Our Mission Statement
To promote an understanding and interest in wildlife and the environment that support it and to further the cause of conservation of natural resources, with emphasis on the Lake Wales Ridge.
About Ridge Audubon Society
Millions of years ago, when sea levels were much higher than today, only a few isolated hilltops of today's Lake Wales Ridge were exposed as islands, offering sanctuary to the evolution of dozens of unique species of plants and animals. The rest of the Florida peninsula was covered by a shallow sea, where a vast array of sea life and corals lived and grew. As the sea slowly receded during the ice ages, Florida was slowly exposed, and the new life forms expanded their range along the sandy dunes of the Ridge. Today, the thin, straight line of the Ridge is clearly visible from space.
The sandy, desert-like soils and arid habitat of the Lake Wales Ridge are home to species like the gopher tortoise, sand skink, indigo snake, and scrub jays, which have no natural fear of man. Rare plants like the scrub plum, pygmy fringe tree, and scrub blazing star make the area an attraction for botanists.
Today, this web of inter-dependent species is America's equivalent of the Galapagos Islands. Threatened by conversion to agricultural, housing and commercial uses, this unique eco-system is rapidly disappearing under development pressures. A recently-created network of preserves, in both public and private hands, seeks to protect the diaspora of these rare species.