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April 2015
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May 5 Program
Stories from Florida's Last Old Pines
presented by Dr. Jean Huffman

 
      
     Florida was once covered by pine savannas, scattered with longleaf and south Florida slash pines that were hundreds of years old. A few of these old trees remain with us today, many in urban settings, but they largely go unnoticed and unappreciated. These last old trees and their remains tell us much about our original Florida landscape and the history of the past several centuries. Scars held deep within their rings document how the landscape burned in times past, something that can help us better understand and know how to best manage fire in natural areas today. Dr. Huffman will share some of what she’s learned from the last old Florida pines in her research in Central and North Florida and also tell about ways to protect our last old pines so we can keep appreciating and learning from them into the future.
     Dr. Jean Huffman has spent most of her life studying Florida fire ecology and fire management. She is currently focused on fire history research, establishing the Southeastern Coastal Plain Tree Ring Archive, highlighting the importance of Florida’s last old pines, and promoting the preservation and best management of Florida natural areas. She has completed tree ring-based fire histories of two sites in the Panhandle and one in Central Florida, and is currently working on several additional sites. For decades, she has also worked with on-the-ground fire and land management, most recently as the manager of the St. Joseph Bay State Buffer Preserve, and previously at Myakka River State Park. She has studied and published papers on a variety of subjects including the flora of Myakka River State Park, pine lilies and restoration in Florida dry prairie, the fire history of Little St. George Island, seed dispersal by tapirs in Amazonia, and the fire resistance of trees in Bolivian dry forest.  
May 9 Field Trip 
Merritt Island
 
     On Saturday May 9, let's actually get out into the field. We will meet at the Merritt Island Visitors Center at 9a.m. From there, we will go in search of interesting native plants. Bring some cash—beach access (probably not an essential part of the trip, but nice) is $8 or more per car and some other parts of the island have lesser prices. Bring water and a snack and perhaps mosquito repellent.
     To carpool, meet at the usual Burger King at Colonial Drive (Hwy 50) and Alafaya Trail in east Orlando. We will leave at 8a.m. sharp. Expect the rest of the drive to the visitors' center to take about an hour.
It's Election Time! 
 
     The Nominating Committee of the Tarflower Chapter has received the following candidates to fill the Tarflower Board positions listed below. Voting on the slate of nominees will be at the May Annual Meeting. Officers will be elected for a period of one (1) year. Officers shall serve without compensation except reimbursement for actual expenses incurred or to be incurred. Nominations may still be taken from the floor at the May membership meeting.
 
President:
Nominee Amanda Martin           Nominee ______________
 
1st Vice-President (Programs)
Nominee Nancy Tyree                Nominee ______________
 
2nd Vice-President (Events)
Nominee Jim Erwin                    Nominee ______________
 
Secretary:
Nominee Keith Carlton              Nominee ______________
 
Treasurer:
Nominee Mirtas Kateli                Nominee ______________
 
Note: Julie Becker will continue to act as the FNPS State Chapter Director and as such shall also be an automatic member of the Executive Committee of this corporation. 
Backyard Biodiversity Day Update
   
     Planning is going so well, we skipped having a meeting in April! However, there is still much to do in order to be ready to have everything go smoothly on October 24! We have already received contributions from several sponsors. We need a few more people added to the core group who are organizing/overseeing the main elements. Please come and see where your talents will be most useful. One great element that we are adding for 2015 is a kids activity area. Sandy Bauerschmidt, a retired elementary school teacher, has volunteered to organize and oversee this area. We may have this in the big picnic pavilion or, hopefully find a sponsor for a separate big tent. Sandy has some great ideas for activities and crafts that will get kids out exploring Mead Garden. The number of young visitors we can host will depend on having enough volunteers in that area. We could also use some assistance in coordinating/contacting the various exhibitors and vendors to ensure that they have the information they need from us and so we know if they require any special equipment such as chairs, tables, electric outlets, etc. In addition, if you attended the past two years’ BBD and have suggestions to improve it, please come and let the planning committee know.
     The next planning meeting will be on Tuesday, May 19 at Catherine Bowman’s house, 2601 Eastbrook Blvd., Winter Park, FL  32792 at 6:00 p.m. Please let Catherine know if you will be able to attend. Contact her at garberia08@gmail.com or 407-637-5883.
IN THIS ISSUE
UPCOMING PROGRAMS & FIELD TRIPS
 
