IRC’s Chief Executive Officer, Craig van der Heiden, Gives Keynote Address at the 2016 Florida Rare Plant Task Force Meeting.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Each year, the Rare Plant Task Force of Florida provides an opportunity for Florida’s professional plant conservation community to share research and to prioritize and coordinate ongoing plant conservation efforts around the state. This year’s meeting was held at Bok Tower Gardens in Lake Wales, Florida and IRC’s Chief Executive Officer, Craig van der Heiden, was asked to provide the keynote address for the meeting which focused on challenges facing rare plants.

IRC Completes Invasive Plant Management Projects in Hobe Sound and Marathon.

Monday, March 28, 2016

IRC’s Florida Keys Restoration Team recently completed a series of invasive plant management projects in Marathon Conservation Lands including the Marathon Community Park and Coco Plum Beach. They will now begin similar work at the National Key Deer Refuge and at John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park. To see before and after pictures of portions of their completed work, click here.

IRC’s Florida Mainland Restoration Team is currently wrapping up an invasive plant management project in Hobe Sound, Florida located in Martin County. They will now begin working at the Oslo Riverfront Conservation Area in Vero Beach, Florida.

Photos © Adriana Olavarria.

Volunteers Needed For Second Restoration Day at Atlantic Dunes Park on Saturday, April 30, 2016.

Friday, March 4, 2016

The Institute for Regional Conservation will be holding a second restoration volunteer day at Atlantic Dunes Park (1605 S. Ocean Blvd. Delray Beach, FL 33483) on Saturday, April 30th from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. This volunteer day will be part of the Great American Clean Up and will focus on further restoring biodiversity within this beautiful public park by removing invasive plant species like snake plant (Sansevieria hyacinthoides) and planting native species that are currently missing but historically found within the park. The supplies for this Great American Clean Up event are made possible by a mini-grant awarded by Keep Palm Beach County Beautiful, Inc (KPBCB).

A lot of great work was accomplished at our volunteer day on January 30th but there is still plenty more to be done in restoring biodiversity at the park. At this event, volunteers will assist IRC in removing and bagging invasive plant species, planting native plants in the hammock and dune areas, and removing trash throughout the park. Families, school groups, local organizations and local residents of all ages are welcome to attend! Because this is a Great American Clean Up event, participants will be given a commemorative t-shirt for volunteering their time. Questions and RSVP’s can be sent to Cara Abbott 305-304-6610 or abbott@regionalconservation.org.

Photo © Cara Abbott

IRC Collaborates with University of Montana and Tufts University to Survey For Endangered Species in Homestead, FL.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

IRC has been subcontracted through the Center for Integrated Research on the Environment (CIRE) to work with scientists from the University of Montana and Tufts University to survey for endangered species in Homestead, Florida. The four species that are the focus of this work are the Strymon acis bartrami (Bartam’s Hairstreak), Anaea troglodyta (Florida Leafwing), Linum carteri (Carter’s Small Flax) and Brickellia mosieri (Florida brickell-bush). These species are all considered federally endangered and occur within pine rockland habitat. Surveys will be completed throughout the 2016 year.

To kick off the beginning of this project, IRC held a meeting at Fairchild Tropical Botanical Garden where local experts and the visitors from the University of Montana and Tufts University were able to share ideas and present on their areas of expertise. We look forward to a great year of working together!

Participants at the kick-off meeting including IRC, University of Montana, Tufts University and local butterfly experts from Zoo Miami, Fairchild Tropical Botanical Garden, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Homestead Air Reserve Base.

Photos © Cara Abbott

Thank You to Everyone Who Participated in IRC’s Restoration Volunteer Day at Atlantic Dunes Park on Saturday, January 30, 2016!

Monday, February 8, 2016

Nearly 40 people showed up bright and early on January 30th at Atlantic Dunes Park in Delray Beach to help IRC restore and increase the biodiversity of the park. Several invasive plant species were targeted including Sansevieria hyacinthoides (snake plant) and Schinus terebinthibolius (Brazilian-pepper). Additionally, 18 native plant species that were currently missing but historically found within the park were planted in the hammock and dune areas of the park. These plants, including Amyris elemifera (Common torchwood) and Tournefortia gnaphalodes (Sea lavender), were selected after IRC completed floristic surveys along the public beaches of Delray Beach in fall 2015. A complete list of all native and non-native plants found within Atlantic Dunes Park can be accessed here. A similar page for the Delray Beach Municipal Beach can be found here.

IRC would like to not only thank each volunteer who helped out on Saturday, but also give a special thank you to Robert Barron for providing his expertise on beach restoration and for donating plants. We would also like to thank IRC board member John Campanola for providing us with the funds for this project through an Individual Grant from the New York Life Foundation Volunteers for Good that recognizes his volunteer service with IRC.

Check out the entire album of pictures from the event on our Facebook page here!

Photos © Cara Abbott, John Campanola and George Gann.

IRC to Present at 2016 Invasive Species Awareness Festival in Miami on Saturday, January 16th.

Monday, January 11, 2016

IRC’s Education and Outreach Coordinator, Cara Abbott, will be a speaker for "Learn from the Experts" at the 2016 Invasive Species Awareness Festival. This festival is part of the FWC 2016 Python Challenge and will be held at FIU’s Modesto Maidique campus in Miami on January 16th from 10am until 4pm. The festival is free to the public and includes presentations, exhibitors, vendors, interpretive walks and live capture demonstrations. Abbott will be presenting on Invasive Plant Species of South Florida at 3:30 in classroom 119. See the flyer below for more information or click here to visit the event page!

IRC Will Hold Volunteer Day on January 30th at Atlantic Dunes Park in Delray Beach.

The Institute for Regional Conservation will hold a volunteer day at Atlantic Dunes Park in Delray Beach on Saturday, January 30th from 9 am to 12 pm. Volunteers will assist in removing invasive plant species throughout the park and establish populations of native plants that are currently missing from the park. IRC will provide the tools and plants thanks in part to an Individual Grant from the New York Life Foundation Volunteers for Good. All volunteers need to do is show up with sunscreen, long sleeves/pants, a hat and a helping hand; gloves are also recommended. Additionally, volunteers are welcome to bring a lunch and join IRC afterwards for a picnic.

So come join IRC's Chief Conservation Strategist George Gann, IRC's Education and Outreach Coordinator Cara Abbott, John Campanola, Agent with New York Life and IRC board member, members of the Delray Beach Chamber of Commerce and volunteers from throughout the community who will all be working together at this event!

If you have any questions, feel free to contact Cara Abbott at 305-304-6610 or abbott@regionalconservation.org.

*Atlantic Dunes Park is located at 1605 South Ocean Blvd. (One block north of Linton Blvd. on A1A) Delray Beach, Florida with meter parking available just west of A1A.

New Article on the Florida Hairstreak, Eumaeus atala, Published by IRC Research Associate Sandy Koi.

Thursday, December 31, 2015

IRC’s newest research associate recently published an article focused on the life history and conservation of the Florida Hairstreak, Eumaeus atala. This coontie-loving butterfly was once thought to be extinct in South Florida before making a remarkable come back over the last 30 years. However, the Florida Hairstreak is still considered imperiled due to many factors including fragmented habitats and isolated populations. To read more about Koi’s research and the recovery of this beautiful and unique butterfly, click here or visit our publications page.

Photo © Beryn Harty.

New Plantas de la Isla de Puerto Rico/Plants of the Island of Puerto Rico Website Officially Released.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

IRC is proud to announce the official launch of the new Plantas de la Isla de Puerto Rico/Plants of the Island of Puerto Rico Website. This bilingual website authored by IRC’s Chief Conservation Strategist, George Gann, Senior Botanist, Carlos Trejos, and Research Associate, Christina Stocking, is the first of its kind in creating a plant list specific to the island of Puerto Rico. The website was created with two main functions in mind: 1) to help people learn about the unique plants of the island of Puerto Rico and 2) to contribute to the conservation of these plants. To help people learn about the plants, this website includes a user-friendly format with language that botanists and amateurs alike can understand, a universal quick search feature, a powerful advanced search tool and a comprehensive floristic list of the over 3,500 native and introduced plant species including endemic species.

The website also provides a comprehensive assessment of the conservation status of the entire native flora of the island and floristic lists broken down by conservation areas throughout the island. To further contribute to the conservation of the native plants of Puerto Rico, three directories, a Green Guide, a Green Agro-Guide, and Info-Botany, are provided. The many components of the Plants of the Island of Puerto Rico Website make it a one of a kind resource for both enthusiasts and researchers to contribute to the conservation of plants found within the island of Puerto Rico.

The formal launching event was hosted by the Fundación Luis Muñoz Marín at the botanical garden Parque Doña Iñez on December 15th in San Juan, Puerto Rico. This was a very fitting venue given that the Park has the largest ex-situ collection of Puerto Rican native plants on the island. During the event, Gann spoke about the functionality and importance of the website while Trejos discussed how Plants of the Island of Puerto Rico assists users in exploring and understanding the world of plants in Puerto Rico. IRC’s Chief Executive Officer, Craig van der Heiden, and his wife Sheryl were among the 40 esteemed guests present at the launch. The other attendees were community members from across the island including academic botanists, representatives of the Puerto Rican Department of Natural and Environmental Resources, philosophers and educators, professional arborists, sustainable farmers, and university students.

To access the Plantas de la Isla de Puerto Rico/Plants of the Island of Puerto Rico Website, simply click on the icon found in the left hand bar of this website underneath the Natives For Your Neighborhood icon.

From left to right: George Gann, Carlos Trejo and Vicente Quevedo (Puerto Rico Department of Natural and Environmental Resources) at the launch of Plants of the Island of Puerto Rico.

From left to right: George Gann, Christian Torres (Director, Doña Inés botanical garden), Marcos Caraballo (Pennsylvania State University), Carlos Trejo.

Photos © Thrity Vakil.

IRC to Launch New Website in San Juan, Puerto Rico on December 15, 2015.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

On December 15th, the Institute for Regional Conservation will be launching a new bilingual website 15 years in the making that features both the native and introduced plants of the island of Puerto Rico. This innovative website titled “Plantas de Borikén” provides detailed information on 3,500 plant species found on the island with a focus on the hundreds of rare and endemic species. Plantas de Borikén contains the most recent taxonomic research and has valuable data pertaining to the conservation status of Puerto Rico’s native plants and ecosystems. The website contains other pertinent material like a Green Guide to plant and conservation based activities on the island, a section on unique botanical literature, and a list of local sustainable agricultural producers.

The website will be officially launched in San Juan, Puerto Rico on Tuesday, December 15th at 2:00 at the Luis Muñoz Marín Foundation. IRC’s Chief Conservation Strategist, George Gann, will present on how the website functions, the importance of regional plant conservation efforts like those already ongoing in Puerto Rico, and how individuals can tribute to plant conservation efforts. IRC’s Senior Botanist, Carlos Trejo, will speak on how Plantas de Borikén will allow the general public to explore, discover, and understand the world of Puerto Rican plants through the website and its many resources like the Green Guide and through connected social media.

Once the website is officially released, a link to Plantas de Borikén will be provided on the left hand toolbar of IRC’s website underneath links to Natives for Your Neighborhood, the Floristic Inventory of South Florida, and Plantas del Mayab.

IRC Will Hold Free Workshop on Invasive Exotic Plant Identification & Removal in Key West on December 5, 2015.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

In an effort to get local homeowners involved in long-term conservation in the Florida Keys, IRC will be holding a workshop focused on the identification and removal of invasive exotic plant species found within the Florida Keys. The event is open to the public and is completely free to attend. Participants will even receive free herbicide to take home and use on exotic species found within their own backyards. IRC staff will also be providing hands on demonstrations with exotic identification and removal techniques, informational hand outs regarding plant identification and herbicide application steps.

The workshop will be held at the Key West Tropical Forest & Botanical Garden ( 5210 College Rd, Key West, FL 33040) on Saturday, December 5th from 8 am to 12 pm. Feel free to come for any length of time during the workshop. IRC staff will be providing hands on demonstrations with exotic identification and removal techniques, informational hand outs regarding plant identification and herbicide application steps. If you have any questions please contact Adriana Olavarria (aolavarria@regionalconservation.org; 305-504-1690) or Cara Abbott (abbott@regionalconservation.org; 305-304-6610). We hope to see you there!

Newest Edition of IRC Newsletter Available.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Each month, IRC sends out an informative newsletter highlighting the work we’re doing, conservation news throughout Florida and upcoming events you don’t want to miss. If you are interested in receiving these newsletters, join our mailing list here! You can also access the entire October Newsletter here.

IRC Records Remarkable Butterfly Migration During Delray Dunes Survey.

Monday, November 2, 2015

While surveying the variety of wildlife living within Delray’s public beach dunes in accordance with a project initiated by the City of Delray Beach on Friday October 30th, IRC staff members Cara Abbott and Sandy Koi happened upon a butterfly migration fly way directly over the dune vegetation. Both Gulf Fritillary (Agraulis vanilla) and Monarch (Danaus plexippus) were observed in this migration. In a 15 minute period, 13 Gulf Fritillary and 20 Monarch were sighted in the fly way near lifeguard station “South 5.”

Gulf Fritillary butterflies in particular belong to a group of straight line migrants that undertake defined seasonal movement on an annual basis. Monarch butterflies are the only butterflies to make such a long, two-way migration, flying up to 3000 miles in the fall to reach their winter destination before flying back north again in the spring. During this incredible migration, these butterflies rely on food sources provided by dune vegetation. This is one of many reasons that proper dune conservation is so vital to biodiversity. The data from this amazing migration will be presented along with the rest of the survey data to the City of Delray Beach who is funding this project.

Left: Gulf Fritillary. Right: Monarch.

Photos by Archie Edwards and Erin Backus, respectively, from NFYN.

IRC Will Host Volunteer Day in West Summerland Key on October 24, 2015.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

In an effort to establish long-term conservation in the Florida Keys, IRC will be hosting a volunteer day at the Boy Scout Camp located on West Summerland Key on Saturday, October 24 at 8:00 am. The goal of this event is to work on private land restoration to complement public land conservation throughout the Keys. By making both public land and private land a priority in conservation, biodiversity is greatly benefited. Volunteers will learn simple restoration techniques that can then be used in their own backyards. If you have any questions, contact Adriana Olavarria at 305-504-1690 or aolavarria@regionalconservation.org. We hope to see you there!

IRC Contributes to “Endangered” Listing of the Florida bristle fern.

Friday, October 10, 2015

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is listing the Florida bristle fern (Trichomanes punctatum subsp. floridanum) as "endangered" under the Endangered Species Act. The fern has been a candidate for federal listing as endangered since November 2009. The official announcement was published in the Federal Register on October 6, 2015 and can be accessed on the species profile page here.

