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Newsletter - November/December 2010

Next Meeting in Dade County
Upcoming Field Trip
Green Is Good
Annual Holiday Potluck Picnic
Chapter News
Annual Bolla / Gann Native Plant/Nature Lovers Holiday Party
Other News of Interest
Native Plant Name Notes: American Beautyberry - Callicarpa americana
Wanted Alive!
Contacts for DCFNPS


Nov. 12-14 (Fri.-Sun.): DCFNPS at FTBG Ramble
Nov. 20 (Sat.): Field trip (Yamato Scrub, Palm Beach Co.)
Nov. 23 (Tue.): Monthly meeting at FTBG

Dec. 4: Chapter workday at Everglades National Park
Dec. 5: 6th Annual Holiday Potluck Picnic (Simpson Park)
Dec. 12: Field trip (Pine rocklands in the Kendall area)
(NO meeting in December)

Jan. 8: Bolla/Gann Native Plant Holiday party (Redland)
Jan. 25: Monthly meeting at Pinecrest Gardens

Mar. 12: Native Plant Day in North Miami

May 19-22: 31st Annual FNPS Conference, Maitland


Tuesday, November 23, 2010, 7:30 pm, at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, Corbin Building, 10901 Old Cutler Road.  Free and open to the public.  (4th Tuesday, not the last!)   Refreshments begin at 7:15 pm. Merchandise sales are before and after the program (cash/checks only).  The plant raffle follows the program.   With the time change effective November 7, it will be dark as you enter and leave the meeting.  Please mind your step in the parking area.  There are large rocks and loose stones and the lighting is not the best.

"Using Volunteers and the Native Seedbank to Restore Coastal Dune Habitat" - Samuel J. Wright, Field Biologist, Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden

    What if habitat could restore itself after an invasive plant removal through an intact viable native seed bank?  Native plants could germinate from the seed bank on their own in gaps created by the removal.  Periodic re-treatment of the unwanted plants would continue and only supplemental planting would be necessary.

    As an alternative to using herbicide and leaving dead plant material on site, members and volunteers of the South Florida Chapter of the Surfrider Foundation hand removed the non-native shrub Scaevola taccada (beach naupaka) from a dune section of North Shore Open Space Park on Miami Beach, reducing its cover from 46% to 0.5%.  Then we implemented a “seedbank-release” technique – a wait and see approach, and set up permanent plots and photo points to document vegetation response. Three months later we planted 401native plants in open areas of the dunes.  With the removal of the dominant invasive plants, we observed an increase in native plant diversity within only a few months.

    Sam Wright is plant biologist at FTBG. For the past nine years he has worked closely with Fairchild’s South Florida Species and Habitat Conservation Team in conserving dozens of locally threatened plant species.  Sam has conducted many successful reintroduction plantings in which plants are expected to survive on their own with minimal intervention and care.  He graduated from the University of Florida with a major in Wildlife Ecology and Conservation and a minor in Zoology. He also received an Associate of Arts Degree in Forestry at Miami-Dade College and is a member of FNPS.


Be sure to read this important message

from the Dade Chapter FNPS Board on page 2!


If the weather is very bad, please 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 Phares (305-255-6404).

Saturday, November 20, 2010: Yamato Scrub, Southern Palm Beach County.   9:30 am -12:30 pm. This 217 acre natural area is the largest remaining scrub tract in Southern Palm Beach County, lying on a sandy ridge along an ancient shoreline. The vegetation is mostly sand pines, saw palmettos, dwarf oaks and lichens, but there is also oak hammock, pine flatwoods and dry prairie. Endangered plant species include Curtiss’ milkweed, long strap fern, sand dune spurge, large-flowered rosemary, burrowing four-o’clock, cutthroat grass and several bromeliads.   Members of the Palm Beach FNPS Chapter will join us.  We will start the walk by looking at a created wetland near the parking lot.

Time, address and directions are in the print newsletter mailed to members.  Please join to enjoy all the activities of the chapter! 

