Past Field Trips (March 1999 - May 2010)

Field trips are for the study of plants and enjoyment of nature by FNPS members and their invited guests - another good reason to join! Join now so you can participate!

Saturday, April 17, 2010: Coastal Prairie Trail, Everglades National Park. According to the ENP website, "this old road once used by cotton pickers and fishermen. Open prairies of succulent coastal plants dotted with shady buttonwoods surround you as you journey towards the shore of Florida Bay." We will enjoy the interesting array of plants with ENP biologist Jimi Sadle. We will also learn about changes to the area over the past several decades due to events such as Hurricane Donna in 1960, the hurricanes of 2005 and invasion of exotics. We last visited this area in February 2005, so expect to see changes. It could be hot and buggy, but we'll take it easy, and a trip with Jimi is always immensely informative and enjoyable.

Saturday March 20, 2010: Everglades National Park Key Largo Ranger Station and Science Center (organized by the Keys Branch). This is the Keys and Dade trip for March. See details under Keys Branch Activities

Sunday, February 28, 2010: Fakahatchee Strand State Preserve. This very special place is known for its cypress trees and wealth of bromeliads, orchids (probably none in bloom now) and ferns. We will wade in cool water possibly over 2 feet deep, but we will try to take a moderate route until lunch time, at which point you may choose to leave or stay for more-challenging slogging. An easy add-on is a short boardwalk at the southern end of the strand 7 miles west of SR 29 on Tamiami Trail.

Sunday, January 17, 2010, 9 a.m.: Pinecrest, Loop Road (Big Cypress). This beautiful area has many diverse habitats. First, we will explore a hammock, accessed via the property of chapter members Gene and Sue Sanchez. After lunch at the Sanchez's cabin, and those who wish to stay can stroll along Loop Road and into cypress, prairie and pinelands, or stay on the road to spot butterflies, birds and wildflowers.

Sunday, December 13, 2009: Chekika, Everglades National Park. This area was a private resort, then a state recreational area with a scenic swimming hole (fed by an artesian well gushing sulphur-laden water), picnic tables, nature trails, camping and a tiny museum. In 1985, the artesian well was capped due to concern that the brackish water might contaminate surface wells downstream. The park was transferred to ENP in 1991 and closed after Hurricane Andrew for restoration activities. Since Chekika's reopening, the amenities have been discontinued, nature has been reclaiming the area, and the park is closed seasonally due to high water.

Saturday, Nov. 14, 2009: Greynolds Park in North Miami Beach. This park on the Oleta River is one of the oldest County parks in Miami-Dade. It is named for A.O. Greynolds, the head of Ojus Rock Company, who deeded the land to Dade County Parks in 1936. Once a rock quarry, the park is 249 acres, including hardwood hammock with oak canopy and mangrove forest. The land and river were used by Tequesta and Seminole Indians.

Saturday, Oct. 17, 2009: "NOAA pineland" in the south Miami-Dade Richmond Pineland complex. The NOAA site is used for the South Florida WSR-88D Doppler radar (weather radar) often seen on television. Our leader, Rusty Pfost, is a member of the Broward FNPS Chapter and is responsible for the general maintenance of vegetation on the 10 acre site. When NOAA took control of the site in 2004, Burma reed had overrun the property. The National Park Service has been helping with exotic control, but there is more to be done. We will see the endangered deltoid spurge, fall wildflowers and other pineland flora, butterflies, and maybe even snakes.Rusty will open the gate to the ladder that leads to the radome, so those who want to climb the stairs for a bird's eye view of the pineland. Afterwards, those who have time might visit the adjacent county-owned Martinez Pineland Preserve.

Saturday, Sept. 26, 2009: Broward County's Long Key Natural Area. At 157 acres, this is one of the largest nature preserves administered by Broward County. It consists mostly of high oak hammock. More than 100 years ago, it was a high tree island in the Everglades marshes. Archaeologists have traced human presence there to the Tequesta, and during the Seminole Wars, it was a refuge for native Americans fleeing U.S. troops. In more recent times, it has been the site of the Kapok Tree Inn restaurant, a Wild West theme park and an exotic plant nursery, and orange groves were planted along its fringes. The public areas of the park consist of a half-mile paved trail through the hammock. We will also visit adjacent wetland areas normally not open to the public. There is also a new nature center with an exhibit hall ($1 admission) discussing the history of the site.

Saturday, August 1, 2009: Hattie Bauer Hammock (former Orchid Jungle) in South Dade, acquired by the county in the late 1990s. We will tour the hammock and historic buildings. The following description is from the Miami-Dade County Environmentally Endangered Lands Program.

“It’s easy to see why Lee Fennell, founder of the Orchid Jungle, fell in love with Hattie Bauer Hammock. Everyone who gets involved with the preservation and restoration of this site falls in love with it. It’s truly a special place.” - Jane Griffin Dozier

Hattie Bauer Hammock is a 15-acre parcel of land with 9 acres of tropical hardwood hammock and 6 acres of developed property. This site is situated at the highest natural elevation on the Miami Rockridge south of Coconut Grove. The site contains a number of birds and butterflies. The EEL program purchased the site with the help of a grant from Florida Communities Trust. Prior to the EEL Program purchasing the property, it was the location of the “Orchid Jungle”, a popular tourist attraction that operated for over 70 years. As a result of the “Orchid Jungle” operation, the site contains structures. While the EEL Program and the Parks & Recreation Department’s Natural Areas Management have been busy restoring the hammock, there has also been ongoing planning for the future of the site a park. Hattie Bauer Hammock Park will feature an archeological trail through the hammock, information regarding the site’s natural and archeological history as well as a history of the “Orchid Jungle”. Environmental educational programming will also be a component of the park.

Saturday, June 13, 2009: Tamiami Complex Pineland Addition in Kendall. 9am-noon. This conservation land was acquired by the Miami-Dade County Environmentally Endangered Lands (EEL) program and consists of eight acres of pine rockland and marl prairie habitat. Most of the preserved burned in a March, 2009, wildfire, providing an excellent opportunity now to see many species of wildflowers in bloom.

