Okaloosa County is home to some of Florida’s most diverse natural areas. Roadways in our county run through large portions of the Eglin Air Force Base Reservation and Blackwater River State Forest, creating corridors of natural beauty.
In April 2009, entomologist Dr. Marc Minno and MaryAnn Friedman, an Okaloosa County resident, discovered Frosted Elfin caterpillars on sundial lupine (Lupinus perennis) along State Road 189 in Baker in the Blackwater River State Forest. In March of 2012, the Florida Department of Transportation agreed to accept a citizen request to change the mowing schedule along this state road to protect the imperiled butterfly and reduce impact on the sundial lupine the butterfly requires. This area has been monitored annually, and active cooperation with DOT and Forestry continues.
In other activity, Eglin AFB began working with Bob Farley, FDOT district vegetation manager, on Okaloosa County roadways through the Air Force reservation to enhance some existing wildflowers areas.
In 2016, Friedman requested that the Okaloosa Board of County Commissioners consider a Wildflower Resolution for the county. The board unanimously approved and the resolution was signed on April 5, 2016.
See a copy of the resolution.
Action: County roads are being assessed to prepare for official requests for restoration and enhancement
by FDOT and the Okaloosa County Department of Public Works.
Contact: Vivian Shamel
Scenic Corridors/Community Projects Coordinator
Walton County Planning and Development Services
In November 2011, the Walton Board of County Commissioners adopted a native wildflower resolution submitted through the Choctawhatchee Basin Alliance and accepted a $300 donation for seeds and flowers from the Friends of Scenic 30-A. As the resolution states, the enjoyment of native wildflowers will enhance the experience for residents, businesses and tourists alike and will have the added benefit of reducing costs from the Public Works budget by reducing the frequency and extent of roadside mowing. Once the flowers grow, the right of way will need to be mown only once a year as the flowers will reseed themselves.
See a copy of the resolution.
Action: On Jan. 28, 2012, District 5 Commissioner Cecilia Jones, The Friends of Scenic 30-A, the Walton County Master Gardener’s Association, and Walton County Public Works Department kicked off a Wildflower Pilot Program on Scenic 30-A across from the Grayton Beach State Park Cabin entrance, as well as on Highway 83. The program provided an opportunity for several community groups together to work for the pride, preservation, conservation and beautification of Walton County. The ‘Friends’ worked in partnership with the Master Gardeners Association and Public Works to determine locations where the pilot program could be initiated for the winter of 2012 with mowing being provided by Public Works and volunteers for the planting of seeds being provided by the Master Gardeners Association.
Contact: DiAnn Shores
Bonifay Garden Club member DiAnn Shores went before the Holmes County Board of Commissioners to seek signing of a wildflower resolution. Dustie Moss, FDOT District 3 project manager, and Eleanor Dietrich,
liaison to FDOT for the Florida Wildflower Foundation, addressed commissioners as well. After a brief discussion, the resolution was passed unanimously. See a copy of the resolution.
Action: The Garden Club plans to begin the Holmes County wildflower program by adding wildflowers to medians in downtown Bonifay, the county seat.
Contact: Christy Andreasen, Executive Director, Jackson County Tourist Development Council (TDC)
Jackson County has a number of groups supporting roadside wildflowers. A joint meeting with county staff in November 2016 quickly resulted in a wildflower resolution being passed on Nov. 15, 2016. The Jackson County TDC has taken the lead for getting Wildflower Areas on both county- and state-maintained roads. An inventory of possible sites was conducted in the spring, when wildflowers were blooming, resulting in a long list of potential roadsides. See a copy of the resolution.
Action: The main sites will be included on a local wildflower map to guide both residents and tourists to beautiful stands of wildflowers. The county road and bridge staff will work to develop wildflower signs for the county roads, and FDOT will provide them for approved Wildflower Areas on state-maintained roads.
