Conservation Grant Recipients

Optimizing cultivation and increasing the availability of four locally rare Asclepias species, an important wildlife-supporting plant.

Recipient: Fairchild Tropical Botanical Garden
Year Grant Awarded: 2020
Project Sponsor: Dade Chapter
Project Location: Miami-Dade County
Milkweeds (Asclepias spp.) are larval host plants for the Monarch butterfly and an important nectar / pollen source for native bees and butterflies.  Although several milkweed species are widespread in the Southeastern United States, they are locally rare in South Florida and native ecotypes are generally not available for butterfly gardeners or habitat restoration projects. Our goal is to collect seeds from local populations of four Asclepias species, study the long-term cold storage capability of their seeds, and establish living ex-situ collections for seed bulking. Furthermore, we will optimize germination protocols with the goal to produce larger quantities of native milkweed to be able to distribute them in the future to butterfly and native plant gardening enthusiasts through Fairchild’s Connect to Protect Network. Increasing the abundance of these milkweeds in the urban landscape, along with testing their seed storage potential, may help to preserve these locally rare Asclepias species in Miami-Dade County.
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Asclepias lanceolata

Save Florida's Bromeliads Conservation Project

Recipient: Martha Pessaro
Year Grant Awarded: 2019
Project Sponsor: Sea Rocket Chapter
Project Location: Enchanted Forest

The Save Florida's Bromeliads Conservation Project was first conceived by Dr. Teresa Cooper in 2015 in response to the large decline in Tillandsia utriculata populations caused by the Mexican Bromeliad Weevil at the Enchanted Forest Sanctuary and throughout central and southern Florida.  Because of the weevil, Tillandsia utriculata is in danger of being extirpated in Florida.  The primary goal is to create, establish and implement a method to keep this species alive while continuing to search for a way to control the weevil.  Conservation work at the Enchanted Forest has been coordinated by the Environmentally Endangered Lands Program management staff, selection and management committees, researchers and volunteers in a collaborative effort.

Sponsor:

Florida Power & Light (NextEra Energy)

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Habitat Enhancement and Restoration of Clasping Warea (Warea amplexifolia)

Recipient: Putnam Land Conservancy
Year Grant Awarded: 2019
Project Sponsor: Marion Big Scrub Chapter
Project Location: Marion County

The objective of this project is to enhance and restore populations of the federally endangered plant, clasping warea (W. amplexifolia) on sandhill community lands owned or protected by the Putnam Land Conservancy (PLC) and educate the public about the importance of conserving and restoring populations of rare plants. PLC is collaborating with the Florida Native Plant Society  and the Marion Big Scrub Chapter of the FNPS on this project which will also enhance the sandhill habitat for other associated rare species. 

Sponsors:

  • Tarflower Chapter of FNPS in honor of Dick Deuerling
  • Sea Rocket Chapter of FNPS
  • Dade Chapter of FNPS in honor of Don and Joyce Gann
  • Nature Coast Chapter of FNPS
  • Annie Schmidt
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Tolumnia bahamens Population Augmentation in Jonathan Dickinson State Park 

Recipient: Ellen Stewart
Year Grant Awarded: 2018
Project Sponsor: Martin County Chapter
Project Location: Johnathan Dickinson State Park

The focal species for this project is Dancing Lady Orchid (Tolumnia bahamensis), a state-listed endangered orchid with a narrow range, limited to two southern Florida counties and the Bahamas. The scrub ecosystem that this orchid occupies along Atlantic sand ridges has a very limited distribution. This species is found naturally in two small patches (<100 individual plants) in Jonathan Dickinson State Park and one Palm Beach County property. This rare plant is endangered due to development, poaching and loss of pollinators. This orchid occupies late successional scrub. The project involves to collecting seed, growing plants, and outplanting 1,000 plants into the park.

Sponsors:
  • Annie Schmidt and Jack Stites
  • Dade Chapter of FNPS in honor of Don and Joyce Gann
  • Tarflower Chapter of FNPS in honor of Dick Deuerling
  • Nature Coast Chapter of FNPS
  • Sea Rocket Chapter of FNPS
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Photo by Keith Bradley as published on the USF ISB website.

Exploration into the biology and ecology of the Florida-endangered Magnolia ashei (Ashe’s magnolia)

Recipient: Dr. Gary Knox, Gardening Friends of the Big Bend
Year Grant Awarded: 2017
Project Sponsor: Magnolia Chapter
Project Location: Florida Panhandle

The grant funded a study the biology and ecology of the Florida-endangered Ashe’s magnolia (Magnolia ashei) in its native habitats.