  • Leader: Lee Lietzke, Environmental Analyst, Palm Beach County Environmental Resources Management
  • Difficulty: Easy/moderate - short distance, sandy paths.
  • Bring: Sun protection and water to carry. Bring lunch if you'd like to picnic afterward (we can go to a nearby park for tables).
  • Note: There is a portable restroom but no running water on site.
  • More info: See - visitors - natural areas

♦ Sunday, December 12, 2010: Ron Ehman Park and Pine Shore Preserve pinelands.  We last visited this pair of parks in July, 2005.  Ron Ehman is 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.  On this trip we are again joining forces with the Miami Blue Chapter of the North American Butterfly Association, whose members are conducting butterfly surveys as part of the Florida Natural Areas Inventory.  Bring some close-focus binoculars if you want to look for butterflies of the pinelands, including those listed as imperiled by FNAI -- Florida Duskywing (uses locust berry as a host plant), Atala (coontie), and, hope springs eternal, Bartram's Scrub-Hairstreak (pineland croton).

Time, address and directions are in the print newsletter mailed to members.  Please join to enjoy all the activities of the chapter! 

  • Difficulty: Easy but not on smooth paths. 
  • Bring: Drinks, sun protection. 

Plant lists: You can print plant lists for most South Florida conservation areas before field trips.  See The Institute for Regional Conservation’s website, - Floristic Databases Online. 


An important message from the Dade Chapter FNPS Board

Grass is green, trees are green, and money is green.  Going green makes business sense, particularly in tough economic times.  Coming soon our Chapter will be entering the first of a two-part phase toward going green.  Alternatives have been thoroughly researched and much consideration has been made with the diverse make-up of our membership in mind -- beginners, novices, and experts in the world of native plants.  These have been tough decisions to make because tradition is tough to change, and our Chapter has 28 years of tradition, but these are changes which financially must be done for the future well-being of the Chapter.  Every dollar we are able to save means more funds are available to further the Chapter's mission to promote the preservation, conservation, and restoration of native plants and their habitats.

Therefore, without further ado, the Board of Directors is pleased to announce major landmarks in our Chapter's history:

Phase1:  We are moving January 1, 2011!  Pinecrest Gardens has made us a generous offer of their facility for our general membership monthly meetings.  It is unfortunate but true that Fairchild’s aggressive price increases for facility use are now beyond our budget.  Pinecrest Gardens is excited to welcome us and is providing many amenities we don't now enjoy - the most meaningful being 300 paved and lit parking spaces.  More information will be provided via our website, newsletter and at our Chapter's final meeting on November 23 at Fairchild.

Phase 2: Beginning with the February 2011 issue, Tillandsia is going electronic.  Hard copies mailed to members will be available only on a very limited basis.  Like the move to Pinecrest Gardens, Tillandsia Web offers many benefits: more photos and graphics, color, links to websites, more pages if needed, efficient and speedy delivery to wherever you happen to be, and as our editor and Tillandsia hard copy volunteers have expressed "fewer paper cuts!"

We hope you will embrace these changes as we have, and join us in looking to a future of using our Chapter financial resources to the greatest benefit of native plants and native habitats.


Dade Chapter Florida Native Plant Society
Miami Blue Chapter, North American Butterfly Assoc.
TREEmendous Miami
Tropical Audubon Society


Sunday, Dec. 5, 2010, 12:30 – 3:30 pm
Rain or shine!

New location!

Simpson Park, 55 SW 17th Road, Miami, FL 33129
(west side of South Miami Avenue, 3/4 mile north of the
Rickenbacker Causeway entrance at US1)

Bring family, nature-loving friends and your favorite dish!
No alcoholic beverages or pets, please.

Please RSVP by December 2 with the number attending, your potluck contribution (main dish, side/salad, or dessert) and phone number.  Cash donations are also possible. Patty Phares, 305-255-6404,

Parking: On 17th Rd. next to the park.  Do not park on South Miami Ave. or block homes across from the park.. Overflow parking at Immanuel Lutheran Church, across South Miami Ave.

Activities: Enjoy lunch on the porch of the historic Garden Center. Visit with old and new friends under a canopy of native trees.  City of Miami Park Naturalist Juan Fernandez will lead a tour in this beautiful remnant of Brickell Hammock.

