Staff Spotlight, Anthony Vera
Assistant Park Manager, Anthony Vera
Joining us from South Florida, Anthony’s hard work with the Florida Park Service has forever changed his life. Anthony grew up in Miami and got his start at Oleta River State Park.
“The Florida Park Service came to me.”
When Anthony was 16 years old, he was going through a very difficult time. He visited Oleta River almost every day for some quiet and a place to escape. One day the park staff asked him to become a volunteer and help around the park.
Anthony came to the realization that what he was doing was making a real difference and that he could do so much to protect the natural resources of the park.
Soon Anthony was hired as an OPS Ranger at Oleta and later moved to Highlands Hammock State Park in Sebring to work full time. Devoting himself to the job and moving up through the ranks, Anthony became a wildland firefighter and joined the “Vanguards Igniting Pyric Ecosystems for Restoration” (or VIPER) Team and was called on to assist with prescribed fires and wildfires throughout Florida and the Southeast. He was also able to join crews in the Rockies fighting massive wildfires on several occasions.
In 2019, Anthony made another transition to become an Assistant Park Manager here at Silver Springs. At Silver, Anthony is a burn boss and helps us to reach our prescribed fire burn objectives each year. He also enjoys having a hands-on role with resource protection and our maintenance program. Anthony oversees 16 rangers and staff and lives onsite, dealing with problems as they arise in the park day or night.
“We are focusing on what we can do while the visitors aren’t here.”
Right now, Anthony and the park’s priorities have shifted away from visitor services to maintenance and resource protection. The cabins are being restored; staff are painting, replacing light fixtures and deep cleaning. Along the park drives, trees are being trimmed and several acres of oaky hammocks are being mechanically treated to restore Longleaf Pine ecosystems.
Anthony enjoys being outside and getting these big projects done. His favorite part of his job is exploring the Real Florida and the subtly different ecosystems in the park. When visitors are allowed to return, Anthony is excited to share his experiences and what he’s learned.