Contact: Glenda Wilson
1st V-P Chipley Garden Club and Washington County Master Gardeners
On Jan. 28, 2014, several Chipley Garden Club members attended a Panhandle Wildflower Alliance meeting in Tallahassee during which FDOT introduced its new wildflower area program. By March, the program's information had been shared with Washington County Master Gardeners and garden clubs in Wausau, Vernon and Chipley. Several organizations subsequently became members of the alliance. Kathy Foster, Foster Folly News, contacted the Washington County Commission and asked to present a county wildflower resolution. Glenda Wilson, Chipley Garden Club vice president, asked Eleanor Dietrich and Dustie Moss to present a short program for commissioners on May 28. The Washington resolution passed unanimously after their presentation.
See a copy of the resolution.
Action: The county is selecting roads to submit to FDOT for wildflower management.
Contact: Kristy Terry
Calhoun County Chamber of Commerce
In January of 2014, representatives of the Calhoun County Chamber of Commerce attended a workshop coordinated by the Florida Department of Transportation and the Panhandle Wildflower Alliance (PWA). The event previewed DOT’s new Wildflower and Natural Areas Program, as well as shared information on how to develop and nurture wildflowers in your community.
Calhoun County is fortunate to be home to many varieties of beautiful wildflowers, so it made perfect sense to embrace them. The Chamber worked with RiverWay South Apalachicola-Choctawhatchee and the PWA to develop a Wildflower Resolution.
The resolution was presented to the Board of County Commissioners during National Wildflower Week, and passed unanimously on May 6, 2014.
See a copy of the resolution.
Action: The Chamber of Commerce is currently planning their first North Florida Wildflower Festival, set for April 25, 2015. RiverWay South and the Florida Wildflower Foundation are partners for the event
On behalf of The Garden Club of Stuart, member Ann McCormick spoke with Martin County Commissioner Sara Heard about the resolution and the La Florida, “Land of Flowers” Community Planting Grants program. Using the model resolution, Ms. Heard’s staff readied the resolution for the March 13, 2012, commission meeting. During the meeting, Ms. McCormick told the commission about the grant program and wildflowers. She also gave examples of plantings other counties have done. The commission then voted unanimously to adopt the resolution. See a copy of the resolution.
Action: The Garden Club of Stuart, Martin County Chapter of The Florida Native Plant Society, UF/IFAS Martin County Master Gardeners, and the Martin County Parks and Recreation Department, are working to rejuvenate the entryway medians and round-about at Halpatiokee Regional Park.
Recognizing the importance of wildflowers to the environment, Lisa Ferrano, a member of the Wellington Garden Club, requested the Palm Beach County Commission adopt a wildflower resolution. She e-mailed several commissioners and attached sample resolutions and links to the Florida Wildflower Foundation’s website. The initial response was negative, but after many e-mails and calls to county staff explaining the value of having a wildflower resolution, the commission unanimously passed a resolution on Sept. 11, 2012. See a copy of the resolution.
The Broward County Board of County Commissioners adopted a Wildflower Resolution on May 8, 2012. The resolution was sponsored by Vice Mayor Kristin Jacobs, a champion of environmental programs such as NatureScape Broward, which promotes the use of native plants to conserve water, protect water quality and create wildlife habitat. Increasing the visibility of native wildflowers in Broward County is consistent with the vision of NatureScape Broward and goals of many individuals, businesses, schools and community-based organizations. See a copy of the resolution.
After reading about the 2013 Viva La Florida 500 celebration, Harriet Rust, Davenport Historical Society president, contacted Polk County Board of County Commissioners regarding the possible adoption of a Wildflower Resolution. It was discussed and passed on April 17. See a copy of the resolution.
Action: Davenport is establishing plantings and is considering the adoption of a community Wildflower Resolution.
------------------ See a copy of the resolution.
Contact: Susan Kelly
Sumter County UF/IFAS Extension Director
352-793-2728, Ext. 236 firstname.lastname@example.org
Sumter County has long valued its wildflowers. Many of its roadways have been planted by the Florida Department of Transportation, providing a beautiful display each spring. In 2007, the UF/IFAS Sumter County Extension Office also received a grant from the Florida Wildflower Foundation to plant a Wildflower Demonstration Garden at the West Central Florida Agricultural Education Center in Bushnell. When a county Wildflower Resolution was presented to the Board of County Commissioners on March 27, 2012, the panel voted unanimously to pass it as a sign of its commitment to wildflowers.