The study addresses pollination, seed predation, plant injury, and potential disease threats of M. ashei. These key factors collectively determine Ashe’s magnolia survival, fecundity and reproduction, and may impose significant negative pressures on M. ashei populations resulting from conditions such as few or inefficient pollinators, excessive seed damage from common seed pests, excessive plant injury from antlered white-tailed deer, and opportunistic pathogens invading injured trees.

Effects may be compounding and likely contribute to M. ashei’s overall limited range and low population levels. Impacts to M. ashei associated with these risk factors will be quantified using passive insect traps, programmable digital photography, and traditional and DNA-based disease diagnostics. Data will be incorporated into management tools which will be vital to conservation efforts for this relic tree species. 

This award was made possible by generous donations from the following:

  • Suncoast Chapter
  • Pinellas Chapter
  • Sea Rocket Chapter
  • Dade Chapter - in honor of Joyce and Don Gann
  • Annie Schmidt and John Stites
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Pine Rocklands Restoration at Zoo Miami

Recipient: Dr. Frank Ridgley
Year Grant Awarded: 2016
Project Sponsor: Dade Chapter
Project Location: Miami

South Florida’s pine rocklands ecosystem hosts a unique and highly threatened plant community - more than 98% of pine rockland habitat has been destroyed by development. Zoo Miami’s 740-acre site is situated within the second largest remaining pine rockland ecosystem in the world, lagging only behind Everglades National Park.

Zoo Miami's Conservation and Research Department sought funding to plant threatened and endangered pine rocklands plants as part of an ongoing pine rocklands restoration project. They focused on threatened plant species that had been extirpated from Zoo Miami and adjacent reserves.  Planting included one federally endangered species, 5 state endangered species, and 10 state threatened species. Volunteers from the community conducted conduct plantings.

After the plantings, onJune 27, 2017,  5 federally endangered Bartram's hairstreak butterflies were seen at the restoration site.  Check out this video  to watch a female laying her eggs on this butterfly’s hostplant, Pineland Croton (Croton linearis) at the restoration site!  Both Bartram's hairstreak and Pineland Croton are native to south Florida and SE Florida respectively.  It is so gratifying to document successful restoration efforts.

 

This award was made possible by generous donations from the following:

  • Suncoast Chapter
  • Sarracenia Chapter
  • Pinellas Chapter
  • Nature Coast Chapter
  • Sea Rocket Chapter
  • Tarflower Chaper (in honor of Dick Deuerling)
  • Dade Chapter (in honor of Don and Joyce Gann)
  • Annie Schmidt
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Volunteers at work.  Photo by Frank Ridgley.

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Pre-burn.

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Immediately after planting.

Pine Rockland, Post-burn Restoration and Community Education

Recipient: Connie Caldwell
Year Grant Awarded: 2015
Project Sponsor: Dade Chapter
Project Location: Florida International University (FIU) Nature Preserve

This project helped fund the purchase, installation, and monitoring of rare and imperiled plant taxa in the FIU Nature Preserve’s rare pine rockland after a prescribed fire. The intent was to heighten community awareness and provide long-term benefits for Florida native plant taxa through burn workshops and a comprehensive seed collection plan.

Since you can't always burn exactly when you want to, this project was delayed when the opportunity to burn in the 2015 fire season passed us by.  No worries!  The prescribed burn took place during spring break 2016 and the FNPS grant-funded project got underway!

Video by FIU

This award was made possible by generous donations from the following:

  • Suncoast Chapter
  • Pinellas Chapter
  • Nature Coast Chapter
  • Sea rocket Chapter
  • Tarflower Chapter (in honor of Dick Deuerling)
  • Annie Schmidt
  • Heidi Moore
  • Dade Chapter (in honor of Joyce and Don Gann)
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The Florida Forest Service conducting the burn.

Controlled Burn of One Acre of Sandhill 

Recipient: Jacqueline Rolly
Year Grant Awarded: 2015
Project Sponsor: Tarflower Chapter
Project Location: Oakland Nature Preserve

The grant funded a prescribed burn at a sandhill community recipient-site for three plant species that are federally and state listed as endangered or threatened at the Oakland Nature Preserve.

The burn was conducted on May 20, 2015 and since then the site has been regenerating to regenerate.

This award was made possible by generous donations from the following:
  • Suncoast Chapter
  • Pinellas Chapter
  • Nature Coast Chapter
  • Sea Rocket Chapter
  • Tarflower Chapter (in honor of Dick Deuerling)
  • Annie Schmidt
  • Heidi Moore
  • Dade Chapter (in honor of Don and Joyce Gann)
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The burn.  Photo by Jackie Rolly

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A gopher tortoise using the site after the burn.  Photo by Jackie Rolly.