IRC’s Craig van der Heiden and George Gann have played a critical role in providing the ranking materials including the historic distribution and specific habitat requirements that contributed to this listing. In the Final Ruling released by FWS, IRC’s work is acknowledged and Craig van der Heiden’s reports are repeatedly referenced and cited throughout. IRC has spent more than a decade looking for this endemic fern in Everglades National Park and more recently in the Withalochoochee State Forest. For additional pictures and information on the Florida bristle fern, check out the plant page in our FISF website here.

Photo © James Johnson.

IRC’s Chief Executive Officer, Craig van der Heiden, gives presentation at the Restoring Soil/Soul in Vanishing Pine Rockland Workshop hosted by Miami Dade College’s Environmental Center.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

On Friday, September 11th, Craig presented along side Professor Carlos Gonzales on the history and current status of Florida’s pine rocklands to a full room of Miami Dade College faculty. Craig also used this time to highlight the long standing role IRC has played in the conservation of this imperiled habitat. The workshop included both a lecture and a hands on tour of the pine rocklands located directly on the college campus. This workshop was one of a series of upcoming workshops that will be hosted by the Environmental Center.

Photos © Jeanette Albert MDC Photographer.

IRC Wraps Up Project at Key West Tropical Forest and Botanical Garden.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

IRC’s Ecological Restoration Management program completed a project at the Key West Tropical Forest and Botanical Garden. IRC staff members worked to remove Brazilian pepper, umbrella tree, snake plant, Brazilian jasmine, coral vine, and other invasive plants from this native sanctuary. To see before and after pictures of the snake plant and brazilian jasmine removal, click here.

Photos © Adriana Olavarria.

Thank you to everyone who came out to IRC’s Volunteer Days in Cutler Bay!

Monday, August 10, 2015

Over 30 volunteers and members of the Tropical Audubon Society attended the events and helped IRC plant native plants throughout the site, install two screech owl nest boxes and one woodpecker/bluebird nest box, remove exotic seedlings, and set up educational signs along the trail.

Photos © Cara Abbott.

Tampa-based radio station, WMNF, interviews Michael J. Barry about the impacts of rising sea levels on Florida’s southwest coast.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

To read the story, click here. Watch the video below.

IRC’s Chief Conservation Strategist, George Gann, was featured speaker at monthly Green Implementation Advancement Board meeting in Delray Beach.

Monday, July 27, 2015

On Thursday, July 23rd, George was asked to speak before the Green Implementation Advancement Board (GIAB) at their monthly meeting to discuss specific ways that the city could increase its role in biodiversity conservation including the use of native plants in landscaping and gardening. The “Green Board” offers recommendations to the City Commission on issues of environmental sustainability in addition to providing strategies and projects designed to achieve the city-wide sustainability goals. After reviewing the critical work IRC conducts to conserve the native flora and fauna of South Florida, George proposed collaboration between IRC and the city. This collaboration would, in part, work towards capitalizing on Delray Beach’s beautiful restored beach dunes by not only cataloguing the current dune species, but also reintroducing regionally rare species still missing from the system.

Photo © Tina Pugliese.

Come Volunteer and Help Restore Miami's Beautiful Coastal Wetlands on Saturday, July 25th and Saturday, August 8th!

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Michael Barry, a Senior Biologist with IRC since 2007, profiled in the Naples Herald.

Monday, July 20, 2015

While at the Institute for Regional Conservation, Barry has led conservation projects in Southwest Florida. Read more about his work through IRC and the current issue of sea level rise along Florida’s Gulf Coast by clicking on the picture below!

Photo © Jack Lowenstein.

Major taxonomic changes coming: the genus Chamaesyce to be merged with Euphorbia and more.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Many of you who use the Floristic Inventory of South Florida (FISF) have probably noticed a raft of taxonomic changes that we have made over the last few months, from the movement of plants from one genus to another to the realignment of genera in plant families. More major changes are coming, including the merger of Chamaesyce into the genus Euphorbia, a change already adopted by most authorities, but not yet accepted by the Florida Atlas and USDA PLANTS. Another is the movement of the tree lancewood (Ocotea coriacea), from Ocotea back to the genus Nectandra, where many of us remember it from the Long & Lakela days. For those of you with links to the FISF or Natives For Your Neighborhood, please check from time to time as some links (like lancewood) may have changed. If you have questions about these changes or see any errors, please let us know! George Gann – Chief Conservation Strategist, IRC.

The federal candidate Chamaesyce deltoidea subsp. pinetorum to be changed to Euphorbia deltoidea subsp. pinetorum. Photo © George Gann.

The Institute for Regional Conservation contributed to the Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve project “Restoring the Rookery Bay Estuary” which aims to connect people and science for long term community benefit.

Thursday, June 8, 2015

Senior Biologist, Mike Barry, was part of the final meeting where he presented “Habitat Mapping and Trend Analysis: Rookery Bay Watershed Discharge Locations”. The IRC mapping documented changes in vegetation from 1940 to 2010. The largest shifts were open marsh to mangroves. The causes of the shifts can be attributed to sea level rise and fresh water hydrological changes.

IRC participated in the Greater Everglades Ecosystem Restoration (GEER) conference held in Coral Springs Florida.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

  GEER is a great place to network and show the research community the great work we at IRC are doing. The presentation by IRC Research Associate, Maureen Bonness, on our work in the Picayune was well received and generated a lot of discussion. The talk highlighted the magnitude of exotic plant species associated with the restoration and the work IRC plays in the restoration process. Great job!  We also had two posters; one highlighting IRC's role in floristic data availability and use and the other highlighting the plight of the pine rocklands.

The Miami Herald interviews George D. Gann about the rare plants report.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

To read the story, click here. Watch the video below.

Thank you to everyone who turned out for the event at Fairchild!

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Monday night's event at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden to introduce the new report "Vascular Plant Species of Management Concern in Everglades National Park" was a huge success with over 150 people attending, standing room only! George Gann, chief conservation strategist, gave a presentation about the history of plant conservation in the park and major findings of the report. After, Dr. Joyce Maschinski of Fairchild and Jimi Sadle of Everglades National Park joined George for a panel discussion moderated by Dr. Craig van der Heiden. Thank you to everyone who turned out and made the event a success.

For a copy of the report, visit our publications page or get the PDF here.

For some media coverage of the report, click here.

BioTech Students use President's Day for Service Learning at the Coastal Palmetto Bay and Cutler Bay Habitat Restoration.

Monday, February 23, 2015

January 16th wasn't a day off for all South Florida high schoolers. The Key Club from BioTech High and their teacher Mr. David Ardelean took the opportunity to come out to the Coastal Palmetto Bay and Cutler Bay Habitat Restoration project to learn about the habitats being restored, the management challenges being conquered, and the management techniques used to do so! In addition to getting to spend the day learning from Sarah Martin and Rasheed Bradley, the students:

  • treated invasive species (hand-pulling Brazilian-pepper (Schinus terebinthifolius), lead tree (Leucaena leucocephala), and napier grass (Pennisetum purpureum) seedlings and bagging seeds)
  • Planted native seedlings of muhly grass (Muhlenbergia capillaris), royal flatsedge (Cyperus elegans), and swamp flatsedge (Cyperus ligularis) in experimental plots (planted in places where large Brazilian-pepper were cut-down and shredded and nothing is currently growing)
  • And collected mature seeds of select native plants from the site and dispersing them in an area recently cleared of napier grass seedlings

To learn more about the project or to volunteer visit our website and contact Sarah Martin at martin@regionalconservation.org

For more pictures of the day check out our Facebook page!

This Weekend - Tropical Audubon Society Native Plant Sale.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Join TAS for their Tri-Annual Native Plant Sale and choose from a vast array of indigenous South Florida plants to enhance your yard and create a more attractive habitat for our feathered friends. 

Knowledgeable native plant experts will help you choose the ideal specimens for your yard. Come early for the best selection; stay late to enjoy the companionship.

Plant sale hours: 

*Special Members-only pre-sale: 
Fri., February 20, 4-7 p.m. 
Sat., February 21 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. 
Sun., February 22 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. 

More information at http://tropicalaudubon.org/tashome.html

Priceless Pieces: Jennifer Possley of Fairchild discusses the value of disturbed Pine Rockland fragments in the latest issue of “The Tropical Garden.”

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Pine rocklands are few and far between in Miami Dade County with less than 2% of the original extent still remaining. In addition, of the Pine Rocklands that do remain many are not what would be considered pristine with a history of being “scraped” or of fire suppression. These altered systems, however, are far from devoid of environmental and biodiversity value, as is pointed out by Jennifer Possley in the upcoming edition of “The Tropical Garden,” the magazine of Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden. (past issues here) Disturbed and fire suppressed fragments still contain a great deal of the diversity in the herbaceous layer that is characteristic of Pine Rocklands as well as provides ample opportunities for wildlife habitat and nectar and host plants for butterflies and pollinators. Unfortunately, the lack of management on these fragments can be seen as some as an excuse to consider them a lost cause and to promote alternative uses for the land. Far from lost, there are many organizations including IRC, who work diligently to restore Pine Rocklands. Check out IRC’s Pine Rockland Initiative and Fairchild’s Connect to Protect network to learn more about what is being done and how you can help.


You can read Jennifer Possley’s article here.

EVENT! March 2! Rare plants of Everglades National Park: their history, conservation, and restoration.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Critical Habitat is proposed for two South Florida cacti.

Wednesday. February 5, 2015

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife is proposing the listing of critical habitat for the Florida semaphore cactus (Consolea corallicola) and the Aboriginal prickly-apple (Harrisia aboriginum). Both species were listed as endangered in 2013. According to the USFWS,  4,411 acres are proposed for the Florida semaphore cactus in Miami-Dade and Monroe Counties, and 3,444 acres are proposed for the aboriginal prickly-apple in Manatee, Charlotte, Sarasota, and Lee Counties. The Florida semaphore cactus is known in seven populations, two naturally occurring and five reintroduced, representing fewer than 1,500 individuals and all on existing conservation lands. The population for the aboriginal prickly-apple is known in 12 populations spread across conservation areas, public land not managed for conservation, and several unprotected private parcels. The population is thought to be between 300 and 500 individuals.

Critical habitat designations identify habitats and geographic areas essential for the conservation of the endangered species. Species cannot be protected in isolation but must be protected within the context of their habitat requirements. The Institute for Regional Conservation often consults with the USFWS in determining species listings and critical habitat designations. One way in which IRC contributed in this case was in the discovery of a population of the Florida semaphore cactus in Biscayne National Park in 2001.
 
Learn more about the listing here and make sure to submit your comments. The Service will accept comments concerning the proposed critical habitat designations for these two cacti and/or the draft economic analysis that are received or postmarked on or before March 23, 2015.  To submit comments electronically, please go to the Federal eRulemaking Portal.  In the Search box, enter FWS–R4–ES-2014–0057, which is the docket number for this rulemaking. Then, in the Search panel on the left side of the screen, under the Document Type heading, click on the Proposed Rules link to locate this document. You may submit a comment by clicking on “Comment Now!” 

Photos by George D Gann and Keith Bradley from the FISF

Join IRC on February 7th at Green Cay Nature Center & Wetlands!

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

George Gann, IRC's Chief Conservation Strategist and Board President, profiled in the Delray and Boynton Forums of the Sun Sentinel.

Monday, January 26, 2015

George Gann has dedicated the last 30 years of his life to IRC and his vision of regional conservation. Read more of the details in the Delray or Boynton forums of the Sun Sentinel. Click the image below to read the story online!

Release: Community Concern About Continuing Loss of Pine Rocklands in the Richmond Tract Formerly Home to More Than 350 Native Plant Species

Monday January 12, 2015

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 12, 2015

CONTACT: Lindsey Nieratka
(305) 247-6547; lnieratka@regionalconservation.org

Community Concern About Continuing Loss of Pine Rocklands in the Richmond Tract Formerly Home to More Than 350 Native Plant Species

DELRAY BEACH, Florida—The Institute for Regional Conservation (IRC) Chief Conservation Strategist, George Gann, recently sat down with IRC’s floristic database to gain an understanding of the plant biodiversity in the Richmond Tract.  What he found was that within this relatively small area of land, more than 350 species of native plants have been recorded, about one quarter of all the native plant species historically found in South Florida.  The list contains everything from common species, such as our Florida state tree (the cabbage palm), to several federally listed endemic plants, to extremely rare tropical and temperate species at the ends of their global ranges.  Several of these plants are found in Miami-Dade County and nowhere else in the world.

“There has been a lot of recent concern in the community about the continuing loss of pine rocklands outside of Everglades National Park, and in the Richmond Tract in particular,” said Gann.  “And the basis for much of that concern is obvious.  Any additional loss of pine rocklands is tragic, especially on public lands.  We are down to the last little bits and every remaining bit matters.  But the devil is in the details, and we need an updated floristic analysis of the Richmond Tract if we are really going to understand what is at stake for plant conservation.” 

The commonly dubbed Richmond Tract comprises a patchwork of ownership by different entities, including the U.S. Coast Guard, Zoo Miami, and the University of Miami.  While most of the concern has been on the remaining pine rocklands, former wetlands running through the site contribute to its remarkable diversity.  After the protected Deering Estate at Cutler (which has more than 500 native plant species), the Richmond Tract is the most important native plant resource in Miami-Dade County outside of Everglades National Park.  It historically had more native plant species, for instance, than Biscayne National Park.

“What we need to do now is to demonstrate that all the remaining undeveloped parcels at Richmond are important, and to promote the active restoration of pine rocklands in the so-called scraped areas, which have been cleared of pine trees and mowed,” Gann continued. 

According to Gann, “Several areas in Richmond that others have thrown in the mental trash heap and are therefore available for development may in fact be critical habitat for native plants.  It’s unfortunate, in a way, that we named this globally imperiled ecosystem ‘pine rocklands’ since the pine tree is just the most obvious component.  The loss of pine trees does not mean the ecosystem is destroyed. Perhaps it would have been better if we had named it ‘limestone savanna’ or something, so that people associated more with the herbaceous understory and not pine trees.  This is where the rare biodiversity is located.”

One important thing we need to know now is how many native plant species are still present in the Richmond Tract.  While some parts of Richmond have been conserved and are well managed, the overall trend over the last 30 years has been lack of management, continued fragmentation and the incremental loss of species. 
“From reviewing the floristic data, we now know that many native species were recorded in only one or two tracts within Richmond.  Unfortunately, some of these species may now be gone.  The idea that all the native plants at Richmond can be protected in Larry and Penny Thompson Park and small protected areas at the Zoo is false.  Larger areas are needed,” continued Gann. 

The last extensive floristic inventories of Richmond were conducted by IRC more than a decade ago, and some species have not been seen since the early 1990s.  Gann concluded, “We need updated information so that we can understand exactly what will be lost if more areas are developed or if critical management, such as prescribed burning and exotic species control, is not implemented.”

For a PDF of this release please go to: http://regionalconservation.org/ircs/pdf/RichmondTractRelease.pdf

Join IRC on February 7th at Green Cay Nature Center & Wetlands!