Saturday, May 9: Matheson Hammock Park. The hammock on the west of Old Cutler Road is one of the best examples of coastal rockland hammocks in Florida. Over 100 acres of restored forest with unique geological formations such as solution holes covered with tropical ferns, and some of the largest hammock trees remaining in Dade County. If time permits, we can visit the mangrove community (carpool and pay the parking fee for the beach lots). We last visited in March 2005, before the hurricanes of 2005 altered the canopy, so we'll see the changes and renewed challenges to restoration efforts.

Sunday, April 5, 2009: Frog Pond. This area outside Everglades National Park was bought by the Water Management District in the 1990s to provide for restoration of Taylor Slough in ENP. Most of it is being leased back to farmers but this part is an important glade, not ever rock plowed and in its natural condition. The pinnacle rock provides a wide range of environments for plants from upland to wetland habitats. We will see early wildflowers and a high species diversity. Leaders: Gwen Burzycki, Miami-Dade Co. DERM, and SFWMD staff Difficulty: Moderately difficult, walking on pinnacle rock in full sun. There will be optional opportunities for ventures into areas with 2-3' relief, for which boots with ankle support are needed.

Saturday, March 21, 2009: Fern Forest Nature Center. Jenn Possley will help us identify many of the ferns discussed in her February program. This 247-acre wilderness acquired by Broward County in 1979 was once part of the Snapper Creek Watershed. Its 10 plant communities include wet hardwood hammock with rare ferns (>30 species) and open prairie, as well as eroded limestone formations.Bring: Drinks, lunch if you want to picnic after the walk. A hand lens might be handy to look at hairs and such on fronds. Difficulty: Easy - boardwalks or paths and smooth ground.

Sunday, February 22, 2009: Big Pine Key. We will explore the pine rocklands, then the Lower Keys Marsh Rabbit habitat and Watson Hammock, if we are still full of energy. This is about 2.5 hours past Homestead (MM 130). Please be on time! Please see the printed newsletter for directions and meeting time and place. Difficulty: Moderate - there will be a short distance across a rocky area but we can mostly avoid venturing off paths.

Saturday, January 31, 2009 : South Dade urban preserves (Miami-Dade Parks), 9am-noon.

  • Part 1: Ned Glenn Pineland Preserve in Cutler Bay. This 10-acre remnant of pine rockland habitat supports a rich flora containing some plants rare in Dade County. It is not generally open for walk-in visitors, so take this opportunity to see it!
  • Part 2: Nearby sites - to be decided. We will spend an hour at Ned Glenn, then visit other site(s) as the group prefers. Old Cutler Hammock (Bill Sadowski Park) contains solution holes loaded with ferns and is one of the prettiest hammocks in the area. Ludlam Pineland is also a 10-acre County preserve and has many endemic and endangered species.
  • Difficulty: Easy (short distance), but there is optional walking on uneven ground on all sites.
  • Bring: Drinks, sun protection. Wear closed shoes.

Sunday, November 23, 2008 : Burn's Lake, Big Cypress National Preserve. 9am - 1pm. We'll enjoy the late fall flowers, foliage and fauna in mesic pineland, prairie and marshes. Thanks to the abundant rainfall the past few months, we may encounter everything from dry ground to muddy road to knee-deep water, but we’ll avoid the deep sloughs. Difficulty: Moderate. Wear: Shoes and long pants that can get wet. Carry: Sun protection, water, snack or lunch. Some people find a walking stick helpful in wet places. Leader: Marty Roessler. Please see the printed newsletter for directions and meeting time and place.

Saturday December 13, 2008: Everglades National Park. 9am-1pm. December is a wonderful time to visit the park. We are fortunate to have Park Botanist Jimi Sadle to lead us to a couple of old favorites. We will visit Mahogany Hammock and walk along the boardwalk as the water levels within the park may be high. This hardwood hammock, surrounded by marsh, is one of the largest in the park, and possesses the northernmost native Mahoganies on the mainland. In addition to looking at vascular plants Jimi will show us some of his discoveries of Liverworts which he is currently studying. (Search online for info about liverworts, an ancient form of plant.) We'll also go to the Pahayokee overlook, one of the most beautiful vistas within the park. If water levels are lower than expected, we may go off trail and explore. Difficulty: Easy.Bring: sun and bug protection, water, snack or lunch and money for entrance ($10/car). There is a slight possibility for those who are adventurous to go off trail, so be prepared to get wet. Leader: Jimi Sadle. Please see the printed newsletter for directions and meeting time and place.

Saturday, October 11, 2008, Atlantic Ridge State Park, Martin County. This park is so new that access is currently by appointment only. It has over 7,000 acres of 11 different plant communities along the beautiful Halpatiokee River (south fork of the St. Lucie River) and is just north of Jonathan Dickinson State Park. Much of it was a private hunting camp. We will visit some of the pristine flatwoods, river, and marsh sites and expect to see wildflowers including Catesby’s lily, deertongue, blazing stars, asters, milkworts, and many more. This is a special opportunity to be one of the few people who have visited this park.For more information see:

Saturday, Sept. 27, 2008.Hillsboro Pineland Natural Area in northwest Broward County. This 44-acre-site in Coconut Creek represents some of the last remaining pineland in Broward County. Tarflower occurs on some of the higher pineland. Features also include wetland, hammock and eroded limestone, a remnant of the time when the site was a spillway leading from the Everglades to the Atlantic. The natural areas and park facilities have been improved since we visited in May, 2001.

Saturday, August 2, 2008: The Barnacle Historical State Park (Coconut Grove) and Pinewood Cemetery (South Gables).At The Barnacle we will explore the small natural rockland hammock and coastal area. The residence of early pioneer Commodore Ralph Monroe, it is a time capsule from the late 1800's surrounded by modern city. Many rare plants, and historical buildings can be found here. A historical tour of the home and grounds is optional. After lunch we go to the oldest registered cemetery in Miami-Dade County. Although altered over the years, it is cool and shady and possesses some remnant pine rockland habitat, very rare in the area. We will pass a few homes along Erwin road which are some of the oldest in the county.

Sunday, June 29, 2008: Amelia Earhart Park, 9 a.m. - noon. This park has never been visited by DCFNPS, but it contains freshwater wetlands in the northern portions. Although disturbed, there are many species not found in the southern parts of Miami-Dade County, so it should prove interesting.

