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Maintaining Tyndall’s natural resources; CES knows best

Jared Kwitowski, a wildlife biologist assigned to the 325th Civil Engineer Squadron Natural Resources, holds a black bear skull at the Natural Resources office June 10, 2016. The black bear is found on Tyndall AFB, and it is the only species of bear found in Florida. Adult males weigh between 250 and 350 pounds and females usually weigh 130 to 180 pounds. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Sergio A. Gamboa/Released)

Jared Kwitowski, a wildlife biologist assigned to the 325th Civil Engineer Squadron Natural Resources, holds a black bear skull at the Natural Resources office June 10, 2016. The black bear is found on Tyndall AFB, and it is the only species of bear found in Florida. Adult males weigh between 250 and 350 pounds and females usually weigh 130 to 180 pounds. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Sergio A. Gamboa/Released)

Beckie Johnson, assigned to the 325th Civil Engineer Squadron Natural Resources, poses for a photo with different species of wildlif found at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., June 10, 2016, at the Natural Resources office.  Natural Resources is comprised of three sections and six team members that oversee natural resources at Tyndall AFB. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Sergio A. Gamboa/Released)

Beckie Johnson, assigned to the 325th Civil Engineer Squadron Natural Resources, poses for a photo with different species of wildlif found at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., June 10, 2016, at the Natural Resources office. Natural Resources is comprised of three sections and six team members that oversee natural resources at Tyndall AFB. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Sergio A. Gamboa/Released)

Richard Turner, a forest technician assigned to the 325th Civil Engineer Squadron Natural Resources forest management section, drives a tractor in preperation for road reestablishing at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., June 14, 2016. Forest management supports the Tyndall mission by providing wildfire protection, forest enhancement and restoration, endangered species and wildlife habitiat improvement and recreational development. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Sergio A. Gamboa/Released)

Richard Turner, a forest technician assigned to the 325th Civil Engineer Squadron Natural Resources forest management section, drives a tractor in preperation for road reestablishing at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., June 14, 2016. Forest management supports the Tyndall mission by providing wildfire protection, forest enhancement and restoration, endangered species and wildlife habitiat improvement and recreational development. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Sergio A. Gamboa/Released)

TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. --

More than 30,000 acres of Tyndall land and water has to be maintained, not only for Tyndall’s mission, but its wildlife.

Advancing and sustaining these resources is important to the health and morale of Airmen, as well as sustaining the mission. One 325th Civil Engineer Squadron flight’s goal is making sure this is accomplished.

Natural Resources manages the biologically diverse natural environment for continued use. They also help restore and manage forests for mission use, habitat improvement and protection of threatened and endangered species.

“Natural Resources is essential for the base and its Airmen, and is responsible for maintaining the access roads to many popular recreational areas,” said Jared Kwitowski, 325th CES wildlife biologist. “We plan and implement the base hunting and fishing program and outdoor recreation program, which provides Airmen with great activities on base while enjoying the natural environment.”

Natural Resources is comprised of three sections: forestry, wildlife and cultural resources. Within the office there are six 325th members and two U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service contractors.

The cultural resources staff identifies and protects archeological and historic resources on the base.

“Tyndall has some amazing archeological and historic sites spanning eras, including Native Americans, Spanish and British explorers, early American settlers and the beginnings of the Air Force in World War II,” said Wendy Weaver, Air Force Civil Engineer Center Cultural Resources manager. “History is literally embedded in the grounds of Tyndall.”

The forest management section supports the Tyndall mission through selective thinning, natural and artificial regeneration of native species and by prescribed fire burns. These are used to achieve installation goals for military training requirements, airfield safety compliance, wildfire protection, forest enhancement and restoration, endangered species and wildlife habitat improvement, and recreational development.

“I often tell people that I have the best job in the Air Force,” said Daniel L. Childs, 325th CES forestry technician. “It is a pleasure working with men and women that have volunteered to protect this country, and it is an honor to be able to use forestry to support the military mission.”

The wildlife section practices wildlife management principles and techniques while supporting the base mission. One of the focal points of the program is the management and conservation of threatened and endangered species, to include sea turtle nest monitoring, endangered beach mouse and threatened shorebird monitoring.  The wildlife section also implements the base hunting, fishing and outdoor recreation programs.

“I enjoy my work in the wildlife section of Natural Resources,” Kwitowski said. “It’s a unique position to be in, and not only gives me the opportunity to practice good wildlife management techniques, but also provides great ways to give back to Airmen in the form of excellent outdoor recreational opportunities.”

Natural Resources provides Airmen and their families different opportunities to enjoy the nature and wildlife. Some outdoor recreational activities include hiking trails, beaches, fishing and hunting.

“There are a lot of activities people on base can enjoy,” Kwitowski said. “Our beautiful, undeveloped beaches provide relaxing and fun vacations from stressful work conditions, and the best part is that they are right in our own back yard.”

For more information on outdoor recreational activities, call the Natural Resources office at 850-283-2641 or visit https://tyndall.isportsman.net/.