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

IRC will be presenting an event celebrating the re-greening of South Florida on February 7th at Green Cay wetlands in Boynton Beach. The focus of the event will be using Natives for Your Neighborhood to attract birds to your landscapes. Presenting along side of IRC are Authors James A. Kuslan and Kirsten Hines who will be discussing their book "Attracting Birds to South Florida Gardens." After the talk, IRC biologists and the authors will hold a panel discussion and there will be a book signing. All proceeds of the book sales from the event will be donated to IRC. Watch out for more details as they emerge, including the native nurseries which will be attending and details about purchasing plants! Doors open at 1:30 with the talk beginning at 2pm. Come early or stay after to enjoy the beautiful wetlands!

Thank you to IRC’s most recent Sponsor – All Native Garden Center, Nursery, & Landscapes!

Monday, December 29, 2014

Thank you to All Native for becoming a sponsor of Natives for Your Neighborhood! Check out their website and check out their native plant selection.

IRC is on a mission to connect NFYN users with the plants they want! Check out our “find native plants” page and let us know about your plant business and if you would like to become a sponsor!

Thank you to IRC’s most recent Sponsor – The Key West Tropical Forest and Botanical Gardens!

Friday, December 19, 2014

Thank you to The Key West Tropical Forest and Botanical Gardens for becoming a sponsor of Natives for Your Neighborhood! Check out their website and monthly plant sales.

IRC is on a mission to connect NFYN users with the plants they want! Check out our “find native plants” page and let us know about your plant business and if you would like to become a sponsor!

Natives for Your Neighborhood cited as a resources in the American Horticultural Therapy Association news magazine.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Natives for Your Neighborhood is a great resource for many uses of native plants, including pairing host and nectar plants with butterflies for the purpose of creating a horticultural therapy garden. Erin Backus, horticulturalist, horticulture therapist, owner of Plant Happiness, LLC, and former South Floridian, writes about how to use plants to attract wildlife to gardens for the purpose of theraputic benefits. She specifically mentions the importance of considering native diversity and the use of native species and cites NFYN and our wildlife pages as an example of a tool to do so. Horticultural therapy uses the benefits of natural and garden environments to treat mental illness, facilitate rehabilitation, and many other therapy needs. Learn more about horticultural therapy at AHTA.ORG.

Check out the article at the AHTA Magazine!

Photos by Erin Backus, from NFYN Danaus plexippus page.

Kirsten Hines, IRC research associate, discusses nature and Miami in the Miami Herald.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

IRC alum and Research Associate Kirsten Hines wrote a beautiful piece in the Miami Herald, published on Sunday. In it she writes a love letter, of sorts, to the natural side of Miami (and name -drops IRC and Natives for Your Neighborhood a few times) and how she found her niche. Check out her new publications on February 7th at Green Cay Nature Center when she, co-author James Kushlan, and partner IRC discuss Attracting Birds to South Florida Gardens and using Natives for Your Neighborhood to do it. More details to come. 

Check out the article at the Miami Herald!

Photo from the Miami Herald

Thank you to everyone who came to the Nov 22nd work day at the Cutler Bay and Palmetto Bay Habitat Restoration!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

We had a great turn out and got a lot of work done, planting thousands of seedlings! Great individuals and groups came out to support us, including a team from Wells Fargo, the BioTech Key Club, Commissioner Daniella Levine Cava, and many others.

For photos from the event check out the photo album on our website and check out our Facebook Page for future events!

Thank you to everyone who came to the Nov 11th Wine Tasting!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

We had a great turn out and lots of interest in IRC and upcoming events. Keep an eye out on our news page, facebook page, and by joining our email list for upcoming opportunities and events!

For more photos from the event check out the photo album on our Facebook page from photographer Emiliano Brooks!

All photos by Emiliano Brooks

Come volunteer on the Cutler Bay and Palmetto Bay Coastal Wetland Restoration Project!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Volunteer day at the Cutler Bay and Palmetto Bay wetland restoration project! Together, we will be planting thousands of Gulf cordgrass (Spartina spartinae), Muhly Grass (Muhlenbergia capillaris), Silver sea-oxeye-daisy (Borrichia frutescens), Giant leather fern (Acrostichum danaeifolium) and other select native species as part of the work we are doing in an effort to restore critical coastal wetland habitat along Biscayne Bay for over 100 different migratory birds This project is supported by the North American Wetlands Conservation Act.

Contact: Sarah Martin at 305-505-9192 or martin@regionalconservation.org for more information.

Wine tasting tonight!!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Why should you come?

  • Free Massages by Loosen Up Massage
  • Tasting of wines chosen by the sommeliers at the Wine Wave
  • Photography by Emiliano Brooks, go-to photographer of many local publications and businesses!
  • Accoustic Music by local artists Steaven Nieratka and Nate Largent (of the Resolvers)
  • Learn about Natives for Your Neighborhood
  • Learn about our research and restoration efforts
  • Meet and converse with C.E.O. Dr. Craig van der Heiden and Chief Conservation Officer George Gann
  • Ask us for advice, learn more about us, learn how you can help!

Upcoming dates and events from IRC!

Thursday, October 24, 2014

November 7-9: The Fairchild Tropic Botanic Gardens hold their Fall Festival featuring the 74th annual Ramble. Come enjoy the gardens and visit IRC at our booth shared with the Connect to Protect program. Event Page.

November 11th: Celebrate South Florida Biodiversity: 30 years with IRC. Come to the Wine Wave, Delray Beach, for a wine tasting, live music, and conversation with IRC and other like minded individuals who care about conservation in South Florida. Generously sponsored by John Campanola of New York Life.Flyer.

November 22nd: Volunteer day at the Cutler Bay and Palmetto Bay wetland restoration project! Together, we will be planting thousands of Gulf cordgrass (Spartina spartinae), Muhly Grass (Muhlenbergia capillaris), Silver sea-oxeye-daisy (Borrichia frutescens), Giant leather fern (Acrostichum danaeifolium) and other select native species as part of the work we are doing in an effort to restore critical coastal wetland habitat along Biscayne Bay for over 100 different migratory birds This project is supported by the North American Wetlands Conservation Act.

Field work begins on the Florida Bristle Fern in Sumter County.

Thursday, October 24, 2014

The Florida Bristle Fern (Trichomanes punctatum ssp. floridanum), proposed for listing as federally endangered, is only known to have 12 occurances, 10 in Miami Dade County and two in Sumter County. IRC CEO Craig van der Heiden is currently conducting research into the fern's habitat in Sumter County. He and field biologist Jimmy Lange are mapping suitable habitat in Sumter County to inform decisions by the USFWS about designating critical habitat once the fern is officially listed.

Above: Jimmy Lange explores an area for the presence of T. punctatum. Below: A beautiful hammock in which our lucky field biologists get to work. Photos by Craig van der Heiden.

New mobile site for field identification of invasive plant species from USF!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

The University of South FLorida has added a new tool to its resources, a mobile guide to FLorida Invasive Plant species (FLIP). Browse by common name, scientific name, or search by characteristic. This is a great tool for land managers, home owners, and interested people to easily identify invasive plant species and to learn about ecological impacts and management strategies. Check it out at http://www.plantatlas.usf.edu/flip/.

Save the Date! Wine tasting and conservation - November 11th, 2014.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

The Florida Bristle Fern (Trichomanes punctatum ssp. floridanum) proposed to be listed as Endangered.

Thursday, October 09, 2014

  The U.S. Fish and WIlflife service announced yesterday that they are proposing to list the Florida Bristle Fern (Trichomanes punctatum ssp. floridanum) as an endangered species.  Biologists from IRC work with USFWS often on such listing and have contributed research and historical data to support the listing of this subspecies.  T. punctatum is native to Florida and South and Central America but the subspecies is endemic to Florida and is currently found only in Miami Dade and Sumter Counties.  The fern grows in high humidity conditions on limestone and is found in solution holes along the Miami Rock Ridge and, in Sumter County, is found on exposed limestone in dense hammocks.  IRC currently has a project with the USFWS to delineate suitable habitat for the Florida Bristle Fern in Sumter County to aid in conservation efforts.  The public comment period for this listing is open until December 8th.  To learn more about the proposed listing and how to submit comments, go to the USFWS news release.   To learn more about the species, check out IRC’s species account in the FISF. 

IRC Research Associate Dr. Jorge Carlos Trejo Torres makes news in Mérida, Yucatán discussing urban forests, urban green spaces, and "Trees, more trees!"

Monday October 06, 2014

 In an article in the Diario de Yucatan (see article here) Dr. Jorge Carlos Trejo Torres is featured based on statements he made in a public lecture where he describes Mérida as a community who craves  “Trees,more trees!”  Carlos, whose work and motivations perfectly embody the values of IRC, advocates for more green space in Mérida, Yucatán.  He promotes not only the utilization of large parks but also smaller wooded areas and the use of trees and native plants by land owners.  His website created in partnership with IRC, Plantas del Mayab, aims to accomplish this by providing information which is useful to land managers, city planners, botanists, homeowners, and casual plant enthusiasts alike living up to its tagline “plantas para todos” or “plants for all” in English.  Great work, Carlos!

photo by yucatan.com.mx

Join the Palm Beach County Chapter of the Native Plant Society for their Fall Yard Tour!

Friday, October 3, 2014

Come out to see native landscaping in action. Get ideas for your own yard and learn from those who have had success! For details and directions check out the Fall Yard Tour website. This Sunday, October 5, 2014 begining at 10:00 am.

Kirsten Hines, former IRC biologist and IRC research associate, along with Dr. James Kushlan, publish two books on bird conservation in South Florida.

Monday September 29, 2014

Both books focus on how landscaped areas can be used as bird habitat. Attracting Birds to South Florida speaks specifically to how you, as an individual, can landscape your home so that it is inviting to migratory and native bird species. Come see Kirsten Hines and Dr. Kushlan speak at one of the events listed on the flyer (click image for pdf). The first event will be in conjunction with the Fairchild's Bird Festival with an exhibition of Kirsten's photos happening Oct 3-5 and a talk at 3pm on October 4th.

Two Pine Rockland Species added to the Endangered Species List: Brickellia mosieri and Linum carteri var. carteri.

Monday August 4, 2014

After several years of review, including input from IRC and, in particular, Chief Conservation Strategist George D. Gann. The new designation will give greater protection to these two species and their habitat.

For more information about the designation, see the news release on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife website

Image: Florida Brickell-Bush (Brickellia mosieri) Photo by Roger L. Hammer. Carter's small-flowered flax (Linum carteri) photo by Dr. Craig van der Heiden.

Come volunteer on the Cutler Bay and Palmetto Bay Coastal Wetland Restoration Project!

Friday, August 29, 2014

When: Saturday, September 13th from 9am-3pm
Where: Just South of Palmetto Bay Villiage on 184th Street and Old Cutler Road (there will be signs day-of, parking on the street.

Progress being made at Palmetto Bay and Cutler Bay Coastal Habitat Restoration Project.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

IRC’s collaborative project with the South Florida Water Management District and the National Park Service (and other partners) has been improving habitat for migratory and coastal bird species as part of a small grant from the US Fish and Wildlife Service under the North American Wetland Conservation Act.  The property, owned by SFWMD, was burned in March and exotic species, including Brazilian-pepper, Leadtree, and Burmareed, were removed and native wetland species reintroduced.  Volunteers have had a major impact on this project.  Dozens of volunteers gave up their weekends in July and August to help plant hundreds of seedlings of Gulf Cordgrass (Spartina spartinae), Saw-grass (Cladium jamaicense) and Muhlygrass (Muhlenbergia capillaris). Even as volunteers were replanting native species, we witness recruitment of native species from the seed bank and surrounding habitats. Simply removing the exotic species has allowed these natives to come back in. Read more about the project on our website.

Before and After. (Above) Laying fire in the Burmareed to clear the way for future restoration. (Below) The restoration site after exotics removal and native planting. Seedlings of Gulf Cordgrass, Saw-grass, and Muhlygrass, were planted by hand by dedicated volunteers over several weekend work days over the summer.

IRC presents our Pine Rockland Programs to the Miami Sierra Club.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

IRC recently presented a talk on Pine Rockland Ecology to the Miami Sierra Club. Craig van der Heiden discussed the importance of the pine rocklands, the animals and plants that live there and the potential fate of the remaining habitat.

Want to learn more about our work in the Pine Rocklands? Two presentations now available online.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Sarah Martin, program coordinator of the Pine Rockland Institute, has a passion for the Pine Rocklands and that includes educating the public on their uniqueness and importance. To learn more about our pine rockland initiative, visit the program page here and check out Sarah's powerpoint presentation here. To learn more about all the work IRC does for the Pine Rocklands, you can see Sarah's presentation to the 2014 Pine Rockland Working Group Symposium here.

For more information about the Pine Rockland Initiative or to schedule someone to speak to your group about the Pine Rocklands, contact Sarah Martin at 305-505-9192 or martin@regionalconservation.org

Free Online Native Plant Course offered by IRC friends George Rodgers and John Bradford.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Now is your chance to take your native plant knowledge one step further and do so with the expertise of George Rodgers and John Bradford behind you. Take their FREE online course starting September 1st.

For more information check out the blog post on Treasure Coast Natives
Click here to order the text book, Guide to the Native Plants of Florida’s Treasure Coast.

Florida Keys team finishes up Guantanamo Bay Project.

Wednesday August 6, 2014

The Florida Keys team has had two years' worth of contracts at Guantanamo Bay Naval Base in Cuba, first to determine best practices for removing invasive Leadtree (Leucaena leucocephala) and the second to conduct the removal. At the end of two months of work removing Leadtree, the crew removed more than 51,560 lbs (25.82 tonnes) dry weight of Leadtree from many areas of the base, including sensitive coastal habitats home to many rare and endemic species.  The project generated a great deal of interest on the base and the crew was able to work with several military personnel as volunteers on the project.

Like with all of our restoration projects, IRC does not simply remove exotic species but we are deeply concerned with the conservation of rare and endemic species. Guantanamo Bay Cuba is a unique habitat which contains many rare and endemic species. On the base there is a nursery run by volunteer enthusiasts. IRC crew and biologists helped to grow the native plant collection in the nursery through seed collection of over a dozen native species and Propagation of three rare species of endemic cactus-Opuntia militaris, Consolea moniliformis subsp guantanamana, and Dendrocereus nudiflorus- from cuttings, as well as successful germination of over 25 Dendrocereus seedlings, a species of tree cactus of which all extant individuals are several centuries old.

All in all the trip and the work was an incredible success!  IRC would like to say thank you to the crew Geoffrey Geier, Jacob Pulfer, and Nathan Reyor and wish them the best as they move on from IRC and thanks to biologist Jimmy Lange as we look forward to his future here with IRC!   

