While Florida’s fantastic parks may have drawn Taylor Hodge away from her hometown of Johnson City, Tennessee, and into South Florida, what has kept her going here is her spirit of wonder. Taylor started her Florida Park Service journey as a volunteer at Oleta River State Park in June 2020 and was offered a part- time park ranger position at Hugh Taylor Birch State Park within a couple of months.
Lucky for us, she found her way back to Oleta River as a full-time park ranger in July 2021. She is a trustworthy, follow-through co-worker whose patience and passion for learning/sharing knowledge are worth noting.
Taylor’s love for nature and conservation made her a seamless fit for the park service. She likes to do everything in her power to preserve, protect and interpret native ecosystems. One of her most memorable park moments occurred when she was planting coonties (a native, fern-like groundcover) with another volunteer. The two of them saw an egg, chrysalis, caterpillar and an atala butterfly all in one setting. She described the experience as magical for both.
Taylor has lots of interests. Outside of work, she enjoys music, diving, looking for butterflies, birding and identifying mushrooms.
If she could be anywhere other than Florida right this minute, it would be Iceland. When asked why, she explained, “Between volcanoes, hotspots that produce lava, and diverging plate boundaries, Iceland is growing every day, which I find to be fascinating.”
Taylor Hodge has made a fantastic addition to the Florida Park Service.