Special pre-picnic walk at Alice Wainwright Park (10:30 am).   This City of Miami park on Biscayne Bay, south of Rickenbacker Causeway, contains another remnant of Brickell Hammock which does not currently have open public access, but Juan is providing an exclusive hammock tour for us.  Park in Lot #23 at 2530 South Miami Ave. and not in the flower vendor stalls (arrangements have been made for to park there without decals).  Meet at 10:30 and leave at 10:45 to walk through the causeway underpass to Alice Wainwright Park, returning about noon.  Please RSVP for this walk so we know how many to expect and can notify you if parking arrangements change.  You may bring your potluck dish to Simpson beforehand if you wish (refrigerators available).


♦ Keys Branch News.  At the present time there are no activities scheduled for the Keys Branch of the Dade Chapter for the 2010-2011 season.  The band of loyal volunteers who have been planning meetings, fields trips and other activities for the group are in need of some time away from these duties.  Will you miss meeting with your fellow native plant enthusiasts?  Would you like to be instrumental in the re-formation of the Keys Branch?  If so, please contact Ted Shaffer, the Chapter President, at  A big thank you to those whose dedication and perseverance played a part in all that the Keys Branch accomplished over the years! 

♦ Have you checked out our chapter's new website?  There is lots to see and learn at http://dade.fnpschapters.orgTillandsia Web is there too.  It's environmentally cool and in color.  Thanks to the founding webmaster Greg Ballinger for the great beginning, and to new co-webmaster Haniel Pulido for the snappy new design!  While you're surfing the Internet, don't forget to use Good Search as your browser.  While you search or shop on-line, you can support FNPS via the GoodSearch toolbar.  Learn more at   

♦ The Ramble- Fairchild Tropical Bot. Garden, Nov. 12-14.  Volunteer: If you would like to be a last-minute volunteer (especially at the plant sale) please contact Gita Ramsay (786-877-7168, Display items needed: Please loan/donate small native plants (in pots), butterfly plants or caterpillars for the educational display.  Contact Amy Leonard (305-458-0969,

♦ Chapter workday at Everglades National Park, December 4, 9 am-noon. Help with our native plant habitat landscaping maintenance around the Coe Visitors Center.  Drinks, gloves, hand tools and bug spray are provided, but you may want to bring your own, and snacks to share.  Bring sun protection!  New helpers are welcome and encouraged to come.  Everyone in your car gets into ENP free after the workday.  For more information contact Patty Phares (305-255-6404,

♦ Native Plant Day, March 12, 2011 - Save the date but volunteer now!  DCFNPS will present its largest outreach event of the year at Elaine Gordon Enchanted Forest Park in North Miami.  There will be programs, walks, children’s activities, raffles, plant and book sales and food.  There are many ways to lend a hand before or on the day of the event.   Please contact Amy Leonard at or 305-458-0969.


The Annual Bolla / Gann
Native Plant/Nature Lovers Holiday Party
January 8, 2011 - 5 PM to 10 PM
Home of Don and Joyce Gann in the Redlands on SW 154th Ave

All DCFNPS members, families & friends are invited!

Soup, salad, iced tea and coffee will be provided.
Please bring a dish to share
(or if needed for special preferences or other restrictions).
Bring a flashlight - parking is on an unlit roadside.
RSVP to Mark Bolla ( or 216-721-4080)
or Joyce Gann (786-423-1881) for directions.


♦ John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park 50th Anniversary, December 1-11.  See for details.  A variety of land- and water-based activities will be held, leading up to these highlights on the final day:
    Dec. 11, 9am - 3pm: Educational Fair & Environmental Expo – fun for the entire family, and it's free!

• Featured Speaker: Dr. Sylvia Earle, renowned oceanographer, explorer and Time Magazine’s first “Hero for the Planet”
• Environmental exhibits
• Children’s activities
• 50-year oral history & stories by former Park Managers and Staff

    Dec. 11, evening: Key Largo Annual Boat Parade - "50 Years Under the Sea"

♦ Crenulate lead plant (Amorpha herbacea var. crenulata ) - is yours counted? 
Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden's Connect to Protect Network is still counting the endangered crenulate leadplants growing on private land.  If you purchased this plant and have it growing in your yard, or if you know of other sites where it exists, Joyce Maschinski would like to include these on a map showing the numbers and locations of the plants.  Please send your name, the number of plants growing, and the address where you’ve seen the plants to  Thank you!