Saturday, May 31, 2008: County Line Scrub. This property (purchased under Dade’s Environmentally Endangered Lands Program) is one of the county’s few preserved scrub sites and has some unusual plants, including Dade County records. Some species present that you don’t see every day are Myrtle oak, Chapman’s oak, Rolf’s oak, Piedmont black senna, Florida’ elephant’s foot. At the end of the morning, those so inclined will discuss a possible visit to the nearby Dolphin Center Scrub Park. We last visited County Line Scrub in October 1996.

Saturday, April 19, 2008: Seminole Wayside Park pineland. This 28 acre pineland in South Dade managed by Miami-Dade Parks is somewhat different from other pinelands in Dade County, and under restoration. After the pineland walk, those interested may continue to other nearby natural areas (locations to be decided).

Sunday, March 30, 2008. Big Cypress. We will head north or south on the Florida Trail from the Oasis Ranger Station, depending on conditions on the day. Walk through some combination of prairie, cypress forest, pine flatwoods, around swamps -- all of it beautiful. Wildflowers should be starting their spring bloom. It will probably be dry but there could be some muddy areas depending on the weather.

Saturday, February 23, 2008. Boat trip to Elliott Key / botanize in the hammock and coastal area. Please let us know by January 19 if you are interested. Time: ~9a.m. – 4:30 p.m. from Biscayne National Park’s Convoy Point (SW 328th Street, Homestead). If we have enough people to charter the boat and fill it up, your cost for this great trip will be less than the standard boat fee (which is $27 for adults). FNPS members: $20 for adults, $15 for children (under 12). Non-members: $25 for adults, $17 for children.

Saturday, January 19, 2008. Time: 10:00 A.M. Location: Dagny Johnson Key Largo Hammock Bot. State Park. Once slated to become a condominium development, this park contains one of the largest tracts of West Indian tropical hardwood hammock in the United States. It is home to 84 protected species of plants and animals, including wild cotton, mahogany mistletoe, and the American crocodile. In addition to the hammock, we will have an opportunity to see stands of mangroves and understand first hand the role they play in our environment.

Sunday, December 16, 2007: The Deering Estate at Cutler rehydration area and ferns. Don’t miss this interesting follow-up to November’s program. We will walk 1/2 mile through the hammock to the stone bridge crossing Cutler Creek. Along the trail we will see the FL-Endangered fern Asplenium dentatum (toothed spleenwort). We will see more fern species and aquatic vegetation at the bridge, explore the east end of the creek, discuss the rehydration project and see some of the area to be rehydrated. Optional add-on: drive closer to where the spreader will be and explore the area of the Chinese bridge.

Saturday, Nov. 24, 2007: Nixon Smiley pineland and Tamiami Addition (South Dade). We will walk through some of this 120-acre pine rockland and then go to the 28-acre Addition to the east, with wetland and pine rockland. There are numerous rare and interesting species in this park, as well as wildflowers, birds and butterflies to spot. Thanks to Tiffany Smith of the County’s EEL program for co-leading our trip.

Saturday, October 20, 2007: Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park. We will visit the park's beach dune, mangrove wetlands, maritime hammock and ponds. (Thanks to environmental advocates, including some of you, there are no soccer fields.) Difficulty: easy. Bring /wear: money for toll and park entrance, sun protection, drinks. Shorts are fine. We might lunch at the park restaurant. Leader: Elizabeth Golden, Park Biologist. Free lighthouse tours: Call the park at 305-361-5811 for more information (10 am and 1 pm). See newsletter for more information.

Sunday, September 30, 2007: Swamp Tromp at Platt Island, Big Cypress National Preserve. This is truly a remote spot, one of Florida’s treasures. Several habitats will be visited: hammock, cypress swamp, pine flatwoods, marshes, and more. Parts of this area burned in the spring of 2007, so expect to see wonderful wildflowers including blazing stars, pine lilies, and many, many more. Bears also frequent this area.

Sunday, August 26, 2007, 9 a.m.-noon. The Institute for Regional Conservation’s pineland preserve and other sites in South Dade. Three cheers to the IRC for its conservation efforts (consider helping at their monthly workdays at various preserves - ask our trip leader)! No description of the site is available for this newsletter (hey - it’s July and we should all be on vacation), but you can read about the efforts of the IRC at We may also go to Silver Palm Hammock to the west and then head for lunch.

Saturday, July 21, 2007, 9 a.m.-noon. Simpson Park and other remnants of Brickell Hammock. Simpson Park in the City of Miami reopened in June2006 after being closed since Hurricane Katrina in August 2005. While the tree canopy is now less dense, the hammock is full of interesting sights as the plants respond to increased light. Charles Torey Simpson, a noted naturalist and author early in the 20th century, was instrumental in persuading officials to preserve some of Brickell Hammock. Now, thanks to Park Naturalist Juan Fernandez and the City of Miami maintenance crew, this 8.5 acre site remains an environmental, cultural and historic treasure. Of 165 plant taxa recorded for the park, 20 are Florida state endangered or threatened, including the endangered Gulf Licaria (Licaria triandra). We will also make a short visit to Alice Wainwright Park, which also contains a remnant of Brickell Hammock but is not currently open to the public, and perhaps the small portion of the hammock along the parking lot of Viscaya. A brief history of the park is at An article about the hammock’s diverse flora by Kristie Wendelberger is in the July-August, 2006, Tillandsia.

Sunday, June3, 2007: The Anne Kolb Nature Center in West Lake Park in Hollywood. This park is a 1500-acre mangrove wetland with boardwalks, trails, 68-foot observation tower. (An exhibition hall also has nature exhibits, aquarium, and nature-themed art.) We will also visit Hollywood North Beach Park on the other side of the Intracoastal, where we will botanize in the native dune vegetation.

Sunday, April 1, 2007, 9:30-noon: MetroZoo Pine Rockland. This 195-acre pineland surrounds the zoo. As part of the Richmond Pine Rockland Tract, it is home to over 180 native plants, 30 of which are listed as endangered or threatened by the state of Florida. In January, a control burn was set to properly manage this critically imperiled habitat. We expect to see a profusion of colorful wildflowers boosted by the new nutrients and sunlight from the fire.