JUNE 2 Program
Orange County's Green PLACE program
presented by Beth Jackson,
Orange County Environmental Protection Division


JUNE 6 Field Trip
 TBD

JULY 7 Program
Tree Identification
presented by Dr. Bill Grey,
Rollins College Professor of Botany


JULY 11 Field Trip
 TBD
 
(NOTE: All programs and field trips are subject to change)
----------
UPCOMING EVENTS & VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES

MAY 16
Monthly Volunteer Workday @ Mead Garden
Where: Mead Botanical Garden, Winter Park MAP
When: SaturdayMay 16, 9am–11am
See detailed article in this issue (left). Contact Catherine Bowman via email or at 407-637-5883 for more information.

MAY 19
BBD Planning Meeting
Where: Catherine's house, 2601 Eastbrook Blvd., Winter Park, 32792  MAP
When: TuesdayMay 19, 6pm
Contact Catherine Bowman via email or at
407-637-5883 for more information.
 
MAY 28–31
FNPS Annual Conference
"Born to Burn"
in Tallahassee
Registration is now open at www.fnps.org/conference.
 
JUNE 4 & 11
Plant Salvage Plantings
Where: Bill Fredericks Turkey Lake Park, Orlando MAP
When: ThursdayJune 4, 8am–Noon and Thursday, June 11, 8am–Noon
See detailed article in this issue (left). Contact Jackie Rolly via email or at 407-620-6963 for more information.
 
OCT 24
3rd Annual Backyard
Biodiversity Day
Where: Mead Botanical Garden, Winter Park MAP
Planning is now underway! To volunteer, contact Catherine Bowman via email or at 407-761-7109.
VOLUNTEERS NEEDED!

Spring is a busy time for the Tarflower Chapter and volunteers are greatly needed to help with the many events and activities in which we are engaged!
 
To help at one of the upcoming events, contact Jim Erwin at 407-454-3882 or email. To participate in our monthly workdays at Mead Garden, contact Catherine Bowman at 407-761-7109 or email. See the events calendar above for details of upcoming events and volunteer opportunities.

Whether you have an hour or a day, and no matter your skills, Tarflower Chapter has a place for you!

BECOME A MEMBER
$35 Individual
$50 Family/Household
$15 Full-time student
$15 Library Subscription
$50 Non-profit
$75 Contributing
$100 Supporting
$125 Business/Corporate
$250 Donor
$1000 Lifetime member

To join online or to download a membership application, visit
fnps.org/participate/membershipinfo
For more information, visit
www.fnps.org or call 321-271-6702.

Make checks payable to:
Florida Native Plant Society
P.O. Box 278
Melbourne, FL 32902-0278
 
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Mead Botanical Garden update: What is going on in the gopher tortoise habitat and what are we going to do there on the May 16 workday?
by Catherine Bowman
 

