regulations for all related information including a hunting season calendar and licenses.

Artifacts and Walking Trails:
There are several historical locations around base relating to the pre-Tyndall era. It is not uncommon to find artifacts from the people of these times i.e., pottery, tools, etc. These items are protected, and if found, the person should contact Natural Resources office.

The office also maintains five walking trails around Tyndall allowing people to experience nature first hand.

To report a bear or alligator sighting or for answers to any questions regarding these topics, please call the Natural Resources Office at 283-2822.

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