Sunday, February 18, 2007: Loop Road, Big Cypress. We will check out a new boardwalk near the west end of Loop Road and then look for places to botanize in cypress swamp and prairie habitats off the boardwalk, possibly including some slough slogging (though in the dry time of year it may be only damp or dry). Bladderworts and marsh pinks should be in flower, epiphytes abound, and it's the perfect time of year to enjoy the charm of the Big Cypress.

Saturday, January 20, 2007: Jeff Scurlock's Mother Ocean Custom Woodworks (west of Tavernier, FL Keys). See the announcement under Keys activities. (Followed by pot-luck party in Tavernier.)

Saturday, December 9, 2006: Trinity Pineland and Kendalwood Hammock. Steve Woodmansee will lead us through two small county owned preserves in east Kendall/ South Miami. Trinity Pineland is a pine rockland plant community containing a dense stand of Dade county pines which survived hurricane Andrew in 1992. Restoration with hardwood reduction has allowed the return of wildflowers. Kendalwood is a small hammock nearby. Difficulty: Easy to moderate. For meeting place and time please see the printed newsletter.

Saturday, November 18, 2006: Picayune Strand State Forest. This rarely-visited site (our southernmost state forest) is on 80,000 acres of a former failed Golden Gate Estates development in Collier County. Although the site has been severely drained it contains remnant strand swamp, prairies, and lovely flatwoods plant communities. We will pay particular attention to areas with fall wildflowers, and a special surprise will be shown at the end of the field trip. Difficulty: moderate (mostly trails but some areas will be a bit off road). May be some optional wading. For meeting place and time please see the printed newsletter.

Saturday, October 21, 2006: Crane Point Hammock. This preserve in Marathon in the Florida Keys is chock full of trails through pristine rockland hammock along Florida Bay. Many hardwood hammock species tropical in nature and only found in the Keys may be observed. Difficulty: easy to moderate. For more info: Details in our printed newsletter.

Saturday, September 16, 2006: R. Hardy Matheson Preserve. This preserve is along the banks of Snapper Creek and its opening into Biscayne Bay. It is comprised of Rockland Hammock, pine rockland and coastal wetlands and is an excellent site to see limestone caves and many rare species. We will also see an area under restoration where Brazilian-pepper has been cleared. For meeting place and time see the printed newsletter.

Saturday, August 5, 2006: Camp Owaissa Bauer. One of Miami-Dade's oldest parks, it is 110 acres of natural rockland hammock and pine rockland. As one of the highest points in Dade county, it is a must see for all Miamians (please humor us if you just returned from the Rockies). We will be walking through the pineland as well as Timm's Hammock. Details in our printed newsletter.

Saturday, July 15, 2006: Chapel Trail Nature Preserve in Broward County. This park is administered by the city of Pembroke Pines. It consists of 450 acres of restored wetlands that can be viewed from a 1,650-foot-long boardwalk. The restoration of this section of Everglades marsh was paid for through a "wetlands bank," where developers pay to fund restoration in exchange for destroying wetlands elsewhere. We hope to see many of the aquatic and wetland plants featured in Chuck McCartney's June program. Details in our printed newsletter.

Saturday, May 27, 2006: Pine Ridge Sanctuary (Homestead). A "don't miss!" Areas of this 15-acre privately-owned and managed pineland have been recently burned and wildflowers should be in full bloom. We will also see the pond and small hammock planting near their home on the property.

Saturday, April 22, 2006: Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve (South of Naples). (Rescheduled from October, 2005) This 9200-acre reserve has numerous interesting habitats and has been closed to visitors since Briggs Nature Center closed (we have permission to enter this protected area). We will take a boardwalk through pine flatwoods, salt marsh and tidal swamp to a view of Henderson Creek. Then we will walk the Trails Through Time, three ¼-mile paths through shelly coastal berm, mangrove habitat (to Rookery Bay) and scrubby flatwoods. This is a great spot for birding as well. It is one of the few preserves managed by NOAA, and there is “NOAA way” you should miss this one, especially since it will be on EARTH DAY. [Editor’s note – pun by leader Steve Woodmansee.] For more info go to

Saturday, March 18,2006: Tree Island Park (SW 147 Ave and 24th Street). This park has bayheads and tree islands (rare in county parks). It also has marl prairie with nice wildflowers.

Sunday, February 19, 2006. Everglades National Park, pinelands around Osteen Hammock. This is one of the healthiest pine rocklands left in South Florida. It is more similar to the pinelands in the Redland than others in ENP.

Saturday, January 28, 2006: Dynamite Docks, North Key Largo. Walk through coastal hammock and other habitats to the ocean.

Saturday, December 10, 2005: Deering Estate at Cutler. The little-visited pineland at the north end of the Deering Estate is the largest tract of coastal pine rockland left in Miami-Dade County (about 100 acres). We will walk along the historic firebreaks and see flora typical of the area. If time allows we may walk into some of the hammock.

Sunday, November 13, 2005: Rabenau Camp, northeastern Big Cypress. Ecosystems include glades, open cypress forests, and deep pond apple sloughs, as well as oak/cabbage palm hammocks and pinelands on higher ground. NOTE: an alternate site nearby may be substituted in the unlikely event that hurricane damage to bridges makes Rabenau Camp inaccessible (we will know in advance).

Cancelled due to Hurricane Wilma. We are hoping to reschedule this presentation for sometime in 2006: Sunday, October 23, 2005: Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve (South of Naples). This 9200-acre reserve has numerous interesting habitats and has been closed to visitors since Briggs Nature Center closed. Thanks to our leader Steve Woodmansee, we have permission to enter this protected area. We will take a boardwalk through pine flatwoods, salt marsh and tidal swamp to a view of Henderson Creek. Then we will take a path through shelly coastal berm, mangrove habitat (to Rookery Bay) and scrubby flatwoods, as time allows.

Saturday, September 24, 2005: Elaine Gordon Enchanted Forest Park (North Miami). This 22-acre park has oak, red bay and strangler fig hammock and remnant pineland. Afterward, we might visit Arch Creek Park next door.

