Below are testimonials from current State of Florida employees. Read them and find
out why so many people love to serve the citizens of Florida by working for any of the State's
Environmental Specialist II - Department of Environmental Protection Division of Recreation and Parks
County Forester - Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services
Law Enforcement Officer at Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park - Department of Environmental Protection Division of Law Enforcement
Airplane Pilot - Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services
Chief Deputy General Counsel - Department of Environmental Protection Office of General Counsel
Environmental Engineer - Department of Environmental Protection Division of Waste Management
Forest Area Supervisor - Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services
Nursery Manager - Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services
State Fire Weather Meteorologist - Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services
Environmental Specialist II
I have been with the Department of Environmental Protection’s Division of Recreation and Parks for 17 years. I always envisioned working for an agency such as DEP, where I could put my background and expertise to work while contributing to the protection and enhancement of Florida’s biological diversity.
My work day is extremely varied. On one day I can be participating in a prescribed burn in one of our state parks, or involved in a biological survey, or working on a restoration project, or assisting rangers in treating exotic (non-native) plants, or I could be monitoring a population of a listed plant or animal species, or giving a presentation to park rangers, AmeriCorps workers, or the public.
The variety of experiences and challenges make my career with DEP interesting. Knowing that I am directly contributing to the conservation of biological diversity in Florida is extremely rewarding, as is meeting the daily challenge of enlightening others to this biological diversity and encouraging them to convert that knowledge into positive action.
To be involved in public service, to make a difference day-to-day while also laying the groundwork for a longer-term difference in the conservation of Florida’s incredible biological diversity, is a very rewarding endeavor.
I have worked for the Division of Forestry as the Alachua County Forester for over 22 years. Obviously I love what I do. I provide extension advice and services to the citizens of Alachua County regarding their forests, whether that forest is a traditional woodlot on acreage, or the “urban” forest around their house.
I love my job because I love to help people and I love the natural environment. Every person is unique, and so is every forest. I can make a difference in the natural world around me because of the impact I can have on the forest, the wildlife within, the beauty, the recreational opportunities, the air we breathe and the water we drink. And I never get tired of meeting people and blessing them. Sometimes when I drive away from helping a landowner or homeowner I imagine them thinking, “There goes Dave Censer. He really helped me. He works for the Division of Forestry.”
Law Enforcement Officer at Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park
Working as a State Law Enforcement Officer for the Department of Environmental Protection at Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park brings with it a great sense of pride. No other job in the state could possibly offer the unique opportunities that this one does.
I may be patrolling in a traditional sense in my patrol car one hour and be on the beach with an All Terrain Vehicle the next. There is no end to the variety of law enforcement we provide or the significant role we play in protecting the State of Florida, its people and the reason that most people adore our state — the environment.
In summer, Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park is literally a microcosm of Miami. The people with whom we interact can be a typical family, or at times, the criminal element. Law enforcement can range from burglaries, disturbances and warrants to traffic violations or destruction of park resources. During winter, Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park can be a trip around the world. People literally come from all over the world to visit the park and its historical resources.
The most interesting aspect of my work is that it covers the entire gamut of law enforcement. The quality of the environment I work in and the quality of the people I work with make the job rewarding — all of us protecting and working for a better Florida.
I think I have the perfect job! I get to find and fight wildfire from an airplane. My perfect day starts with some time on the computer in the morning checking weather, checking the active fires on FMIS, talking with the duty officers and my boss. I do have some miscellaneous duties also that I usually take care of in the mornings. Then it's off to the airport for a thorough preflight before flying my district and hopefully finding any fires when they are small and manageable. May and June are the busiest months because there is so much lightning. Once I find a fire I help the rangers access it quickly by giving directions, and then I stay circling the fire, giving information to the IC and the rangers like:
type of fuels, structures in danger, hazards like ditches, fences and flag ponds, time frames for the progression of the fire, acreage, wind shifts and anything else that seems pertinent. If the ranger is fairly new, as many are in our district, I might suggest tactics also. If there is an experienced firefighter or FAS on scene then I don't have to tell them anything, they know what to do. If the helicopter is called in then he and I stay in constant contact on a different frequency and we work together with the IC to find the most advantageous spots to drop water. To save him time I will scout out water sources and look for any low level hazards like towers and powerlines. I also take photos of the fire and manage by radio any media helicopters that might want some photos for the evening news.
Maybe you will see me on the news sometime circling around the smoke. During the wet months I am the Inventory person and I get to go to all the work centers and visit with the rangers, they are a great bunch of men and women. I've been doing this for eight years now and it is very satisfying work. I hope to keep doing it for many years to come.
After working for a private sector environmental consulting firm for 12 years, I accepted a position with the Department of Environmental Protection as a Professional Engineer III in the Bureau of Waste Cleanup, Hazardous Waste Cleanup Section to restore some balance to my life.