See a copy.
Action: Roadways have been designated for wildflower plantings.
Contacts: Susan and Wayne Wozniak
Gulf County passed their wildflower resolution on April 25, 2017. Susan and Wayne are members of the Sweetbay Chapter of the Florida Native Plant Society, and Susan is very active with the Port St. Joe garden club. Local garden club members offered strong support for this resolution and contacted their county commissioners to gain their agreement.
See a copy.
Action: Gulf County has many beautiful roads in the more rural areas of the interior of the county. Some of these roadsides already have reduced mowing to conserve wildflowers and to protect pollinators. Plans are to continue to expand the wildflower areas on both state and county roads where wildflowers are occurring naturally.
Contact: Lesley Cox
Certified Green Guide
In the spring of 2008 after the Big Bend Scenic Byway had been designated, Franklin County resident Lesley Cox suggested Franklin County adopt a right-of-way mowing regime to benefit wildflowers. In summer 2009, Wakulla County approved a FDOT pilot project to preserve native wildflowers. Since both of these counties are part of the Scenic Byway, it seemed a perfect fit to extend the wildflower experience into Franklin County. The proposed resolution was first presented in 2011, but was tabled. On March 6, 2012, the Franklin County Board of Commissioners passed the wildflower resolution. See a copy.
A Gadsden County commissioner happened to attend the Wakulla County Commission meeting at which a roadside wildflower policy was enacted. Afterward, he asked Jeff Caster to write a resolution and present it to Gadsden’s commission. Jeff enlisted the help of Eleanor Dietrich to draft the document. It was adopted unanimously by Gadsden on Dec. 15, 2009. See a copy.
Action: Has identified 2 pilot sites for planting seed; sites include entrance intersections to welcome tourists; funding for seed provided by local Tourism Development Council; working with Florida Wildflower Foundation to draft a regional wildflower tourism marketing plan.
After receiving a copy of the model resolution, Lake County’s Green Team asked the Florida Wildflower Foundation to make a presentation to the panel. County staff then reviewed and revised the resolution, which the Green Team submitted to the commission. The resolution was unanimously adopted on June 1, 2010. See a copy.
Action: Several Florida Wildflower Foundation grants were awarded to the county extension office; Trout Lake Nature Center, and a storm water facility. The county has also received a FWF “Learn to Plant” grant, which will teach county maintenance workers best practices for establishing and maintaining plantings and naturally occurring wildflowers. Meanwhile, it also has conducted wildflower surveys on a variety of county roadsides in order to establish wildflower viewing routes, and is working with FDOT to reduce roadside mowing near public lands.
Contact: Eleanor Dietrich
After learning of the Wakulla resolution, Eleanor Dietrich contacted a Leon County commissioner, who got staff involved. Meanwhile, Eleanor’s Florida Native Plant Society Magnolia Chapter agreed to be the project’s community support group. Eleanor and Jeff Caster met with staff, after which Jeff made a presentation to the commission, which adopted the resolution on Jan. 19, 2010. See a copy.
On behalf of the chapter, Eleanor followed up with county personnel to begin a reduced-mowing project. She also monitors the county’s activity. See the latest report.
Action: Selected two sites for reduced mowing, one state road and one county road part of a scenic byway; FNPS Magnolia Chapter is monitoring and identifying wildflowers by site, and providing photographs for publicity and education.
Contact: Nancy Wideman
Members of the Jefferson County Tourist Development Council, County Commissioner Betsy Barfield and local wildflower enthusiast Paul Michael met with Pam Portwood and Diane Delaney of the Panhandle Wildflower Alliance on June 12, 2012. The group eagerly agreed to join Franklin, Wakulla, Liberty, Leon and Gadsden counties to increase the presence of wildflowers in Jefferson County and surrounding areas. The Jefferson County Board of County Commissioners unanimously passed the Wildflower Resolution on July 5, 2012.See a copy.
