Support IRC on #GivingTuesday (11/29/16). IRC will kick off our end of year fundraiser with #GivingTuesday on November 29th. As a non-profit organization, we rely on your support to make our community outreach efforts possible. By supporting IRC with a tax-deductible donation, you will directly have an impact on conservation in 2017. The money we raise will be used to fund our community based restoration events throughout South Florida, enable us to provide innovative presentations and programs that are free to the public, and help us keep our databases up to date with the latest information.
Help us continue our mission of conserving rare plants, animals and ecosystems by clicking here.
Monday, November 14, 2016
IRC Completes Invasive Plant Management Project at Coral Pine Park. To kick off IRC’s Pine Rockland Initiative Program, IRC completed a restoration project at Coral Pines Park this November. The IRC restoration team worked on the three-acre site to remove twenty exotic species which included FLEPP Category I and II invasive plants such as Brazilian Pepper (Schinus terebinthifolius), Woman’s Tongue (Albizia lebbeck), and Shoebutton Ardisia (Ardisia elliptica). To see additional before and after pictures from the project, click here. The team also held a volunteer restoration day for passionate and curious community members, who were eager to learn more about an endangered ecosystem and lend their helping hands to remove the oyster plant (Tradescantia spathacea) infestation that was taking over the complete north side of the plot. By clearing out the area of the hundreds of oyster plants, we were able to discover some native understory such as coontie (Zamia integrifolia) and saw palmetto (Serenoa repens) from under the limestone rock outcropping, as well as finding pineland fern (Anemia adiantifolia) after removing all the invasive Burmareed (Neyraudia reynaudiana).
The Coral Pine Park pine rockland is also habitat for two threatened plant species, Crenulate leadplant (Amorpha herbacea var. crenulata) and Florida southern sandmat (Euphorbia pergamena). Also known as the Miami lead-plant, A. crenulata is endemic to Miami-Dade County, Florida. Crenulate lead-plant was listed as endangered on July 18, 1985. It has been almost entirely eliminated by agriculture, urban, and commercial development in it’s pine rockland habitats (USFWS 1997). In addition, fire suppression, invasion by exotic plant species, and drainage threaten the survival of the plant species thus possibly disrupting the flowering and seed production of the species (Roncal 1996). Today, threatened species like the Crenulate lead-plant and others continue to be in danger of extinction unfortunately due to development and urbanization, the primary causes for the imperilment of the threatened pine rocklands. IRC will continue to monitor Coral Pine Park as a means to maintain the beautiful pine rockland site and keep abreast of the presence of the threatened species at Coral Pines Park. To find the complete plant list for Coral Pine Park, please click here.
VOLUNTEERS NEEDED at Coral Pine Park on Saturday, October 22nd from 10 am to 12 pm.
Volunteers are needed to help IRC on a Restoration Event at Coral Pine Park in Pinecrest, Florida on Saturday, October 22nd from 10 am to 12 pm. Volunteers will help hand-remove and bag Oyster Plant (Tradescantia spathacea) throughout the park. This is a great opportunity to make a difference at a beautiful park! Interested volunteers can contact Maha Nusrat at firstname.lastname@example.org or 305-505-9192.
Friday, September 23, 2016
IRC's Chief Conservation Strategist, George Gann, will be giving a talk titled "Everglades Restoration and Rare Plants - Including a Critical Element of Biodiversity" on October 5th at the University of Miami.
IRC’s Chief Conservation Strategist, George Gann, will be giving an invited presentation at the University of Miami on October 12th at 7:00 pm. The talk titled "Everglades Restoration and Rare Plants - Including a Critical Element of Biodiversity" will explore the abundance of rare plant species potentially affected by Everglades restoration and the need to include rare plants in Everglades restoration planning and monitoring – currently South Florida’s rare native plants receive little if any attention within the restoration process. This talk is for the Friends of Gifford Arboretum October meeting and is free to the public.
Friday, September 16, 2016
Volunteers Needed For Beach Restoration/ International Coastal Clean Up Event on Saturday, October 1st in Delray Beach. IRC will be holding a Beach Restoration/ International Coastal Clean-Up Event on Saturday, October 1st from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. at the Delray Beach municipal beach across from the Delray Beach Marriott. Volunteers of all ages are needed to help with planting native species and picking up trash along the beach. RSVPs are appreciated and can be sent to IRC’s Education and Outreach Coordinator, Cara Abbott, at 305-304-6610 or email@example.com for additional information.
This event is funded and supported by Waste Management and Keep Palm Beach County Beautiful, Inc.
Wednesday, August 24, 2016
IRC Awarded a “Think Green” Grant For Programs in Delray Beach. IRC is pleased to announce that we have been awarded a “Think Green” Grant in partnership with Keep Palm Beach County Beautiful, Inc. from Waste Management. Part of the awarded “Green Delray” program includes a Beach Restoration/ International Coastal Clean-Up Event that will be held on Saturday, October 1st from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. at the Delray Beach municipal beach across from the Delray Beach Marriott. Volunteers of all ages are needed to help with planting native species and picking up trash along the beach. Anyone interested in volunteering can contact IRC’s Education and Outreach Coordinator, Cara Abbott, at 305-304-6610 or firstname.lastname@example.org for additional information.