Top row from left:  (1) Area of removal of Leadtree, Leucaena leucocephala.   (2) IRC crew member Jacob Pulfer with a cutting of the endemic Consolea moniliformis(3)  Biologist Jimmy Lange with seedlings and cuttings in the Guantanamo Bay native plant nursery
Bottom Row from left: Endemic species Opuntia militaris, Jacquina brevifolia, Spirotecoma spiralis, and Macrocatalpa punctata

Comment period open for Critical Habitat designation for two candidate Pine Rockland Species, Brickellia mosieri and Linum carteri. Submit your comments by August 14th.

Monday August 4, 2014

Comments will be taken from now until August 14th on both the critical habitat designation and the recently released economic report.  Both plants are found along the Miami Rock Ridge and have 2,723 acres of overlapping habitat and both are threatened by development, fire suppression, invasive species, and sea level rise.  The critical habitat designation under the Endangered Species Act provides protection for habitat where the species are likely to be found and which are deemed important to the species itself.  The draft  economic analysis released show that costs of this designation would be low; no more than $120,000 per year in mostly administrative costs. 

For more information about the designation and report and for instructions on how to comment, see the news release on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife website

Image: FLorida Brickell-Bush (Brickellia mosieri) Photo by Roger L. Hammer.Carter's small-flowered flax (Linum carteri) photo by Dr. Craig van der Heiden.

Volunteer Opportunities at the Palmetto Bay and Culter Bay Coastal Habitat Restoration Project.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

When: July 26th and August 2nd 9am - 3pm
Where: meet at the Palmetto Bay Village Center at SW 184th Street and Old Cutler Road, and will have a sign up directing people where to park the day of the event. 

We will provide drinking water, snacks, etc., but be sure to bring sunscreen, sunglasses, hat, long pants, closed-toed shoes and anything else you may need for the day. 

We will be planting native grasses and seedlings in a coastal prairie ecosystem we are working to restore, as well as other habitat restoration activities.

We need all the help we can get and would love to see you out there!

Contact: Sarah Martin at 305-505-9192 or martin@regionalconservation.org for more information.

Download our volunteer waiver here.

IRC congratulates the City of Miami in protecting important habitat at Simpson Park.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

On July 1st Simpson Park received a unanimous vote to obtain a Final Designation as a Local Individual Historic Resource from the City of Miami Historic and Environmental Preservation Board.  This new assurance of protection comes in a very large part to the hard work and effort of Juan G. Fernandez and Adriana Dominguez-Tio from Miami Dade County.  Simpson Park, located in Downtown Brickell, is about 8 acres of tropical hardwood hammock, one of the last remnants of the Brickell Hammock.  The Brickell Hammock was the largest and most diverse rockland hammock in South Florida.  By the end of the 20th century all of the hammock had been developed save approximately 50 acres now located at Vizcaya Museum and Gardens, Alice C Wainwright Park, and, of course, Simpson Park.  In addition to the great historical value of the park as a window onto pre-development Miami, it is also an incredible ecological resource.  The Brickell Hammock was originally home to many species now extirpated, such as Balsam Torchwood (Amyris balsamifera), Hammock Groundsel (Baccharis dioica), and Spoonleaf Peperomia (Peperomia magnoliifolia).  Management of these species could include reintroduction to Simpson Park.  Simpson Park is the home to several critically imperiled species including Marsh’s Dutchman’s-Pipe (Aristolochia pentandra), Young Palm Orchid (Tropidia polystachya), Black Calabash (Amphitecna latifolia) and Bitterbush (Picramnia pentandra) some of which are found at only a handful of other protected areas.  The critically imperiled Gulf Licaria (Licaria triandra) is only known to occur at Simpson Park.  If we were to lose Simpson Park the region would also suffer the loss of some of these species and lower the overall biodiversity of the region as well as loosing one of the last places where extirpated species could be restored.

You can read more about Simpson Park (p. 868), Brickell Hammock (p. 940), and the rare plants found there in IRC’s book Rare Plants of South Florida.  Check out the Floristic Inventory of South Florida database for a list of species found at Simpson Park. 

The Rockland Hammock, though mostly lost to development, is vitally important for environmental services such as carbon sequestration and the filtration of urban runoff.  It is also possible to restore this habitat in dense urban areas with success.  For information on how to restore this habitat you can use our guidelines available through IRC’s program Natives for Your Neighborhood. 

From left:  (1) Balsam Torchwood (Amyris balsamifera), (2)Black Calabash (Amphitecna latifolia) and (3) Hammock Groundsel (Baccharis dioica)

Join IRC at the 2014 Pine Rockland Working Group Symposium.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Come learn about all the great work being done in Miami and the Bahamas in and around the Pine Rocklands. Sarah Martin, head of IRC's Pine Rockland Initiative, will be there to discuss IRC's work and lead a field trip to some of our work sites.

Where: UF-IFAS Cooperative Extension Services Office - 18710 SW 288th Street, Homestead, FL 33030
When: Thursday, June 26-28, 2014

For more information: Check out the General Announcement and Itinerary or the Pine Rockland Working Group website at fl.biology.usgs.gov/pineland.

Volunteer Opportunities at the Palmetto Bay and Culter Bay Coastal Habitat Restoration Project.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

When: July 26th and August 2nd 9am - 3pm
Where: meet at the Palmetto Bay Village Center at SW 184th Street and Old Cutler Road, and will have a sign up directing people where to park the day of the event. 

We will provide drinking water, snacks, etc., but be sure to bring sunscreen, sunglasses, hat, long pants, closed-toed shoes and anything else you may need for the day. 

We will be planting native grasses and seedlings in a coastal prairie ecosystem we are working to restore, as well as other habitat restoration activities.

We need all the help we can get and would love to see you out there!

Contact: Sarah Martin at 305-505-9192 or martin@regionalconservation.org for more information.

Download our volunteer waiver here.

IRC congratulates the City of Miami in protecting important habitat at Simpson Park. 

Thursday, July 3, 2014

On July 1st Simpson Park received a unanimous vote to obtain a Final Designation as a Local Individual Historic Resource from the City of Miami Historic and Environmental Preservation Board.  This new assurance of protection comes in a very large part to the hard work and effort of Juan G. Fernandez and Adriana Dominguez-Tio from Miami Dade County.  Simpson Park, located in Downtown Brickell, is about 8 acres of tropical hardwood hammock, one of the last remnants of the Brickell Hammock.  The Brickell Hammock was the largest and most diverse rockland hammock in South Florida.  By the end of the 20th century all of the hammock had been developed save approximately 50 acres now located at Vizcaya Museum and Gardens, Alice C Wainwright Park, and, of course, Simpson Park.  In addition to the great historical value of the park as a window onto pre-development Miami, it is also an incredible ecological resource.  The Brickell Hammock was originally home to many species now extirpated, such as Balsam Torchwood (Amyris balsamifera), Hammock Groundsel (Baccharis dioica), and Spoonleaf Peperomia (Peperomia magnoliifolia).  Management of these species could include reintroduction to Simpson Park.  Simpson Park is the home to several critically imperiled species including Marsh’s Dutchman’s-Pipe (Aristolochia pentandra), Young Palm Orchid (Tropidia polystachya), Black Calabash (Amphitecna latifolia) and Bitterbush (Picramnia pentandra) some of which are found at only a handful of other protected areas.  The critically imperiled Gulf Licaria (Licaria triandra) is only known to occur at Simpson Park.  If we were to lose Simpson Park the region would also suffer the loss of some of these species and lower the overall biodiversity of the region as well as loosing one of the last places where extirpated species could be restored.

You can read more about Simpson Park (p. 868), Brickell Hammock (p. 940), and the rare plants found there in IRC’s book Rare Plants of South Florida.  Check out the Floristic Inventory of South Florida database for a list of species found at Simpson Park. 

The Rockland Hammock, though mostly lost to development, is vitally important for environmental services such as carbon sequestration and the filtration of urban runoff.  It is also possible to restore this habitat in dense urban areas with success.  For information on how to restore this habitat you can use our guidelines available through IRC’s program Natives for Your Neighborhood. 

From left:  (1) Balsam Torchwood (Amyris balsamifera), (2)Black Calabash (Amphitecna latifolia) and (3) Hammock Groundsel (Baccharis dioica)

Join IRC at the 2014 Pine Rockland Working Group Symposium.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Come learn about all the great work being done in Miami and the Bahamas in and around the Pine Rocklands. Sarah Martin, head of IRC's Pine Rockland Initiative, will be there to discuss IRC's work and lead a field trip to some of our work sites.

Where: UF-IFAS Cooperative Extension Services Office - 18710 SW 288th Street, Homestead, FL 33030
When: Thursday, June 26-28, 2014

For more information: Check out the General Announcement and Itinerary or the Pine Rockland Working Group website at fl.biology.usgs.gov/pineland.

IRC biologist gearing up for a new field season in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

IRC biologists recently returned to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba to follow up on experimental treatments of the invasive Leadtree (Leucaena leucocephala) that were established last summer to determine the best method of herbicide management for this troublesome exotic.  Experimental treatments were seen to have been successful.  In the coming months IRC crewmembers will be returning to Cuba to treat and remove large infestations of leadtree that threaten natural areas throughout the naval base based on the methodology tested on the previous study trip.  In order to best aid restoration of these unique habitats, IRC biologists will also be propagating and outplanting native species in the areas where the exotic Leadtree has been removed.  The IRC biologists have already identified individuals and populations of native species which may provide reliable sources of propagules for the restoration effort. 

Clockwise from top left:  (1) Control and cut-stump herbicide treated plots of leadtree, Leucaena leucocephala.   (2) IRC biologists James Johnson and Cody Miller with a population of Sgt Harlow’s barrel cactus (Melocactus harlowii), an ancient species of cactus endemic to the region. (3)  An endemic tree cactus, Dendrocereus nudiflora specimen estimated to be near a century old. (4) James Johnson examining an orchid rarely encountered on the base, Broughtonia lindenii.

Donate today through the Great Give to have your donation to IRC multiplied!

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

IRC monitoring endangered plants in Everglades National Park

Thursday, Aprtil 24, 2014

Enduring the spring flush of mosquitoes in Everglades National Park, IRC biologist, James Johnson and Jimmy Lange, have been conducting a thorough census of the federally endangered Cape Sable Thoroughwort (Chromolaena frustrata).  This plant, and many others, exist in low-lying habitat particularly susceptible to environmental issues such as sea level rise and salinization of ground water.  IRC has been methodically sampling and mapping known and newly discovered populations of this sensitive Chromolaena species.  These data will be used to inform conservation efforts in the interest of preventing the extinction of this endemic species. 

James Lange and James Johnson conducting field work. The Chromolaena frustrata is an excellent nectar plant for many native butterflies such as the Great Southern White pictured here.

Sarah Martin to present information about Coastal Palmetto Bay and Cutler Bay Habitat Restoration at the Villiage of Palmetto Bay's EARTH WEEK.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Sarah Martin will have information about IRC and our programs and specifically be available to discuss the habitat restoration at Cutler Bay and Palmetto Bay. Check out information about the project here.

What: Information about the Cutler Bay and Palmetto Bay restoration project
Where: Free Tree Giveaway - Ludovici Park, Palmetto Bay
When: Saturday, April 26, 2014 9am-12pm

Click Here for more information about the Earth Week events.

IRC report accepted for publication in Ecohydrology.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

IRC has been working in Everglades National Park to assess the impacts of Sea Level Rise on coastal upland species. Some of our results have been accepted for publication in the journal Ecohydrology. The report finds that plant communities differ significatly ing roundwater salinity. The authors, which include IRC's Dr. Sonali Saha and Dr. Craig van der Heiden, hope that the results cna be used in planning for adaptation to Sea Level Rise. Read the abstract here.

Plantas del Mayab gets media attention in Merida.

Monday, April 14, 2014

After the publication of a new tree species in the Yucatán reporters from the Merida based publication Por Esto! featured IRC research associate Jorge Carlos Trejo Torres and the online database Plantas del Mayab. The site, tagline "Plants for all," packages information about the botanical diversity in the Yucatán in a format usable by all levels of people interested in learning about and using plants. One of the main features are the "listas para usarse," lists of plants by use and importance. The first list posted was the list of trees of the Mayab. The next planned list will be a list of protected species in the region. A site compiling and presenting this information about the diversity of plants in the Yucatán draws attention to the extreme diversity of the region. For example, there are more tree species in the Yucatán than in the United States and Canada! Read the whole article here and then keep up to date with the additions to the site by visiting www.PlantasdelMayab.com regularly.

IRC's Photo Contest now accepting submissions

Monday, April 7, 2014

. Remember to sign up for IRC's photo contest. Prizes will be announced soon. Enter for a chance to have your photos displayed and auctioned at our 30th anniversary celebration and help contribute to the growing bank of images in our databases and Natives for Your Neighborhood. For more information visit the 30th anniversary webpage.

IRC presents a booth about exotic plants at the 5th annual Florida Keys Ocean Festival

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

. IRC field biologist and Keys program leader, Cody Miller, presented information about exotic plant species and their control on Saturday as part of the 5th annual Florida Keys Ocean Festival. For more information about the event visit the website. For more information about the IRC's Florida Keys program visit our Ecological Restoration and Management page

Prescribed burn at the Coastal Palmetto Bay and Cutler Bay Habitat Restoration.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Fire is an important management tool in fire-adapted South Florida ecosystems.  IRC used fire recently as part of the reestablishment and restoration bird habitat at Coastal Palmetto Bay and Cutler Bay Habitat Restoration Project Site.  The burn was carried out through a cooperative effort by the Florida Forestry Service and Everglades National Park Fire Crew.  The fire reduced the biomass of exotic invasive plant species making it easier to efficiently treat and eradicate these troublesome plants. Reintroduction of the fire cycle will greatly assist in the restoration of the fire adapted native marsh communities that are utilized by native and migratory birds. Click here to read more about the Coastal Palmetto Bay and Cutler Bay habitat restoration funded through the North American Wetland Conservation Act.

IRC's Restoration at East Ridge Retirement Community in Cutler Bay featured in the Miami Herald.

Monday, March 24, 2014

The Miami restoration team, Sarah Martin, Rasheed Bradley, and Patty Amador, have been working hard to restore a pine rockland owned by East Ridge Retirement Community in Cutler Bay. Resident Nancy Fehr has championed the effort within her community, making the restoration possible. Read more about the project and the passion behind making it happen in the Miami Herald. Click on the image below for more information about the Pine Rockland Initiative or visit our Pine Rockland Initiative page.

IRC 30th Anniversary and photo contest

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

The first activity for IRC's 30th anniversary celebration has been announced! Enter your photos of native plants and Florida ecosystems in IRC's first ever photo contest!

Finalists will have the opportunity to display their photos at IRC's anniversary celebration reception (date TBD) and sell their work in a silent auction. Winners in each category will win a variety of prizes (sponsors and prizes to be announced at a later date). All entries will have the opportunity to be used to enhance the visual resources in the Floristic Inventory of South Florida and Natives for Your Neighborhood.