Action: David Harvey, Head of the Jefferson County Road Department, has planted wildflowers on county roads in the past and is enthusiastically participating to increase the presence of wildflowers in the county.
The Florida Wildflower Foundation asked Commissioner Pat Northey to sponsor the resolution. After county staff reviewed it, the resolution was passed to the county commission. On May 6, 2010, Lisa Roberts made a short presentation to the commission, which then voted unanimously to adopt the resolution. See a copy.
Action: In June 2011, Florida Wildflower Foundation grants were given to the county, Florida Department of Highway Transportation, and DeBary Hall with which to establish plantings. In 2010, the Florida Wildflower Foundation conducted a “Learn to Plant” pilot program with Volusia’s roadside maintenance staff.
Wakulla was the first county to make wildflower roadside management a priority. After meetings with the county public works director, county staff and FDOT maintenance engineers, Jeff Caster was asked to make a presentation to the county commission. Immediately after his presentation on July 21, 2009, the commission voted unanimously to make roadside wildflower conservation a county policy.
Action: In June 2011, the county was awarded a Florida Wildflower Foundation grant to plant wildflowers along the coastal segment of Big Bend Scenic Byway. Earlier, the county established a reduced mowing pilot project on US Highway 98; extended a reduced mowing regime to all county roads; planted seeds at a major intersection. The county also is working with Florida Wildflower Foundation to execute a regional wildflower ecotourism marketing plan.
Duval (City of Jacksonville)
Contact: Barbara Jackson FNPS Ixia Chapter 904-655-2550
Barbara Jackson asked Mayor John Peyton’s policy director to review the resolution for presentation to the Jacksonville City Council. After the review, the resolution was placed on the council agenda and adopted on May 12. See a copy.
Action: In June 2011, the city was awarded a Florida Wildflower Foundation La Florida grant for a planting near the St. Johns River in downtown Jacksonville.
St. Johns County
Contact:Ivan Burrell St. Johns County Road and Bridge Manager 904-209-0246
Over the last three years St. Johns County Commissioner Cyndi Stevenson has worked with the St. Johns County Public Works Department in coming up with low maintenance ground cover for county rights-of-way. After learning of the Florida Wildflower Foundation’s La Florida Grant Program, Commissioner Stevenson again called on the Public Works Department to initiate applying for the grant. The Wildflower Resolution was adopted on May 3, 2011. See a copy.
Action: St. Johns County Public Works personnel asked the local University of Florida IFAS Extension personnel for help finding appropriate wildflower cultivation practices for the Northeast Florida area. St. Johns County Public Works personnel located several high traffic areas on County Road 210 and County Road 13 where the wildflowers would get the most attention from motorists. In June 2011, the county was awarded a Florida Wildflower Foundation La Florida grant for plantings along both roads.
Contact: Carl Laundrie Flagler County Communications Manager 386-313-4039 Cell
Trails advocate Herb Hiller notified Flagler County Commissioner Milissa Holland of the Wildflower Resolution, who passed it to Carl Laundrie, county communications manager, to research. Mr. Laundrie knew that, as one of the counties working on the 260-mile St. Johns River to the Sea Loop multipurpose trail, the resolution’s adoption was a mandatory step in qualifying for Florida Wildflower Foundation funding to plant wildflowers along the trail. The resolution was signed and filed with the Clerk of Court on May 12 by County Commission Chairman Alan Peterson and was ratified by the County Commission on May 16. See a copy.
Action: In June 2011, Flagler County was awarded a Florida Wildflower Foundation grant to establish wildflowers at Varn County Park and River to Sea Preserve along the St. Johns River to Sea Loop multiuse trail.
Contact: Donald Jacobovitz, Putnam County Public Works Director 386-329-0393
FWF Executive Director Lisa Roberts gave a presentation about wildflowers and the resolution at a recent St. Johns River to the Sea Loop meeting. A few weeks later, County Manager Don Jacobovitz, who attended the Loop meeting, presented the resolution to the Putnam County Commission, which voted unanimously to adopt it.