Saturday, July 30, 2005: Ron Ehman Park and Pine Shore Preserve pinelands. We last visited Ron Ehman in August, 2002, and found its 7 acres of pineland full of flowers and interesting plants. Pine Shore is a remnant pineland next to Gloria Floyd Elementary School. Though tiny, this site contains rare plants and is unusually high and sandy. Leader: Steve Woodmansee.

Sunday, June 26, 2005: Rockdale pineland. Near US1 and SW 152 Street, this tract was spared from becoming home to the South Dade Busway and instead continues to harbor interesting pine rockland species, including the endangered deltoid spurge. The county purchased the land as part of the Environmentally Endangered Lands (EEL) program.

Saturday, May 28, 2005: Old Cutler Hammock at Bill Sadowski Park and Whispering Pines Hammock. The "Rare Plant SWAT Team" volunteers finished their last major workday of the season in February at these sites, removing invasive plants that directly threatened rare native ferns, and now are eager to show off the hammocks. We will first explore the hammock nature trail at Bill Sadowski, the target of the SWAT Team's 2003-2004 season. This partially boardwalked path lies alongside solution holes loaded with ferns, as well as one of the prettiest hammocks in the area. Bring your fern guide and hand lens to examine ferns up close. Then we will make a short drive to nearby Whispering Pines Hammock, where the Team worked in 2004-2005. This county natural area is a must-see for unusual limestone formations. Bring your camera for some photogenic fern scenes.

Sunday, April 17, 2005: Okaloacoochee Slough in Hendry County. We visited the "OK Sough" in October, 2003, and we liked it so much that we're going back in the dry season. This area is a major headwater for the Fakahatchee Strand and Big Cypress National Preserve. It contains largely undisturbed wetlands surrounded by oak, cabbage palm-dominated hydric hammocks, and pineland. Spring wildflowers should be in bloom. Worth the drive! More details in the newsletter.

Saturday, March 26, 2205: Matheson Hammock Park. This is one of the best examples of coastal rockland hammocks in Florida. Over 100 acres of restored forest possessing unique geological formations such as solution holes covered with tropical ferns, and some of the largest hammock trees remaining in Dade County. If time permits, we will also visit the mangrove community.

Sunday, February 20, 2005: Coastal Prairie Trail and Flamingo area, Everglades National Park. This time of year, we hope to enjoy the interesting array of coastal prairie plants in relative comfort, but if the mosquitoes are bad, we may go to some nearby trails. We will also botanize in a 25-acre area next to Flamingo with an interesting and unique history. Previously chocked with Brazilian pepper, the Park wood-chipped the whole area in the summer of 2003. By December pepper resprouts were widespread. The area was allowed to dry and grow until May 2004, when it was burned in a hot fire. Regrowth from this burn is now extensive but is not predominately Brazilian pepper. As the area includes some wetland, the plants are quite varied.

Saturday, January 29, 2005: Dove Creek and Snake Creek Hammocks, Florida Keys Wildlife Management Area.

In an effort to purchase the remaining natural areas in the Keys, the State of Florida under the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has purchased lands from Key Largo to Sugarloaf Key, collectively referred to as the Florida Keys Wildlife Management Area. Although the FFWCC lands are usually for hunting, it is not allowed in these areas. At Dove Creek we will walk on a short trail as well as off-trail in rockland hammocks, buttonwood hammocks and tidal swamp fringe. We will see tropical natives, some rare in the wild, including princewood, pearl berry and prickly apple cactus. Steve Woodmansee will be our leader.

Saturday, December 11, 2004: Two South Dade sites, the pineland at T.R.E.C. and Fuchs Hammock. The pineland at UF's Tropical Research and Education Center is a small but interesting site that we have not yet visited. Fuchs Hammock is one of the few remaining tropical hardwood hammocks in the Redland. Because these hammocks are so rare, some of the flora is also rare and interesting.

Sunday, November 14, 2004: Fakahatchee Strand State Preserve.

Saturday, October 23, 2004: Martinez Pineland in South Dade. Wildflowers in this recently-acquired preserve should be in full bloom. This field trip is a rare opportunity to visit a preserve without open access. This trip was rescheduled due to Hurricane Jeanne.

October 9, 2004: Tradewinds Park (Broward County). Most of this 599-acre park is devoted to recreation. However, the southwest portion is an environmental gem, giving a tantalizing hint of how botanically rich Broward County once was. The easy Cypress Trail boardwalk will take us through a mature cypress forest to a Pond Apple swamp that looks like it could have been displaced from the Big Cypress of Southwest Florida.

September 25, 2004 – Martinez Pineland in South Dade. Wildflowers in this recently-acquired preserve should be in full bloom. (See a complete description of the site on the next page.) This field trip is a rare opportunity to visit a preserve without open access. Rescheduled due to Hurricane Jeanne.

Saturday, July 24, 2004. Hattie Bauer Hammock (former Orchid Jungle) in South Dade. This dense, high tropical hardwood hammock also contains many exotics because of its past as the site of Orchid Jungle. Acquired by the county in the late 1990s, the natural area is under restoration as a preserve, while open areas are slated to become a nature center. We will tour the natural area and historic Orchid Jungle buildings. Jane Dozier and Dallas Hazelton of Miami-Dade Parks Natural Areas Management will be our leaders.

Saturday, June 12, 2004: Tall Cypress Natural Area. This 66.4-acre preserve is owned jointly by the city of Coral Springs and Broward County. Formerly called the Turtle Run Environmentally Sensitive Land site, it is home to several habitats, including a cypress basin swamp, pinewoods, depression marsh and palm hammock. The understory contains a variety of ferns and other native plants. It has a fully accessible .4-mile boardwalk and restrooms. Pat Howell of the Broward County Parks Environmental Section will lead us off-trail if we want.

Sunday, May 16, 2004: North Key Largo. This joint activity of FNPS and the Miami Blue Chapter of the North American Butterfly Association (NABA) will examine the butterfly-significant flora and Lepidoptera of North Key Largo.

Sunday May 9, 2004: Long Key State Park. Take a stroll with Mom on Mothers' Day and check out some of the wildflowers and other plants we learned about from Roger Hammer's program in April. This 965-acre park has trails through coastal strand and hammock.

