The Florida Forest Service and Florida Trail Association took advantage of Southwest Airlines' 40th Anniversary celebration Monday. A dozen local volunteers from the airline pitched in to clear 3 miles of trails in Pine Log State Forest. The local project was just one along the nationwide route of the airline's Conservation in Action Tour. The tour serves a dual purpose as both a celebration of the airline's four decades in operation, and a display of the airline's commitment to the communities it serves with passenger service.
Members of the Student Conservation Association (SCA) are traveling across the country in a bio-diesel powered bus provided by Southwest. They started in Texas, headed to California, then ended up on the east coast by way of Chicago. They picked up service projects all along the route, and now they're on their way back to Texas, where Southwest is based.
The SCA is a national organization that provides high school and college students with nationwide conservation projects. Their task Monday was to keep an eye on the dozen local Southwest volunteers. The SCA members have wilderness and first aid training.
The Florida Trail Association provided the project, and the Florida Forest Service provided the venue. The volunteers cleared brush, trimmed branches, and removed trees from the trails for several hours.
"It was a lot of work, a lot of clearing," said Southwest volunteer K.J. Rice. "But it was worth the sweat, it was a good cardio workout."