Volunteer Spotlight, Gail King

a woman stands beside a lake with binoculars.

Gail King

Fort Cooper State Park

Gail King was born and raised in beautiful Plant City, Florida.  She grew up camping, hiking, biking, being outdoors and just generally loving nature. In fact, as a child it was her job to watch for the “brown signs” when her family took trips to visit other parts of the state. Gail’s husband saw information about the Friends of Fort Cooper that they were looking for volunteers and since she loves state parks so much, thought it would be something she would enjoy doing, and he was right! Gail had always wanted to live in a state park but has since found that volunteering is the next best thing. Gail came to her first meeting in January 2018 and has been a dedicated volunteer at Fort Cooper State Park ever since.  She leads weekly bird walks on Thursday mornings (September thru May), and helps with many of the programs, including bat viewings, geo-caching for beginners, ranger led nature hikes, breakfast with a ranger, nights of lights, Fort Cooper Days and the bluegrass music festival.

Gail loves to read and learn about anything pertaining to the beautiful state of Florida and took up birding as a hobby about 15 years ago.  She enjoys watching the birds that come to her backyard feeders, as well as going to other state parks and hiking the many trails, watching the wildlife around her.  She has even helped to monitor and band Florida scrub jays and the Red-cockaded woodpecker.  Her favorite time of year is the springtime because the weather is so pleasant and she loves seeing the baby birds.

Gail can usually be found around the edge of Lake Holathlikaha at the park searching for birds.  Her favorite part of being a volunteer is meeting new people who come to her bird walks and developing friendships with them.  The 710-acre oasis of trees, nature and serenity at Fort Cooper State Park inspires Gail to keep coming back to this amazing park.

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