Saturday, April 3, 2004: Jonathan Dickinson State Park (Martin County). As a follow up to the March program on carnivorous plants, we will visit a place that has some – plus a lot of other interesting plants. "JD" has over 11000 acres of a botanists's paradise straddling the scenic Loxahatchee River. Northern species meet tropical species in the high sand pine scrub, sandy pine flatwoods and other plant communities.

Sunday, February 29, 2004: Pinecrest, Loop Road. We will explore hammock, cypress/sawgrass, prairie and pineland along Loop Road. We last visited in April, 2001, and observed several rare or listed species as well as many butterflies.

Saturday, January 31, 2004: Everglades National Park (Hole in the Donut and nearby areas). We will see some of the restoration areas and then walk in the pinelands and/or hammocks near the Research Center/Royal Palm area. After watching the sun start to set over the Everglades, all are invited to gather for dinner someplace in Homestead (restaurant to be decided).

Saturday, November 29, 2003: Chekika, Everglades National Park. This area used to be a state recreational area with a scenic swimming hole (fed by an artesian well gushing sulfur-laden water), picnic tables, nature trails, camping and a tiny museum. A few years ago, the artesian well was replaced with pumped non-sulphurous water (to stop pollution downstream) and the park was transferred to ENP. In the past few years, the park has been closed (partly due to high water), the amenities have been discontinued, and nature has been reclaiming the area.

Sunday, October 19, 2003: Okaloacoochee Slough in Hendry County. This area is a major headwater for the Fakahatchee Strand and Big Cypress National Preserve. It contains largely undisturbed wetlands surrounded by oak and cabbage palm-dominated hydric hammocks. Many grasses and composites should be in bloom.

Sunday, September 21, 2003: Two South Dade pinelands. Coral Reef Park pineland was nicely burned recently and will be awash in fall wildflowers, in particular, the striking purple Liatris spp. Next, at Ludlam Pineland we will continue to enjoy the fall flowers.

Saturday, August 23, 2003: Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park.

Saturday, July 19, 2003: Cypress domes, Everglades National Park.

Saturday, June 28, 2003: City of Miami parks -- Virginia Key Beach and other (City of Miami parks). City of Miami Parks naturalist (and DCFNPS member) Juan Fernandez will show us the restoration on Virginia Key, newly created Coastal Hammock Trail and rare species such as Biscayne prickly ash. Later we will enjoy the shade of another City of Miami park.

Sunday, May 18, 2003: North Key Largo. We will walk through hammocks and former pinelands where we expect to see some rare plants along with other interesting Keys flora.

Sunday, April 27, 2003: Corbett Wildlife Refuge (Palm Beach County). Hungryland Slough boardwalk through pine/saw palmetto, wetland pond, cypress slough.

Saturday, March 29, 2003: Seminole Wayside Park pineland. This 28 acre pineland managed by Miami-Dade Parks is somewhat different from other pinelands in Dade County, and the walk should be easy.

Saturday, February 15, 2003: Elliott Key field trip. Reservation and fee required for boat only. A park concession boat will take us across Biscayne Bay to Elliott Key Harbor. Leader: Keith Bradley (our January speaker) and maybe others.

Sunday, December 8, 2002: Navy Wells Pineland. We'll check on the pineland's progress in its recovery from Hurricane Andrew and find late fall wildflowers.

Saturday, November 23, 2002: Torchwood Hammock Preserve on Little Torch Key and pine rocklands and freshwater wetlands on Big Pine Key.

Sunday, October 27, 2002: Turner River Road, Collier County. Hike through dry or wet prairie and pine flatwoods, cypress domes and other habitats. We should see wildflowers, especially the fall-blooming composites in the aster family.

Saturday, September 28, 2002: Two preserves in the City of Boca Raton. Sugar Sand Park is 132 acres of mostly scrub and scrubby flatwoods with trails. Serenoa is a xeric oak hammock. We hope to see some of the fall wildflowers of dry areas as well as habitats which not typical of Dade County.

Sunday, August 18, 2002: Ron Ehman Park pineland and Kendall Indian Hammocks park.

Saturday, July 20, 2002: Bear Cut Preserve, Crandon Park. Botanize the dunes and hammock on north Key Biscayne.

Sunday, June 23, 2002: Canoeing in North Dade. Reservations by June 20 required: Paddle the Oleta River to "East East" Greynolds to botanize and examine Tequesta artifacts in an island hammock, plus birding in the mangroves. Noisy boat traffic may pass by, but this is one of the last places in Dade county to canoe in a scenic, flowing river, and one of few natural areas in North Dade. Cost: $20 per person plus $4 parking.

Saturday, May 18, 2002: Hugh Taylor Birch State Park (Broward Co.). We’ll explore a coastal hardwood hammock and look for rare beach plants including beach jacquemontia, which we helped survey in 1990.

Sunday, April 28, 2002: Loop Road, Big Cypress National Preserve. We will explore the sloughs and cypress strands at the western end of the road. Difficulty: possibly difficult (wading, mud, local wildlife small and large).

Saturday, March 30, 2002: Tamiami Pineland Preserve (aka Nixon Smiley Preserve), SW 128th St. at SW 134th Ct. Nixon Smiley Preserve is 110 acres of interesting pine rockland situated at the west extreme of the Miami Rock Ridge. Before drainage, this site actually contained rocky glade wetland habitat. Today, the flora of Nixon Smiley is a mixture of Pine rockland and short hydroperiod wetland plants. Muhly and sawgrass still occur on the property along with about 15 rare plant species. The unusual mixture of plants includes two rare species: Coastal Vervain and Giant Orchid. Joe Maguire, Director of Miami-Dade Parks Natural Areas Management, will be our leader.

Sunday, February 24, 2002: Snake Bight Trail and the Flamingo area, Everglades National Park. Last winter we walked the Coastal Prairie Trail. This year we’ll check out some of the other trails in the area and the stunning improvement from Brazilian pepper removal work in the Flamingo area.

Saturday, January 26, 2002: Jane’s Grade, Big Cypress Seminole Reservation. We will walk through pine flatwoods, wet prairie, cypress and perhaps hammock habitats. The area abuts the Big Cypress Expansion area. While much of the reservation is heavily used as cattle pasture, farming and housing, this area is natural except for the regional drainage controlled by the SFWMD. Bill Dunson, a water resources manager for the Seminole Tribe, has graciously invited us to visit.