     On Friday, April 17, I met Nancy Tyree (your VP of Programs nominee in the upcoming chapter elections) at the Mead Garden gopher tortoise habitat area to talk about programs for next year’s chapter meetings and to finally install those remaining three flats of wiregrass. It was a warm, cloudy, quiet morning and all through the new tortoise habitat there were signs of much growth and activity in the plants that Tarflower and other volunteers installed during last October’s Backyard Biodiversity Day. In the west end of the GT habitat, the persimmon grove had leafed out, the patch of Chapman’s goldenrod had shot up to about a two feet tall, the garberias near them had doubled in size (they will have fragrant lavender flowers in the fall), twinflowers were blooming and grasses (wire, lopsided Indian, pineland dropseed, and Elliott’s lovegrass) were putting on their seasonal growth. Over by a clump of pineland dropseed (Sporobolus junceus), it was particularly exciting to see that the first two naturally recruited longleaf pine seedlings were looking healthy and growing more, longer needles! From the inventory of pines in the park, Ron Blair and I observed that (with the exception of several sapling longleaf that have been planted in the last few years) there are no young longleaf and the smallest individuals that may have started naturally years ago are now about eight inches DBH. Longleaf need sunny, open sand for the germination of seeds that fall in late summer. The tiny seedlings are at first only a few inches tall and are easily destroyed by such activities as mowing, foot traffic, root disturbance by animals, or burning. Once they have a strong cluster of long, dense needles (called the “grass” stage) they are fairly tough; thus, the tortoise habitat area has provided the first open sand, high light, disturbance-free spot for seeds to germinate in the garden in possibly 100+ years.  It is a fine thing to have new longleaf starting to grow right in the middle of Winter Park. We are anticipating that students and other volunteers can collect seed from longleaf pine cones later this year and get some more longleaf started from the mature trees on the site. There are many wonderful gardeners and horticultural experts at Mead Garden, the Winter Park Garden Club and the Tarflower Chapter; we hope to get a group together to care for the seedlings until they are ready to be planted out in the longleaf pine uplands at the Garden as future replacement for a few of the older trees that were killed by lightning in the past couple years.
     In other parts of the tortoise habitat area, Darrow’s blueberries have ripening fruit, chalky bluestem grasses have new soft grey/green leaves, there is new growth on some of the winged sumac that chapter volunteers salvaged about three years ago and kept alive behind the Discovery Barn until they were planted in October. The Elephantopus that were planted right along the edge of the paved trail could not be in a better location; the full sun and disturbed trail edge seems to suit them well and their rosettes of dark green leaves seem a good indication that they will flower nicely this fall.
     It was good to see that the coral honeysuckle and the Carolina jessamine, planted on the sections of GT habitat’s protective split rail fence, are healthy and growing. Thank you to Randy Snyder and Lyrae Williams for their donations of most of these. The lovely vines will provide lots of future spring and summer color and will attract insects, hummingbirds—and human visitors. Some large dead trees were recently cut down in the Garden (laurel oaks, mostly) and several of these trunk sections make nice natural benches around the GT habitat. We were surprised to discover three native Clematis growing beside one of the logs—did someone plant these?
     With regard to the tortoise, you should see how they have grazed down most of the new growth on the silkgrass asters (Pityopsis graminifolia)! Clearly this plant was a good choice; I wonder if these asters will ever have a chance to flower. Did you know that there are some 140 different Florida native plant species that tortoise eat? Numerous species of their natural forage plants were included in the habitat planting and others will be added over time. Way to go Tarflower and Mead Botanical Garden! 
     Prior to planting last October, the areas of non-native turf grass in the GT habitat area—given the presence of the state threatened gopher tortoise—was very cautiously treated with herbicide in order to prepare for the installation of plants. Since that initial treatment, we have used only hand removal of exotic/invasive species. As you can see from the photos, there is a need for removing lots of a few species such as Mexican clover (Richardia brasiliensis). (I know, tortoise eat it, but there is plenty in other areas of the park.) The weeding would go more quickly and be more fun with more volunteers.
     You will also be happy to know that as I was packing up to depart after Nancy and I finished our tasks, both tortoise were emerging from their burrows. Wouldn’t it be amazing if the more protected tortoise habitat proved a suitable site for successful egg laying and hatchling survival? On September 22, 2014, I was able to observe the tortoise copulating; maybe there will be viable eggs this summer. Let’s do all we can to provide good diverse native plant habitat and an educational, sustainable collection of plants from the native longleaf pine/turkey oak sandhill historic vegetative community. I heard from a Rollins college student who stopped by to take some photos of the GT area while I was weeding that some of the students are conducting a study of the “restoration” activities at Mead. 
     If you can spare a couple of hours on Saturday, May 16, please come to the Mead Garden Work Day from 9 a.m. until about 11:00 a.m. and help us do some careful weeding. You will need a narrow trowel or other small hand-digging implement to loosen the roots while disturbing the soil as little as possible. Bring a hat and water; the GT area only has patches of shade.
Please let Catherine Bowman know if you can help. Contact her at garberia08@gmail.com or 407-637-5883 (and please leave a message if you get the machine). Thank you!!
Darrow's blueberry
twinflower
Upper left: gopher tortoise copulation (fall 2014)
Middle left: first natural longleaf seedling
Lower left: gopher tortoise information sign