The grant will also support IRC as we implement a Think Green school program with Delray Students First and provide a free native gardening workshop later this fall. Stay tuned for more information on all three components of this exciting grant!
IRC's Senior Botanist, Carlos Trejo, Contributes to Publication of New Critically Endangered Vine (Marsdenia calichicola) in the Yucatan. IRC’s Senior Botanist, Jorge Carlos Trejo Torres, helped author a new article published in Phytotaxa earlier this week. The article reports on the identification and conservation status of the critically endangered, endemic vine, Marsdenia calichicola, in the Mexican Yucatan Peninsula. To access the abstract of this publication, click here.
IRC Surveys for Rare Birds in the Lower Florida Keys. IRC’s newest field biologist, Trevor Watts, has been conducting rare species surveys by foot and kayak in the lower Florida Keys. Despite the intense heat recently, he has documented the presence of several rare birds including the Roseate spoonbill (Platalea ajaja), the Reddish Egret (Egretta rufescens) and the Least Tern (Sternula antillarum). For additional pictures taken by Trevor during the surveys, click here.
IRC Conducts Invasive Plant Removal Project at FAU Pine Jog. IRC’s Ecological Restoration Management program is making great progress on an Invasive Plant Management project at FAU Pine Jog Environmental Center in West Palm Beach. IRC staff members are working to remove a variety of Category I and Category II invasive plants including Nephrolepis falcata and Sansevieria hyacinthoides. To see before and after pictures of the fishtail fern and snake plant, click here.
IRC’s Landmark Publication "Rare Plants of South Florida : Their History, Conservation, and Restoration" Now Available in a Free Electronic Book. The complete manuscript of IRC’s landmark publication "Rare Plants of South Florida : Their History, Conservation, and Restoration" is now available in a free electronic book. This critically acclaimed document, which includes data on all of the regionally extinct and imperiled plant species in South Florida, was originally published as a printed book in 2002. Not only is this manuscript now available for free, but also all 1081 pages of the electronic pdf are fully searchable.
"Rare Plants of South Florida : Their History, Conservation and Restoration" authors, Steve Woodmansee (left), George Gann (middle) and Keith Bradley (right) in the premier issue of Orion Afield in 1997.
Monday, May 23, 2016
IRC’s Chief Conservation Strategist, George Gann, Attends 2016 NatureServe Network Conservation Conference in San Juan, Puerto Rico. IRC’s Chief Conservation Strategist, George Gann, recently attended Biodiversity Without Borders: The NatureServe Network Conservation Conference held in San Juan, Puerto Rico. NatureServe is a network of over 1,000 conservation professionals that have collaboratively assessed over 70,000 species and mapped over 1,600 ecosystems. The conference hosted a select group of leading conservationists for a week of plenaries, symposiums, workshops, panels, presentations, and field sessions focused on conservation and biodiversity trends in the western hemisphere.
Gann was an active speaker at the conference and gave presentations titled “Improving species selection for restoration: global context, resources and tools” and “Plants of the island of Puerto Rico: an innovative web-based conservation tool for scientists and enthusiasts”. Additionally, Gann served as a panelist on “Developing a protocol for assessing the regional conservation status of species” and “Present and future priorities for plant conservation in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands,” the latter at a one day workshop held at the Doña Inés botanical garden.
IRC’s participation in this conference helped fortify our international presence and relationships with scientists at the forefront of global biodiversity conservation.
Participants of the Biodiversity Without Boundaries Workshop including George Gann, past IRC board member Joyce Maschinski, and Director the Doña Inés Botanical Garden Christian Torres Santana.
Tuesday, April 19, 2016
IRC’s Chief Executive Officer, Craig van der Heiden, Gives Keynote Address at the 2016 Florida Rare Plant Task Force Meeting. Each year, the Rare Plant Task Force of Florida provides an opportunity for Florida’s professional plant conservation community to share research and to prioritize and coordinate ongoing plant conservation efforts around the state. This year’s meeting was held at Bok Tower Gardens in Lake Wales, Florida and IRC’s Chief Executive Officer, Craig van der Heiden, was asked to provide the keynote address for the meeting which focused on challenges facing rare plants.
Monday, March 28, 2016
IRC Completes Invasive Plant Management Projects in Hobe Sound and Marathon. IRC’s Florida Keys Restoration Team recently completed a series of invasive plant management projects in Marathon Conservation Lands including the Marathon Community Park and Coco Plum Beach. They will now begin similar work at the National Key Deer Refuge and at John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park. To see before and after pictures of portions of their completed work, click here.
IRC’s Florida Mainland Restoration Team is currently wrapping up an invasive plant management project in Hobe Sound, Florida located in Martin County. They will now begin working at the Oslo Riverfront Conservation Area in Vero Beach, Florida.
