Featured Projects - Citizen-science
The Council of Chapters spearheaded the development of six regional native plant brochure. Each brochure has easily gown plants (trees, shrubs, and herbaceous species) characteristic of the region. The brochure is full color and distributed through the FNPS chapters.
Poster versions are available for sale from our TeeSpring Store.Email the Project Contact
We are documenting occurrences of Florida’s native milkweed (Asclepias) species throughout the state. Many of our milkweed species are important hosts for monarch butterflies.
Our chapters, FNPS staff and volunteers across Florida have documented 21 native milkweed species and have tracked about 800 populations throughout the state. Many of the documented populations and plants are roadside occurrences. Data is shared with the Florida Natural Areas Inventory (FNAI) and the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT).
More about the database:
It is comprehensive and assimilated into the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) Database - used by vegetation managers, land managers, agencies, and more. What it encompasses:
- Powerline Cuts – (and herbicide Issues)
- Public Lands
- To know where each species occurs
- To monitor
- To protect and appropriately manage (with FDOT, county, city, and private land managers)
- Many species are more uncommon than anticipated, and they appear to be very dependent upon roadsides.
- There are major apparent occurrence gaps in South Florida, North Central Florida, and SW Florida
- Only a handful of sites are utilizing reduced mowing practices that are essential for maintaining appropriate habitat
WE NEED A LOT OF HELP (to mobilize local FNPS members to contact local officials and support reduced mowing and management of these important sites). Note that reduced mowing does not mean “no mowing” because some annual mowing, properly timed, is needed at many of these sites.
How you can help:
- Document all sightings of Asclepias occurrences and report them to us at the email below to help fill in gaps and build the database. Please provide an accurate location either using GPS or your cell phone. Please take a close-up picture of the plant and send it with your email.
- Encourage your county to adopt a wildflower resolution (if they haven’t yet).
- If your county has adopted a wildflower resolution and you see a roadside population with no signs of protection, you can simply contact FDOT for populations located on state highways or a county roads department for populations located on county roads.
- Blog article: Milkweed seed needed
- Blog article: Quest for Milkweeds
- Blog article: Issues with Tropical Milkweed
- Blog article: Few-flowered Milkweed
- Blog article: Truth about Butterfly Gardening
- Blog article: Pollinator Wrapup
Florida torreya (Torreya taxifolia), is North America's most endangered conifer, and its habitat is the steep ravines along the Apalachicola River in north Florida and extending in similar habitat to about 1 mile into southern Georgia.
Once growing to mature heights of 30-60ft tall, the few remaining Torreyas now rarely reach above 10ft, with the majority ranging between 2-5ft tall. Few trees reach sexual maturity before dying back to their roots again and (hopefully) resprouting.
So what is killing the Florida Torreya? The reasons for its decline have been hotly debated - though habitat degradation due to development, silviculture, climate changes, and other human causes have all contributed. The trees are also susceptible to damage by deer rubbing. Over the years, many hypotheses have been purposed for the disappearance of Torreya, however, the primary culprit of the death and decline of this species was named in 2011: Fusarium torreyae.
This fungal pathogen was unknown to science until recently identified and described by Dr. Jason Smith at the University of Florida. Jason suspects this fungus evolved in Asia along with relatives of Torreya taxifolia native to that region and was likely introduced through the import of those non-native species for horticultural uses, though more work will be needed to know for sure.
The FNPS TorreyaKeepers project is focused on working with private landowners to locate and conserve trees on private property. This project will expand upon the work that Atlanta Botanical Garden (ABG) is doing on public lands and help to conserve more of the genetic diversity of Florida Torreya. In partnership with ABG we collect seeds and cuttings for propagation and genetic safeguarding by ABG in their nursery. We developed a brochure to help private landowners identify Florida Torreya and distinguish it from other similar-looking trees. We also developed a brochure on best management practices to help private landowners protect the species on their properties.
TorreyaKeepers Website: torreyakeepers.fnps.org
We are documenting occurrences of Florida’s rare plant species throughout the state, especially those in the path of development or that are located within road right-of-ways and utility easements. This is important because many companies and contractors have begun using herbicide in place of mowing. Additionally, many of our rare species require occasional or reduced mowing in order to flower and reproduce. Management protocols for rights-of-ways are essential for the conservation of many of our rare and endemic plant species.
FNPS and our Chapters work with partners to help monitor and manage many sensitive locations located in power line and road rights-of-ways. We also help monitor and manage rare plant populations on public lands.
This mapping project has been instrumental in the following:
- Our Warea Conservation & Land Acquisition Project
- Roadside management protocol was developed for Helianthus carnosus populations in Flagler and Putnam Counties. Funded by an FNPS Conservation Grant.
- Bay County – Road-widening Project - Sarracenia leucophylla population was brought to the attention of planners
- Popluations of Ruellia noctiflora, Brickellia and numerous milkweed plants in Wakulla County were rescued and relocated for the installation of a paved trail.
- Lake County - Lilium catesbaei population conserved
- Lee County - populations of Sacoila lanceolata and several milkweeds were conserved.
How you can help:
Document all sightings of rare plants in road rights-of-way to help fill in gaps and build the database. Please provide an accurate location either using GPS or your cell phone. Please take a close-up picture of the plant and send with your email (see link below).
Encourage your county to adopt a wildflower resolution (if they haven’t yet).
If your county has adopted a wildflower resolution and you see a roadside rare plant population with no signs of protection, you can simply contact FDOT for populations located on state highways or a county roads department for populations located on county roads.Email the Project Contact