Sunday, December 9, 2001: Deering Estate at Cutler. Since our last field trip here two years after Hurricane Andrew, a remarkable example of nature's resilience has occurred. Today the hardwood hammock is lush, rich and full. The 20,000 pine seedlings planted on the north end are reaching 10' - 12'.

Saturday, December 1: Shark Valley botanize by bike and full moon ride. A leisurely ride out in daylight, stopping to botanize with Tony Koop. We will await the 6:30 moonrise at the observation tower before returning.

Friday-Sunday, Nov 2-4, 2001: (our annual "overnighter") to Lower Keys natural areas. walks will include Blue Heron Hammock in Marathon, rock pinelands and fresh water wetlands on Big Pine Key, and Torchwood Hammock on Little Torch Key. (detailed information in the printed newsletter and available at upcoming meetings).

Sunday Sept. 30, 2001: Everglades National Park. We will look for flowering members of the aster family (see Sept. meeting) and other early autumn wildflowers along a fire road that runs along the north rim of Long Pine Key, where the pine rocklands meet the rocky glades.

Saturday, August 18, 2001: Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park, Key Biscayne. Still changing rapidly after the initial post-Andrew restoration (including change from "Recreation Area" to "Park"), the park features beach dune, mangrove wetlands, maritime hammock, ponds, and no soccer fields.

Saturday, August 4: Visit a South Dade garden with an eclectic variety of native and non-native plants, including a hammock and palm collection.

Sunday, July 29: South Dade Pinelands -- we will visit two sites in the Goulds area.

Saturday, July 21: Bahia Honda State Park.

Saturday, June 30: Key Largo Hammocks State Botanical Site. We will join the Keys group for this trip led by Jim Duquesnel, biologist for the site

Saturday, May 26: Hillsboro Pineland Natural Area in northwest Broward County. This 44-acre-site in Coconut Creek represents some of the last remaining pineland in Broward County. It also includes small wetland and hammock components. Tarflower occurs on some of the higher pineland. One portion of the property features eroded limestone, a remnant of the time when the site was a spillway leading from the Everglades to the Atlantic. The property was bought by Broward County as part of an Environmentally Sensitive Lands bond issue. The pinelands were highly degraded and overgrown with exotics. Some of the exotics were removed manually and 10 acres of the site was cleared with a prescribed burn in April of 2000. We will have a chance to see how that area is regenerating.

Sunday, April 22, 2001: Pinecrest, Loop Road. We will explore a hammock adjacent to property owned by chapter members and after lunch visit nearby prairie, pineland or hammock areas. Meet: 8:30 a.m. at the old gas station in Pinecrest (left side of road).

Saturday, March 17, 2001: Ludlam Pineland and Deering North Addition coastal wetlands. We will first visit the 10-acre Ludlam pineland, with its many endangered and endemic plants. Then we will carpool to the nearby Deering Addition, a 45-acre parcel with coastal band mangrove, cord grass salt marsh and a small tropical hardwood hammock. The cord grass salt marsh is one of the rarest natural communities in Dade County. Both properties were acquired under the EEL Program.

Saturday, February 24, 2001: Bear Island, Big Cypress National Preserve. This area of sandy, mesic flatwoods contains species which are more northern in distribution than we see in Dade County and lots of "cool stuff", according to our experts.

Sunday, January 28, 2001: Coastal Prairie Trail, Everglades National Park. This trail, which originates near the campground at Flamingo, is not frequented most of the year because of mosquitoes and mud, but this time of year we hope to enjoy the interesting array of coastal plants in relative comfort. However, depending on local conditions at the time, we may go instead (or in addition) to the nearby Snake Bight trail. Meet: at the main Visitors Center. We will carpool from there (another hour's drive). Difficulty: moderately easy -- walking on smooth but possibly occasionally muddy paths.

Dec. 1-3, 2000. Jonathan Dickinson State Park (Martin County) Dec. 2 (Sat.): day trip. Dec. 1-3 (Fri.-Sun.): weekend trip (either or both nights). "JD" includes over 11000 acres of botanist’s paradise straddling the scenic Loxahatchee River. Northern species meet tropical species in the high sand pine scrub, sandy pine flatwoods and other plant communities. After a hike, you can enjoy the Loxahatchee River by canoe or tour boat concession.

November 5, 2000 (Sun.): Skillet Strand in Big Cypress National Preserve. We may wander/wade through a variety of habitats, from dry pine flatwoods to cypress slough, with wet prairie in between. Difficulty: moderately difficult — on and off tracks, uneven terrain, possible slogging, hot.

October 28, 2000 (Sat.): Yard visit — "Homestead ponds and pinelands". We will take a quick peek at Keith Bradley’s pond and garden (created by Keith and Alicie), and then spend the rest of the morning enjoying Barbara and Terry Glancy’s pond (created by Martin Buel), 15-acre pineland (created by Mother Nature with a lot of help from Barbara and Terry), and other native landscaping.

October 7, 2000 (Sat.): Fairchild Tropical Garden Research Center and Matheson Hammock Park. Dena Garvue will show us some of the research activities going on at FTG, including Pseudophoenix conservation, the focus of her September talk. After an hour or so, we will move to Matheson Hammock Park and botanize in the hammock west of Old Cutler Road.

September 24, 2000 (Sunday): Everglades National Park — Long Pine Key and environs. Still seeking a bit of shade this time of year, we’ll stick to the shadier pinelands and the nearby hammocks of ENP near the Florida City entrance.

Saturday, July 29, 2000. Ned Glenn Pineland Preserve and Don Keller’s garden in Cutler Ridge. If you can’t make it to both parts, join us for either half. Rating: easy but sunny. Bring: drinks, snacks, sun protection.

Part 1: Ned Glenn: SW 87 Avenue at 188 Street (just south of Caribbean Blvd.). This 10-acre pineland burned in June, so we should see the interesting array of plants which emerge immediately after a fire. Linda McDonald of Miami-Dade Park and Recreation Department’s Natural Areas Management will be our guide.

Part 2: Don Keller’s garden: We’ll see in person many of the interesting epiphytes that Don will discuss at the meeting on July 25 (and undoubtedly a lot more).

