Tillandsia Web, Dade Chapter, Florida Native Plant Society
for Miami-Dade County and the Florida Keys

Online Newsletter

Excerpted from our print newsletter. See the printed newsletter for detailed Field Trip directions and reports, for phone and addresses for yard visits and additional articles. Join now to obtain the benefits of full membership!

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January 2010

In This Issue


If you didn't receive this Tillandsia in your mail box,
… then you aren't a member of DCFNPS.

Please consider joining (if you have never joined) or rejoining (if your membership has lapsed).  We'd like to have you counted as a conservator of Florida's native plants and a supporter of FNPS!

drawing of a mail boxGive a gift FNPS membership! 

Contact 305-255-6404 or pphares@mindspring.com.


January 2010

  • 9 (Sat.): Bolla/Gann holiday party -- please RSVP
  • 7 (Sun.):  Dade field trip (Loop Road, Pinecrest area)
  • 9 (Tue.): Keys Branch meeting (Key Largo)
  • 3 (Sat.): Keys Branch field trip (TBA)
  • 3 (Sat): Science Fair judging - FNPS judges needed
  • 6 (Tue.): Dade meeting (ecological landscaping)
  • 30 (Sat.): "Green home" tour -- RSVP required

February 2010

  • 6 (Sat.): Workday and volunteer luncheon at ENP
  • 16 (Tue.): Keys Branch meeting (Marathon)
  • 20 (Sat.): Keys Branch field trip (Bahia Honda State Park)
  • 23 (Tue.): Dade meeting (Georgia Tasker)
  • TBA: Dade field trip (Fakahatchee Strand)

March 2010

  • 16 (Tue.): Keys Branch meeting (Key Largo)
  • 20 (Sat.): Keys Branch field trip (tentative)
  • 20 (Sat.): Dade field trip (Everglades Nat. Park)
  • 23 (Tue.): Dade meeting (TBA)
  • 27 (Sat.): NATIVE PLANT DAY at Bill Sadowski Old Cutler Hammock Park.  Save the date!

May 20-23, 2010: Annual FNPS Conference in Tallahassee

See our online Calendar for more details and dates.


Tuesday, January 26, 2010, 7:30 pm at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, Corbin Building, 10901 Old Cutler Road.  Free and open to the public. Refreshments begin at 7:15pm. Merchandise sales are before and after the program (cash/checks only).  The plant raffle follows the program.

Before the meeting at 7 pm: Chapter members -- please come a little early to give your input on how the chapter functions, suggestions for activities and programs, or other topics you may wish to discuss with board members!

Program: "Cities, Climate Change and Ecological Landscaping" - Dr. Jack Parker, Professor Emeritus, Florida International University, Dept. of Environmental Sciences

This presentation will discuss the latest science of climate change, including the projected environmental impacts on natural systems.  It will include an evaluation of alternative solutions to global warming, particularly the role of trees in urban areas.

Dr. Parker's teaching and research focus on ecological landscaping, passive solar cooling, climate change mitigation, energy and resource conservation, environmental housing, energy policy and environmental education.  He is particularly interested in applications in warm, humid climates and in less-developed countries as well as local community projects. 

February 23: “The Making and Remaking of a Garden” - Georgia Tasker, former Garden Writer for the Miami Herald

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If the weather is very bad, call to confirm.  Field trips are for the study of plants and enjoyment of nature by FNPS members and guests. Collecting is not permitted. Children are welcome. For carpooling, call Gwen (305-372-6569) or Patty (305-255-6404).

Sunday, January 17, 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. 

February (tentative, date TBA): Fakahatchee Strand State Preserve.

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To receive e-mail reminders of Keys branch activities, please contact Barb Moe, barbmoe@bellsouth.net.  Remember that all chapter members are welcome at both Keys and Dade activities!

Meeting in Key Largo, Tuesday, January 19
Speaker: "Saving Butterflies: Endangered or just in danger, what's a citizen to do?"- Dennis Olle, Attorney and butterfly conservation advocate with the Miami Blue Chapter of the North American Butterfly Association.

