FNPS Promotes

the Preservation, Conservation, and Restoration of the Native Plants and Native Plant Communities of Florida.

We provide scientifically sound information on native plants, their habitats, the wildlife that depends on them, and their management and culture


1000 Friends of Florida Scales Back

Posted July 28, 2014

This is a loss to all who value Florida's natural lands and the plants and wildlife that they support.

1000 Friends of Florida is a statewide environmental group created more than 25 years ago to push for growth management planning.  It has had to close its Palm Beach County office and reduce operations in Tallahassee because it has not been able to raise money to pay for its work.  

The cutbacks come three years after lawmakers in Tallahassee gutted the state’s 1985 Growth Management Act — the set of regulations the non-profit was created to protect. The legislative changes approved in 2011 eliminated state oversight of most local planning.   

Read the full article by Jennifer Sorentrue in the Palm Beach County Post: 

Legislative changes, dwindling cash force enviro group to cut back


"Land of Flowers" Photo Contest

Posted July 28, 2014

Less than a week remains before the Aug. 1 deadline for the Florida Wildflower Foundation’s first “Land of Flowers” photo contest. Award-winning photographers John Moran and Red Huber are waiting to take a look at your close-up or landscape views of Florida’s native wildflowers. So don’t delay, send…

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U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Wetland Permitting Open House Meetings

Posted July 25, 2014

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Jacksonville District will host its three final Regulatory Open House events in Florida next week. The events will be held Mon., July 28 at the Marriott Jacksonville, 4670 Salisbury Road, Jacksonville, Florida; Wed., July 30 at the Bay Point Wyndham,…

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In the News -- Miami Rocklands vs. Development

Posted July 23, 2014

Last week, federal officials notified the developer of a multi-use project that would impact a last remnant of the Miami pine rocklands that the company needed to conduct a review of protected species and obtain a federal permit before continuing with the project.  This project, that would impact…

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Get SW FLorida Environmental News

Posted July 23, 2014

Eco-Voice provides almost daily updates on environmental events and issues with a focus on Southwest Florida.  You can get their newsletter by registering on their website at http://eco-voice.org/ or join them on Facebook. Several FNPS chapters are members, and some FNPS events are listed…

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Public Water Reservation Rule Development Workshop for the Kissimmee Basin

Posted July 23, 2014

The South Florida Water Management District will hold a public water reservation rule development workshop for the Kissimmee Basin on the following date and location (see attached).     DATE AND TIME: Wednesday, July 30, 2014, 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM LOCATION: Osceola County Commission…

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Notices of Rule Development -- Water Management Districts

Posted July 23, 2014

The Florida Water Management Districts create rules that affect the management of Florida’s water.  These rules affect requirements for permits and management of key resources.  You can find out more and be prepared to participate in public workshops and submit comments on proposed rules.…

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Crosstown Parkway Bridge Threatens the Halpatiokee Trail in Savannahs Preserve State Park

Posted July 23, 2014

The Conservation Alliance of St Lucie County has a lawsuit against the FHWA & FDOT to stop them from funding the Crosstown Parkway Bridge, which is planned to follow the route of the  the Halpatiokee Trail in Savannah Preserve State Park, despite the fact that there is a viable and cheaper…

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FDEP Public Notice Calendar

Posted July 23, 2014

FDEP provides a public notice, education and outreach calendar.  You can use this to find out about public meetings where FDEP is the lead agency at https://www.fldepnet.org/public-notices. SB 2188 requires state agencies to post all public meetings, hearings and workshops to their website,…

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ACOE Public Announcements

Posted July 25, 2014

What happens in federal permitting arenas affects the conservation of Florida native plants and native plant communities!  The announcements provide news on what is happening and how you can submit comments. 10 June 2014 - In response to numerous requests, the comment period for the Clean…

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Roadside Plantings can Provide 1.5 Billion in Ecosystem Services

Posted July 24, 2014

Wildflowers can be worth money.  Lots of it.  Lisa Roberts of the Florida Wildflower Foundation recently posted the results of an FDOT study that found that roadside vegetaton along the state highway system permorms nearly a half-billion dollars worth of ecosystem services. The study…

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In the News -- Responsible Fertilizer Use

Posted July 23, 2014

Ten Southwest Florida counties, municipalities and organizations are spreading the message that fertilizers need to be used responsibly to minimize pollution of our coastal waters. Read Consortium formed to encourage responsible use of fertilizer by Gravina Smith Matte in the Naples News.

