Staff Spotlight, Michael Ebner
Michael Ebner, Park Ranger
Michael Ebner grew up in Bartlett, Illinois, and had a fascination with wildlife and the outdoors from an early age. He would often visit his grandparents in Sanibel Island, Florida. His appreciation and understanding of Florida’s unique wildlife and ecosystems took hold during their daily trips to the J.N. “Ding” Darling Wildlife Refuge in South Florida.
Wanting to work in a field that would benefit the environment, Michael’s first career was as an environmental scientist. His 20 years in that field gave him the opportunity to travel the world testing for air pollution.
After settling in Florida, Michael had the chance to fulfill his lifelong dream of working in the parks that he had enjoyed since he was a boy. He came to Ichetucknee Springs State Park as a park attendant and a year later became a park ranger.
Michael’s favorite spot in the park is a place that most visitors don’t take the time to see. The sandhill along the Pine Ridge Loop Trail in the northern portion of the park is a vulnerable habitat that is home to gopher tortoises, Sherman’s fox squirrels and many threatened plant species. It requires periodic fires to maintain the health of the habitat. Michael and the team at Ichetucknee Springs are working to restore this habitat with the use of planned prescribed burning.