These posts are educational, and appear on the Learn Page.

Drawn to nature

When it’s time to identify a wildflower, most of us head for our favorite field guide and look through beautiful close-up photographs until we find our subject. Some versions are even color-coded to aid the process. I must own all the popular Florida books by now, but alongside those on my bookshelf are also several special volumes I have collected just for their beautiful hand-drawn reproductions of wildflowers.

Are non-native milkweeds killing monarch butterflies?

Tropical milkweed can enable monarchs to continue breeding well into fall and winter, causing populations to persist longer in certain areas than they naturally would. Unfortunately, this can foster higher than normal infection rates by a lethal protozoan parasite, Ophryocystis elektroscirrha (OE). We have suggestions for native milkweeds you can plant to support monarchs.

Fall color, Florida style

Fall color hard to find in Florida? Not if you travel along rural roads. Now is the time to be looking for wildflowers throughout the state. Fall wildflowers are in full bloom, with the best places to find them being open areas without homes or businesses. Those areas, including woodland edges, provide the bright light that many species of native wildflowers thrive in. And rural areas are better than urban environments for two reasons – more natural stands of wildflowers, and expectations for manicured landscapes are lower.

In the wild: Threatened gopher tortoise lives among wildflowers

While the threatened tortoise is famous for bunking 400 animals at various turns and times of year in his burrow, his boon to native plant survival is also real. Hearing biologists and land managers in our gopher tortoise advisory group and hosting torts on my own land, I’m convinced that the oral health, beauty and variety in our pinelands tie to whether Gopherus polyphemus lives or dies.