♦ Dade Native Plant Workshop.  MDC Kendall campus Landscape Technology Center.  3rd Tuesdays at 7 p.m. Contact Steve,  786-488-3101; see  Bring at least three flowering/fruiting plants, even if they do not pertain to the topic.  
   Nov. 16: Plants with white or colored sap. 
   Dec. 21: Religiously significant plants.  Also, it's our annual holiday party! Bring a dish or beverage.

♦ Broward Native Plant Society.  Meets 7-9pm at the Agricultural Extension Service, 3245 College Ave., Davie.  954-370-3725 or Nov. 10: "Snow Birds" by Paddy Cunningham;  Dec. 10: TBA - Scott Bryan.

Tropical Audubon Society.  Doc Thomas House, 5530 Sunset Dr., Miami. 305-667-7337, for more details and activities.  Nonmembers are welcome at all activities. To receive a free monthly e-mail TAS newsletter with up to the minute information on activities and conservation news: send your name to
   Nov. 6-7: NATIVE PLANT and BOOK SALE at TAS
   Nov. 10: Meeting.  Doors open 7:30, program at 8pm. "Roseate Spoonbills in Florida Bay: Pink Canary in a Coal Mine" - Jerry Lorenz.
   Nov. 20: Workday to restore native habitat, 8:30 am-1 pm.

♦ Friends of the Gifford Arboretum, Univ. of Miami. 
   Dec. 4: Annual Picnic with a special lunch for sale, plant sales, arboretum tour, entertainment and gardening demonstration.  11am. 
   See or call 305-284-1302 for details.  Everyone is invited!

♦ Miami Blue Chapter, North American Butterfly Association.  See or contact Elane Nuehring, 305-666-5727 or for trips.
   Nov. 7:  Meeting, 1pm: Sandy Koi will share adventures and surprises while hunting for FNAI's target butterflies.  Come early to
   butterfly at Castellow Hammock , 22301 SW 162 Ave.

♦ Miami-Dade Parks Natural Areas workdays.  To volunteer, call 305-257-0933 ext. 227 or e-mail  See  There are many opportunities to help protect and restore our precious natural areas!  Community service hours are offered. 
    Dec. 11: East Greynolds/Oleta Tract C Preserve (trash removal), 16700 Biscayne Blvd., by the dog park.

♦ Gumbo limbo spiraling whitefly.  Read about this invasive insect pest at  It was first found in Miami-Dade in March 2009.  It affects landscape plants such as gumbo limbo, live oak, banana, black olive, mango, palms and shrubs such as copperleaf, coco plum and wax myrtle.  Look for the spiral pattern of eggs laid on the underside of the leaves and a white, waxy substance coating the eggs.  You can also find honeydew and sooty mold on objects under infested trees.  There may be damage and leaf drop, but don’t panic.  Read up on how to treat it, if you choose to do so, but try to be conservative and allow for natural enemies to kick in.  Washing with water, horticultural oils and insecticidal soap can be effective.

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Plant Sale Advertisment

Crotalaria pumila

By Steven W. Woodmansee

One of my early memories of hiking through the piney woods here in Miami is that of an astonishingly beautiful pink and gray moth flitting here and there amongst the saw palmettos.  I later would identify it as the rattlebox moth, also known as the Bella moth, which is a member of the Tiger moth family known for its colorful diurnal moths (many of which are wasp mimics, such as the oleander and faithful beauty moths).  It isn’t rare, but if you want it in your yard, you need its host plant.  So enamored with this delightful little lepidopteran, I decided to bring into cultivation one of its host plants, the dwarf rattlebox (Crotalaria pumila). 

DWARF RATTLEBOX photo rattlebox moth catepillar photorattlebox moth photo
Photos by Steve Woodmansee

This small wildflower in the legume family (Fabaceae) has a cluster of small showy yellow pea flowers streaked with red lines.  It has three leaflets and a sprawling habit, no more than 1.5’ tall, but as much as 3’ in diameter.  It does best in full sun and blooms year-round. 