Volunteers Needed For Second Restoration Day at Atlantic Dunes Park on Saturday, April 30, 2016. The Institute for Regional Conservation will be holding a second restoration volunteer day at Atlantic Dunes Park (1605 S. Ocean Blvd. Delray Beach, FL 33483) on Saturday, April 30th from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. This volunteer day will be part of the Great American Clean Up and will focus on further restoring biodiversity within this beautiful public park by removing invasive plant species like snake plant (Sansevieria hyacinthoides) and planting native species that are currently missing but historically found within the park. The supplies for this Great American Clean Up event are made possible by a mini-grant awarded by Keep Palm Beach County Beautiful, Inc (KPBCB).
A lot of great work was accomplished at our volunteer day on January 30th but there is still plenty more to be done in restoring biodiversity at the park. At this event, volunteers will assist IRC in removing and bagging invasive plant species, planting native plants in the hammock and dune areas, and removing trash throughout the park. Families, school groups, local organizations and local residents of all ages are welcome to attend! Because this is a Great American Clean Up event, participants will be given a commemorative t-shirt for volunteering their time. Questions and RSVP’s can be sent to Cara Abbott 305-304-6610 or email@example.com.
IRC Collaborates with University of Montana and Tufts University to Survey For Endangered Species in Homestead, FL. IRC has been subcontracted through the Center for Integrated Research on the Environment (CIRE) to work with scientists from the University of Montana and Tufts University to survey for endangered species in Homestead, Florida. The four species that are the focus of this work are the Strymon acis bartrami (Bartam’s Hairstreak), Anaea troglodyta (Florida Leafwing), Linum carteri (Carter’s Small Flax) and Brickellia mosieri (Florida brickell-bush). These species are all considered federally endangered and occur within pine rockland habitat. Surveys will be completed throughout the 2016 year.
To kick off the beginning of this project, IRC held a meeting at Fairchild Tropical Botanical Garden where local experts and the visitors from the University of Montana and Tufts University were able to share ideas and present on their areas of expertise. We look forward to a great year of working together!
Participants at the kick-off meeting including IRC, University of Montana, Tufts University and local butterfly experts from Zoo Miami, Fairchild Tropical Botanical Garden, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Homestead Air Reserve Base.
Thank You to Everyone Who Participated in IRC’s Restoration Volunteer Day at Atlantic Dunes Park on Saturday, January 30, 2016! Nearly 40 people showed up bright and early on January 30th at Atlantic Dunes Park in Delray Beach to help IRC restore and increase the biodiversity of the park. Several invasive plant species were targeted including Sansevieria hyacinthoides (snake plant) and Schinus terebinthibolius (Brazilian-pepper). Additionally, 18 native plant species that were currently missing but historically found within the park were planted in the hammock and dune areas of the park. These plants, including Amyris elemifera (Common torchwood) and Tournefortia gnaphalodes (Sea lavender), were selected after IRC completed floristic surveys along the public beaches of Delray Beach in fall 2015. A complete list of all native and non-native plants found within Atlantic Dunes Park can be accessed here. A similar page for the Delray Beach Municipal Beach can be found here.
IRC would like to not only thank each volunteer who helped out on Saturday, but also give a special thank you to Robert Barron for providing his expertise on beach restoration and for donating plants. We would also like to thank IRC board member John Campanola for providing us with the funds for this project through an Individual Grant from the New York Life Foundation Volunteers for Good that recognizes his volunteer service with IRC.
Check out the entire album of pictures from the event on our Facebook page here!
IRC to Present at 2016 Invasive Species Awareness Festival in Miami on Saturday, January 16th. IRC’s Education and Outreach Coordinator, Cara Abbott, will be a speaker for "Learn from the Experts" at the 2016 Invasive Species Awareness Festival. This festival is part of the FWC 2016 Python Challenge and will be held at FIU’s Modesto Maidique campus in Miami on January 16th from 10am until 4pm. The festival is free to the public and includes presentations, exhibitors, vendors, interpretive walks and live capture demonstrations. Abbott will be presenting on Invasive Plant Species of South Florida at 3:30 in classroom 119. See the flyer below for more information or click here to visit the event page!
IRC Will Hold Volunteer Day on January 30th at Atlantic Dunes Park in Delray Beach. The Institute for Regional Conservation will hold a volunteer day at Atlantic Dunes Park in Delray Beach on Saturday, January 30th from 9 am to 12 pm. Volunteers will assist in removing invasive plant species throughout the park and establish populations of native plants that are currently missing from the park. IRC will provide the tools and plants thanks in part to an Individual Grant from the New York Life Foundation Volunteers for Good. All volunteers need to do is show up with sunscreen, long sleeves/pants, a hat and a helping hand; gloves are also recommended. Additionally, volunteers are welcome to bring a lunch and join IRC afterwards for a picnic.