For entry forms and more information visit IRC's 30th anniversary announcement page.

Entries due June 1st.

IRC fundraiser with LEEWORKS at ETTRA gallery

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Come see IRC at ETTRA allery during LEEWORKS' opening week. A portion of the proceeds from the event is being donated to IRC. Program administrator Lindsey Nieratka will be giving a talk about Natives for Your Neighborhood on Friday March 21 at 5:30. Visit LEEWORKS website for more about the art.

schedule of
“GET TOGETHERS”
during the week long exhibition of

QUEST
presented by
LEEWORKS
at
ETTRA
149 NE 2ND Avenue
Pineapple Grove District
Delray Beach, FL
(561) 234-0978


Open Monday March 17 - Sunday March 23 11:30am - 9:30pm

Tuesday, March 18 --- 5:00pm arrive – 5:30pm interview
FLORIDA SMALL BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT CENTER
CLIENT SUCCESS STORY
an interview with the artist

Wednesday, March 19 --- 5:00pm arrive – 5:30pm speaker
in depth talk by Lee about
QUEST

Thursday, March 20 --- 5:00pm arrive – 5:30pm ceremony
GREATER DELRAY BEACH CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
ribbon cutting ceremony with distinguished guests

Friday, March 21 --- 5:00pm arrive – 5:30pm speaker
THE INSTITUTE FOR REGIONAL CONSERVATION
introduction to
“NATIVES FOR YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD”
CREATING URBAN HABITAT IN YOUR YARD

Saturday, March 22 and Sunday, March 23
stop by the gallery for a glass of wine  before/after  brunch or dinner
at one of the fabulous local area restaurants (dine at your own expense)

 

Support IRC and LEEWORKS by buying one of four pieces created by Lee for IRC. Buy notecard directly from IRC or get the images as framed prints from Giclee printing. 100% of the proceeds from these four pieces will go towards supporting IRC's mission.

Native Plant Day 2014

Friday, February 28, 2014

Come Join IRC at Native Plant Day in Dade County. It is a great opportunity to learn more about IRC and all the other great resources in South Florida for native plants! To learn more go to the Dade Chapter of the Florida Native Plant Society's webpage.

Art Supporting Nature

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Artist Lee Hutton of LEEWORKS has created four original paintings inspired by his love for the South Florida environment and the mission of IRC. LEEWORKS has generously donated notecards printed with the original art to IRC. You can support IRC and get a set of these cards by donating $15 or more to IRC. For more information check out the IRC-LEEWORKS page for payment options or order through the "pay now" button below. You can see more of Lee's work and buy larger art prints from Giclee Printing. All of the proceeds from the sales of these four prints will be donated to IRC.

Purchase Options:

IRC, Fairchild, and others join forces to look for rare plants in Everglades National Park

Friday, February 14, 2014

Recently, George Gann, IRC’s Chief Conservation Strategist, led a group from Fairchild Tropical Botanical Gardens and colleagues into Everglades National Park to look for rare plants.  Although many fascinating species were found during the day, two species were of particular interest for the members of this excursion. One was Peperomia humilis and the group was able to collect data on the habitat in which it was found.  The group also found stations of Chromolaena frustrata, a recent addition to the Federally Endangered Species List. A great day indeed!

Rare plants spotted in the field.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Eagled eyed Rasheed Bradley,Team Leader for the Pine Rockland Initiative, is as good finding rare plants as he is yielding a chainsaw.  He recently found two rare plants; Microgramma heterophylla and Eltroplectris calcarata. The find of Eltroplectris calcarata is a new location for this ground orchid.  Great Job, Rasheed!

Date set for Pine Rockland Workshop.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Join IRC's Pine Rockland Initiative program leader, Sarah Martin, to learn more about restoring and managing pine rocklands.

What: Pine Rockland Landowner Free Workshop
When: February 22, 2014
Where: 21100 SW 300th St, Homestead, FL 33030

RSVP to Sarah Martin at martin@regionalconservation.org

IRC' crews and biologists collaborate for exotic species removal at Crocodile Lake National Wildlife Refuge in the Florida Keys.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Program leaders and biologists Sarah Martin and Cody Miller brought their crews together, led by crew leaders Rasheed Bradley and Brian Pavlina, in the Florida Keys along with IRC's conservation biologists Craig van der Heiden, James Johnson, and Jimmie Lange for a collaborative work day. IRC strives to have the best trained staff and these days spent crossing programs to work in different habitats and learn from one another is a big part of that effort.

Support IRC by Supporting a Local Artist!

Friday, January 31, 2014

Artist Lee Hutton, inspired by the natural beauty of South Florida, has chosen to work towards protecting South Florida Ecosystems by partnering with the Institute for Regional Conservation. Lee's Grand Opening as a Delray based artist will showcase his amazing QUEST series at the ETTRA gallery in downtown Delray Beach. A portion of the proceeds of any of the art sold will be donated to the Institute for Regional Conservation. This is just the begining of IRC and LEEWORK's collaborations. So come support IRC by supporting local art!

What: LEEWORKS presents "QUEST: a story of triumph over hardship."
Where: ETTRA: 149 NE 2nd Avenue, Pineapple Grove Arts District,Delray Beach, FL 33444
When: March 17 - March 24th with the Delray Beach Chamber of Commerce ribbon cutting ceremony Thursday, March 20th from 5pm - 7pm.

Learn more about LEEWORKS at http://www.leeworks-art-florida.com

New website launched!

Tuesday, January 2, 2014

. Jorge Carlos Trejo Torres, Ph.D., IRC’s newest research associate, launched the website “Las Plantas del Mayab” this week.  Mayab is a region of the Yucatán peninsula in Mexico.  The website provides information about native and naturalized plants in the region, provides lists of plants for specific uses, and links to native plant nurseries and other informational sites.  Sound familiar?  If so it is because the site is based off of the concept of Natives for Your Neighborhood.  Keep up with Las Plantas del Mayab as information is added.  (Use google chrome as your browser and it can be translated to English).

Thank you for donating to our fundraiser. There is still time to donate to support NFYN and the FISF in 2014!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Natives for Your Neighborhood (NFYN) and the Floristic Inventory of South Florida (FISF) database are accessed by thousands of users each week. These services are based on almost two decades of research and collaboration between multiple agencies, organizations, and researchers. These free services are not free to provide, maintain, and improve. In fact, it costs IRC close to $20,000 a year to simply keep the lights on for our website and databases! Help IRC continue to provide the FISF and NFYN to the public for free while also being able to make valuable improvements and updates. Think about the value NFYN or the FISF database have to you and make your tax deductible donation today!

Last chance to make your tax deductible donation to native plant conservation in 2013!

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Natives for Your Neighborhood (NFYN) and the Floristic Inventory of South Florida (FISF) database are accessed by thousands of users each week. These services are based on almost two decades of research and collaboration between multiple agencies, organizations, and researchers. These free services are not free to provide, maintain, and improve. In fact, it costs IRC close to $20,000 a year to simply keep the lights on for our website and databases! Help IRC continue to provide the FISF and NFYN to the public for free while also being able to make valuable improvements and updates. Think about the value NFYN or the FISF database have to you and make your tax deductible donation today!

With Christmas only a week away, don't forget Florida Native Plants!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Whether you are gifting plants you learned about from NFYN or simply interested in making sure Florida's natural diversity is conserved, donating to IRC is a great way to show your support for our mission. With more than half the month gone, we have a long way to go in order to meet our goal and support Natives for Your Neighborhood and the Floristic Inventory of South Florida for one more year. Make your tax deductible donation today!

Welcoming the new Keys crew

Thursday, December 12, 2013

. Cody Miller, project leader for IRC's Florida Keys office, has a full crew again and they are getting prepared for an excellent seasonconducting restoration in the Keys. From left to right: Cody Miller, Geoff Geier, Nathan Reyor, Jacob Pulfer, and team leader Brian Pavlina.

Third annual IRC Holiday Holly Roundup!

Monday, December 9, 2013

For three years IRC has been working with landowners in the Florida Keys to help them control Brazilian-pepper, also known as "Florida Holly" on private land. Come to IRC's office in the Florida Keys to learn more about how to control Brazilian-pepper. Experts in exotics removal will instruct on identification, herbicide application, safety, and other relevant topics.

When: December 14, 10am - 3pm
Where: 30933 Ave A, Big Pine Key, FL 33043

For questions contact biologist Cody Miller at 305-304-6610 or email at miller@regionalconservation.org.

Work begins on the Coastal Palmetto Bay and Cutler Bay Habitat Restoration!

Monday, December 2, 2013

IRC teams with the National Park Service to complete a restoration project funded by the North American Wetland Conservation Act U.S. Small Grant from the US Fish and Wildlife Service Division of Bird Habitat Conservation. This award launches a significant coastal habitat restoration project of 350 acres in Cutler Bay, Florida, that will benefit more than 100 species of migratory birds and a long list of other rare animals and plants along Biscayne Bay. Other collaborators on the project are Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, Miami-Dade County Environmentally Endangered Lands Program, Palmetto Bay Village Center, South Florida Water Management District and Tropical Audubon Society.

Check out our progress and learn more on the Coastal Palmetto Bay and Cutler Bay Habitat Restoration homepage.

Help IRC fund our online resources in 2014!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Natives for Your Neighborhood (NFYN) and the Floristic Inventory of South Florida (FISF) database are accessed by thousands of users each week. These services are based on almost two decades of research and collaboration between multiple agencies, organizations, and researchers. These free services are not free to provide, maintain, and improve. In fact, it costs IRC close to $20,000 a year to simply keep the lights on for our website and databases! Help IRC continue to provide the FISF and NFYN to the public for free while also being able to make valuable improvements and updates. Think about the value NFYN or the FISF database have to you and make your tax deductible donation today!

A new addition to the IRC family!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Join us in congratulating Rasheed Bradley on the birth of his daughter, Paige Janet Bradley, earlier this week! Rasheed has been with IRC since 2009 as the crew leader for the Pine Rockland Initiative. Paige is his and his wife's second child. Everyone is at home and doing well. Congratulations Rasheed and welcome Paige!

Link to our page!

Monday, November 11, 2013

A great way to support IRC's mission and to make the people you serve aware of IRC's valuable resources is to link to IRC directly from your website. Grab the code for one or all of the buttons below and place it on your own site.

Who should grab our button?

  • Cities and municipalities which encourage native landscaping and "green" certifications.
  • Teachers and educational institutions using IRC's wealth of information.
  • Research organizations and agencies using IRC's databases.
  • Organizations devoted to native plants and native landscaping.
  • Native nurseries.
  • Environmental organizations.
  • Anyone who supports and wishes to promote IRC's mission!

Depending on you and your mission, choose the link that will take your website users directly to the resource from which they will benefit the most. Get the code on our buttons page.

Here are some examples of what the button will look like on your page:

Home of Natives for Your Neighborhood A program of The Institute for Regional Conservation A program of The Institute for Regional Conservation

Come join IRC and Tropical Audubon Society for a restoration workday

Friday, November 8, 2013

Join crew member Patty Amador and the Tropical Audubon Society restore the Porter-Russell Pine Rockland as part of our Together Green project.  Spend some time outdoors, get to know a few of Florida’s native and invasive species, earn service hours, and do good for the environment!

Where: Porter-Russell Pine Rockland Preserve; 22100 SW 124th Ave; Miami, FL 33170  

When: Saturday November 9, 2013 @ 8:30 am-12 pm

What: We are seeking volunteers to help out with ongoing habitat restoration.

Volunteers should wear long pants and sleeves, closed-toed shoes, and bring hat and sunglasses, sunscreen, and whatever else they might require.  We will provide drinking water and snacks.

RSVP: outreach@tropicalaudubon.org, say you are with IRC.  

IRC Biologist contributes to the Florida Keys Invasive Exotic Task Force (FKIETF)

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

. Cody Miller, IRC’s Florida Keys field biologist, recently helped update the FKIETF plant list by identifying new species of concern, evaluating current listed species, and identifying new Early Detection Rapid Response species. The FKIETF plant list is based on the State wide Florida Exotic Pest Plant Council (FLEPPC), but specialized and tailored to be specific to the Keys. For more information on the work of the FKIETF visit their website at http://www.floridainvasives.org/keys/.

Come join IRC’s exotic’s crew at Pine Jog Nature Center

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Join Sarah Martin and crew as they tackle a few of Florida’s invasive exotic pest plants at FAU’s environmental education center.  Spend some time outdoors, get to know a few of Florida’s native and invasive species, earn service hours, and do good for the environment!

Where: Pine Jog Environmental Education Center (Meet at Building Entrance)
              6301 Summit Blvd
              West Palm Beach, FL 33415

When: Saturday November 2, 2013 @ 9 am-3 pm

What: We are seeking volunteers to help out with the land manager's ongoing habitat restoration project out at Pine Jog.  The dominant natural community found at Pine Jog is pine flatwoods with remnant marsh and mesic hammock.  We are treating FLEPPC Category I and II Invasive Species and are seeking volunteers to join us with our effort.  The volunteer day is being coordinated with the Pine Jog Land Manager, Kristi Martin Moyer, who will bring her FAU student volunteers out to work along with us.  

Volunteers should wear long pants and sleeves, closed-toed shoes, and bring hat and sunglasses, sunscreen, and whatever else they might require.  We will provide drinking water and snacks.

Contact: Sarah Martin, Field Biologist.  martin@regionalconservation.org 

IRC biologists present poster at the 2013 Rookery Bay GIS Symposium

Monday, October 28, 2013

. CEO and biologist Craig van der Heiden and Senior Biologist Mike Barry present IRC's work on vegetation changes in south west Florida. 1940 - present at Rookery Bay 2013 GIS Symposium: Exploring and Exchanging Spatial Knowledge. You can read more about Mike's work in South West Florida on our publications page.

IRC joins the Everglades Coalition

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

IRC became a new member of the Everglades Coalition, an alliance of national, state, and local conservation and environmental organizations dedicated to the full restoration of the Greater Everglades Ecosystem.  The member organizations develop a consensus on Everglades Restoration, advocate for restoration, support research, provide education, and inform decision makers.  IRC joins other member organizations such as Tropical Audubon Society and The Florida Native Plant Society.   Read more about the Everglades Coalition at their website

IRC Biologists studying endangered bristle fern

Thursday, October 10, 2013

IRC Biologists, James Johson and Craig van der Heiden, are working in Sumter County, FL, with Colleen Werner (Withlacoochee State Forest Biologist) to determine the habitat requirements for the endangered bristle fern (Trichomanes punctatum subsp. floridanum).  Bristle ferns grow on the walls of sink holes in Miami-Dade County and on small rocky outcrops in mesic hammocks in Sumter County.

IRC will have a table at Volunteer Delray

Friday, October 04, 2013

Continuing our efforts to reach out to our new Delray Beach community, IRC will host a table at the Volunteer Delray event on Friday, October 25, 2013. Come learn about IRC's work and sign up to receive updates and volunteer.