When I planted it in my yard, it wasn’t long before the rattlebox moth caterpillars showed up, as well as the adults.  It is great for butterfly/moth and wildflower gardens as well as pine rockland and coastal upland areas.  So if you, too, would enjoy seeing flashes of pink in your yard, dwarf rattlebox is a must!

Steve Woodmansee is Vice President for Finance of FNPS, a past president of the Dade Chapter FNPS and owner of Pro Native Consulting.

American Beautyberry - Callicarpa americana

by Chuck McCartney

This time of year, a walk in the woods will often reveal a leggy shrub bearing dense, rounded clusters of little reddish-purple berries at the leaf nodes along the upper stems. There is little else in the landscape with such an alluring color as those berries. This is Callicarpa americana, and if ever there was an easy botanical name to understand, this is it. The name translates almost precisely as American beautyberry, a rare instance where the common name and the botanical name mean essentially the same thing. Callicarpa comes from two Greek words that also could be translated as “beautiful fruit,” with the Calli- part meaning “beautiful and -carpa meaning “fruit.” Of course in Greek, both words begin with a “k” because that alphabet doesn’t have our letter “c”. Nevertheless, how simple understanding botanical names would be in they were all so easy to translate.

The genus name was created in 1753 by the great Swedish botanist Carl Linnaeus, the father of our modern scientific binominal (two-name) system of naming living organisms. He based his genus on our native plant, so Callicarpa americana is the type species for the genus.

The genus now consists of about 147 species widely distributed in subtropical and tropical America, Asia and Oceania, with a few species extending into temperate portions of Asia and the southeastern United States, according to Donovan S. Correll and Helen B. Correll in Flora of the Bahama Archipelago. In the U.S., Callicarpa americana grows west to Texas and Oklahoma and north to Missouri and Maryland, with the species also occurring in the Bahamas, Bermuda, Cuba and the Mexican state of Coahuila.

Although long grouped in the Verbenaceae (the verbena family), the genus Callicarpa now has been moved to the mint family, Lamiaceae, where is seems a bit of an oddball.

Callicarpa americana photo
Photo by George Gann. Natives For Your Neighborhood.
The Institute for Regional Conservation, Miami.

Even though it is renowned for its beautiful purple fruits, there is a white-fruited form that is rare in nature but now, because of its novelty, is being propagated by some native plant nurseries. This form has been planted at a number of locations in Broward County’s Secret Woods Nature Center on the south bank of the New River along State Road 84 in the city of Dania Beach.

Although more famous for its fruits, American Beautyberry’s clusters of little pink flowers are pretty in their own subtle way as they bloom among the leaves at the stem nodes.

In addition to American Beautyberry, Callicarpa americana has at least one other common name that is heard occasionally: French Mulberry. Although not related to true mulberries in the genus Morus, perhaps the purple fruit clusters were vaguely reminiscent of mulberries. The “French” part of the name seems to come from the fact that this species was grown in French gardens in the early days of plants being sent back to Europe from North America. The fruits of American Beautyberry are edible , but they are rather bland, being survival food at best. Julia Morton, in her book Wild Plants for Survival in South Florida, puts it this way: “Fruit edible raw but insipid and belatedly astringent, causing extreme dryness of mouth a few minutes after eating a small quantity. Best picked and eaten singly; the rank odor of the plant makes nibbling of bunches on the stem unpleasant.” Thus, the reputation of true mulberries as a sweet treat is safe.

Chuck McCartney is a member of FNPS and a wildflower and orchid enthusiast.


By Elane Nuehring

Schaus’ Swallowtail Bahamian Swallowtail,
Florida White Statira Sulphur
Mimosa Yellow Dina Yellow
Atala Amethyst Hairstreak
Silver-banded Hairstreak Bartram’s Scrub-Hairstreak
Miami Blue  Acacia Blue
Cuban Crescent Tropical Buckeye
Dingy Purplewing Florida Purplewing
Florida Leafwing Zarucco Duskywing in the Keys
Florida Duskywing Rockland Grass Skipper
Berry’s Skipper Palatka Skipper in the Keys
Gray Ministreak Martial Scrub-Hairstreak
Hayhurst’s Scallopwing Malachite
Lyside Sulphur Neamathla Skipper
Baracoa Skipper …  & others!