Sand Scrub Conservation Project

Recipient: The Friends of Boyd Hill Nature Preserve
Year Grant Awarded: 2014
Project Sponsor: Pinellas Chapter
Project Location: Pinellas County

The project will evaluate the current health and diversity of the scrubby habitat at Boyd Hill through a species inventory, analysis of the inventory, and recommendations for future management in an effort to preserve this imperilled plant community.

This award was made possible by generous donations from the following:

  • Dade Chapter (in honor of Joyce and Don Gann)
  • Suncoast Chapter (in memory of Betty Wargo)
  • Jelks Family Foundation
  • Sea rocket Chapter
  • Tarflower Chapter (in memory of Dick Deuerling)
  • Annie Schmidt and Jack Stites
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Mapping Wet Prairies and Rare Species of Point Washington State Forest - 2nd year

Recipient: Thomas Greene
Year Grant Awarded: 2014
Project Sponsor: Sweetbay Chapter
Project Location: Point Washington State Forest, Walton County

This was the 2nd year of a project initiated in 2010.  The project focused on the mapping of larger wet prairies, updating of historic Element Occurrences of most rare or imperiled plant species, and mapping of new occurrences of rare and imperiled plants,on the Point Washington State Forest.

Point Washington State Forest, at 15,179 acres, is the largest tract of conservation land in south Walton County. Point Washington contains numerous wetland and upland habitats of good to excellent quality including numerous wet prairies. It  has populations of at least 16 rare or imperiled plant species.

Most rare or imperiled plant species locations known prior to this project, were last visited in the 1990s when the tract was acquired by the state. When natural communities on this tract were mapped by FNAI, wet prairies were omitted. Wet prairies are a primary habitat for at least 11 of the rare or imperiled plant species.

Project objectives for the 2nd year of funding included completing the mapping of large wet prairies, completing the re-visiting and updating of existing and new Element Occurrences  of most rare or imperiled plant species known from before this project, and continuing the mapping of new occurrencess on Point Washington State Forest. Mapping was with the assistance of Mike Jenkins of the Florida Forest Service and FNPS volunteers, and with the cooperation of State Forest and FNAI staff.

The project providee a map of wet prairies and rare and imperiled plants to improve habitat management of those areas, including more frequent burning. This is an ongoing project that was initiated in 2010.

Sponsors:

  • Dade Chapter (in honor of Joyce and Don Gann)
  • Suncoast Chapter (in memory of Betty Wargo)
  • Jelks Family Foundation
  • Sea Rocket Chapter
  • Tarflower Chapter (in memory of Dick Deuerling)
  • Annie Schmidt and Jack Stites

Genetically-Informed Prioritization of Populations for Conservation in Two Imperiled Endemic Florida Sunflowers (Helianthus carnosus and Phoebanthus tenuifolius)

Recipient: Chase Mason
Year Grant Awarded: 2013
Project Sponsor: Magnolia Chapter
Project Location: Florida Panhandle

Mason’s preliminary research indicates the likely local extirpation of several of the known populations for both species, and historical herbarium records indicate somewhat broader ranges and more numerous populations relative to what is currently extant. Both of these species appear to be exhibiting declines, most  drastically for H. carnosus.” Mason will provide genetic information about existing populations to land managers so that they may prioritize conservation of the most genetically diverse and distinct populations of both these species.

Updates:

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Phoebanthus tenuifolius (almost open) by Shirley Denton

Mapping Wet Prairies and Rare Species of Point Washington State Forest

Recipient: Thomas Greene
Year Grant Awarded: 2013
Project Sponsor: Sweetbay Chapter
Project Location: Walton County

According to Greene, "Point Washington State Forest, at 15,179 acres, is the largest tract of conservation land in south Walton County. [It] contains numerous wetland and upland habitats of good toexcellent quality including numerous wet prairies, an imperiled community. It also has populations of at least nine rare or imperiled plant species, including Asclepias viridula, Calamovilfa curtissii, Drosera intermedia, Hymenocallis henryae, Lupinus westianus, Polygonella macrohylla, Sarracenia leucophyllaVerbesina chapmanii and Xyris scabrifolia. Most known rare or imperiled plant species locations were last visited in the 1990s when the tract was acquired by prairies were omitted. Wet prairies are the primary habitat for at least 3 of the rare or imperiled plant species."