An attorney with Carlton Fields (one of south Florida’s top law firms), Dennis Olle applies his knowledge of law to a lifelong interest in the conservation of nature and, particularly, to his passion for protecting rare butterflies. Dennis will discuss the rarest butterflies found in south Florida, and what interested citizens can do to help protect them. Even a backyard landscape offers opportunities to preserve or recreate habitat these butterflies and other wildlife depend upon. Also an accomplished photographer, his photographs of rare butterflies of the Keys will accompany his descriptions of the native plants and habitat types they depend on, why they are threatened and what their legal status is. For Florida Keys homeowners, especially anyone living near a park or preserve, there are many opportunities, using native plants, to recreate suitable habitat and to help support the continued presence of these species.

Location: John Pennekamp State Park Visitor Center MM 102.5.
Time: The gate opens at 7 pm for socializing and Plant ID.  The program starts at 7:30 and is followed by the native plant raffle. You could take home a rare plant for as little as $1. Plant donations for the raffle are welcome.

Field trip: Saturday, January 23.  Restoration area at Dagny Johnson Key Largo Hammock Botanical State Park, on CR 905, oceanside, just north of the Circle K. Meet at 9:00 am at the arch to the park.  We will see the plantings done a year ago and the plants which have volunteered since then.

Meeting in Marathon, February 16:  Please contact Lisa at ledzepllg@bellsouth.net or 305-743-0978 with program suggestions.

Field trip, February 20: Bahia Honda State Park.

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The Annual Bolla & Gann Native Plant Holiday Party, January 9, 5 - 10 pm.
Where: Joyce & Don Gann’s house in the Redland - please RSVP for address and directions.
RSVP to: Mark Bolla at bollam@bellsouth.net or 305-852-0242 or call Joyce at 786-423-1881
Who is invited: All FNPS members and their families.
What to bring: A dish to share (or whatever is needed for your special dietary restrictions) and BYOB!  Soup, salad and iced tea will be provided.  The parking is in a hammock and on an unlit street so bring a flashlight.

Science Fair judging, January 23, 8 am - noon, at the Miami-Dade College, North Campus.  Volunteers are needed to review native plant related research projects and help decide the recipients of the annual George N. Avery Award presented by the Dade Chapter FNPS for outstanding science fair projects.  Please contact Gita Ramsay, gita.ramsay@gmail.com, 786-877-7168

Chapter Workday and Volunteer Appreciation Lunch at Everglades National Park, February 6.

Found jacket.  After the July 28, 2009, Summer Evening Yard visit at Gwlady & Gene Scott's - a blue, mock turtle neck, Hanes sweater/jacket.  Please call Gwlady at 305-238-8901 to claim.

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When: January 30, 4 p.m.
Where: Albert Harum-Alvarez's home in Kendall
Who is invited: FNPS members and their guests
Reservations: Please RSVP to Buck Reilly by January 29 (buck@rootsarchitecture.com or 786-291-4824) to receive the address and parking instructions (e-mail is preferred).

See the Miami Herald's 2007 story about the many features that make this home ecologically friendly (http://www.miamiherald.com/news/environment/resources/story/228883.html).  Thanks to Albert and to our contributing author this month, architect Buck Reilly, for arranging this tour.

Although this is not a native plant yard tour, green architecture relates to our January program.  Albert says "Like a pine rockland plant, the house is designed to engage the sun and rain and soil of South Florida, frugally and elegantly.  But the project isn't done: so far, the terraces have plenty of vacancies for shrubs and ground covers. We'd love to get planting advice from the Native Plant Society to fill some of those niches!"

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Bill Sadowski Park at Old Cutler Hammock (Palmetto Bay)

Our annual public event, first held in 1991, is a full day of celebrating native plants with activities for all ages, nature walks, displays, plant and book sales, raffles and an all-around good time. And it's free! Please save the date to attend and/or volunteer, and start telling your friends and neighbors.

Could you help with preparations, suggest activities, food vendors, etc., post announcements?  Would you like to participate as a vendor of plants or plant-related items?  Please contact Amy Leonard soon (aleonar74@yahoo.com, 305-458-0969).  Volunteers can sign up at meetings, or contact Gita Ramsay (786-877-7168, gita.ramsay@gmail.com).

