Showing posts from September, 2018

Field Trip to Ashton Biodiversity Research and Preservation Institute

On January 20 2018 several members of the Paynes Prairie chapter traveled to Ashton Biodiversity R esearch and Preservation Institute (ABRPI). Chase Pirtle, the animal care specialist and habitat  manager met us at the gate. Chase is an authorized Gopher Tortoise Agent and an instructor and  private land manager for the Eastern Diamondback Conservation Foundation. He also holds a FWC  venomous license. We drove in to the Headquarters and met Maggie Curtis, also a biologist at Ashton who assists Chase in t he management of the facility. The headquarters also serves as an incubator, nursery and cold weather  shelter for the tortoise collection. In large tubs and kiddy pools filled with pine needles and turkey oak  leaves are several Radiated Tortoises (native to Madagascar) and a Yellow Footed Tortoise (native to  South America).  Radiated  Tortoises are critically endangered in Madagascar and these are the  descendants of  individuals collected for the illegal pet trade a

Who Doesn't Love a Cocoplum?

Who Doesn't Love a Cocoplum? By Ellen Broderick Photo by Ellen Broderick Easy to grow here in Martin County with dark purply-blue plums, occasionally white, or unusually pink. Wildlife hide and feast among the offerings of  Chrysobalanus icaco.  In the planned landscape cocoplum's full leafy branches work well as screens, or they can be shaped within garden islands, and even survive buzz-cuts in parking lots. Naturally they grow in South Florida swamps, moist forests, coastal beaches and thickets. Post hurricane their naked branches re-bud and grow new leaves without much fuss.  If you've been around for a while you might know us as the "Cocoplum Chapter." The name was always Martin County but somewhere along the way we picked up the Cocoplum tag. For clarity and with a nod to the Martin County difference we've reclaimed our true name. But it's no big deal if you want to keep calling us cocoplums. They are, after all, very sweet in

FNPS Citrus Chapter Member Honored

The Citrus Chapter awarded chapter member, Barbara McCormick the 2018 Green Palmetto Award for Education at our Sept. 4th chapter meeting. The nomination letter was read to the audience. The chapter also gave Barbara a gift card as a thank you for all she does for our chapter along with a bouquet of native bloomers. Barbara's nomination letter is below. March 14, 2018 Citrus County Florida Barbara McCormick, a native Floridian, veteran and former Army officer, joined the Citrus Chapter of the Florida Native Plant Society in 2003. She brought with her many years of experience as a Master Gardener and horticulturalist at Walt Disney World’s University of Disney Garden program while attending Valencia College. In 2002 Barbara started her own nursery named Nature by Design which specialized in native plants as well as Florida friendly plants. Unfortunately the nursery was destroyed by the back to back storms of 2004. Since then, while working as a private co