IRC Research Associate Steven Green at Native and Pasture Grass ID Workshop

Friday, September 27, 2013

In addition to our dedicated full time staff, IRC utilized the skills and expertise of a group of research associates. Steven Green, one of our associates, will be conducting grass ID workshops in Central Florida during the month of October. Grass ID challenging and recognizing native and invasive species is essential to good management. These workshops are sponsored by regional CISMA - Cooperative Invasive Species Management Area - groups. Click on the pictures below to view the full announcement.

IRC to collaborate on native plant website for the Yucatan

Monday, September 23, 2013

Last week, IRC was visited by Mexican botanist J. Carlos Trejo Torres from Merida, Mexico.  Carlos is a longtime collaborator with IRC, who recently completed his Ph.D. at the Center for Scientific Research of the Yucatan (CICY).  Carlos and George Gann, IRC’s Chief Conservation Strategist, will head up a team of collaborators to launch a website inspired by Natives for Your Neighborhood for the Mexican Yucatan by year’s end.  Carlos is an expert on both Yucatan and Puerto Rican native plants and joins IRC as a Research Associate for this and upcoming projects.

IRC's Delray Beach Grand Opening was a success!

Thurday, September 12, 2013

While continuing our work in Miame Dade county, Collier County, and the Florida Keys, IRC is always striving to expand the reach of our work. Our main office moved to Delray Beach recently and our new community has given us a very warm welcome. The grand opening event last night at DIG drew around 50 guests including fellow Chamber of Commerce members and IRC board members, staff, and families.

IRC's New CEO and Grand Opening event.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Today is the official first day of Craig van der Heiden, Ph.D., as Chief Executive Officer of IRC. Help celebrate Craig's new position and George Gann's new role as Chief Conservation Strategist by attending our Grand Opening on Wednesday, September 11th hosted by the Delray Beach Chamber of Commerce.

What: IRC's grand opening
When: September 11, 5:00pm
Where: DIG Delray, 777 East Atlantic Ave, Delray Beach 33483

IRC web resources attract over 1 million page views per year!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Over the last several months, IRC has been putting a lot of effort into updating and upgrading our web resources, including both the Floristic Inventory of South Florida and Natives For Your Neighborhood.  And that’s a good thing - since the fall of 2012, our website has been averaging more than 100,000 page views per month and we will record well over 1 million page views in 2013.  What does that mean?  It means that hundreds of people are using IRC’s free online resources every day. The users of our website include students, native plant enthusiasts, land managers, and researchers.  Our resources are often cited in academic journal articles, such as this one from April of this year.   Even though our resources are free to the public, it is not free for us to run our website and native plant databases and we need support.  For more information on what’s happening with IRC’s web resources and how you can help, contact us at irc@regionalconservation.org.  You can also donate now through Network for Good.

IRC is going social on Facebook and LinkedIn

Monday, August 26, 2013

IRC strives to have as many ways as possible to reach out to the public and share our mission and our resources. From here on out, in addition to visiting our website you can follow us on LinkedIn, and like us on Facebook. We will be using these social networking sites to share updates from the field, post pictures and video of us at work, and provide the opportunity for conversations with our supporters.

Media Release: Craig van der Heiden named IRC’s first CEO

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

In culmination of a two year strategic planning process, the IRC Board of Directors is proud to announce that current Assistant Director, Craig van der Heiden, will become IRC’s Chief Executive Officer on September 9th, 2013.  Craig joined IRC in the summer of 2012 and has rapidly become a key member of IRC’s management team.  After 18 years as Executive Director, George Gann will step down from that position to concentrate on strategic governance and popular IRC initiatives such as the FISF Online and Natives For Your Neighborhood.  “The IRC Board and I have the upmost confidence in Craig as IRC’s chief executive.  We needed someone we could count on to run IRC’s program, from both a conservation science and a non-profit business perspective.  Craig has proven that he can do just that” George stated.  “With Craig in place, we use can our baseline of nearly 30 years of conservation work and really grow our program.”  A brief ceremony will be held in conjunction with IRC’s Grand Opening in Delray Beach on September 11th (see news item below).

IRC's Grand Opening of the new headquarters in Delray Beach will be September 11th hosted by the organic restaurant DIG.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

DIG Delray, known for its “Big Flavors…Small Footprint” has graciously agreed to host IRC’s Grand Opening, being held in conjunction with the Delray Beach Chamber of Commerce and its Non-Profit Council.

When: 5:00-6:00pm on Wednesday, September 11th, 2013
Where: DIG restaurant in downtown Delray Beach (map)

Because of space limitations we request that you RSVP by September 9th to Lindsey Nieratka at lnieratka@regionalconservation.org if you plan on attending. There will be delicious appetizers prepared by DIG and a cash bar. Please join us for this awesome event! If you cannot attend, please consider making a donation to IRC through Network for Good to help sponsor this event or any of our conservation programs in South Florida. Thank you!

The rewards of restoring a rockland hammock, 20 years later.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Before developing Natives For Your Neighborhood , IRC’s George Gann used to run around southern Miami-Dade County helping homeowners plant their own rockland hammocks.  One family recently reached out and made contact, 20 years after George helped them with their project. 

Bob Troy and his wife Sherrye had this to say:

“We appreciate your visit today to inspect the rockland hammock in our yard, the result of your careful recommendation 20 years ago.  We are extremely proud of it and have found it requires practically no maintenance since it consists exclusively of all native plants.  The only problem we have had with it was it was so successful that it began to encroach on our neighbor's yard!  But it looked so beautiful and natural that we were not aware it was expanding.  Today we have a squirrel's nest, a cardinal's nest, and a family of blue jays.  The cardinals and blue jays are both raising families in our hammock.

We can't begin to tell you what a joy it has been, and the satisfaction we feel knowing we are conserving our region's precious water, and not depositing insecticides or grass fertilizers in our soil.  We want to thank you for your original recommendations, which have worked out so well for us.  We would be please to let anyone who is interested in cultivating their own native hammock come by and experience it for themselves."

To learn more about how you can create a native habitat in your yard, visit Natives For Your Neighborhood and our publications page. If you, like Mr. and Mrs. Troy, are interested in rockland hammocks, the document Guidelines for planting a rockland hammock in South Florida will provide you all the information you need to get started.

The Troy Residence in central Kendall, Miami-Dade County, Florida

The State of the Birds 2013 report highlights the importance of conservation on private lands.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Have you seen the North American Bird Conservation Initiative’s report The State of the Birds 2013: Report of Private Lands?   The report highlights the importance of bird conservation on private lands and specifically praises the North American Wetland Conservation Act.  IRC was recently rewarded funds through this Act in order to restore important bird habitat in Palmetto Bay. Birds are highly mobile species and do not restrict their movements to public protected areas.  Habitat on private lands is vitally important for providing food, nest sites, stopping points on migration routes, and other vital services.   In addition to IRC’s work specifically targeting bird conservation, such as the Palmetto Bay project, IRC’s “Partners” programs, Pine Rockland Initiative, and online resource Natives for your Neighborhood help private landowners maintain native habitat on their land and have the added benefit of creating habitat for bird species.   To do your part to help the birds, contact IRC to help you restore your land to native habitat or visit Natives for your Neighborhood to learn about how you can use native landscaping in your yard. 

IRC welcomes a new addition

Thursday, July 11, 2013

We at IRC are excited to announce the addition of a new little scientist to our family. Sarah Martin, Miami Dade field biologist and head of our Pine Rockland Initiative, welcomed her daughter into the world last week. Fiona Summer Julietta Flanner and her parents are home and doing well.

Restoring Galactia smallii habitat

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

IRC is successful restorating habitat for Galactia smallii in pine rocklands.  At the restoration site in Miami- Dade county, large areas of the pine rockland are heavily infested with dense mats of the exotic turf grass Zyosia tenuifolia.  After restoration treatments G. smallii  and native plants are returning with vigor.

G. smallii growing on dead Z. tenuifolia.

IRC completes contract at Picayune Strand State Forest

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Through an agreement with the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) and subcontracted through Environmental Resources Management - Southeast, INC, IRC conducted mapping of exotic plants and coordinated exotics control efforts within a 3,000 acre area of Picayune Strand State Forest. Read the most recent annual report here. IRC will continue this project through a second agreement directly with the SFWMD.

South Florida in the media for Sea Level Rise and Climate Change

Tuesday, July 3, 2013

Have you heard all the buzz about climate change, sea level rise, and South Florida recently? President Obama mentioned Everglades Restoration in his landmark speech on climate change last week (read the full text here). The current issue of Rolling Stone magazine features an article titled “Goodbye, Miami” which discusses the impacts of Sea Level rise on the state. IRC has been busy at work assessing sea level rise impacts on rare species in South Florida in order to help the National Park Service design management plans to deal with the impacts of sea level rise. You can read more about this on the projects page. In addition, IRC’s work restoring native habitat, partnering with local land owners to protect remaining habitat fragments, and promoting urban habitat through our Natives For Your Neighborhood program will help increase the resiliency of our region to the changes we will face in the future. To do your part, plant natives in your own yard! Go to Natives For Your Neighborhood to find a list of plants for your area.

IRC Awarded Grant from the Norcross Wildlife Foundation

Thursday, June 13, 2013

The Institute for Regional Conservation received a small grant from the Norcross Wildlife Foundation for the purchase of a new MobileMapper 10 GPS unit with ArcPad. The new unit will assist IRC in completing our mission by giving us the tools necessary to map areas treated for exotic species and monitor our success, map occurrences of rare and endangered species, and improve our databases. For a list of our ongoing projects for which the new unit will be used, visit our projects page.

Exotics removal on backcountry Keys

Thursday, June 6, 2013

IRC’s Florida Key’s Ecological Restoration and Management team conducted exotic species removal on Snipes Key. Several large areas of Brazilian-pepper (Schinus terebinthifolius) and Colubrina asiatica were treated. Mainland biologists James Johnson and Craig van der Heiden joined the crew and now have a new appreciation for the Keys Team as they experienced the battle through the mangroves.

Commelina erecta is one of the many native species benefiting from IRC's treatment and removal of exotic plant species in the Florida Keys.

Surveys of Everglades Bully and Everglades crabgrass continue in Big Cypress National Preserve

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Assistant Director Craig van der Heiden and Field Biologist James Johnson recently returned from Big Cypress National Preserve where they spent several days conducting surveys for Everglades bully (Sideroxylon reclinatum subsp. Austrofloridense) and Everglades crabgrass, sometimes called Florida pineland crabgrass, (Digitaria pauciflora). Blurring the lines between work and leisure, Craig and James were able to camp and backpack through the National Preserve in pursuit of these imperiled endemic species and even had the pleasure of becoming acquainted with one of the local black bears (Ursus americanus). This field work is part of the project “Big Cypress Candidate Plant Survey” which you can read more about on our projects page .

IRC's Palmetto Bay restoration project in the news.

Wednesday June 5, 2013

The North American Wetland Conservation Act U.S. Small Grant from the US Fish and Wildlife Service Division of Bird Habitat Conservation has awarded money throughout the Southeast for bird habitat restoration. Through this grant, IRC is launching a significant coastal habitat restoration project in Palmetto Bay, Florida benefitting more than 100 species of migratory birds and a long list of other rare animals and plants along Biscayne Bay is one of several funded projects. Other collaborators on the project are Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, Miami-Dade County Environmentally Endangered Lands Program, Palmetto Bay Village Center, South Florida Water Management District and Tropical Audubon Society. Read this article from The Chattanoogan for more information about the program and examples of funded projects including IRC's.

Florida Keys Leadtree Removal

Friday, May 17, 2013

IRC’s Florida Key’s Ecological Restoration and Management team is working diligently to remove exotic White leadtree (Leucaena leucocephala). The team, recently returned from removing Leadtree in Guantamo Bay, Cuba, is currently working on exotic plant species removal at Crocodile Lake National Wildlife Refuge and will soon be moving on to some of the backcountry islands in the lower Keys.

Assistance to homeowners in the Florida Keys for removal of the exotic Brazilian-pepper. 

Friday, May 17, 2013

Through a USFWS grant, the IRC Florida Keys team is offering assistance to homeowners in removing the exotic Brazilian-pepper (Schinus terebinthifolius) from their properties. If you are a homeowner in need of assistance in the form of information and materials for the removal of Brazilian-pepper, please contact Cody Miller at 305-304-6610 or miller@regionalconservation.org.

Sarah Martin to present at Florida Native Plant Society's Dade Chapter meeting in April.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

IRC Biologist Sarah Martin will give a presentation to the Dade Chapter of the Florida Native Plant Society on Tuesday, April 23rd at 7:30 PM at Pinecrest Gardens (the old Parrot Jungle). Sarah will provide an update on IRC’s current applied conservation science and habitat restoration projects taking place across south Florida and the Caribbean.

IRC initiates coastal restoration project in Palmetto Bay, Miami-Dade County, Florida.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

IRC teams with the National Park Service and is awarded a North American Wetland Conservation Act U.S. Small Grant from the US Fish and Wildlife Service Division of Bird Habitat Conservation. This award will launch a significant coastal habitat restoration project in Palmetto Bay, Florida that will benefit more than 100 species of migratory birds and a long list of other rare animals and plants along Biscayne Bay. Other collaborators on the project are Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, Miami-Dade County Environmentally Endangered Lands Program, Palmetto Bay Village Center, South Florida Water Management District and Tropical Audubon Society.

IRC hosting a booth at 2013 Native Plant Day.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

The Dade Chapter of the Florida Native Plant Society is hosting their 18th annual Native Plant Day at Bill Sadowski Park at Old Cutler Hammock. The Institute for Regional Conservation will be there hosting an informational booth. Please come by to support IRC and Native Plant conservation. To learn more visit the Dade Chapter of the Florida Native Plant Society website.

2nd Annual "Holiday Holly Roundup" in the Florida Keys January 5, 2013.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

The Florida Keys team will be hosting their second annual Holiday Holly Roundup.  This festive and seasonal event solicits landowner participation in the removal of the invasive exotic Brazilian Pepper – sometimes called “Florida Holly” – from their private property.  Last year’s event was a huge success with over 72 private landowners participating.

If you are a landowner and are interested in removing exotic invasive plants from your property come to the Holiday Holly Roundup for herbicide safety and application training from our restoration specialists as well as a free 700ml of premium herbicide.

Where:  IRC Key’s Regional Office,  30933 Ave A, Big Pine Key, Fl 33043
When: Saturday, January 5, 2013 from 10am – 3pm

For more information please contact Cody Miller at 305-304-6610 or miller@regionalconservation.org.

IRC awarded contract by the Department of Defense to conduct conservation work at U.S. Special Operations Command South Headquarters (SOCSOUTH).