My position affords me the opportunity to study and evaluate the work of all 11 of the Section’s consultant contractors. This has allowed me to learn new and better ways of doing things. I also get to see the results of design decisions for dozens of new remedial installations each year. Because of this, I have the best opportunity in the world to learn what type of approach is most likely to work at any particular site. Every day there are new questions and new puzzles to solve. For a person who is constantly curious, it is nearly the ideal environment.
Typically, my time is divided amongst the review of technical documents; meetings with consultant contractors to discuss strategies and design approaches; evaluation of results; troubleshooting problems; communicating lessons learned to Section staff; and special projects. Our Section has a great group of people. They are smart and hard-working, and there is a very free exchange of knowledge and friendship among us all.
DEP is a great place for an engineer who wants to focus on answering questions about “why” certain processes or methods work (or fail), because we see vastly more designs in a year than any engineer in private practice. We don’t spend the hundreds of hours per site on the details of design and the labor of construction and start-up that the consultants do, so we get to focus on the larger issues and questions.
I have been employed by the Florida Division of Forestry for 15 years and have been the Forest Area Supervisor for Alachua County the last 9 years. As a Forest Area Supervisor, I am expected to supervise the wildland fire protection and technical forestry assistance programs for Alachua County. I currently supervise 9 Forest Rangers (firefighters) and 1 Senior Forester. Alachua County is 620,422 acres and is mixed between urban and rural areas, and can be difficult fighting wildland fire because of the increasing wildland urban inter-face areas. Cooperation between fire agencies is important for a successful fire program.
Every sixth week I am the Officer In Charge (OIC) for the Waccasassa Forestry Center, which includes Alachua, Marion, Levy, Gilchrist and Putnam Counties. The OIC handles out of district requests, after hour requests and sets the burning restrictions for the district.
I am one of the training officers for our forestry district and input data for the IQS Red Card system, which is the system that maintains firefighter and incident personnel qualifications. I also teach numerous classes for the Florida Division of Forestry and serve as the Dean for week three of Basic Fire Control Training for new Forest Rangers.
In addition to my everyday duties, I am the Operations Section Chief for the Florida Red Inter-Agency Management Team. These teams are used to respond to wildfires and disasters in Florida and other states as well. These teams have worked incidents such as wildland fires, hurricanes, floods, and citrus canker outbreaks.
The Forest Area Supervisor job requires a person that is organized and able to manage people, incidents, and emergency situations.
I've had a great 15 years and look forward to the next 15 years and have always enjoyed my time with the Florida Division of Forestry.
What could be better than managing a 250 acre nursery that produces 15 million tree and native plant seedlings each year? What greater satisfaction that sowing tons (literally) of tree seed in the spring, watching them germinate, tending the new seedlings throughout the summer, and then sending them out during the winter to be planted and start new forests throughout Florida.
That’s what I do at the Florida Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services, Division of Forestry’s, Andrews Nursery. My job as Nursery Manager is especially enjoyable because it has distinct “seasons” throughout the year. In the spring, we prepare and sow the seed in the nursery and watch them germinate and begin to grow. During the summer, we irrigate, feed, and culture the seedlings to reach their target size. During the fall, we conclude our culture of the seedlings and get ready for shipping season, which in Florida, is during the winter. When December arrives each year, the nursery changes from the farm it has been for the past nine months, into a factory that has to get 15 million seedlings harvested, packaged, and shipped to our customers in only three months. When the hectic shipping season is over, it’s time to start the process all over again!
I am never, ever bored in my job as the manager of Andrews Nursery. Challenges to find a better or more efficient way to grow seedlings are always present. I have the freedom, along with my great and innovative staff, to build new equipment, or try new procedures that I think it will result in a higher quality seedling.
I sleep well knowing that my job provides Floridians with 15 million new trees every year that are growing, taking in carbon dioxide, and providing wildlife habitat, clean water, and eventually, the hundreds of products that come from trees.
What could be better?
Deborah Hanley, PhD
My name is Deborah Hanley, PhD, and my job is the State Fire Weather Meteorologist for the Division of Forestry. I have a unique position, not only for the State of Florida, but for the whole United States. There are only a handful of state forestry agencies that have a meteorologist working full-time on fire weather. I love my job as it allows me to experience so many different aspects of the Division. Along with the weather monitoring and forecasting, I have been trained as a wild land firefighter, making me one of the only (if not the only) fire certified fire weather forecaster in the country. I am also a Certified Fire Prevention Clown and have won a Bronze Smokey award for a fire prevention program I collaborated on with the State Fire Prevention Officer. I enjoy meeting all the new rangers and teaching them about fire weather and fire behavior as well as working with them in the field, whether on a wild fire as an incident meteorologist, or assisting with prescribed burns across the state. The Division of Forestry has always been a leader in the country when it comes to fire prevention and fire suppression. I am very proud to be part of that team and for the incredible support the Department of Agriculture provides to us.