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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March 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.


March 2010

  • 16 (Tue.): Keys Branch meeting (Key Largo)
  • 20 (Sat.): Keys Branch field trip (Key Largo ENP Ranger Station. (Also the March trip for Dade group.)
  • 23 (Tue.): Dade meeting (Coastal Habitat Restoration)
  • 27 (Sat.): NATIVE PLANT DAY at Bill Sadowski Old Cutler Hammock Park.  Volunteer now!
  • 27 (Sat.): Keys Native Plant Day sponsored by FL State Parks - Keys Branch FNPS members needed for FNPS table

April 2010

  • 10 (Sat.): Chapter workday at ENP
  • 17 (Sat.): Dade field trip (Coastal Prairie Trail, ENP)
  • 20 (Tue.): Keys Branch meeting (Marathon)
  • 24 (Sat.): Keys Branch field trip (Marathon yards)
  • 24-25 (Sat.-Sun.): Spring sale, Fairchild Trop. Bot. Garden
  • 27 (Tue.): Dade meeting (Pineland croton)

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

See our online Calendar for more details and dates.


Tuesday, March 23, 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. (This is the 4th Tuesday, not the last)

Before the meeting at 7pm: Chapter members -- come early to give your input on any topics you may wish to discuss with board members.

Program: "Coastal Habitat Restoration and Science-Based Monitoring Efforts in Southeast Florida" - Gary R. Milano, Natural Resource Division, Miami-Dade Department of Environmental Resources Management

Modifications of freshwater inflow and past dredging and filling practices have resulted in serious degradation to the south Florida ecosystem.  South Florida historical natural communities are being restored on publicly owned lands through the cooperative efforts of federal, state, and local agencies.  Restoration techniques and innovative habitat designs have been developed and tested.  Monitoring efforts are documenting the results of some factors on taxonomic diversity, nursery fish habitat, bird habitat, crocodile habitat, and rookery areas.  Gary will discuss these and other aspects of the program and indicators of its overall success.

Mr. Milano is the Coastal Habitat Restoration Coordinator for the Miami-Dade Department of Environmental Resources Management (DERM).  He has successfully completed over 50 habitat restoration efforts during his 28 years with DERM.  He has coordinated the restoration of over 500 acres of wetlands, 150 acres of coastal strand and dune community, 150 acres of tropical hardwood hammock, and 22 islands in Biscayne Bay.  His commitment and enthusiasm has enabled him to gather widespread government and public support, and participation from the community for his program. 

Also, Jonathan Prendergast, one of our 2010 Science Fair Award recipients, will make a short presentation on his project, "Interpreting the nutrient limitations, salinity, and seasonal variations of Florida Bay in order to analyze shifts in species and biomass productivity".  (See details elsewhere in this issue).

April 27: Fire effects monitoring of pineland croton in Everglades National Park to assess the impacts on two rare butterflies  - Aerin D. Land

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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 Patty (305-255-6404).

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

Saturday, April 17, 2010: Coastal Prairie Trail, Everglades National Park, led by ENP Biologist Jimi Sadle.  (Details TBA)

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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: Tuesday, March 16.  "Florida Ethnobotany:  An overview of the indigenous peoples of Florida and their uses of plants" - Dr. Brad Bennett, Florida International University Dept. of Biological Sciences.

Back by popular demand, Dr. Bennett will present examples of important Florida native plant species and describe their use by early indigenous peoples.  There will be a plant raffle following the lecture.  Refreshments will be served.

Field trip: Saturday, March 20.  Everglades National Park Key Largo Ranger Station and Science Center. This is the Keys and Dade March trip. We will see the plant restoration site and the hammock area.  This is a beautiful, small hammock with five champion trees.

The meeting time and location, and directions are in the print newsletter mailed to Dade and Keys Chapter FNPS  members.  Field trips are for members and their guests.  Please join so that you can enjoy all the activities of the chapter!

Upcoming (details in April):

Volunteer to staff FNPS info table at the Keys Native Plant Day sponsored by the Florida State Parks, March 27, at John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park.  Please contact Mary Baker (305-451-3448, mjfal2@aol.com).

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Native butterfly plants are still needed for the chapter's butterfly garden project with the Deering Estate. Please contact Gita (gita.ramsay@gmail.com, 786-877-7168).  See details and suggested plants in the February Tillandsia.

A new Chapter board will be elected at the Annual Meeting of DCFNPS at the May 25 monthly meeting.  If you might be interested in serving on the board, please contact Ted Shaffer, Vice-President and chair of the nominating committee (TedShaffer@bellsouth.net, 305-498-6266).  President, Vice-President and some Directors at Large will be elected this year.