Sunday, July 9, 2000: Field trip to two pinelands in South Dade. First, a visit to a Dade County park will allow us to compare the area which was being prepared for a burn when we visited there two years ago. Roger Hammer of Miami-Dade County Park and Recreation’s Natural Areas Management will accompany us to this county park.

Then we will go across the street to a pineland owned by chapter members. This natural area, adjacent to their home, is a continuation of a county EEL site. Any who wish to may linger and tour their garden, which includes natives, butterfly gardens and more.

June 3, 2000 (Saturday): Bear Cut Preserve, Crandon Park. Examine the flora of dunes and hammock (some parts under restoration) on north Key Biscayne. Bring: drinks, sun protection, money for Crandon parking fee. We will finish by late morning to avoid the heat -- bring your lunch and swimming suit if you want to make a day of it. Rating: easy. Call Patty or Gwen for more information or carpooling (from Dade). If the weather is very bad, call to confirm before leaving home.

May 20 (Saturday): Florida Keys Wildlife and Environmental Areas, including Sugarloaf, Cudjoe and Wahoo Keys (all in lower Keys). Botanize with Robert Guerra of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. And check out rarely visited state lands. Meet: at 9 AM. Wear/bring: long pants, closed shoes, sun and bug protection, water and snacks. Could be a little wet depending upon recent rainfall so wear shoes that can get muddy

April 30, 2000 (Sunday) -- Lignumvitae Key State Botanical Site. Meet in Islamorda to catch the ferry which leaves at 1pm. Park staff will lead us through the island’s pristine hammock. Be prepared for mosquitoes. Wear long pants and closed shoes. Space is limited so please call Beth to reserve. Cost of the ferry is $15.

Saturday, March 18, 2000: Sugarloaf Key. This interesting, mature pine forest with palm and hardwood understory, perhaps the southernmost stand of Pinus elliottii var. densa in the US, has not burned for some time. This forest and nearby coastal areas contain a large variety of species, including Vanilla barbellata.

Saturday, March 25, 2000: Beginning Botany and Natural History in Everglades National Park. After a very well-received start in January, Tony Koop continues his series of easy and informative walks for the beginning botanist. This time the natural history of three habitats in the park (pineland, hammock and finger glade) will be featured along with plant identification. Walking will be easy and on trails.

Sunday, April 9, 2000: Corkscrew Marsh (Collier County). This area (not Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary) is a 6,825-acre tract purchased as part of the Corkscrew Regional Ecosystem Watershed project.

Saturday, February 19, 2000: Shark Valley Botanize by Bike. We will bicycle in the afternoon as far as we make it toward the observation tower, stopping here and there to botanize. After watching the sun set, we will ride back under the full moon (or you set your own pace).

Sunday, February 27, 2000: Hattie Bauer Hammock in South Dade. This dense, high tropical hardwood hammock also contains many exotics because of its past as the site of Orchid Jungle. The natural area is under restoration as a preserve, while open areas are being developed for mixed recreational use.

Sunday, January 23, 2000: Curry Hammock (in the Keys). (Rescheduled from October due to Hurricane Irene.) This area is owned by the state park system but is undeveloped. It contains high hammock, thatch palms and mangrove edge and all the interesting flora of these habitats.

Saturday, January 29, 2000: NEW ACTIVITY! Matheson Hammock Park. "Basic Botany for Budding Botanists". On this field trip you will learn some basic botanical terminology and how to use a plant identification key while learning about the species and basic ecology of South Florida hammocks. Your able guide will be Tony Koop, a botany graduate student at UM, chapter board member, and a familiar face managing the plant raffle at our meetings. The purpose is to make your future walks in natural areas more enjoyable and informative and to help you "get around" in botanical circles.

Sunday, December 5, 1999: Porter Pineland Preserve in South Dade. This 5-acre pineland fragment is a Dade County Natural Forest Community, donated to Tropical Audubon Society. The establishment of the preserve was required for permission to develop the surrounding land. After a summer burn, it will be full of flowers and new growth.

Saturday, October 16, 1999: Curry Hammock (in the Keys). This area straddles US1 and is owned by the state park system but is undeveloped. It contains high hammock, thatch palms and mangrove edge and all the interesting flora of these habitats. Some may continue to other nearby sites (or to the Florida Keys Birding and Wildlife Festival in Marathon).

September 26, 1999: Fern Forest Nature Center (Broward Co.). This 254-acre wilderness was once part of the Snapper Creek Watershed. It now has 10 plant communities including wet hardwood hammock with rare ferns and open prairie, as well as eroded limestone formations.

Saturday, August 7, 1999: Arch Creek Park . We will walk on a trail through a hammock containing some species not found in South Dade, such as Hercules -Club, Zanthoxylum clava-herculis. There is also a butterfly garden and small museum. Good trip for the whole family.

Sunday, June 27, 1999: We will visit a south Dade pine rockland with many interesting species, including the endangered deltoid spurge. The county purchased the land as part of the Environmentally Endangered Lands program.

Saturday, May 15, 1999: We will visit one of the few remaining tropical hardwood hammocks in the Redland. Because these hammocks are so rare, some of the flora is also rare and interesting.

March 20, 1999: South Dade Wetlands Acquisition Project. We will visit the heart of this 48000-acre acquisition, a complex of sawgrass prairie, tree islands and forested wetlands with red bay, dahoon holly and wax myrtle near Tallahassee Road. In the open water areas we might see concentrations of wading birds such as roseate spoonbills and wood storks.


Featured Plant:

Firebush (Hamelia patens)

Large shrub or small tree. Rarely abundant in hammock edges, FL Keys to central FL. An exotic relative, "African firebush", with yellowish-red flowers and mostly hairless leaves, is naturalizing in S. Florida and poses a hybridization threat to our native firebush.

  • 10-12' tall or more, often as broad as tall
  • Can grow in nutrient poor soils; needs some organic content to thrive
  • Full or partial sun
  • Red / orange tubular flowers; red / purplish-black berries
  • Excellent wildlife plant. Food/cover for birds, hummingbirds, butterflies, bees, other insects. Larval host for Pluto sphinx moth
  • May be affected but not killed by scale insects. Cut back to freshen

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Information from: Natives For Your Neighborhood - The Institute for Regional Conservation