Thursday, November 1, 2012

IRC was recently awarded a contract by the Department of Defense to conduct conservation work at the SOCSOUTH headquarters in Miami-Dade County. IRC will utilize its broad experience with invasive plant control, applied botanical research and rare plant conservation to manage conservation areas designed to protect rare plants. Specifically, we will conduct habitat restoration and enhancement for the federally endangered Small’s milkpea (Galactia smallii), fedederal candidate sand flax (Linum arenicola) and many other rare plants.

Media Release: Craig van der Heiden joins IRC as new Assistant Director.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

The Institute for Regional Conservation is pleased to announce that Craig van der Heiden has joined IRC as Assistant Director. Originally from Zimbabwe, southern Africa, Craig will be given a Ph.D. in Integrative Biology from Florida Atlantic University this August. “We were looking for someone with robust entrepreneurial experience coupled with strong science skills and Craig was a perfect fit,” states IRC Executive Director George Gann. “We have been working hard to build our program and we look forward to moving our mission forward with Craig’s help.” With a background that ranges from running his family's safari business, to the rigorous study of creatures as varied as rhinos and crayfish, Craig possesses the same out-of-the-box perspective on conservation science that lies at the heart of IRC's strengths.

Media Release: IRC seeks new Assistant Director - Keith Bradley to Relocate.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The Institute for Regional Conservation seeks a dedicated, entrepreneurial leader to steward its mission and to oversee daily business operations. This entails leading staff to restore ecological communities and protect endangered species; fostering public awareness of IRC’s programs; and deepening and extending collaboration, research, and networking among government, academic and private land-owner partners. Please see our full announcement.

IRC's first full time employee (1996), Assistant Director Keith Bradley will be relocating in the coming months to the Carolinas. "Keith has been at the heart and soul of IRC since we started working in South Florida in the mid-1990s. While Keith will be physically relocating, he will remain associated with IRC and will continue to collaborate with us on local and global conservation issues," states IRC President and Executive Director George Gann. "Keith's contributions to IRC have been unqualified and we wish him the best in all his endeavors."

Media Release: IRC Expands Board Leadership

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The Institute for Regional Conservation is proud to announce that Patty Phares and Joyce Maschinski will join its Board of Directors this September. IRC is well known for its cutting edge work on regional conservation issues, especially involving rare plants and ecological restoration, and the addition of Phares and Maschinski will boost its efforts to protect species at both the global and local levels. Ms. Phares is a long time conservation activist in South Florida, especially known for her work with the local chapter of the Florida Native Plant Society where she has volunteered for 30 years. Dr. Maschinski is the conservation ecologist leading the South Florida conservation program at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden. She has significant expertise on conservation corridors and is co-editor of the forthcoming book, Plant Reintroduction in a Changing Climate: Promises and Perils (Island Press). Bringing Maschinski and Phares onto the IRC board represents just the first phase of planned leadership expansion at the well-respected institution. “IRC has accomplished an incredible amount in its first 25 years,” states IRC President and Executive Director George Gann. “But we cannot rest on our laurels. Global change demands ever more action and IRC must evolve to meet this challenge. We need leaders to step forward at this critical juncture and we are both honored and grateful to have Patty and Joyce join us this fall.”

IRC Research Associate Steve Woodmansee named President of the Florida Native Plant Society

Monday, June 13, 2011

Long-time IRC staffer and reseach associate Steve Woodmansee has become the new President of the Florida Native Plant Society. Visit the FNPS blog (June 12) for an interview with Steve. IRC has had an excellent and long-running relationship with the Florida Native Plant Society, which was one of the founding sponsors of our Natives For Your Neighborhood Program.

Restoration Crews in Action

Friday, January 29, 2010

IRC now has two restoration crews up and running! Our GreenSweep Team in the Florida Keys is working under the guidance of Cody-Marie Miller and our Miami-Dade County Exotic Plant Control Crew is being directed by James Duquesnel and John James. Our 6-person teams are feverishly removing invasive exotic plant species and excess hardwoods in order to restore and maintain pine rockland habitat on private lands. Both teams are funded through the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service with the Miami-Dade County grant coming from Stimulus funds. Restoration of these properties will greatly increase the connectivity between remaining pine rockland fragments, ensuring healthier populations of native plants and animals, particularly pine rockland habitat specialists.

IRC Recieves Stimulus Package Funds

Wendesday, October 28, 2009

We're pleased to announce that our stimulus package proposal to the USFWS was not only funded, but was ranked top funding priority for our region! The funds will enable us to hire a restoration crew to expand our pinerockland restoration project in Miami-Dade County. 200 acres of private and 300 acres of public pine rocklands will be restored to enhance and expand critical habitat for 17 species of Federally-listed and candidate plant and animal species.

IRC to Study Sea Level Rise in Everglades National Park

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

IRC received Critical Ecosystem Studies Initiative (CESI) funding to study the effects of sea level rise on coastal upland plants in the Everglades National Park. A combination of field and experimental methods will be utilized to, a) determine depth of water uptake and salinity of water utilized by coastal upland plants, b) monitor the effects of differential salinity levels on plant growth, survival and stomatal conductance in a shadehouse. Needless to say, we are excited!

We Burned Our Pinelands!

Monday, July 20, 2009

After years of dreaming, planning and working through logistics, we finally burned both our George N. Avery and John Kunkel Small Pinelands last week. Neither were burned for at least 15 years prior to this and were being overgrown by hardwoods. Healthy fire regimes follow nature's cycle of a burn every three to seven years to maintain optimal conditions for a variety of pineland specialist plants and animals. These burns were particularly important because both were relatively small parcels and the Avery Pineland is surrounded by residential homes. Many of the remaining pinelands in Miami-Dade County are in a similar situation so having successful burns may set a precedence to do the same on many other properties that are in dire need of a burn. These burns were conducted under the direction of IRC Senior Biologist Mike Barry and his partners from "Land Restoration and Management Services", Steve Thurlow and Nate Lehmkuhl.We would also like to thank the following volunteers, donors and logistical supporters who made these burns possible: Dennis Giardina (FWC), Tony Pernas (NPS), Don Stringer (MDC Fire), Gary Lewis (DOF), John Whelan, Patty Phares, Terry & Barbara Glancy, John Greenleaf III, Pat Kelly, Alan Cressler, Manuel Beers, Katha Sheehan, James Fobb, participants in IRC's last two restoration BBQs, the Ross Foundation and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Interested in Learning to Identify South Florida Grasses?

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Famed grass expert, Keith Bradley, will be teaching at least one South Florida Grass Identification Workshop this fall. The workshop covers grass terminology; general differences between grasses (Poaceae), sedges (Cyperaceae) and rushes (Juncaceae); grass identification resources; and an overview of grass species in South Florida. By the end of the workshop, participants will be familiar with diagnostic characters, how to use diagnostic keys and will be prepared to recognize species in the field. Traditionally this course has been offered as a one-day classroom experience, but if there is enough interest, it will be expanded to a more extensive course that includes field components. The one day workshop is being offered at $175 and the two-day class would cost $350. If you would be interested in taking one of these courses from Keith in September or October, please contact him at (305) 247-6547 or at bradley@regionalconservation.org so he can plan accordingly.

Check Out Our New Native Plant Nursery Page

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

In response to popular demand, we created a webpage dedicated to our native plant nursery. Not only can you access our most current plant inventory list there, but you can also read about the purpose of our nursery and find out how you can help. Please take the time to visit our newest webpage and let us know what you think. Better yet, maybe it's time to buy a new plant for your yard! The Florida ironweed are flowering beautifully at the moment...

IRC Wins Power Financial Credit Union's Small Business Contest

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Earth Day came with an extra boost for IRC this year! Power Financial Credit Union CEO Allan Prindle and associates visited the IRC headquarters today and awarded us Grand Prize in their Small Business Makeover Contest. The prize included a $1,000 gift card to Staples and free, private consulting in financial planning, marketing and public relations. This is a great opportunity for us to improve our infrastructure in order to connect our conservation efforts with new communities and to ensure our security through this economic slump. For more information, please check out their press release. We would like to thank Power Financial Credit Union for giving us this great opportunity!

Visit Us at this Weekend's Green Expo

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

We'll be at Ft Lauderdale's 2009 Green Expo this weekend so come visit our booth and buy some hard-to-find native plants! The event is being held on Saturday, April 25 at Stranahan Park in downtown Ft. Lauderdale and runs from 9am to 3pm. The focus this year is water conservation and energy efficiency... We definitely have the right plants for that! For more information, please visit the Green Ft. Lauderdale webpage.

Thanks for joining our Restoration Picnic!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Many thanks to everyone who joined our restoration picnic this year! We spent the morning clearing Burmareed, hardwoods and debris along the edge of our firebreak at IRC's George N. Avery Pineland before stopping for lunch back at the IRC headquarters. We really appreciate your company and efforts. The difference is impressive and we are well on our way to having it ready for a burn later this year. An extra special thanks to John Whelan who advanced our efforts considerably by using his tractor to clear the firebreak before we even started.

Join us April 18 for a Restoration Picnic!

Monday, March 30, 2009

It's time for IRC's annual restoration celebration! Put on your work gloves and join us at 8:30am on April 18 at IRC's George N. Avery Pineland for our 3rd Annual Restoration Barbeque. We'll spend the morning maintaining globally imperiled pine rockland habitat, then, at 11:30am, will enjoy a picnic on the property to appreciate the fruits of our labor. IRC will provide drinks, sandwiches, some fruits and veggies, but please feel free to bring a salad or dessert to share. The George N. Avery Pineland is located on S.W. 125th Avenue, just north of S.W. 240th Street. There's plenty of work for all ages and fitness levels, and we'll even take you late if you can't quite get up on time for the 8:30am start. We're looking forward to a fun and productive time with you! Click here for more information and a map.

Noticed Our Web Updates?

Monday, March 30, 2009

Limited time and funds make it challenging to keep our website current, but we think it's important and have recently invested some time in the cause. Check out our newly added Pine Rockland Initiative page with information for private pine rockland landowners. Keep your eyes open for additional improvements in the near future!
If you'd like to support this work, please contact Patty at (305) 247-6547 or castillo@regionalconservation.org to make a donation.

Native Plants and Books for Sale

Monday, March 30, 2009

A dedicated webpage for our native plant nursery is next on our list of planned web updates (see above), but until then... we thought you might like to see what we've got available at the moment! Here's our current plant list. Our nursery is open to the public Monday through Friday during normal business hours, but please call ahead (305-247-6547) to ensure staff assistance.
In addition to plants, we just discovered 10 last copies of IRC's 2002 book, "Rare Plants of South Florida: Their History, Conservation and Restoration", that we're offering for sale. This book is part of IRC's "Restoring South Florida's Native Plant Heritage" program and excerpts are available online for viewing. Please contact Patty (305-247-6547 or castillo@regionalconservation.org) for more information or to make a purchase.

Floristic Quality Index Developed for South Florida

Monday, February 16, 2009

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service just released a document entitled “Coefficients of conservatism values and the Floristic Quality Index for the vascular plants of south Florida.” IRC Senior Biologist Michael Barry and IRC Executive Director George Gann are both co-authors on the document and helped to develop this important conservation tool. The premise of the coefficient of conservatism is that plants have varying degrees of fidelity to specific habitats and quality of that habitat. All plants native to an area can be assigned a number on a scale from one to ten by local experts that reflects their tolerance to habitat disturbance. Once assigned, these values can be combined to create an objective and repeatable method for comparing the floristic conditions of geographically separated habitats, though comparisons cannot be made between differing habitat types. At this juncture of rapid habitat loss and deterioration, this tool may prove crucial for making informed management decisions.

Urban Habitat Restoration Symposium

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

IRC director George Gann started 2009 off strong with a presentation at the Great Lakes Urban Habitat Restoration Symposium in Chicago, IL last month. In his role as chair of the SER International board of directors, George presented a global overview of ecological restoration and the role SER International plays in its facilitation. The conference itself was focused on protecting and improving riverine and nearshore habitats within the urban zones of the Great Lakes area. As part of his talk, George discussed projects specific to the area, but also emphasized the magnitude of projects around the world, the resources available to learn from, and the importance of collaboration. He specifically mentioned some of the special concerns associated with projects in urban areas and used examples from IRC’s projects within South Florida, demonstrating the utility of global interchange on restoration techniques.

GreenSweep Project in the Keys

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The Nature Conservancy’s Florida Keys office recently transferred their GreenSweep project to IRC for continuation. Initiated in 2001, the program is designed to eradicate invasive exotic plants from public conservation lands and priority private lands in the Florida Keys. Primarily funded by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the State of Florida, the project expands the geographic scope of our restoration work from Miami-Dade County, where we have conducted a similar project for the last 4 years, to Monroe County.

More Global Connections

Monday, November 3, 2008

George continues to take local conservation tactics, the very concepts that built IRC, to the global community through his work with SER. He attended a meeting in Montreal, Canada with the Convention on Biological Diversity Secretariat at the end of September and just returned from the IUCN World Conservation Congress in Barcelona, Spain. At this juncture of global environmental concern, it is increasingly important to create and maintain widespread dialogue about the state of our planet and how to ensure positive futures. SER recently released a policy position statement on the role of ecological restoration in reversing ecosystem fragmentation. While George is formally representing SER as Chair of the Board, this is very much a conversation about IRC and our grassroots efforts to return nature to Miami’s metropolitan areas through our Natives for Your Neighborhood and Restoring the Link programs. We’re very excited to be part of this global movement and are sure that our model will prove effective in other parts of the world as well!

Donate to IRC by Decorating Your Wall

Monday, November 3, 2008

Artist Ana Bikic's painting Red Flag proved such a hit, that she's now offering it for sale as a print with 40% of the proceeds coming to IRC! Ana specially created this work for the 5th Annual Friends of IRC Fundraising Party and it served us well as the front of our invitation and as the highest bidding item in our auction. You can now decorate your walls at home with Red Flag by buying it online and again, it will support IRC. Ana (pictured at the IRC event below with Red Flag), thanks for your generosity!

Thanks for making the FOIRC Party great!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Many thanks to everyone who helped make our 5th Annual Friends of IRC Fundraising Party a great success despite a rather wet ending. We would especially like to thank Tropical Audubon Society for inviting us back to Doc Thomas House; Elane Neuhring of the Miami Blue Butterfly Chapter for facilitating the first ever butterfly count at Doc Thomas House; Citizens for a Better South Florida for providing learning fun for the kids; and Valerie Wisecracker for providing music and entertainment for all. We're pleased to report that despite the economic uncertainties of the moment, we raised over $4,000 amidst the fun! Many thanks to each and every one of you that contributed to this total. For those of you that missed the party, you can still make a donation by contacting Patty at castillo@regionalconservation.org or (305) 247-6547. For those of you that were there, we truly hope that you had as much fun as we did!