Photos are needed to document the chapter's history in the 1980s and 1990s.  Digital, slide or print photos would be appreciated.  Please contact Lynka Woodbury (lwoodbury@fairchildgarden.org, 305-667-1651 x3427) or Patty Phares (pphares@mindspring.com, 305-255-6404) if you have photos of people, special events, awards presentations, etc.

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Rooted in History, Forever Blooming

May 20-23, 2010, Tallahassee, Florida

See www.fnps.org for conference and registration details and to register online.  For questions or for information by mail, contact FNPS at 321-271-6702 or info@fnps.org.

The FNPS conference is one of the best and most economical ways to enjoy learning about the Panhandle's beautiful natural areas (which are very different from South Florida's). 

If you would like to try to find other members to share a ride or room at the conference, please contact Patty Phares (305-255-6404, pphares@mindspring.com) -- no guarantees but we can try.

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Please volunteer or donate items now!

We need plenty of help at our March 27 event in South Miami-Dade.  This is time when we all pull together, so please contribute in some way to make the event its usual success.  It would be a great help to hear from you now instead of at the last minute, even if you are just "a maybe." 

Contact Amy Leonard (305-458-0969, aleonar74@yahoo.com), Gita Ramsay (786-877-7168, gita.ramsay@gmail.com) or Patty Phares (305-255-6404, pphares@mindspring.com).

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Mark Bolla, our Dade Chapter Treasurer and unofficial liaison to the Keys Branch, has moved from his home in Tavernier to Ohio.  We wish to thank Mark for his service as Treasurer on the Dade Chapter board.  He will be missed.  I have been approved by the Board to assume the Treasurer duties.

When I went down to Keys to pick up chapter items, Mark was in the middle of packing and had a surprise -- a very generous donation of several boxes of books from his business (M&M Books, Rare & Out of Print, operated by his wife, the late Mary Ann Bolla, and Mark).  I have made a list of many of these one-of-a-kind books which range in content from plants to birds to Florida stories and history.  I will bring some of these books to sell at each of the next few meetings.  If you are interested in a complete list of the additional books now available, please email me at walcutts@bellsouth.net and I will send the Excel spreadsheet.

Recently I was looking through some of Mark's records for the past year and called him with a question.  It had snowed the evening before and he had just come in from digging out his driveway where the snowplow had pushed up a 2 foot wall.  That snow report makes me appreciate living here in the Miami area!

And now we are looking for a new Merchandise Chair.  Please see me at our next monthly meeting if you are interested in supporting the chapter by helping with this task.

- Susan Walcutt, Treasurer/ Outgoing Merchandise Chair

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The Association of Florida Native Nurseries (AFNN) "2010 Guide for Real Florida Gardeners".  Now it's interactive!  FNPS Administrator Cammie Donaldson creates two annual publications as Executive Director of the AFNN, the other being a wholesale directory of Florida Native Plants.  That's "Miss Cammie" on the cover, on a swing at their neighbor's, surrounded by more than 100 kinds of native plants. The new guide is quite cool - interactive and easy with flip-thru pages.  Use the Guide at

Big Cypress Swamp Welcome Center Official Opening, March 20, at noon.  Attend the ribbon cutting of the new $2.2 million facility.  US 41, 2.5 miles east of SR 29, Collier County.

Broward Native Plant Society.  Meets 7-9pm at the Agricultural Extension Service, 3245 College Ave., Davie.  954-370-3725 or www.npsbroward.orgMarch 10: "Ten Best and Interesting Native Orchids of South Florida" - Chuck McCartney, wildflower and orchid enthusiast.

Friends of the Gifford Arboretum, Univ. of Miami.  See www.bio.miami.edu/arboretum or 305-284-5364. 

The 22nd Annual John C. Gifford Arboretum Lecture
April 8, 2010, 7pm, Cox Science Building 126

"DNA Barcoding in Plants: The Future of Identification, Discovery and Conservation of Tropical Biodiversity"
-  Dr. John Kress, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution. 

The lecture is preceded by an arboretum tour at 6pm and followed by a reception.  Don't miss this informative and enjoyable, free annual event!  See more details online

Tropical Audubon Society. Doc Thomas House, 5530 Sunset Dr., Miami. 305-667-7337, www.tropicalaudubon.org.  These activities are open to the public and most are free.

To receive a free monthly e-mail TAS newsletter with up to the minute information on activities and conservation news: send your name to tropicalaudubon@gmail.com.  You don't need to be a member of TAS.

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

The Delicate Balance Of Nature 2010 Lecture Series

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.

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March 27, 2010 - John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park

(Editor's note: This is a different event from the Dade Chapter's Native Plant Day in Miami-Dade on the same date.)

Dagny Johnson Key Largo Hammock and John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Parks will be sponsoring their own annual Native Plant Day, an early Earth Day event on Saturday, March 27. The event will be held at Pennekamp, MM 102.5, Oceanside.