So come join IRC's Chief Conservation Strategist George Gann, IRC's Education and Outreach Coordinator Cara Abbott, John Campanola, Agent with New York Life and IRC board member, members of the Delray Beach Chamber of Commerce and volunteers from throughout the community who will all be working together at this event!
If you have any questions, feel free to contact Cara Abbott at 305-304-6610 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
*Atlantic Dunes Park is located at 1605 South Ocean Blvd. (One block north of Linton Blvd. on A1A) Delray Beach, Florida with meter parking available just west of A1A.
Thursday, December 31, 2015
New Article on the Florida Hairstreak, Eumaeus atala, Published by IRC Research Associate Sandy Koi. IRC’s newest research associate recently published an article focused on the life history and conservation of the Florida Hairstreak, Eumaeus atala. This coontie-loving butterfly was once thought to be extinct in South Florida before making a remarkable come back over the last 30 years. However, the Florida Hairstreak is still considered imperiled due to many factors including fragmented habitats and isolated populations. To read more about Koi’s research and the recovery of this beautiful and unique butterfly, click here or visit our publications page.
New Plantas de la Isla de Puerto Rico/Plants of the Island of Puerto Rico Website Officially Released. IRC is proud to announce the official launch of the new Plantas de la Isla de Puerto Rico/Plants of the Island of Puerto Rico Website. This bilingual website authored by IRC’s Chief Conservation Strategist, George Gann, Senior Botanist, Carlos Trejos, and Research Associate, Christina Stocking, is the first of its kind in creating a plant list specific to the island of Puerto Rico. The website was created with two main functions in mind: 1) to help people learn about the unique plants of the island of Puerto Rico and 2) to contribute to the conservation of these plants. To help people learn about the plants, this website includes a user-friendly format with language that botanists and amateurs alike can understand, a universal quick search feature, a powerful advanced search tool and a comprehensive floristic list of the over 3,500 native and introduced plant species including endemic species.
The website also provides a comprehensive assessment of the conservation status of the entire native flora of the island and floristic lists broken down by conservation areas throughout the island. To further contribute to the conservation of the native plants of Puerto Rico, three directories, a Green Guide, a Green Agro-Guide, and Info-Botany, are provided. The many components of the Plants of the Island of Puerto Rico Website make it a one of a kind resource for both enthusiasts and researchers to contribute to the conservation of plants found within the island of Puerto Rico.
The formal launching event was hosted by the Fundación Luis Muñoz Marín at the botanical garden Parque Doña Iñez on December 15th in San Juan, Puerto Rico. This was a very fitting venue given that the Park has the largest ex-situ collection of Puerto Rican native plants on the island. During the event, Gann spoke about the functionality and importance of the website while Trejos discussed how Plants of the Island of Puerto Rico assists users in exploring and understanding the world of plants in Puerto Rico. IRC’s Chief Executive Officer, Craig van der Heiden, and his wife Sheryl were among the 40 esteemed guests present at the launch. The other attendees were community members from across the island including academic botanists, representatives of the Puerto Rican Department of Natural and Environmental Resources, philosophers and educators, professional arborists, sustainable farmers, and university students.
To access the Plantas de la Isla de Puerto Rico/Plants of the Island of Puerto Rico Website, simply click on the icon found in the left hand bar of this website underneath the Natives For Your Neighborhood icon.
From left to right: George Gann, Carlos Trejo and Vicente Quevedo (Puerto Rico Department of Natural and Environmental Resources) at the launch of Plants of the Island of Puerto Rico.
From left to right: George Gann, Christian Torres (Director, Doña Inés botanical garden), Marcos Caraballo (Pennsylvania State University), Carlos Trejo.
IRC to Launch New Website in San Juan, Puerto Rico on December 15, 2015. On December 15th, the Institute for Regional Conservation will be launching a new bilingual website 15 years in the making that features both the native and introduced plants of the island of Puerto Rico. This innovative website titled “Plantas de Borikén” provides detailed information on 3,500 plant species found on the island with a focus on the hundreds of rare and endemic species. Plantas de Borikén contains the most recent taxonomic research and has valuable data pertaining to the conservation status of Puerto Rico’s native plants and ecosystems. The website contains other pertinent material like a Green Guide to plant and conservation based activities on the island, a section on unique botanical literature, and a list of local sustainable agricultural producers.
The website will be officially launched in San Juan, Puerto Rico on Tuesday, December 15th at 2:00 at the Luis Muñoz Marín Foundation. IRC’s Chief Conservation Strategist, George Gann, will present on how the website functions, the importance of regional plant conservation efforts like those already ongoing in Puerto Rico, and how individuals can tribute to plant conservation efforts. IRC’s Senior Botanist, Carlos Trejo, will speak on how Plantas de Borikén will allow the general public to explore, discover, and understand the world of Puerto Rican plants through the website and its many resources like the Green Guide and through connected social media.
Once the website is officially released, a link to Plantas de Borikén will be provided on the left hand toolbar of IRC’s website underneath links to Natives for Your Neighborhood, the Floristic Inventory of South Florida, and Plantas del Mayab.