 
Upper right: developing Darrow's blueberry fruit
Middle right: twinflower blooms
Lower right: Garberia and Chapman's goldenrod
June Plant Salvage Plantings Scheduled
     
     We will be planting the Kerina Parkside 2015 salvaged plants at Bill Fredericks Turkey Lake Park on Thursday, June 4 at 8:00 a.m. until around noon; and again on Thursday, June 11 at 8:00 a.m. (The Park doesn't open until 8:00 a.m.) Please bring a shovel or trowel, plenty of water for yourself, hat, gloves, etc.  If interested, please contact Jackie Rolly at j.y.rolly@att.net or 407-620-6963.
     All the scrub lupines (Lupinus aridorum) seedlings have already been planted and a survey was done on March 24. Results of the survey have not been compiled, but according to Juliet Rynear of the Bok Tower Rare Plant Department, the survival to date has been above expectations. What we will be planting in June are the other salvaged plants such as sandlace (Polygonella myriophylla), scrub skullcap (Scutellaria arenicola), jeweled blue-eyed grass (Sisyrinchium xerophyllum), forked bluecurls (Trichostema dichotomum), yucca (Yucca filamentosa), and coastalplain honeycombhead (Balduina angustifolia).
Yard Tour Report
text and photos by Phyllis Gray
 
