The Florida Center for Environmental Studies, in cooperation with SFWMD, has developed a field-based, interactive Education Program at DuPuis Nature Center that targets secondary students, teachers, adults, families and the local community. Community outreach events and lectures are held at the DuPuis Nature Center located at Gate 5.
A wealth of recreational activities awaits you at the DuPuis Management Area, a 21,875-acre property owned by the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) and purchased in 1986 through the Save Our Rivers program. DuPuis contains a vast landscape of pine flatwoods, wet prairies, marshes, and cypress domes.
For more information go to DuPuis Management Area at sfwmd.gov .
The South Florida Water Management District’s (SFWMD) land managers are stewards of Florida’s natural lands and responsible for managing public lands to maximize biological diversity and productivity. Land management responsibilities include balancing the public’s recreational needs with the benefits of the biological habitats and wildlife. Maintaining biological diversity and managing for invasive exotic species are important responsibilities. Recreational activities at DuPuis include primitive and group camping areas, 22 miles of hiking trails including the Florida Trail System, 40 miles of horse trails with a large Equestrian Center barn and facilities, and all types of seasonal hunting. In addition to the natural lands and wildlife, DuPuis’ historical resources include numerous archeological sites of early Paleo-Indians that date back to 500 B.C.
Justin Nolte is a Senior Scientist and the SFWMD’s Regional Land Manager in charge of all the resources and staff at DuPuis Management Area. He earned a Bachelor of Science Degree from the University of Tennessee and majored in Wildlife and Fisheries Science with a minor in Forestry.
After graduation, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) at the Halfmoon Wildlife Management Area in Sumter County hired Justin as a Biologist. Being from Tennessee, this allowed him to learn Florida’s unique habitats, and the land management techniques that work here. After 5 years, he moved to Dinner Island Ranch Wildlife Management Area in Hendry County. The next move was to the SFWMD in Okeechobee. Here he gained experience in managing multiple areas. After 5 years in the Okeechobee, he accepted his current position as East Coast Land Manager in charge of over 55,000 acres that includes DuPuis Management Area.
Justin’s advice to students interested in pursuing a career in land management is to find a wildlife management program. It is very important to find an internship or a job where you can learn applied land management skills like equipment operation, exotic plant control, and prescribed fire. Volunteering with agencies such as FWC, Florida Park Service, Water Management Districts, or your county will provide valuable experience, as well as potential employment contacts.
Knowing that we are restoring and conserving Florida’s wild areas for the benefit of future generations is extremely rewarding to Justin.
“We have fallen heirs to the most glorious heritage a people ever received, and each one must do his part if we wish to show that the nation is worthy of its good fortune.”
~ Theodore Roosevelt