Tuesday, November 17, 2015
IRC Will Hold Free Workshop on Invasive Exotic Plant Identification & Removal in Key West on December 5, 2015. In an effort to get local homeowners involved in long-term conservation in the Florida Keys, IRC will be holding a workshop focused on the identification and removal of invasive exotic plant species found within the Florida Keys. The event is open to the public and is completely free to attend. Participants will even receive free herbicide to take home and use on exotic species found within their own backyards. IRC staff will also be providing hands on demonstrations with exotic identification and removal techniques, informational hand outs regarding plant identification and herbicide application steps.
The workshop will be held at the Key West Tropical Forest & Botanical Garden ( 5210 College Rd, Key West, FL 33040) on Saturday, December 5th from 8 am to 12 pm. Feel free to come for any length of time during the workshop. IRC staff will be providing hands on demonstrations with exotic identification and removal techniques, informational hand outs regarding plant identification and herbicide application steps. If you have any questions please contact Adriana Olavarria (email@example.com; 305-504-1690) or Cara Abbott (firstname.lastname@example.org; 305-304-6610). We hope to see you there!
Thursday, November 5, 2015
Newest Edition of IRC Newsletter Available. Each month, IRC sends out an informative newsletter highlighting the work we’re doing, conservation news throughout Florida and upcoming events you don’t want to miss. If you are interested in receiving these newsletters, join our mailing list here! You can also access the entire October Newsletter here.
Monday, November 2, 2015
IRC Records Remarkable Butterfly Migration During Delray Dunes Survey.While surveying the variety of wildlife living within Delray’s public beach dunes in accordance with a project initiated by the City of Delray Beach on Friday October 30th, IRC staff members Cara Abbott and Sandy Koi happened upon a butterfly migration fly way directly over the dune vegetation. Both Gulf Fritillary (Agraulis vanilla) and Monarch (Danaus plexippus) were observed in this migration. In a 15 minute period, 13 Gulf Fritillary and 20 Monarch were sighted in the fly way near lifeguard station “South 5.”
Gulf Fritillary butterflies in particular belong to a group of straight line migrants that undertake defined seasonal movement on an annual basis. Monarch butterflies are the only butterflies to make such a long, two-way migration, flying up to 3000 miles in the fall to reach their winter destination before flying back north again in the spring. During this incredible migration, these butterflies rely on food sources provided by dune vegetation. This is one of many reasons that proper dune conservation is so vital to biodiversity. The data from this amazing migration will be presented along with the rest of the survey data to the City of Delray Beach who is funding this project.
Left: Gulf Fritillary. Right: Monarch.
Photos by Archie Edwards and Erin Backus, respectively, from NFYN.
Tuesday, October 20, 2015
IRC Will Host Volunteer Day in West Summerland Key on October 24, 2015. In an effort to establish long-term conservation in the Florida Keys, IRC will be hosting a volunteer day at the Boy Scout Camp located on West Summerland Key on Saturday, October 24 at 8:00 am. The goal of this event is to work on private land restoration to complement public land conservation throughout the Keys. By making both public land and private land a priority in conservation, biodiversity is greatly benefited. Volunteers will learn simple restoration techniques that can then be used in their own backyards. If you have any questions, contact Adriana Olavarria at 305-504-1690 or email@example.com. We hope to see you there!
Friday, October 10, 2015
IRC Contributes to “Endangered” Listing of the Florida bristle fern. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is listing the Florida bristle fern (Trichomanes punctatum subsp. floridanum) as "endangered" under the Endangered Species Act. The fern has been a candidate for federal listing as endangered since November 2009. The official announcement was published in the Federal Register on October 6, 2015 and can be accessed on the species profile page here.
IRC’s Craig van der Heiden and George Gann have played a critical role in providing the ranking materials including the historic distribution and specific habitat requirements that contributed to this listing. In the Final Ruling released by FWS, IRC’s work is acknowledged and Craig van der Heiden’s reports are repeatedly referenced and cited throughout. IRC has spent more than a decade looking for this endemic fern in Everglades National Park and more recently in the Withalochoochee State Forest. For additional pictures and information on the Florida bristle fern, check out the plant page in our FISF website here.
IRC’s Chief Executive Officer, Craig van der Heiden, gives presentation at the Restoring Soil/Soul in Vanishing Pine Rockland Workshop hosted by Miami Dade College’s Environmental Center. On Friday, September 11th, Craig presented along side Professor Carlos Gonzales on the history and current status of Florida’s pine rocklands to a full room of Miami Dade College faculty. Craig also used this time to highlight the long standing role IRC has played in the conservation of this imperiled habitat. The workshop included both a lecture and a hands on tour of the pine rocklands located directly on the college campus. This workshop was one of a series of upcoming workshops that will be hosted by the Environmental Center.