   
The “Florida Native Plant & Wildlife-Friendly Yard Tour” was the joint effort of the Orange Audubon Society (OAS), Tarflower Chapter and Cuplet Fern Chapter of the Florida Native Plant Society held Saturday, April 11, 2015, at eight gardens in the South Orlando to South Winter Park corridor.
The date was set during the summer of 2104, as OAS was planning their 2014-2015 program brochure. Actual planning began in the fall with Deborah Green (OAS president) as chair and Randy Snyder, Mary Keim, Phyllis Gray, Neta Villalobos-Bell and Amanda Martin (Tarflower Chapter president) as the volunteer committee. Linda Carpenter joined as a docent on the day of the tour.
     In the meantime, the eight gardeners were planning, planting, and sprucing up for the throng of visitors who bought the $5 tickets. Gardens showcased included both new installations and gardens that evolved through at least ten years. A tour map (developed by Neta’s husband) included addresses with photos and a combined plant list. Another handout was the “Bird- and Butterfly-Friendly Plants for Central Florida,” an OAS effort.
     Some gardens were as small as the front yard, offering a secluded wildlife habitat viewed from a Southern style front porch, or a commercial bank site’s sunny parking lot planted with native shrubs and vines to be attractive both to customers and the birds and butterflies in the area. Another garden used drought-tolerant palmettos and coontie to create private yard areas.
     Two of the outlying gardens were the largest, and offered several examples of differing habitats. One bordered a conservation area and incorporated rescued plants in a scrubby front yard, accentuated with butterfly and water gardens in the back area. The other replaced non-native plants with a palette of native ground covers, shrubs, trees and secluded birdbaths and birdhouses in a variety of habitats.
     Two of the gardens were within a block of each other in a redevelopment area featuring small urban yards with almost 90% native plants. A trellis planted with three vines for seasonal color was a popular feature. A few meters away was an oak tree in a park setting that housed a huge wild beehive! One of the porches also had a resident screech owl, who made himself available for our viewing pleasure.
     A nearby new planting replaced lawn with many native plants, and used coralbean and coral honeysuckle to mature and screen the adjacent busy street outside the fence. A new brick path completely circled the house and was accentuated with a circle patio nestled under the trees with nearby raised beds filled with colorful wildflowers.
     Once tour-goers arrived, there was a steady stream of visitors. Tour time was 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. The guides were constantly leading the visitors, explaining their garden philosophy, identifying plants, and discussing the many topics brought up by the participants. It was interesting to note the various reactions from the visitors. Some arrived on their lunch hour, and could only visit a few gardens. Some took a break for lunch at the nearby Beefy King, and resumed touring, as the day was warm for April. Some said they had visited all eight gardens, and enumerated the ideas they gleaned. Many commented they enjoyed seeing the plants in a garden setting and received ideas on what to plant in groups, and how mature plants looked and behaved. One viewer commented that she was particularly interested in trees and liked that trees could be planted closer together than she thought, rather than being spread out.
     Plants in bloom included coralbean, crabapple, Tradescantia, sunshine mimosa, blanketflower, coral honeysuckle, wild coffee, and others. Some plants were in fruit, notably hawthorn with rose-like hips, yaupon, and firebush.
     Butterflies of several varieties were seen flying around lending their thanks for the variety of nectar and host plants available for their use. Birds swooped and chirped from the trees and shrubs.
     Our thanks to the hosts of this 2015 tour: Mary Keim and Randy Snyder, Eugene and Rena Stoccardo, Frank Winzig, Bill Garmany, Joanna Hall, Mark Callahan and Ginger Lane, First Green Bank (by Marc Godts), and Marjorie and Steve Holt.
     Thank you for those who joined us for a lovely day in the native plant and wildlife-friendly gardens offered for this year’s tour. The committee is evaluating this year’s event, and basking in the glow of pleasant comments. Plans are underway to stage another tour next year in the South Seminole County area in an east-west corridor. Considerations include notable gardens that exemplify the aims of the tour, and choosing a date that does not conflict with the other popular activities that “borrow” our volunteers.
     Hope to see you involved in the 2016 tour.
Frank Winzig shows his mature coralbean.
Amanda Martin assisted Bill Garmany with garden design
Kathryn, Rebecca and Julia St. John enjoyed the tour.
Eugene Stoccardo was kept busy interpreting his garden philosophy and methods.
Upper left: Frank Winzig shows a mature coralbean.
Lower left: Kathryn, Rebecca and Julia St. John enjoyed the tour.
Upper right: Amanda Martin assisted Bill Garmany with garden design.
Lower right: Eugene Stoccardo was kept busy interpreting his garden philosophy and methods.
Dick Deuerling Fund Drive
 
    We are just $242 short in reaching our goal for the Dick Deuerling drive. The board is requesting that all interested members help us meet that goal by making a contribution. Any donations for this important cause will be greatly appreciated.
Earth Day Celebration at Valencia College East Campus by Pete Dunkelberg
 
    Tarflower Chapter was one of the exhibitors at Valencia College's Earth Day event. Several other exhibits had live animals: bats, snakes and an eagle. As the one Tarflower member on hand, I did not get quite as much attention as the eagle next door. However, I had no trouble helping the students understand this year's Earth Day theme, climate change, in addition to native plants. Special thanks to Valencia professor James Adamski for inviting us and for making a $50 donation to Tarflower Chapter.
Thanks to all who helped at the CFNPS by Pete Dunkelberg
 
    The annual Central Florida Native Plant Sale held on April 10 and 11 in Kissimmee went very well and netted Tarflower about $700. This sale is a complex operation involving AFNN, IFAS, Osceola County and four FNPS chapters. A bunch of Tarflower members helped with the sale itself: Sondra Driscoll, Chuck Roux, Jim Erwin, Julie Becker, Roger Agness, Dena Wild, John Hall, Dan Evans, Michael Duffy and myself. Although I am also in the planning group, I will not try to explain it all. However, on Friday the sale happens inside the exposition hall and on Saturday it happens outdoors. Fridays are the busiest but we can't do without our Saturday sales either.            
Left: Friday sale action
Right: Volunteers ready and waiting on Saturday
Native plants mandated for giant Deseret Ranch project by Jim Erwin and Pete Dunkelberg
 
