By Scott Davis
It is a wide known fact that the attention span of today's youth is short—and getting shorter. Twenty years ago, it would have taken hours (or days) of research to acquire the same amount of knowledge that can be obtained in just a few seconds of keyboard finger tapping today! Though the future of FNPS depends upon the successful recruitment of members from all age groups and cultures, it is obviously paramount to the society's future to adapt for the ever-changing interests of young people.
|The Magnolia Chapter's outreach has included local|
universities and the USFWS. If your chapter hasn't
forged partnerships with like-minded organizations,
now is a great time to start.
The first individual to be voted in as a student board member was Brent Williams. Brent is a talented chemical engineering student with an interest in exploring the vast number of plant species whose chemical properties have not yet been researched. Through chemical profiling, Brent seeks to find sustainable ways to balance nature and society through the development of sustainable native plant resources. Brent also manages the FSU organic garden and native plant permacultural guild, and he is a standing board member with the Tallahassee Sustainability Group.
Brent has three primary native plant interests: pollinator support systems, invasive plant species management, and native plant food sources. These interests have worked to facilitate the accelerated development of relationships not only with the university students in the Magnolia Chapter's region, but also to forge a strong relationship between FNPS and the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS).
Brent worked closely with fellow Magnolia board members Gail Fishman and Scott Davis to develop a volunteer program cooperative between FNPS and USFWS. This program aimed to further the mission of FNPS, help develop the Educational Field Trip Initiative of the Council of Chapters, and assist a primary land management agency with society-sourced expertise and leadership.
|A liaison to local educational institutions can bring able|
bodied volunteers and future members to chapter events.
Brent says, "There is a strong demand from young folks to see tangible results that are brought about with their own hands." He also lives by the philosophy that "if there is work to be done, and if there are individuals willing to engage in the workings, then there is no reason for the work to not be done when good communication and leadership are brought into the equation." Currently, there are numerous workdays led per month by Brent that focus on invasive plant identification and removal techniques, hiking trail management, plant rescue and relocation, pollinator garden design and maintenance, fire crew prep work, and more.
In the last month, Brent has overseen the removal of invasive plants from environmentally sensitive areas inside of St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge; this includes over 600 invasive coral ardisias (Ardisia crenata) and three tons of invasive torpedo grass (Panicum repens). In addition to these achievements, in the last month he has also led the Groundpounders in projects that undergo pre-fire preparation work for USFWS fire crews, implemented a relocation program for various native plant species from refuge mow strips to designated recipient pollinator garden sites, managed the rescue team of 97 state-endangered moundlilly yuccas (Yucca gloriosa), and begun the process of installing pre-fabricated bridge piles across creeks in areas adjacent to the Florida Trail to give connectivity to through-hikers.
|The "Groundpounders" in action...|
Posted by Laurie Sheldon