IRC Wraps Up Project at Key West Tropical Forest and Botanical Garden. IRC’s Ecological Restoration Management program completed a project at the Key West Tropical Forest and Botanical Garden. IRC staff members worked to remove Brazilian pepper, umbrella tree, snake plant, Brazilian jasmine, coral vine, and other invasive plants from this native sanctuary. To see before and after pictures of the snake plant and brazilian jasmine removal, click here.
Thank you to everyone who came out to IRC’s Volunteer Days in Cutler Bay! Over 30 volunteers and members of the Tropical Audubon Society attended the events and helped IRC plant native plants throughout the site, install two screech owl nest boxes and one woodpecker/bluebird nest box, remove exotic seedlings, and set up educational signs along the trail.
Tampa-based radio station, WMNF, interviews Michael J. Barry about the impacts of rising sea levels on Florida’s southwest coast.To read the story, click here. Watch the video below.
Monday, July 27, 2015
IRC’s Chief Conservation Strategist, George Gann, was featured speaker at monthly Green Implementation Advancement Board meeting in Delray Beach. On Thursday, July 23rd, George was asked to speak before the Green Implementation Advancement Board (GIAB) at their monthly meeting to discuss specific ways that the city could increase its role in biodiversity conservation including the use of native plants in landscaping and gardening. The “Green Board” offers recommendations to the City Commission on issues of environmental sustainability in addition to providing strategies and projects designed to achieve the city-wide sustainability goals. After reviewing the critical work IRC conducts to conserve the native flora and fauna of South Florida, George proposed collaboration between IRC and the city. This collaboration would, in part, work towards capitalizing on Delray Beach’s beautiful restored beach dunes by not only cataloguing the current dune species, but also reintroducing regionally rare species still missing from the system.
Come Volunteer and Help Restore Miami's Beautiful Coastal Wetlands on Saturday, July 25th and Saturday, August 8th!
Monday, July 20, 2015
Michael Barry, a Senior Biologist with IRC since 2007, profiled in the Naples Herald. While at the Institute for Regional Conservation, Barry has led conservation projects in Southwest Florida. Read more about his work through IRC and the current issue of sea level rise along Florida’s Gulf Coast by clicking on the picture below!
Major taxonomic changes coming: the genus Chamaesyce to be merged with Euphorbia and more. Many of you who use the Floristic Inventory of South Florida (FISF) have probably noticed a raft of taxonomic changes that we have made over the last few months, from the movement of plants from one genus to another to the realignment of genera in plant families. More major changes are coming, including the merger of Chamaesyce into the genus Euphorbia, a change already adopted by most authorities, but not yet accepted by the Florida Atlas and USDA PLANTS. Another is the movement of the tree lancewood (Ocotea coriacea), from Ocotea back to the genus Nectandra, where many of us remember it from the Long & Lakela days. For those of you with links to the FISF or Natives For Your Neighborhood, please check from time to time as some links (like lancewood) may have changed. If you have questions about these changes or see any errors, please let us know! George Gann – Chief Conservation Strategist, IRC.
The Institute for Regional Conservation contributed to the Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve project “Restoring the Rookery Bay Estuary” which aims to connect people and science for long term community benefit. Senior Biologist, Mike Barry, was part of the final meeting where he presented “Habitat Mapping and Trend Analysis: Rookery Bay Watershed Discharge Locations”. The IRC mapping documented changes in vegetation from 1940 to 2010. The largest shifts were open marsh to mangroves. The causes of the shifts can be attributed to sea level rise and fresh water hydrological changes.
Thursday, April 30, 2015
IRC participated in the Greater Everglades Ecosystem Restoration (GEER) conference held in Coral Springs Florida. GEER is a great place to network and show the research community the great work we at IRC are doing. The presentation by IRC Research Associate, Maureen Bonness, on our work in the Picayune was well received and generated a lot of discussion. The talk highlighted the magnitude of exotic plant species associated with the restoration and the work IRC plays in the restoration process. Great job! We also had two posters; one highlighting IRC's role in floristic data availability and use and the other highlighting the plight of the pine rocklands.
Tuesday, March 10, 2015
The Miami Herald interviews George D. Gann about the rare plants report. To read the story, click here. Watch the video below.
Thursday, March 5, 2015
Thank you to everyone who turned out for the event at Fairchild! Monday night's event at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden to introduce the new report "Vascular Plant Species of Management Concern in Everglades National Park" was a huge success with over 150 people attending, standing room only! George Gann, chief conservation strategist, gave a presentation about the history of plant conservation in the park and major findings of the report. After, Dr. Joyce Maschinski of Fairchild and Jimi Sadle of Everglades National Park joined George for a panel discussion moderated by Dr. Craig van der Heiden. Thank you to everyone who turned out and made the event a success.
For some media coverage of the report, click here.
