Volunteers Support J.W. Corbett WMA in Palm Beach County

The J. W. Corbett Wildlife Management Area (approximately 60,000 acres), located in northwestern Palm Beach County, is owned and managed by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC). Corbett is overseen for a variety of wildlife, including endangered and threatened species, migratory birds, fish, and both game and nongame species. The area has recreational uses, including camping, biking, hiking and horseback riding. Corbett has a long history of volunteer support and with only five regular employees to manage the entire area, volunteer efforts have been and remain invaluable. In past years Corbett volunteers logged nearly 3000 volunteer hours, annually.

Every year, since the late 1990's, local clubs have sponsored an annual clean-up, logging approximately 500 volunteer hours and filling four 20-cubic yard dumpsters before noon. At noon, all participants meet at a designated camp to have lunch provided by the clubs. Local club involvement includes: Florida Sportsmens Conservation Association, National Wild Turkey Federation, Florida Trails Association, Palm Beach Airboat and Halftrack Association, Wellington Radio Club, Pine Jog Environmental Center and Friends of Corbett.

J. W. Corbett has the first and only Friends of group within the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. Established in 2000, the Friends of Corbett (FOC) meets on even months to discuss assistance for The Corbett Area and the Everglades Youth Conservation Camp. In the past, FOC has raised monies for dumpsters, clothes washers/driers, refrigerators, signs, lawn mowers and repairs to the Everglades Youth Conservation Camp and Corbett, including $75,000 for the road. They hold an annual banquet each June for board elections, member recruitment and socializing. FOC recognizes volunteers at the banquet and volunteer approximately 450 hours themselves. The Florida Sportsmen Conservation Association cleans and mows the Youth Camp in preparation for summer camp. FOC sponsors a Tales of Corbett banquet where speakers present topics of historic nature about Corbett.

There are approximately 2,000 acres of abandoned agricultural fields on the area, some of which are mowed or planted with wildlife food. National Wild Turkey Federation volunteers, donates an average of about 300 hours to the wildlife forage program mowing 300 acres and planting 200 acres.

Additional volunteer contributions include Florida Trails Association to clear trails, Wellington Radio Club for communication support, Boy Scouts of America and combined club support for tree planting, and various other projects including red-cockaded woodpecker monitoring, bird counts, invasive exotic plant projects, clean-ups, landscaping, wildlife surveys, wood duck and barn owl box installation and monitoring.

Volunteer support on Corbett remains invaluable. Without a doubt, we couldn't do it without them!

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