The Florida Natural Areas Inventory (FNAI) is a visionary idea as well as an environmental organization.  The mission of FNAI is to “collect, interpret, and disseminate ecological information critical to the conservation of Florida's biological diversity. FNAI's database and expertise facilitate environmentally sound planning and natural resource management to protect the plants, animals, and communities that represent Florida's natural heritage.”

One special component of FNAI’s work centers on Florida’s imperiled butterflies, a very large proportion of which occur in South Florida, in our ever-shrinking pinelands, hammocks and wetlands.  Even in apparently intact habitat, butterflies can come to be imperiled through loss or disruption of habitat quality due to toxins and/or out-of-balance predators, parasitoids, and herbivory that preclude butterflies from reproducing and feeding successfully.  The “wanted” list above doesn’t include all the South Florida species of concern – only those of particular concern.

New FNAI funding for 2010 – 2013 will enable assessment of dozens of parcels of conservation land in Palm Beach, Broward, Miami-Dade and Monroe Counties in an effort to locate populations of rare or seriously declining species of butterfly. Miami Blue Chapter-NABA is organizing volunteer chapter members to survey no less than 180 designated sites thought by FNAI to potentially harbor species of concern.  Many of the target sites are well known to us and they include national parks and preserves, state parks, SFWMD lands, county owned and managed sites, and some areas owned and managed by private groups such The Nature Conservancy, Audubon and the Institute for Regional Conservation. Other tracts are generally restricted, such as large numbers of Miami-Dade Parks natural areas and Environmentally Endangered Lands sites and military properties. A number of the sites consistently evoke the comment, “What and where is that one?  I’ve never heard of it!!”  FNAI surveys involve some exploration of new territory!

However, not all of the FNAI work requires trekking about in the woods and prairies.  Observations in your own native garden or in your favorite park can produce imperiled species, such as the Dina Yellow. You just need to know what you’re looking for and how to report it.

Butterflies and plants are inseparable, and not surprisingly, many of our rarer species specialize in one or a very few specific caterpillar host plants.  Only if the necessary caterpillar host plant is in good supply, will a butterfly species have a chance of persisting -- regardless of other habitat issues. A logical strategy, then, in butterfly-hunting is to plant-hunt first; find the caterpillar food plants and the productive nectar plants, and you stand a good chance of finding the butterfly if it occurs in the area.

Some of our imperiled butterflies require easy-to-identify native plants such as limber caper, bitterbush, Mexican alvaradoa, wild tamarind – but other are connoisseurs of numerous hard-to-identify small herbaceous plants, sedges, and grasses. Here is where DCFNPS members who enjoy a tromp in the woods can really come to the rescue.  Miami Blue Chapter NABA field volunteers will welcome assistance on surveys with plant-finding and plant identification.  We will know what plants we need to find – but the experience and knowledge of our FNPS colleagues would be invaluable!

Whether you want to help with natural areas or contribute sightings from your own backyard, to join the FNAI butterfly effort, or to find out what’s involved, please e-mail

Elane Nuehring is President of the Miami Blue Chapter, North American Butterfly Association, and a Dade Chapter FNPS member.

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Chapter Contacts

Dade Chapter Board members:
President: Ted Shaffer,
Vice-President: Amy Leonard
Treasurer / Secretary: Susan Walcutt
At Large: Amida Frey, Patty Harris, Gita Ramsay, Vivian Waddell, Lynka Woodbury, Buck Reilly, Lauren McFarland
FNPS board: Lynka Woodbury
Past-President: Robert Harris
Mailing address:

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

General information: 786-340-7914,

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

Memberships: Patty Harris, 305-262-3763

DCFNPS Web page:

DCFNPS Facebook:

Webmasters: Greg Ballinger and Haniel Pulido Jr.,

Tillandsia editors: Patty Phares, 305-255-6404,

State Organization

FNPS Chapter representative: Lynka Woodbury,

FNPS Web Page:

FNPS Blog:

FNPS Facebook:

FNPS Twitter:

FNPS Eco Action Alert List:Send email request to

FNPS (state) office: 321-271-6702,