Monday, February 23, 2015
BioTech Students use President's Day for Service Learning at the Coastal Palmetto Bay and Cutler Bay Habitat Restoration. January 16th wasn't a day off for all South Florida high schoolers. The Key Club from BioTech High and their teacher Mr. David Ardelean took the opportunity to come out to the Coastal Palmetto Bay and Cutler Bay Habitat Restoration project
to learn about the habitats being restored, the management challenges being conquered, and the management techniques used to do so! In addition to getting to spend the day learning from Sarah Martin and Rasheed Bradley, the students:
treated invasive species (hand-pulling Brazilian-pepper (Schinus terebinthifolius), lead tree (Leucaena leucocephala), and napier grass (Pennisetum purpureum) seedlings and bagging seeds)
Planted native seedlings of muhly grass (Muhlenbergia capillaris), royal flatsedge (Cyperus elegans), and swamp flatsedge (Cyperus ligularis) in experimental plots (planted in places where large Brazilian-pepper were cut-down and shredded and nothing is currently growing)
And collected mature seeds of select native plants from the site and dispersing them in an area recently cleared of napier grass seedlings
Priceless Pieces: Jennifer Possley of Fairchild discusses the value of disturbed Pine Rockland fragments in the latest issue of “The Tropical Garden.” Pine rocklands are few and far between in Miami Dade County with less than 2% of the original extent still remaining. In addition, of the Pine Rocklands that do remain many are not what would be considered pristine with a history of being “scraped” or of fire suppression. These altered systems, however, are far from devoid of environmental and biodiversity value, as is pointed out by Jennifer Possley in the upcoming edition of “The Tropical Garden,” the magazine of Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden. (past issues here) Disturbed and fire suppressed fragments still contain a great deal of the diversity in the herbaceous layer that is characteristic of Pine Rocklands as well as provides ample opportunities for wildlife habitat and nectar and host plants for butterflies and pollinators. Unfortunately, the lack of management on these fragments can be seen as some as an excuse to consider them a lost cause and to promote alternative uses for the land. Far from lost, there are many organizations including IRC, who work diligently to restore Pine Rocklands. Check out IRC’s Pine Rockland Initiative and Fairchild’s Connect to Protect network to learn more about what is being done and how you can help.
EVENT! March 2! Rare plants of Everglades National Park: their history, conservation, and restoration.
Wednesday. February 5, 2015
Critical Habitat is proposed for two South Florida cacti. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife is proposing the listing of critical habitat for the Florida semaphore cactus (Consolea corallicola) and the Aboriginal prickly-apple (Harrisia aboriginum). Both species were listed as endangered in 2013. According to the USFWS, 4,411 acres are proposed for the Florida semaphore cactus in Miami-Dade and Monroe Counties, and 3,444 acres are proposed for the aboriginal prickly-apple in Manatee, Charlotte, Sarasota, and Lee Counties. The Florida semaphore cactus is known in seven populations, two naturally occurring and five reintroduced, representing fewer than 1,500 individuals and all on existing conservation lands. The population for the aboriginal prickly-apple is known in 12 populations spread across conservation areas, public land not managed for conservation, and several unprotected private parcels. The population is thought to be between 300 and 500 individuals.
Critical habitat designations identify habitats and geographic areas essential for the conservation of the endangered species. Species cannot be protected in isolation but must be protected within the context of their habitat requirements. The Institute for Regional Conservation often consults with the USFWS in determining species listings and critical habitat designations. One way in which IRC contributed in this case was in the discovery of a population of the Florida semaphore cactus in Biscayne National Park in 2001.
Learn more about the listing here and make sure to submit your comments. The Service will accept comments concerning the proposed critical habitat designations for these two cacti and/or the draft economic analysis that are received or postmarked on or before March 23, 2015. To submit comments electronically, please go to the Federal eRulemaking Portal. In the Search box, enter FWS–R4–ES-2014–0057, which is the docket number for this rulemaking. Then, in the Search panel on the left side of the screen, under the Document Type heading, click on the Proposed Rules link to locate this document. You may submit a comment by clicking on “Comment Now!”
Photos by George D Gann and Keith Bradley from the FISF
Tuesday, February 3, 2015
Join IRC on February 7th at Green Cay Nature Center & Wetlands!
Monday, January 26, 2015
George Gann, IRC's Chief Conservation Strategist and Board President, profiled in the Delray and Boynton Forums of the Sun Sentinel. George Gann has dedicated the last 30 years of his life to IRC and his vision of regional conservation. Read more of the details in the Delray or Boynton forums of the Sun Sentinel. Click the image below to read the story online!
Monday January 12, 2015
Release: Community Concern About Continuing Loss of Pine Rocklands in the Richmond Tract Formerly Home to More Than 350 Native Plant Species
Community Concern About Continuing Loss of Pine Rocklands in the Richmond Tract Formerly Home to More Than 350 Native Plant Species
DELRAY BEACH, Florida—The Institute for Regional Conservation (IRC) Chief Conservation Strategist, George Gann, recently sat down with IRC’s floristic database to gain an understanding of the plant biodiversity in the Richmond Tract. What he found was that within this relatively small area of land, more than 350 species of native plants have been recorded, about one quarter of all the native plant species historically found in South Florida. The list contains everything from common species, such as our Florida state tree (the cabbage palm), to several federally listed endemic plants, to extremely rare tropical and temperate species at the ends of their global ranges. Several of these plants are found in Miami-Dade County and nowhere else in the world.