    Deseret representatives will likely agree to conservation groups’ recommended water conservation language which includes: “At a minimum, new construction shall meet Florida Water StarTM standards provided that landscaping is comprised of plants drawn from the Florida Native Plant Society Plant List that is associated with the Florida Water StarTM Program and provided that the utilization of turf in residential, commercial, industrial and public spaces to be developed is minimized; reclaimed water metering at point of service to allow a conservation rate structure and usage data; and use of lowest-quality water economically, technically, and environmentally suitable for its intended use.”
     Since last summer, conservation groups have worked with the Osceola County Commission and staff to strengthen environmental safeguards for and add more conservation land to the giant Deseret North Ranch development project. There has been significant success. Two weeks ago, a long-awaited Peer Review of the North Ranch Sector Environmental Plan left Deseret representatives reeling. The Review gently noted that the original Environmental Plan was created using single-source data and maps that had not been peer-reviewed and was 20 years old. With equal discretion, the Review mentioned finding no sign that the original team had ever set foot on the land they had been commissioned to study. The Peer Review team spent three days on the 133,000-acre tract.
     The Peer Review has “left the Deseret team reeling,” one conservation negotiator reported. It is hoped that the Osceola County Commission will mandate the Peer Review maps and recommendations be added to the Sector Plan.
     To support this goal, on April 15 the Orange County League of Women Voters delivered to each Osceola County Commissioner an annotated copy of the Peer Review Report along with a letter urging them to adopt the Peer Review recommendations and maps. Ninety minutes later, Osceola County cancelled the scheduled April 20 vote on the North Ranch Sector Plan. The League is slow to take positions on issues, but when they do, people pay attention.
A Note from Seminole State Forest
 
     On behalf of the wildlife, the serene forests, trails, springs and streams you so enjoy, we wish you all the best.
     As a frequent visitor, user and friend of the forest, we hope you would welcome news about Seminole State Forest and the work of the Forest Service staff and volunteers. Over the years, many visitors have spoken about the very positive role SSF has been in their lives! Some have visited many times, some have become volunteers helping on the forest and some have even donated funding for various projects. 
     Friends of Florida State Forest, Inc. is the direct support organization dedicated to improving the quality of programs and activities offered on state forests. Local chapters of Friends of Florida State Forest can be developed to further support local programs, provide a means for information sharing, and help bring needed attention to special projects. Chapters can only work if local people are interested, engaged and are willing to support them with their time and energy. If this sounds like something you could support, please share your interests.
     Even if you are not interested in forming a chapter, joining Friends of Florida State Forests offers the benefit of reduced rates of annual admission to all Florida State Forests. It also allows you to earmark tax-exempt donations directly to Seminole State Forest’s needs. These may be from an individual, a company or group and may be earmarked for projects of interest.
     If you just want to get out and get your hands dirty, the forest is always welcoming volunteers.
     Please indicate by email to
Joseph.Bishop@FreshFromFlorida.com if you have any interest in joining Friends of Florida State Forest, being a part of a local chapter, or just want to volunteer your talents.
     Share your interest in Seminole State Forest. Below are just few broad categories. Feel free to add others. You are welcome to participate without joining Friends of Florida State Forests or volunteering.
  • Forest management, restoration
  • Hunting, fishing,
  • Horse facilities, bike trails, trail walking,
  • Birding, wildlife viewing, Stargazing
  • Camping, Family Outings, canoeing, kayaking, other recreational pursuits.
  • Special Events i.e. Running , music, gatherings and others
  • Bathroom upgrades, Pavilions
  • Board membership, Board Officer, Volunteer training
  • Wild & Scenic Wekiva River System, Blackwater Creek
  • History of Seminole Forest Lands
     Thank you for your support and recreational use of Seminole State Forest. If you have any questions please feel free to contact the SSF office at the email listed above or by calling 352-360-6677.
Copyright © 2015 FNPS Tarflower Chapter, All rights reserved.


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