Showing posts from October, 2016

2017 FNPS Conference: Connections: Above & Below

submitted by Donna Bollenbach

Connections:What an all-encompassing term! It implies links, associations, bonds, assemblies, and networks. But it also refers to the way things relate and interact. So, when destiny took us to Westgate River Ranch Resort, a venue in heart of the state and the historic Everglades Watershed, choosing “Connections” for the theme of the 2017 Florida Native Plant Society seemed natural.  Historically, the Headwaters of the Everglades watershed flowed like a sheet of water that moved through grasslands and prairies to the Everglades. This flood plain filtered the water of its impurities, like the heart oxygenates blood, before delivering it to the other parts of the land body. But the natural path of water has been greatly altered resulting in water that is nutrient-contaminated and being rechanneled to our east and west coasts, causing a host of environmental problems that have a negative impact on plant communities, wildlife, our health and economy. 

Discovering Grassy Waters Preserve

Richard Brownscombe, Coontie Chapter
Last month James Lange, Researcher and Field Biologist at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, took us on a wonderful walk in Grassy Waters Preserve just an hour north of Fort Lauderdale in West Palm Beach. This wetland is an example of doing the right thing to build a sustainable urban environment. The naturally clean waters of the preserve are supplying the drinking water for West Palm Beach and helping keep the aquifer healthy. At the same time, all these wetland plant and wildlife species have a place to thrive and townsfolk have easy access to this beautiful place.
The facilities of the parking lot, restrooms, picnic tables, waterside deck, canoe and kayak launch, rain shelter, benches, and boardwalk, say "Welcome. Enjoy." We were so fortunate to have "our botanist", James, along to name the plants and point out many interesting things we would not have known. As a few other couples, groups, and individuals passed by us, I w…

My Habitat Garden: Attracting Butterflies, Bees, Birds, and Other Forms of Life in Zone 9a

By Bill Berthet, Ixia Chapter
In the year 2000, with the help of Ron Davis (Butterfly Gardens, Jacksonville) and plants from Edith and Stephen Smith (Shady Oak Butterfly Farm, Brooker) I started to transform my newly purchased property into a Northeast Florida pollinator habitat.

The many benefits of gardening include: stress-relief, moderate-intensity exercise, hand strength and dexterity (wearing gloves helps prevent fire ant bites) brain health, risk reduction for dementia, and depression and mental health.

For me, going through a nasty divorce, gardening was key in bringing more balance to my life. It’s exciting to raise butterflies in your yard. It gives one the opportunity to take witness and share the miracle of metamorphosis with others. Plus, you get a real sense of accomplishment when releasing adult butterflies, increasing their population and diversity in your area. The added bonus is their progeny will visit your garden in the future. Since 2003, with the right selectio…