It was a crisp 40 degrees the morning we awoke for our volunteer experience, but the sunshine spilling through our bedroom window made it slightly (slightly) easier to roll out of bed at 6:45 a.m., which is earlier than either of us get up for work. That was also probably the only time I ever donned both a turtle neck and fleece vest while living in Central Florida.
The preserve was gorgeous: rolling fields and wild animals mixed in with beautiful trees and the soothing sounds of the winds in the grass. I was a bit nervous at one of the signs placed strategically at the check-in center, though I suppose it's best that they warn you in advance.
As "seed collectors," we spent a peaceful three hours in the fields, wandering around with buckets, collecting the seeds off the long grass so that the seeds could be redistributed elsewhere on the preserve. The only sounds we heard were the low voices of our fellow volunteers (10 of us total) and the calm rustle of the wind through the fields. By the end of our experience, my back was starting to ache, but it felt great to know that we were helping preserve such a beautiful piece of nature. Living a mile outside of the theme parks, it's easy to forget the natural wonders that existed long before the tourist industry.