Proposed Road Through 12-Mile Swamp Not Wanted

Posted July 23, 2014

The St. Johns County Commission voted to request the North Florida Transportation Planning Organization remove a proposed road through 12 Mile Swamp from future transportation plans.    Both  County Commissioners and St. Augustine airport officials believe that there are better places to put the road.  Read the article in the First Coast News.  12-Mile Swamp is a 21,000 ac publicly owned conservation area near St. Augustine.

Central Florida Water Initiative

Posted July 23, 2014

Over the past 3 years, an extensive and intensive planning process has been taking place in central Florida.  This process is critical to the region for planning where water will come from.  This process is important to Florida’s native plants and native plant communities as decisions will…

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Latest from the Blog

Reaching Out and Digging In for Native Pines

Amanda Ugarte, planting organizer and
Oasis High Charter School student.

On Tuesday, July 8, 2014, representatives from the Coccoloba Chapter of the Florida Native Plant Society, students from Oasis and Mariner High Schools in Cape Coral, and other volunteers planted twenty native Slash Pine trees, donated by the Florida Forest Service. The planting was arranged by Oasis High Charter School student Amanda Ugarte. These trees supplemented a prior planting in the median on Oasis Boulevard between SW 37 Street and SW 37 Terrace, where some trees from a previous planting perished. Two species of native bunch grass were also added to the median.

Students assisting with the planting on this toasty day were Alex Boesch, Christopher Byron, Sara Logan, Jillian Lucia, Anthony Morales, Branden Pearson, and Amanda Ugarte. Sara’s father, Tom Logan assisted, as did Pascha Donaldson, Martha Grattan, Russ Ringlund and Marlene Rodak.

(left to right) Martha Grattan, Coccoloba Chapter President, explains the qualities of native slash pine
trees to students Alex Boesch, Christopher Byron, Jillian Lucia, Branden Pearson and Anthony Morales.
Jillian Lucia (L) and Sara Logan (R) take turns
trying to dig a hole in the hard, rocky ground.
The planting included a lesson on the slash pine and the mycorrhizae fungus that supplements the function of its roots.  Since the tree roots are inoculated with the native fungus, the students handled the root balls very carefully. If the soil is disturbed, the mycorrhizae fungus can be removed from the roots, resulting in a slower start for the 3-gallon sized trees. Students also learned to properly plant the trees, assuring they were not planted too deeply. Then, pine straw mulch was added and the plants were watered in well. Mrs. Donaldson and Amanda Ugarte will check on the plantings through the summer and assure they are manually watered between rainfalls.

South Florida Slash Pines are often misunderstood by residents of the area. These hard yellow pines can reach heights of 80’ to 100’ tall. The durable bark is hard and scaly with plates. Slash Pines have extensive root systems with a moderate taproot. Southern Slash Pines are only found in south Florida, and the seeds propagated for these trees were likely harvested by the Florida Forest Service in nearby Okaloacoochee Slough State Forest.

A newly-planted 3-gal slash pine with pine straw mulch.
Eventually, the seeds in the pine cones of these trees will provide food for squirrels, mice, and dozens of species of songbirds. The pine needles will provide nutritious meals for moths, butterfly larvae and inchworms. Pine trees also host many native insects, which will not feed on anything else. Close inspection of the trees typically reveals “caterpillars,” which are not really caterpillars at all, but sawfly larvae, more closely related to ants, wasps, and bees, who also enjoy eating pine needles. They, in turn, are eaten voraciously by small mammals, birds, and other insects. Pine trees also provide habitat to many nesting birds.

Perhaps one of the best aspects of the slash pine is that it is self-mulching.  Once the tree is tall enough, it will start to shed enough needles to retain soil moisture and control surrounding weeds.  Plus, the lovely slash pine needles break down into nutrients and provide microbes to build healthy soil.  Once the tree is between 10 and 15 years old, it will produce a good pine cone crop about every four years.

(left to right), Amanda Ugarte, Pascha Donaldson, Anthony Morales, Branden Pearson,
Christopher Byron and Alex Boesh preparing their native flags.
At the conclusion of the planting of Oasis Boulevard median, the students added native flags to the site, indicating that the land was reclaimed for nature.

• More Florida Forest Services Slash Pine trees will be planted on Saturday, July 12 on Veterans Parkway.  This planting is being coordinated by Russ Ringlund and will enlist the help of the Cub Scouts.

This article is provided by the Coccoloba Chapter of the Florida Native Plant Society. The Society meets at Calusa Nature Center on the second Thursday of each month, between September and April, at 6:30 for socializing. Meetings start at 7 pm. All are welcome to join this friendly bunch and learn more about native plants. Visit www.FNPSCoccoloba.org for more information or call (239) 273-8945.

posted by Laurie Sheldon

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