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Content provided by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission

Signs of spring – balmy weather, blooming flowers and nesting birds – are occurring throughout Florida. Warmer temperatures also mean alligators are more active and visible. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) recommends taking precautions when in and around the water and has expanded its safety materials to include a video and infographic in Spanish.

While serious injuries caused by alligators are rare in Florida, the FWC offers the following tips about how to safely co-exist with them:

  • Keep a safe distance if you see an alligator and never feed one. When fed, alligators can lose their natural wariness and instead learn to associate people with the availability of food.
  • Swim only in designated swimming areas during daylight hours. Alligators are most active between dusk and dawn.
  • Keep pets on a leash and away from the water’s edge and never let them swim in fresh or brackish water. Pets often resemble alligators’ natural prey.
  • Call the FWC’s Nuisance Alligator Hotline at 866-FWC-GATOR (866-392-4286) if you believe an alligator poses a threat to people, pets or property and the FWC will dispatch a contracted nuisance alligator trapper to resolve the situation. The FWC places the highest priority on public safety and administers a Statewide Nuisance Alligator Program (SNAP) to proactively address alligator threats in developed areas, while conserving alligators in areas where they naturally occur.
  • Find more resources about living with alligators and Spanish translation information tools at MyFWC.com/Alligator.

The American alligator, Florida’s state reptile, is a conservation success story. Florida has a healthy and stable alligator population, which is estimated at 1.3 million alligators of every size. They are found in freshwater lakes, ponds, swamps and slow-moving rivers in all 67 counties in Florida.

Lakes Education/Action Drive is a nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving the natural beauty and quality of lakes in Polk County, Florida.

Established in 1985, LE/AD has taken an active role in the pursuit to preserve our lakes and environmental resources. Lakes are ecologically and economically valuable, and our lakes deserve our care and protection. In addition, LE/AD encourages residents to take advantage of the many excellent opportunities our lakes provide.

 

May 18, 2021, Winter Haven. On Tuesday, the Lakes Education Action Drive (LE/AD) Board of Directors voted to approve new board member Hunter King. “Ms. King becomes the first board member to be added in several years and we welcome her to Polk County and to LE/AD” said, executive director, Danny Kushmer.

Hunter King is a regional invasive plant management biologist for Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. She graduated in 2020 with her M.Sc. in Fisheries and Wildlife Biology from Clemson University and in 2017 with her B.Sc. in Environmental Biology from Southwest Baptist University. She has spent the last three years working for the Missouri Department of Conservation as a fisheries technician primarily conducting hydrilla management, and up until now has lived in Missouri for her entire life.

“We are pleased to welcome Hunter and know she will be a valuable addition to our Boards of Directors,” said Laurie Smith, President of the Board of Directors. Hunter has attended several previous boards Zoom meetings, her knowledge and background will be a great addition not only to the Boards of Directors but Polk County as well.”

Like Polk County and her 17 Municipalities, LEAD’s Fiscal Year runs from October 1st through September 30th. For more information on LEAD, please visit our website at www.lakeseducation.org, and visit and “Like” us on Facebook and Instagram.

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P.O. Box 7607, Lakeland, FL 33807 863-221-5323LE/AD is a non-profit organization established in 1985 that strives to educate the public on lake water quality; the effects storm water runoff has on our lakes and how you can make a difference. Our organization is funded through your donations. Please join today to help continue to support this wonderful organization! Visit www.lakeseducation.org to learn mo

The Board of Directors of LEAD in partnership with Polk County and the City of Winter Haven is happy to announce the inaugural 7 River Water Festival 5k.

CHECK BACK, MORE INFORMATION COMING SOON!

Location: Downtown Winter Haven, Florida
Date: Saturday, September 18, 2021
Time: 7:30AM – 9:00 AM

Now taking applications for sponsorship

Danny Kushmer to become the Lakes Education Action Drive Executive Director

June 28, 2019 Lakeland, Florida. After a brief absence from Polk County, Danny Kushmer, returns as executive director for the Lakes Education Action Drive (LE/AD) beginning July 1st. Danny replaces Tabitha Biehl who was recently promoted to Land and Natural Areas Manager with Polk County Parks & Natural Resources.

Danny spent nearly 10 years as the governmental affairs manager for the Southwest Florida Water Management District with offices in Bartow. During this time, he served on the communications team for the Central Florida Water Initiative, was instrumental in the formation of the Polk Regional Water Cooperative and, served on the board for LE/AD. Danny is a partner with his wife Cally in the firm Florida Horizon’s, a Florida-based LLC partnering in real estate, governmental affairs, public relations, and environmental education.

Laurie Smith, President of the Board said, “Danny is a well-known figure in Polk County and has spent his entire career working with water. From farming to regulation, he understands Florida’s water quality and natural resource issues and will be a great fit for LE/AD.”

“I am honored to have been chosen as executive director, for me, this is not a position it’s a passion.” Kushmer said, “With over 550 lakes in Polk County, LE/AD encourages Polk County Citizens and visitors to enjoy their lakes. But, also understand the vital role these water bodies play in providing drinking water, irrigation, electrical and power generation, and of course maintaining our precious environment.”

The Lakes Education/Action Drive (LE/AD) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving the natural beauty and quality of lakes in Polk County, Florida. Established in 1985, LE/AD has taken an active role in the pursuit of preserving our lakes and environmental resources. Lakes are ecologically and economically valuable, and our lakes deserve our care and protection. In addition, LE/AD encourages residents to take advantage of the many excellent opportunities our lakes provide.

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