See a copy.
Action: Putnam received a Florida Wildflower Foundation grant in June 2011 to plant Putnam County Boulevard in Palatka. The site is adjacent to a future cycling trail.
Foundation board member Anne Mackay asked her county commissioner to review the resolution for adoption. It was passed to county staff for review. Based on staff recommendations, the commission voted unanimously to adopt the resolution on July 7, 2010. See a copy.
Action: Implementation plan prepared by county engineer, extension agent, and landscape architect; began planting wildflower seed in selected public parks and on roadsides in Fall 2010.
Vince Lamb partnered with fellow Brevard resident Beth Glover to recruit numerous community organizations to support the resolution. They submitted letters of support from those when they requested the county commission consider the resolution. On Sept. 7, 2010, the county commission voted unanimously to adopt it. See a copy.
Action: In June 2011, several organizations and agencies within the county were awarded several Florida Wildflower Foundation grants to establish plantings at Merritt Island National Wildlife refuge, Melbourne Village, and the entrance to the future Brevard Botanical Garden.
The members of the St Lucie County Chapter of the Florida Master Naturalists, with guidance from the UF/IFAS St Lucie County Cooperative Extension, drafted the Wildflower Resolution in St Lucie County. This resolution was reviewed by County attorneys and recommended for adoption by staff. It was passed with a unanimous vote of the St Lucie County Board of County Commissioners on October 2, 2012. See a copy of the resolution.
John Sibley of the Lee County Roadway Landscape advisory board contacted Pat Moore and Joe Sulak, who direct the action of that board on behalf of the county. They collaborated on the resolution’s language then presented it to Holly Schwartz, assistant county manager. She submitted it to the county commission. Commissioner Ray Judah agreed to present the resolution to the board, which voted unanimously to pass it on March 29, 2011. The resolution instructs County staff to partner with the Florida Wildflower Foundation, Florida Dept of Transportation and adjoining property owners to plan and implement roadside management practices to promote wildflowers. See a copy.
Action: In June 2011, Lee County Department of Transportation was awarded a Florida Wildflower Foundation grant to plant wildflowers in several county medians.
Contact: Michael Brown, Resource Consultant
Suwannee County Conservation District
(386) 362-2622, Ext: 3; email@example.com
After speaking with Florida Wildflower Foundation grant administrator Jeff Norcini, Suwannee County Conservation District Resource Consultant Michael Brown asked Adam Prins, Live Oak City Councilman, to present a resolution to plant wildflowers within the city limits. It was adopted by the city on April 10, 2012. Adam and Michael also helped get local community groups involved. See a copy.
Action: Michael spoke with the local Garden Club and the Suwannee County Chamber of Commerce to present a short program about the positive aspects of planting wildflowers in community areas. A committee to select sites and arrange for the planting is being formed. Planting should begin this fall.
After receiving a copy of the model wildflower resolution and a press release from Lake County, Perry Garden Club president Vivian Sheffield asked for a volunteer to look into getting a wildflower resolution adopted in Taylor County. Volunteer Debbie Ross contacted Florida Wildflower Foundation Executive Director Lisa Roberts for guidance. This lead to a meeting with Cindy Dunkle, assistant maintenance engineer at FDOT’s Perry office, to learn about Florida’s roadway wildflower program. In March, Cindy gave a presentation to Taylor County Commissioners to explain the state wildflower program. The wildflower resolution also was submitted for approval. Commissioners verbally agreed to adopt the resolution, but wanted garden club members to identify a specific site for planting before signing it. After meeting with County Administrator Jack Brown, a planting site was identified and presented to commissioners. The resolution was signed on May 2, 2011. See a copy.
Action: A team of garden club members has been formed to oversee and monitor the planting of the designated site, identify areas of existing wildflowers on county roads for preservation, work on publicity and public awareness, and contact and propose a partnership with the Chamber of Commerce and the Tourism Development Center, including local businesses. Team members include Debbie Ross, Vivian Sheffield, Patti Causey, Bettie Page, Judy Nowlin, Fannette Chesser and Liska Gooding.