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Saracennia leucophylla by Shirley Denton

Reintroduction of the Fragrant Prickly Apple-Cactus

Recipient: Dr. Jon A. Moore of Florida Atlantic University
Year Grant Awarded: 2011
Project Sponsor:
Project Location: St. Lucie County

Harrisia fragrans, an endangered endemic cactus, has disappeared as development covered the Atlantic Ridge where it formerly made its home. Fruits from a mature cactus, harvested and carefully grown out for four years, were ready to be planted. Two protected sites in the cactus’s former range were selected and planting was set for spring of 2011.

The new populations will be the subject of further investigation, including studies by students in a science-magnet high school. One of the sites is located in a xeriscape garden near the Marine and Oceanographic Academy in St. Lucie County where the public can be introduced to this rare species, which many have never seen before.

Extension and funding increase for the 2010 Conservation Grant Winner Reintroduction of the Harrisia fragrans cactus

Recipient: Dr. Jon A. Moore of Florida Atlantic University
Year Grant Awarded: 2011
Project Sponsor:
Project Location: Indian River County & northern St. Lucie County

The endangered endemic cactus (Harrisia fragrans) is found on well-drained shell mounds and sandy scrub habitat on the Atlantic Coastal Ridge in eastern Florida. Along much of its range the species was extirpated due to development on the coastal ridge itself. Dr. Jon A. Moore of Florida Atlantic University Wilkes Honor College seeks to re-establish populations of this endangered cactus at two protected sites in the middle of the species' former range. These populations will  be used for long-term studies of growth, age of first flowering, and other biological parameters. The specimens at one site will be used for educational purposes and to increase public awareness of this species. Dr. Moore formally requested an increase in funding for his current grant to reintroduce Harrisia fragrans cacti and  an extension in the grant project period. The extra money and time were requested because of a substantial, but unanticipated, increase in the scale of this project

Emeralda Marsh Conservation Area (EMCA) Hardwood Restoration Project

Recipient: Jo Anna Emanuel, Land Resource Planner, Division of Land Management, St. Johns River Water Management District
Year Grant Awarded: 2011
Project Sponsor: Lake Beautyberry Chapter
Project Location: Lake County

The project area includes approximately 11 acres of historic floodplain/hardwood swamp that through historic agricultural land uses is void of hardwood/wetland trees.  The project goals are to reestablish a mixed palette of wetland hardwood trees bare root seedlings.  Site preparation techniques include mowing and herbicide applications to gain control of offsite and invasive species.

Updates

Little Salt Spring Invasive Species Removal

Recipient: Craig Huegel
Year Grant Awarded: 2010
Project Sponsor: Serenoa Chapter
Project Location: Sarasota County
First discovered as an archaeological site in 1959, and ranked as one of the major archaeological sites in the western hemisphere, Little Salt Springs is also an extremely important botanical site. FNPS funded work to remove invasive species, a critical factor in preserving this unique hydric hammock and spring-fed stream run, which allowed the conservation of endangered plants such as Tampa mock verbena (Glandularia tampensis) and leafy beaked ladies tresses (Sacoila lanceolata var. paludicola).
 
Updates

Watershed Invasive Plant Eradication Task Force Tool Shed

Recipient: Guana Tolomato Matanzas National Estuarine Research Reserve
Year Grant Awarded: 2010
Project Sponsor:
Project Location: Guana Tolomato Matanzas National Estuarine Research Reserve
The Guana Tolomato Matanzas National Estuarine Research Reserve (GRMNERR) is a 73,336-acre sanctuary with diverse natural habitats under threat by invasion of numerous exotic plants. A new Invasive Plant Eradication Task Force was able to use FNPS funding to establish of a tool shed of equipment and supplies to carry out work at areas of special need.

Big Sweetwater Creek Botanical Survey

Recipient: Gil Nelson Associates
Year Grant Awarded: 2009
Project Sponsor: Magnolia Chapter
Project Location: Big Sweetwater Creek basin in Torreya State Park, Liberty County

The survey area encompasses approximately 2,000 acres of the unique, botanically rich ravine and slope forest habitat characteristic of Torreya State Park. It is a recent addition to the Park and has never been subjected to a comprehensive survey. The list of rare plants  is extensive.

The occurrences of all plant species of conservation interest, and all sightings of invasive plant species (EPPC Category 1 and 2 species), were documented and located using GPS. The data on native species were submitted to the Florida Natural Areas Inventory for inclusion in their database. The Florida Park Service endorsed the project, provided in-kind services to the extent they were able.  The Park Service south the information to guide future protection and management of the Sweetwater Creek section of Torreya State Park.