“There has been a lot of recent concern in the community about the continuing loss of pine rocklands outside of Everglades National Park, and in the Richmond Tract in particular,” said Gann. “And the basis for much of that concern is obvious. Any additional loss of pine rocklands is tragic, especially on public lands. We are down to the last little bits and every remaining bit matters. But the devil is in the details, and we need an updated floristic analysis of the Richmond Tract if we are really going to understand what is at stake for plant conservation.”
The commonly dubbed Richmond Tract comprises a patchwork of ownership by different entities, including the U.S. Coast Guard, Zoo Miami, and the University of Miami. While most of the concern has been on the remaining pine rocklands, former wetlands running through the site contribute to its remarkable diversity. After the protected Deering Estate at Cutler (which has more than 500 native plant species), the Richmond Tract is the most important native plant resource in Miami-Dade County outside of Everglades National Park. It historically had more native plant species, for instance, than Biscayne National Park.
“What we need to do now is to demonstrate that all the remaining undeveloped parcels at Richmond are important, and to promote the active restoration of pine rocklands in the so-called scraped areas, which have been cleared of pine trees and mowed,” Gann continued.
According to Gann, “Several areas in Richmond that others have thrown in the mental trash heap and are therefore available for development may in fact be critical habitat for native plants. It’s unfortunate, in a way, that we named this globally imperiled ecosystem ‘pine rocklands’ since the pine tree is just the most obvious component. The loss of pine trees does not mean the ecosystem is destroyed. Perhaps it would have been better if we had named it ‘limestone savanna’ or something, so that people associated more with the herbaceous understory and not pine trees. This is where the rare biodiversity is located.”
One important thing we need to know now is how many native plant species are still present in the Richmond Tract. While some parts of Richmond have been conserved and are well managed, the overall trend over the last 30 years has been lack of management, continued fragmentation and the incremental loss of species.
“From reviewing the floristic data, we now know that many native species were recorded in only one or two tracts within Richmond. Unfortunately, some of these species may now be gone. The idea that all the native plants at Richmond can be protected in Larry and Penny Thompson Park and small protected areas at the Zoo is false. Larger areas are needed,” continued Gann.
The last extensive floristic inventories of Richmond were conducted by IRC more than a decade ago, and some species have not been seen since the early 1990s. Gann concluded, “We need updated information so that we can understand exactly what will be lost if more areas are developed or if critical management, such as prescribed burning and exotic species control, is not implemented.”
Join IRC on February 7th at Green Cay Nature Center & Wetlands! IRC will be presenting an event celebrating the re-greening of South Florida on February 7th at Green Cay wetlands in Boynton Beach. The focus of the event will be using Natives for Your Neighborhood to attract birds to your landscapes. Presenting along side of IRC are Authors James A. Kuslan and Kirsten Hines who will be discussing their book "Attracting Birds to South Florida Gardens." After the talk, IRC biologists and the authors will hold a panel discussion and there will be a book signing. All proceeds of the book sales from the event will be donated to IRC. Watch out for more details as they emerge, including the native nurseries which will be attending and details about purchasing plants! Doors open at 1:30 with the talk beginning at 2pm. Come early or stay after to enjoy the beautiful wetlands!
Thank you to IRC’s most recent Sponsor – All Native Garden Center, Nursery, & Landscapes! Thank you to All Native for becoming a sponsor of Natives for Your Neighborhood! Check out their website and check out their native plant selection.
IRC is on a mission to connect NFYN users with the plants they want! Check out our “find native plants” page and let us know about your plant business and if you would like to become a sponsor!
Friday, December 19, 2014
Thank you to IRC’s most recent Sponsor – The Key West Tropical Forest and Botanical Gardens! Thank you to The Key West Tropical Forest and Botanical Gardens for becoming a sponsor of Natives for Your Neighborhood! Check out their website and monthly plant sales.
IRC is on a mission to connect NFYN users with the plants they want! Check out our “find native plants” page and let us know about your plant business and if you would like to become a sponsor!
Monday, December 1, 2014
Natives for Your Neighborhood cited as a resources in the American Horticultural Therapy Association news magazine. Natives for Your Neighborhood is a great resource for many uses of native plants, including pairing host and nectar plants with butterflies for the purpose of creating a horticultural therapy garden. Erin Backus, horticulturalist, horticulture therapist, owner of Plant Happiness, LLC, and former South Floridian, writes about how to use plants to attract wildlife to gardens for the purpose of theraputic benefits. She specifically mentions the importance of considering native diversity and the use of native species and cites NFYN and our wildlife pages as an example of a tool to do so. Horticultural therapy uses the benefits of natural and garden environments to treat mental illness, facilitate rehabilitation, and many other therapy needs. Learn more about horticultural therapy at AHTA.ORG.