Do you have plants to donate to the raffles or the chapter sale?  Please prune, pot up and fertilize now, so that they will be beautiful in March.  Most desired are wild-flowers and herbaceous plants (4" to 1 gallon), especially butterfly-attracting plants, and less-common trees and shrubs (1 to 3 gallon).

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Dade Native Plant Workshop.  MDC Kendall campus Landscape Technology Center. 3rd Tuesdays at 7 p.m. Bring at least three flowering/fruiting plants of any species. Contact Steve, 786-488-3101, Stevewoodmansee@bellsouth.net. See www.regionalconservation.org/ircs/aboutus/Outreach.asp.
Jan. 19: The Palm family (Arecaceae)

Friends of the Gifford Arboretum, Univ. of Miami.  See www.bio.miami.edu/arboretum or 305-284-5364.  7pm, Cox Science Bldg., Room 166.
Feb. 3: "Research on the chocolate tree" - Dr. David Kuhn. Tree family of the month: The Laurel Family - Dr. Scott Zona, FIU

Tropical Audubon Society. Doc Thomas House, 5530 Sunset Dr., Miami. 305-667-7337, www.tropicalaudubon.org.
Jan. 13: Monthly meeting. Rebecca Smith, Historical Museum of Southern Florida, will tell about the origins of sub-tropical birding gear.  Doors open at 7:30 p.m., program at 8 p.m.

Miami Blue Chapter, North American Butterfly Association.  See www.miamiblue.org or contact Elane Nuehring, 305-666-5727 or miamiblue@bellsouth.net.
Feb. 7:  Meeting at Castellow Hammock Park, 1 pm.  Fire effects monitoring of Pineland Croton in ENP to assess the impacts on two rare butterflies - Aerin Land.

Miami-Dade Parks Natural Areas workdays.  See www.miamidade.gov/derm/endangered_lands.asp for details. RSVP at 305-257-0933 x227, eel@miamidade.gov.
Jan. 22: Larry & Penny Thompson Pineland, SW 127 Ave  & 184 St.
Jan 23: County Line Scrub (NE 215 St and 4 Ave)

The Delicate Balance Of Nature 2010 Lecture Series. Through March 31, 7:30 - 8:30 p.m. at John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, MM 102.5, Key Largo.  Gate opens at 7 p.m.  Free.  Seating is limited.  More information: 305-451-9570 or http://floridastateparks.net/keylargohammock/docs/lectureseries.pd
Jan. 13: Marine Reserves in the Florida Keys - James Bohnsack, NOAA, Southeast Fisheries Science Center
Jan. 20:  Florida Ethnobotany - Brad Bennett, FIU
Jan. 27: Accelerating Sea Level Rise and Florida’s Tenuous Coastal Future - Dr. Harold Wanless, Univ. of Miami
Feb. 3: Pythons and Native Snakes of the Keys - Ron Rozar, USGS Burmese Python Project
Feb. 10:  Returning A Sea Urchin To The Reefs; How Hard Can That Be? - Martin Moe, Mote Marine Laboratory

South Florida Fair, January 15-31, in West Palm Beach features “America’s National Parks.”  Experience activities from our South Florida parks, a Yosemite waterfall, a steaming Yellowstone geyser and others.  See www.southfloridafair.com

The Pine Rockland Conference 2010 will take place February 10th-13th, at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden and nearby locations.  For more information: http://fl.water.usgs.gov/Miami/pineland/index.html

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Rooted in History, Forever Blooming
May 20-23, 2010, Tallahassee, Florida

Join us in Tallahassee as the Magnolia Chapter hosts the 2010 Annual Conference.  Choose from a variety of field trips, tours and workshops on Thursday and Sunday and programs on Friday and Saturday.  Featured keynote speakers are Dr. Betty Smocovitis, botanical historian from UF; Landscape Architect Darryl Morrison, who will showcase nationally recognized native plant designs; and June Bailey White, writer and National Public Radio commentator.  Meet Bill Partington and others who started the first gathering of native plant enthusiasts in 1980.