Population Monitoring and Ex Situ Conservation of Linum arenicola in the Florida Keys

Recipient: Key West Tropical Forest and Botanical Garden (KWBG)
Year Grant Awarded: 2009
Project Sponsor: Dade Chapter
Project Location: Florida Keys, Monroe County

This rare endemic is a candidate for listing and is known from only from 5 sites in Miami-Dade and the 4 sites in the Keys. It was last surveyed in 2005 just before the Keys were subjected to the storm surge generated by Hurricane Wilma.

This follow-up survey was conducted to gauge the impacts of the storm on the 4 island populations and identify locations where seed can be collected to establish an ex situ conservation site at KWBG.

Funding to create the ex situ site was to be provided through a separate grant awarded by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation “Nature of Learning” program. The project complies with the guidelines established by the Center for Plant Conservation.

Updates

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Photo of Linum arenicola by Keith Bradley

Mariposa Key Restoration  within the Terra Ceia Preserve State Park and Terra Ceia Aquatic Preserve

Recipient: Wilson Miller
Year Grant Awarded: 2009
Project Sponsor: Serenoa Chapter
Project Location: Manatee County

Removal of litter and invasive exotic species, which include Brazilian pepper, carrotwood, Australian pine and others on 1.5 acres of coastal berm habitat on Marioposa Key. Native plant species that will benefit are those typical of coastal berm, including sea grape, buttonwood, white stopper, and many others. Rare plant species that may be present include mock vervain (Glandularia spp.) and wild cotton (Gossypium hirsutum).

WilsonMiller matched the grant funds by providing labor and the Florida Park Service provided equipment, a boat, herbicide, and other support.  The Florida Park Service acknowledged that budget constraints would preclude their implementation of this project without the support of FNPS. WilsonMiller identified other potential sources of funding to complete the project.

Restoration of a Maritime Hammock

Recipient: Unitarian Universalist Society of Daytona Beach (UUSDB)
Year Grant Awarded: 2008
Project Sponsor: Pawpaw Chapter
Project Location: Ormond Beach, FL

The site is just under one acre in size and is located on the grounds of the Unitarian Universalist Society of Daytona Beach. The significance of the hammock site is increased by the presence of a small wetland. It is one of few such sites remaining in Volusia County and is located in the flyway for neotropical migratory birds that move through the area seasonally. The project will remove invasive plant species (a lengthy list, including Brazilian pepper and camphor tree) and then restore native species to the site.

The applicant and volunteers from the Paw Paw Chapter have removed exotics from the site over the past several years and the applicant has received a quote from a private contractor with experience in this type of work to remove the remainder of the exotics, including large trees, and to treat stumps.

The list of species to be planted on the site following removal of the exotics was assembled by local experts and includes wild olive, red cedar, marlberry and rouge plant. Paw Paw members will work cooperatively with the UUSCB to install interpretive signs and conduct guided tours of the restored site, which adjoins a site where a native plant National Wildlife Federation Schoolyard Habitat is currently being created, using funds from another source.

Establishing an Experimental Tropical Hammock Community in South Florida

Recipient: Wes Brooks
Year Grant Awarded: 2008
Project Sponsor: Dade Chapter
Project Location: Adjacent to Kendall Indian Hammmocks Park. Dade County

This project was sponsored by the Dade Chapter and was conducted by Wes Brooks as part of research he was conducting to receive a Ph.D. in Ecology from Rutgers University. A 4-acre rockland hammock that is owned by the county and is adjacent to the county's 110-acre Kendall Indian Hammmocks Park was heavily invaded by exotic species. Exotic species were removed, native rockland hammock species  installed, and permanent study plots established and monitored monthly to assess the results of various treatment methods to determine if such factors as species richness and plant density affect recruitment and growth of invasive exotic species.

The project included a floristic survey, removal of non-natives from the permanent study plots, planting of native shrubs and trees according to the experimental protocols, continuing control of exotics, and the erection of a display board at the adjoining park. The county assisted in the eradication and control of exotic species.

Updates:

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Swamp Fern Experimental Hammock 2 years after restoration.  Photo from 2013 Palmetto article.

Strap Fern Reintroduction

Recipient: Marie Selby Botanical Gardens and Institute for Regional Conservation
Year Grant Awarded: 2007
Project Sponsor: Serenoa Chapter
Project Location: Miami-Dade County

A reintroduction of two species of endangered strap fern, narrow strap fern (Campyloneurum angustifolium) and tailed strap fern (Campyloneurum costatum), in Miami-Dade County.

Update