Nursery volunteers from Dagny Johnson Key Largo Hammock will have information booths where visitors can learn the importance of native plants, how to propagate and care for native plants, and how to plant butterfly gardens.  Native plants, raised by the nursery volunteers, will be given away for planting at Keys’ residences. By giving residents native plants, this event aims to increase awareness regarding the importance of growing natives in the delicate environment of Key Largo and the Florida Keys.

Several organizations concerned with environmental issues will also have booths at the event. Guest speakers will be addressing event participants at the park’s Visitor Center, and there will be nature walks through the hardwood hammock and activities for children. The park’s entrance fee will be waived for those attending the event. 

For more information or accessibility needs, call Park Services Specialist Elena Muratori at (305-451-1202).

Keys Branch Native Plant Society members are needed to work the Native Plant info booth to promote Native Plant Society.  Please contact Mary Baker (305-451-3448, mjfal2@aol.com).

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The March 20 workshop topic is Pteridophytes (ferns and their allies).  Contact Steve (786-488-3101, Stevewoodmansee@bellsouth.net) or see the new Website for more information.

A year ago the workshop moved to its new location at the Miami Dade College Kendall Campus’s Landscape and Technology Nursery Center.  Although it was sad to leave the Miami-Dade County Parks Department, the historical partner to the DNPW since the 1950s, our new venue is superb.  It is more centrally located, with good lighting and excellent teaching facilities.

 I have also created the online social network http://nativeplantworkshop.ning.com/  to facilitate notices of meetings, make resources available, and create forums for those wishing to expand their plant identification knowledge.  One need not join to view, as it is open to the public but joining is recommended so that you will receive email notifications.  In addition, after joining you can post your own photos of plants, and participants can help identify them for you!

 Already there are some photos, video, articles, and blogs detailing much of the history of the Native Plant Workshop.  I also encourage past participants to join and tell us stories from past workshops.  Of course details about meetings and directions are also included. 

 In the future, links to online resources and useful publications will be included as well as blog posts containing previously unpublished plant descriptions to aid enthusiasts in developing their plant identification skills.  So if you have questions about “that weird plant you saw”, or wish to hone or develop your plant identification skills, please check it out now. 

- Steve Woodmansee, Leader, Dade Native Plant Workshop

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by Gita Ramsay

Every year DCFNPS participates in the South Florida Regional Science and Engineering Fair, hoping to award one or two students with the Avery award for projects related to Florida Native Plants.  In 2010, we were fortunate to find two projects that focused on native plants: Jonathan Prendergast, and the group project by Victor Moas, Jesus Melendez, and Robert Wollberg.  We were impressed by how fluently and eloquently the students spoke about their projects, and hope you will attend their presentations at the monthly meetings in March and April.   

Our Science Fair Committee consisted of Lynka Woodbury, Ted Schaffer, Hillary Burgess, and Gita Ramsay.  We would also like to thank Gwen Burzycki, Steve Woodmansee, Jen Possley, and Amy Leonard for their help.

"Interpreting the nutrient limitations, salinity, and seasonal variations of Florida Bay in order to analyze shifts in species and biomass productivity" - Jonathan Prendergast (to be presented at the chapter meeting, March 23, 2010)

    One step in predicting future productivity and growth of the ecosystem in the Florida Everglades is comprehending the dispersion of nutrient contents in the water according to their position and variation in amounts of salinity. In order to observe these conditions, scientists collect and analyze samples of macro-algae as well as water samples. These marine samples contained a plentiful amount of the macro-algae, Halimeda incrassata and Penicillus lamorouxi, and can be utilized to determine fluctuations in nutrient content, species production, plus biomass.

    The utilization of macro-algae nutrients has not been a widely-used process, but can serve as a very significant predictor of the Florida Bay ecosystem’s productivity. The objective of this experiment is to collect and analyze macro-algae for nutrient content in order to determine future hydrological and ecological patterns. In more specific terms, this experiment tests the hypothesis that if samples from a marine bank are cleaned, incinerated, and analyzed for phosphorous and nitrogen, then a subsequent analysis of nutritional data will expose productivity and biomass patterns in Florida Bay.

    In this experiment, samples of macro-algae were collected, cleaned, incinerated, plus tested and analyzed for nitrogen and phosphorous content. Preliminary results revealed results that follow a trend in nutrient content according the region the samples were collected from in comparison to their variations in salinity, seasonal variations, and nutrient contents.

Jonathan is a senior at Felix Varela Senior High.  He has lived in Miami all his life.  He was given the opportunity to work as an understudy with a scientist in The Florida Coastal Everglades Program, part of the Long Term Ecological Research Network established by the National Science Foundation. He collaborated with Dr. Ligia Collado-Vides at FIU, where he learned to appreciate the value of the Florida Everglades and how large of an impact macro-algae has on it.  His college goals is to study criminology and become an on-scene investigative detective.