See www.fnps.org for conference details as they become available; information about submitting abstracts for scientific papers and posters (deadline Feb. 1); and applications for Landscape and Restoration Awards, Research Grants and Conservation Grants (deadline March 5).

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By Buck Reilly

Ecology - the branch of science which studies the interaction of organisms and the environment in which they live.
Architecture - the practice of designing and building structures normally to be inhabited by humans.

As natural areas which had previously sustained countless species are altered to create buildings which support human activities to the detriment of nearly all other species, it is increasingly important to include nature in the design of the human environment.  Because natural features such as, plants, water and sunlight have the potential to perform some of the biological roles of a natural habitat and because the built environment will continue to consume natural habitats, the inclusion of natural features in the built environment is essential to provide some degree of protection for native plants and animals.  The designers of our cities, towns and buildings must create places which encourage our interaction with wildlife and natural processes for the physical and psychological health of humans, for the protection of biodiversity and in order to create interesting and dynamic environments which we enjoy to inhabit.

The most obvious way that we can include nature in the built environment is to increase the amount of space allotted for vegetation, which will increase the amount of habitat for wildlife in our built environment. Our buildings and the spaces around them include many areas which are used infrequently by humans and can easily be utilized by native plants, animals and insects if designed with their needs in mind.   By utilizing these underused spaces such as walls, roofs and parking areas our cities and towns do not need to sacrifice density in order to include nature.  Exterior walls and roofs can be shaded and support wildlife by growing vines on cable trellises.  Roofs can be utilized for the collection of rainwater for human consumption and grey water (water from sinks, and showers) can in turn be used where irrigation is necessary, or in water features which will be used by birds, and will harbor fish, and amphibians.  The vegetation provided on walls and roofs (which will shade buildings, reducing the need for air conditioning) may be crucial for migratory birds which pass through our urban areas with little green space.  Rain falling on streets or other impervious services can be directed into stormwater planters, raingardens or bioswales where water can be absorbed by street trees and other plants rather than passing directly to stormdrains which lead to waterways.  This approach would reduce flooding, erosion and pollution of our waterways as well as reduce the need for irrigation of street canopy trees.  The careful placement of trees and shrubs can also be used to shade our buildings, focus prevailing winds into our buildings while providing habitat.

By designing buildings that interact with their environments, responding to seasonal changes in climate we also assuage our human affinity to connect to natural processes.  Utilizing the environments’ free resources; sunlight, rainwater and wind, creates an awareness of seasonal changes and allows inhabitants to seasonally alter the way that they and their building respond to the environment and thereby to reduce their dependence on finite natural resources.  Not unlike the way that we can control our own comfort by wearing shorts, we can adjust the openings in our buildings and the way that we shade our building envelopes to control the light levels, temperature, ventilation and humidity within our buildings.  While the use of these methods may not keep our buildings cooled to within our comfort range all year, in an area of the country where hurricanes make power outages a likely scenario, it makes sense to design buildings which are able to meet our most basic needs, without reliance on utilities.

Effective building strategies for Florida’s hot and humid climate can be seen in Florida’s vernacular architecture such as the “cracker” homes built by Florida’s pioneers, the historical homes of Key West, the Seminole chickee or historic homes such as the Barnacle in Coconut Grove.  The Whiddon log cabin which is a “dogtrot” log cabin built in 1864 in Perry, Florida demonstrates the use of deep porches which provide access to breezes and natural light without allowing direct sunlight to heat interior spaces. The separation of the kitchen from the main house also keeps the living and sleeping spaces cool and protects the wooden structure from fire. The louvered doors and shutters of Key west homes also served to aid in cross ventilation while their metal roofs served not only as fire protection but also as a rain catchment system connected via gutters to large cisterns for water storage.  We can provide for human comfort using these passive techniques in conjunction with the use of appropriate technologies and improved building materials.  For example the use of exhaust and ceiling fans to draw fresh air through screened windows, allows for effective cross ventilation even when there are no cooling breezes.  Water free of the carcinogens found in tap water can be collected by our roofs, stored in cisterns, filtered and used for human consumption, bathing, laundry, and sewage conveyance.  Photovoltaic panels can reduce the amount of grid supplied power used by a building and in the case of a power outage can provide sufficient electricity to power a homes refrigerator, lights and ceiling fans.  During the hottest months of the year passive cooling techniques are often insufficient to maintain a building within the average person’s range of comfort.  In this period the use of, spectrally selective double paned windows, (which allow visible light to enter while preventing heat from passing through the glass) and building insulations which reduce air infiltration, greatly reduce the electricity consumed by air conditioning use.  While technology can be of great benefit in our buildings our buildings should still be habitable if any one of these technologies fails.  Building occupants should be able to control their environment not only by adjusting temperature, and humidity via air conditioning but also can control their comfort by adjusting temperature, air flow and light levels via simple mechanisms such as louvers, shades, and operable windows.