Come to the FOIRC Party on October 25!!!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

The Institute for Regional Conservation & Tropical Audubon Society invite you to gather with past, present and future Friends of IRC members for a day of festivities! Join us as we celebrate landscaping for wildlife through butterfly explorations with Elane Neuhring of the Miami Blue Butterfly Chapter, kid's activities by Citizens for a Better South Florida, live music by Valerie Wisecracker, food and great company. We'll provide the barbeque, but please bring a dessert or salad to share and don't forget your cash for the bar, silent auction and raffle tickets (we also accept checks, but no credit cards please).
When: Saturday, October 25, 2008 from 11am to 3pm
Where: Doc Thomas House, 5530 Sunset Drive, South Miami
Who: YOU and all your friends and family...

Your support is vital to our continued progress in restoring the link between people and nature!
We hope to see you there.

Please contact Patty (castillo@regionalconservation.org; (305) 247-6547) for more information or to make a donation.

Ecosymbolism Art at the 5th Annual FOIRC Party: A note about 'Red Flag'

Monday, October 13, 2008

Founder of the Ecosymbolism Art movement, artist Ana Bikic has dedicated her work to inspiring environmental conservation. She views art as a catalyst for joining science, nature and the public in a dialogue toward creative solutions to our environmental challenges. In support of our attempts to link people and nature, Ana has designed Red Flag, the painting featured on this year’s invitation, for our auction. The red flags allude to the coontie’s troubled past in times of overharvesting and the ensuing plight of both this species and the dependent Atala butterfly – tagged for quick sale or alarm? As these species walk the tightrope to recovery, we’re forced to think about other pineland residents and beyond.

Botanical Notes from the Florida Keys

Friday, August 1, 2008

IRC has been working in the Big Pine Key area of the Florida Keys recently, doing rare plant monitoring for the National Key Deer Refuge. As part of these surveys, Biologist Steven Green has made a couple of interesting discoveries. He found Garber's sandmat (Chamaesyce garberi), a Federally-listed Threatened and State-listed Endangered species, in pine rockland habitat. This may not sound that exciting to those of you that have seen the species in Miami-Dade County, but in the Keys the species hasn't been observed in this habitat type for 100 years or so! Steve also discovered myrtle-of-the-river (Calyptranthes zuzygium) on No Name Key. Up to now this State-listed Endangered species only extended as far as Key Largo from Miami-Dade County, but had not been recorded in the Lower Keys.

George Gann at Kew Gardens, U.K.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Once again, IRC Executive Director George Gann just returned from abroad in the name of restoration. He most recently served on an internal review panel at the Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew, U.K. The panel assessed the ways in which botanical gardens in general, and the Royal Botanic Gardens in particular, can better contribute to the science supporting ecological restoration around the world.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Honors Keith Bradley

Monday, June 9, 2008

IRC Assistant Director Keith Bradley recently received a “Leader in Recovery” award from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). Every year the USFWS recognizes selected employees and partners that have made exceptional contributions toward the recovery of threatened and endangered species. Keith has worked closely with the USFWS for many years to protect and restore populations of rare and endangered plants, particularly pine rockland species. They clearly appreciate his efforts and we’re proud of the recognition. Way to go Keith!

Convention on Biological Diversity in Germany

Monday, June 1, 2008

IRC Executive Director George Gann recently traveled to Bonn, Germany to participate in the 9th Convention on Biological Diversity. Representing the Society for Ecological Restoration International (SER), George was there to tout an integrated, ecosystem level approach to protecting biodiversity and the health of our planet. This approach to conservation was one of George’s inspirations for founding IRC. To learn more about this concept, read SER’s briefing note, “Opportunities for Integrating Ecological Restoration & Biological Diversity within the Ecosystem Approach”.

Environmental Efforts in South Korea

Monday, May 5, 2008

IRC Executive Director George Gann recently returned from a trip to Seoul, South Korea where he was invited to be a judge on a panel to determine the design of Gangbuk Park. The site of an abandoned amusement park, the Seoul Metropolitan Government has decided to convert the 100 hectare area into an environmental oasis where people and nature can connect. George was the point person for environmental assessments and was instrumental in the selection of a design that will not only provide space for people to enjoy recreational activities, including sports and the arts, but will also reconnect fragmented natural areas and integrate wildlife habitat throughout the park. While in Seoul, George also met with Kwi-Gon Kim, a professor at the Seoul National University who also directs the Korea Eco-City Network. In his role as chair of the Society for Ecological Restoration International (SER), George is working with Professor Kim to establish SER’s first international ecological restoration resource center.

New Pithecellobium for the Florida Keys

Monday, May 5, 2008

IRC Biologists Keith Bradley and Michael Barry found a population of Bahamas cat's claw (Pithecellobium bahamense) in a pine rockland on Big Pine Key last fall. The population had also been observed the previous year by local naturalist and photographer Paula Cannon. While this population is the first discovered in Florida, it is considered native to the area because of its close proximity to natural populations in the Caribbean and the fact that it is not currently being cultivated in Florida.

Join Us for a Movie Extravaganza!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

We join forces with Tropical Audubon Society (TAS) to bring you Wind Across The Everglades. This classic 1958 movie, never released in the U.S. on DVD or video, stars Burl Ives, Chris Plummer and Gypsy Rose Lee. Get a glimpse of Miami in its pioneer days as you're transported to a conservation battlefield where the Audubon Society takes on the Cottonmouth Gang to protect wading birds from plume hunters. The battle gets nasty as elements of the Everglades become weapons... beware death by manchineel!

When: Thursday, May 8. Doors open at 7pm.
Where: Doc Thomas House (5530 Sunset Drive)
Tickets: $20 at the door - Proceeds from this fundraiser will be split between IRC and TAS to support underfunded conservation projects.

Native Plant Day A Success!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Many thanks to everyone who helped make Native Plant Day a big success for IRC! We sold 2/3 of our plants and met many new people. We got great feedback from everyone who stopped to chat and really enjoyed the opportunity to meet with old and new friends. Thanks again! We hope to see you at our next event.

Join us March 15 at Native Plant Day

Monday, March 3, 2008

It's time for the Dade Chapter of Florida Native Plant Society's Native Plant Day! Join us Saturday, March 15 from 9am to 4pm at the Enchanted Forest Elaine Gordon Park (1725 N.E. 135th St.) for a day of fun and learning. IRC will be hosting a plant sales and information booth where you can learn about and buy lesser known native plants. Be sure to visit us as you make your way around all the different activities! For more information on the event, as well as a schedule of talks, visit the official event webpage.

Debris Cleared at the IRC Restoration BBQ

Monday, March 3, 2008

The day started with dismal piles of trash along one edge of our George N. Avery Pineland, including everything from fresh, dirty diapers to 5-gallon containers filled with motor oil. Fortunately, our Friends are a tough crew and, after seven truckloads taken to the dump and a site visitation by a DERM inspector, the day ended with laughter, good food and a cleared fenceline. Illegal dumping is just one of the ongoing threats to natural areas in South Florida. Many thanks to everyone who donated their Sunday morning to helping us combat this problem!

Grant Award from the Pacific Foundation

Monday, March 3, 2008

We recently received an unsolicited grant from the Pacific Foundation for general operating costs based on a recommendation by one of our Friends of IRC Members. The Pacific Foundation supports "new and innovative technology, ideas and global communication" relevant to social justice, the environment and the arts. IRC strives toward a holisitic approach to ecological conservation that depends upon participation of local residents, particularly in urban areas. It is often difficult to find funding for the less familiar, but still essential, components of our approach. Grants such as this one are crucial to our success. Many thanks to the Pacific Foundation for enabling our work and to the Friends of IRC member that recommended us for this funding! If anyone else has connections with foundations or corporations with giving programs, please keep us in mind. Our vision is big, but our resources are limited.

Come to the IRC Restoration BBQ

Monday, February 4, 2008

Join us on Sunday, February 24 for a morning of fun and fulfillment at this year’s Restoration Barbeque. Contribute to the planet by helping us restore critically imperiled pine rockland habitat at the IRC George N. Avery Pineland. There is limited parking at the pineland so please meet at the IRC office (22601 S.W. 152 Ave.) between 8:30-9:00am to carpool. If you arrive after 9:00am, please head directly to IRC’s pineland on S.W. 125th Avenue, just north of SW 240th Street. We’ll work from 9-noon, then, after admiring our work, we’ll head back to the IRC office for festivities. We’ll be serving one of Keith’s now famous meat dishes (don’t worry, there will be vegetarian options as well) so please bring a side, salad or dessert to share. We hope you will all be able to join us! There will be plenty of work for every age and fitness level and more than anything, it is a chance to hang out. For more information, call Patty at 305-247-6547.

IRC Nursery Now Open for Business

Monday, February 4, 2008

Have you ever found that perfect plant on our Natives for Your Neighborhood website, but not been able to find it on the market? Frustrating, isn't it? IRC has been working to solve that problem by creating a nursery focused on hard to find native species. We have limited inventory at the moment, but we have stock available for sale. Check out our current native plant price list. Help save South Florida's unique plant diversity by bringing the wilderness to your backyard and support IRC's conservation efforts at the same time! Please contact Patty at 305-247-6547 for more information or to make a purchase.

Another IRC Database Launching

Monday, December 17, 2007

Ever wanted to arrange your visits to state parks in the Florida Keys around the plants you love most? Now you can! IRC's newest database, the State Parks of the Florida Keys Database, is designed to do just that. This is IRC's second internal replicate of the conservation methodology first developed with the Florisitic Inventory of South Florida (FISF). We are currently working on other replicates in Puerto Rico, the Bahamas and the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico. For more information on our methodology, please see the Executive Summary and Chapter 1 of IRC's Book Rare Plants of South Florida: Their History, Conservation, and Restoration (Gann, Bradley & Woodmansee, 2002).

Sun-Sentinel Article Highlights NFYN

Monday, December 17, 2007

IRC and the Broward County Water Resources Division have been working together to promote native plant landscaping through the Naturescape program. The Sun-Sentinel just created a new venue for the program through their newly announced Native Plant of the Week article. This will be a biweekly article in the New Homes section by author Debby LaFogg-Dochtery. The article announcement, " Go 'native' with our exciting new column", ran on November 24, 2007.

IRC in the Florida Parks and SFC CESU Fall Newsletters

Monday, December 17, 2007

IRC’s work gained mention in the fall issues of the Florida Parks and South Florida Caribbean (SFC) CESU newsletters. The Florida Parks newsletter, Park Scene, highlighted Biologist Kirsten Hines’ new finding of an endangered rimrock crowned snake (Tantilla oolitica) at the Barnacle Historic Site (see page 15) and Director George Gann’s involvement in identifying a population of Mahogany mistletoe (Phoradendron rubrum) in north Key Largo, a site where it was thought to be extirpated (see page 16). IRC was introduced as a new partner in the SFC CESU newsletter, South Florida Caribbean CESU News and Updates, and a brief summary was given of various IRC vegetation mapping projects pertaining to this partnership (see page 2).

Floristic Inventory of the Florida Keys Database Launched

Monday, October 15, 2007

You can now do a detailed search for plants in the Florida Keys! Get a general plant list, or search by Conservation Area or Habitat on the Florisitic Inventory of the Florida Keys (FIFK) Database. Data collection began for this project as part of the Florisitic Inventory of South Florida (FISF) in 1995 and assessment began in 2006. This is IRC's first internal replicate of the conservation methodology first developed with the FISF. We are currently working on other replicates in Puerto Rico, the Bahamas and the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico. For more information on our methodology, please see the Executive Summary and Chapter 1 of IRC's Book Rare Plants of South Florida: Their History, Conservation, and Restoration (Gann, Bradley & Woodmansee, 2002).

4th Annual Friends of IRC Fundraising Party A Success!

Monday, October 15, 2007

Many thanks to everyone who helped make this event our most successful yet! We're pleased to announce that we more than doubled both the number of attendees and the amount of money raised from last year's event. Over 100 people, including founding FOIRC members and many new faces, shared in the fun throughout the day; we also hit the $5,000 mark! We could not have done this without your help. We would especially like to thank Tropical Audubon Society for co-hosting this event, Suzanne Koptur for an enlightening talk, and Citizens for a Better South Florida for keeping the children happy and learning. This was a collaborative effort, and IRC Director George Gann summarized it best in his closing remarks when he reminded us that we are essential to solving today's environmental challenges and that we can achieve this by working together.

Join The 4th Annual Friends of IRC Fundraising Party

Thursday, September 20, 2007

When: Saturday, October 13 from 11am—3pm
Where: Doc Thomas House, 5530 Sunset Drive
It’s time for another reunion of past, present and future Friends of IRC members! Tropical Audubon Society is opening their doors for this year’s event so that you can get a first-hand look at IRC’s pine rockland restoration. In addition to a walk featuring this work, Suzanne Koptur is giving a talk on pinelands and their pollinators. Other highlights include kids’ activities hosted by Citizens for a Better South Florida, barbeque, beer by Peroni, music, plant raffle & sales, a silent auction and great company.
We hope you can join us!
Nonmembers are welcome with a donation. Please RSVP to Patty at castillo@regionalconservation.org (email preferred) or 305-247-6547.

SER's Global Climate Change Statement

Thursday, September 20, 2007

A global climate change statement was released by the Society for Ecological Restoration (SER) at their recent joint "Ecological Restoration in a Changing World" meeting with Ecological Society of America (ESA). According to IRC Executive Director George Gann, now acting chair of SER, “Unless checked, global climate change will destroy people, places, and life as we know it. Ecological restoration offers hope in two key areas: by reconnecting fragmented ecosystems allowing animals and plants to migrate in response to such change; and, by capturing carbon through the restoration of forests, peat-forming wetlands, and other ecosystems that act as carbon sinks.” For more details, go to SER's Global Restoration Network Website.

New Opportunities for IRC!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

IRC just received great news! We are now official members of the South Florida and Caribbean Cooperative Ecosystems Studies Unit (CESU). CESU’s are a national network of cooperating agencies and organizations which work together to provide research, technical assistance, and education to land managers. The South Florida and Caribbean CESU consists of several large government agencies including the National Park Service, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and most regional universities. IRC is only the second not-for-profit organization accepted into the local CESU.

IRC Director Honored for Dedication to Restoration

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

IRC Executive Director George Gann recently received a Board Appreciation Award from the Tropical Audubon Society (TAS) for over 20 years of restoration work on their Doc Thomas House property. His dedication to restoration is also being recognized by the Society for Ecological Restoration International (SER) as they have nominated him to be Chair of their board for a second time starting in August 2007.

New IRC Posters for Sale

Tuesday, August 8, 2006

Two IRC wall posters featuring trees & shrubs and wildflowers are now available for $10 each, including tax and shipping. Please send a check to: Attention Patty, IRC, 22601 SW 152 Avenue, Miami, Florida, 33170 (USA only or contact us for special handling). Below are preview images of the posters designed by our 2006 intern Anja Skroblin with photos by Keith Bradley, Steve Woodmansee, and George Gann.