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Polk County TAG Member with binoculars scouting land

Polk County Technical Assessment Group (TAG) posing for photo on trail with trucksMembers of Polk County’s Technical Assessment Group (TAG) recently spent about 12 hours trekking through thousands of acres of land in Lake Wales, Fort Meade and Poinciana. They were exploring properties that Polk County could potentially acquire through the Environmental Lands Program, so they climbed hills, bushwacked on overgrown trails, examined plants and bugs, and took notes and photos.

How does the acquisition process work?
If a landowner expresses an interest in negotiating with Polk County and TAG deems the land a good fit, there are two acquisition options. Both of the following scenarios depend on the seller’s desires:

1. Polk County could pursue an outright purchase.
2. Polk County could buy a conservation easement, allowing the owner to continue using the land but restricting any intense, future development.

What is the Technical Assessment Group?
TAG is made up of volunteers with wildlife, water resources, natural communities, plant identification and forestry backgrounds. As a group of technical experts, TAG’s members rate properties on water resources, natural communities and landscape, plants and animals, human value and management potential.

Polk County Technical Assessment Group Members reading documents in camping chairsHow are properties rated, and what happens next?
For example, they count the number of bird species at each site, they look for invasive plants and they consider how the land fits into the wildlife corridor.

At the end of the day, each TAG member grades the land according to very specific guidelines. Polk County’s Conservation Land Acquisition Selection Advisory Committee then reviews the findings and makes a recommendation to the Board of County Commissioners. The Board decides whether or not to pursue acquisition.

Where does the money for acquisitions come from?
Polk County voters approved a ballot referendum in 2022 that created a property tax to fund land conservation for 20 years.

A similar program, which concluded in 2015, led to the acquisition of the Circle B Bar Reserve. Formerly a cattle ranch, the county and the Southwest Florida Water Management District purchased and restored its wetlands. It is now a world-renowned bird-watching site.

The Work Behind the Scenes to Protect Polk County’s Natural Assets

Polk County parenting classes

Parenting classes offer valuable insights, practical strategies and a supportive community. The experience of becoming a parent is an incredible adventure, with happiness, obstacles and opportunities for personal development. As parents, we strive to provide the best possible environment for our children to thrive. Parenting classes can help you navigate this rewarding yet sometimes daunting role of being a parent.

What are Parenting Classes?

infant laying on a playmat

Parenting classes offered by Healthy Families Polk cover a range of topics. Whether you’re a new parent or simply want to be a better parent, you will find applicable insights that benefit your family. These parenting classes provide valuable tools for your parenting journey, including positive parenting techniques, communication skills, building confidence and more.

How can Parenting Classes help?

Parenting classes can help you develop the knowledge, skills and confidence to navigate the triumphs and challenges of parenthood. Parenting programs and free parenting classes in Polk County, FL are available through Healthy Families Polk to eligible families.

Learning Best Practices

In parenting workshops, you’ll discover evidence-based practices that promote healthy child development. You will gain practical tools to create a loving and supportive home environment. Remember, even seasoned parents can benefit from a refreshing course to learn new skills!

A Safe Space to Ask Questions

Parenting classes offer a judgment-free zone where you can ask questions openly. Trained facilitators and fellow parents share their experiences, providing valuable insights.

Connecting with Other Parents

Parenting classes are an opportunity to connect with other parents facing similar challenges. Participating in classes enables you to gain insights from other parents who relate to your experiences, and you’ll have the opportunity to tap into the wealth of their combined experience and wisdom. This can be a valuable source of support, advice and shared experiences.

Polk County parenting classesBoosting Confidence

Parenting can feel overwhelming at times. Classes can help you feel more confident in your abilities. As you learn and practice new skills, your confidence grows. You’ll feel better equipped to handle challenging situations, make informed decisions and foster a positive parent-child relationship.

Learn more and connect with Healthy Families Polk by visiting

www.polk-county.net/services/healthy-families.

The Importance of Parenting Classes: Nurturing Stronger Families

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