Although we frequently imagine the built environment and nature as opposing forces, they can not be separated; rather the edges of nature and city must be blurred for the mutual benefit of man and nature.  The designers of our cities and buildings must encourage interactions between humans, our buildings, nature and natural processes in order to create environments which foster many forms of life and draw upon the interconnectedness of the systems which support them.

Buck Reilly AAIA, LEED AP, RESNET Home Energy Rater

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President: Robert Harris, 954-651-4176, xkensington6x@yahoo.com

General information:  786-340-7914

Refreshment coordinator, Dade meetings: Vivian Waddell 305-665-5168

Memberships: Patty Harris (305-262-3763)

DCFNPS Web page: http://dade.fnpschapters.org

Webmasters: Greg Ballinger and Haniel Pulido Jr. (dadefnpsweb@gmail.com)

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Dade-Chapter-of-the-Florida-Native-Plant-Society/110373246810

FNPS Chapter representative: Lynka Woodbury (305-667 1651x3427, lwoodbury@fairchildgarden.org)

FNPS Web Page: http://www.fnps.org

FNPS Eco Action Alert List: Send email request to info@fnps.org

FNPS (state) office : 321-271-6702, info@fnps.org

Tillandsia editors: Patty Phares (305-255-6404, pphares@mindspring.com) and Elizabeth Kelly

Dade Chapter Board members:

President: Robert Harris  Vice-President: Ted Shaffer
Secretary: TBA Treasurer: Mark Bolla
At Large: Amida Frey, Patty Harris, Jose Luciani, Gita Ramsay, Vivian Waddell, Susan Walcutt
FNPS board:   Lynka Woodbury Past-President:  Amy Leonard

Mailing address:

Dade Chapter FL Native Plant Society
6619 South Dixie Highway, #181
Miami FL 33143-7919

The Dade Chapter Florida Native Plant Society is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization dedicated to the understanding and preservation of Florida's native flora and natural areas, and promoting native plants in landscapes.

The chapter includes residents of Miami-Dade County and the Keys.
Meetings in Miami-Dade County
are on the 4th Tuesday of most months at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden and are free and open to the public. Once a year, instead of the usual meeting, members and their guests are invited to an evening garden tour and social at a member's home.
Meetings in the Keys
are held on 3rd Tuesdays in November through April at varying locations from Key Largo to Key West

2009 FNPS membership rates: Donor $250, Business $125, Supporting $100, Contributing $75 ($25 to endowment), Non-Profit $50, Family $50, Individual $35, Student $15, Library $15, New Member $25, Gift $25, Lifetime $1000.

Join or renew FNPS online! Try it! If you are renewing, check your green card or send email to info@fnps.org with your full name to obtain your membership number (or ask you local membership manager).  Otherwise, reenter your personal information.  When renewing, please update your membership record. Family/household or higher level memberships can list two members, including complete contact info for each.  See https://www.fnps.org/secure/membership.php

Thanks to those who have renewed FNPS memberships recently!  Your continued support helps FNPS achieve its mission:

The purpose of the Florida Native Plant Society is to promote the preservation, conservation and restoration of the native plants and native plant communities of Florida.

Articles, announcements and news items are invited for Tillandsia from Dade and Keys members.  Please submit items for consideration by the 15th of each month.  

Advertising rates from $12/month.

© 1999-2010 Dade Chapter Florida Native Plant Society, Inc.

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