At the April 27th meeting we will hear about the other project, “Breaking the Dormancy of  Senna mexicana var. chapmanii seeds” by  Victor Moas, Jesus Melendez, and Robert Wollberg.  Details on this project and biographies will appear in the April Tillandsia.

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by Jennifer Possley, Field Biologist,
Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden

In 2003, biologists from Fairchild Garden and Miami-Dade County’s Natural Areas Management worked together to develop a removal program for the non-native incised halberd fern (Tectaria incisa) from Bill Sadowski Park.  We trained Fairchild staff, Miami-Dade staff, and dozens of volunteers (from both Fairchild and DCFNPS) to recognize the differences between the non-native incised halberd fern and the similar native, broad halberd fern (T. heracleifolia).  Since 2003, we have maintained this effort on a monthly basis during the cooler winter months, removing hundreds of bags of incised halberd fern and other weeds, most notably Queensland umbrella (Schefflera actinophylla) and wedelia (Wedelia triloba) from the preserve. 

If you were one of the volunteers helping with this project, you may have felt overwhelmed!  The park had thousands of incised halberd fern growing throughout the hammock, amongst jagged pinnacle rock and tangled vines.  But today, the results of our efforts are dramatic and positive.  Currently, only one or two work mornings per year are needed to maintain the incised halberd fern at low levels.  Complete eradication is not possible in the near future because it is impossible to distinguish gametophytes and very young sporophytes of the invasive halberd fern from native.  Yet now that the infestation is in a “management stage,” it requires little effort to control.       

In the densest part of the incised halberd fern infestation, our removal efforts left a significant bare spot.  We found that the native shield fern (Thelypteris kunthii) was quick to re-colonize this area.  In 2008 and 2009, we added 26 broad halberd ferns to improve the diversity of ferns in this area and to reduce the chances that incised halberd fern would quickly recolonize.  In late 2009, we found that 18 of these 26 “outplants” were thriving and appeared to have taken hold.

Where did we get these 26 broad halberd ferns?  After each of our removal events, we rescued the occasional native halberd fern that was accidentally removed along with the weeds. In nature, broad halberd fern grows on limestone.  In cultivation, we found that it grows well in potting soil -- though sometimes several weeks or even months would pass before the rhizome would send out a frond. 

In 2010, we intend to continue removing incised halberd fern, and to replant broad halberd fern whenever possible.  Next time you walk through the hammock trail at Bill Sadowski, stop on the curved part of the boardwalk just before you reach the canal.  Take a look around at the native diversity and remember -- for decades this was a sea of exotic fern.

Many volunteers from DCFNPS, Fairchild and Miami-Dade County contributed to this effort, often under the heading “Rare Plant SWAT Team.”  Thank you for all the hard work -- it’s paying off!

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Naples Waterfront - Changes in Time
by Todd T. Turrell.
Turrell Hall & Associates. 3584 Exchange Avenue, Suite B. Naples, FL 34104.

Reviewed by Marty Roessler

The coffee table book “Naples Waterfront” does not address plants per say, but it does describe the development and preservation of much of the coastal areas of Collier County. For those interested in the history of Florida cartography, this is a fantastic source of scarce maps starting with the de Bry 1591 map and ending with a unique overlay of the modern day road system of coastal Collier County on 1952 aerial photography and a 2007 aerial of Keewaydin Island and Rookery Bay.

The book briefly mentions the geology and ancient history of the area. A brief summary of commercial fishing, sport fishing, boat building and smuggling is provided. A synopsis of the development of the coastal area is given and documented by photographs and aerial photography. Major coastal preservation areas such as Keewaydin Island, Rookery Bay and Collier-Seminole State Park are described and most of the other large preservation areas in Collier County are briefly reviewed. The history of the Clam Bay Mangrove Preservation and Restoration is mentioned. The final chapter consists of 1952 black and white aerial photography of the coastal area of Collier County from the Lee County line south and west Caxambas Pass and Key Marco with a clear acetate overlay of the current road system.

If you are looking for a detailed history you will be disappointed. However for a brief overview of how Naples has developed and a graphic display of the changes, T. T. Turrell’s book is a good read.

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Everglades Skyway Project.  If you’re on Facebook, check out the new Everglades Skyway Coalition Fan Page. It’s full of great historical material, music and more.  The National Park Service recommends bridging 5 to 6 additional miles of Tamiami Trail (beyond the one mile now planned).  http://www.facebook.com/pages/manage/updates.php?id=285514169153&sent=1&e=0#!/pages/Everglades-Skyway-Coalition/285514169153

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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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Past Online Newsletters

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