Thursday, December 28, 2006

Upcoming Events and Atala News!

Upcoming Events!

Hope you all had a lovely holiday season and are ready to go for 2007!

Looking forward to seeing you at the next meeting of the Broward County North American Butterfly Association (NABA) to be held on January 11, 2007 at Nova Middle School (3602 College Avenue, Davie Florida). Once on campus, signs will direct you to the classroom. I’ll be presenting a PowerPoint program about “Common Dragonflies of South Florida.” I’ll discussing the differences between dragonflies and damselflies, the complete life cycle of both and then teaching you how to identify the ten most common South Florida dragonflies. Look forward to seeing you there!

On February 4, 2007, I’ll be working with members of NABA and Broward County Master Gardeners and Native Plant Society (NPS) to do a program for Young Israel Temple to celebrate Tu B’Shevat, the Jewish “Arbor Day.” We’ll be identifying the plants, trees and wildlife at John Williams Park, at 6101Sheridan Avenue, Hollywood, FL. For more information, contact Lily Rosenblatt.

Then on February 10, 2007, from 9 AM to noon, I’ll be leading another exotic plant identification and removal program at John Williams Park, again with the help of Master Gardeners, NPS and NABA members. This program is free and open to the public and your presence is welcome! We will be targeting three exotics for removal, but there are many others that we will identify for you. This program is funded by a grant from the Florida Exotic Pest Plant Council and is backed by the Hollywood Parks, Recreation and Cultural Arts Department. For more information, send me an email ( or call (954-449-5428), or contact Cynthia Hancock, Hollywood Parks PR (

We recently released 67 atala larvae at Okeeheelee Nature Center, 7715 Forest Hill Blvd.West Palm Beach, FL 33413, with the help of volunteer Dick Freshley, who met me half way to take them to their new home. Dick reports that the new colony is doing fine and he’s happy to have atalas back at the Nature Center. As the atala butterflies often do, they disappeared after the hurricanes of 2004 and didn’t come back. So I was pleased to re-establish the colony at Okeeheelee. The park is 90 acres of pine flatlands, the ecosystem where the atalas thrive.

Thursday, December 14, 2006


Exotic Plant Identification Workshop, John Williams Park, December 9, 2006

Six volunteers attended the Exotic Plant Identification and Removal Workshop. We spent some time identifying the three target plants: Caesar’s Weed (Urena lobata), Rosary Pea (Abrus precatorius), and Air Potato (Dioscorea bulbifera) and proceeded into the open area of the park. Each volunteer was given brochures to help with on-going identification in other areas, such as in their own back-yards.

In the process of finding and removing the three target plants, we also identified and removed several others, including Oyster Plant (Tradescantia spathacea), Balsam Pear (Momordica charantia), and what is sometimes called Snake Plant (Sansevieria hyacinthoides). These are very common in the open area and all of the exotics are on the verge of becoming invasive if they are not eradicated this winter season.

We also identified several other exotics that were not yet at an invasive level, but did not remove them due to time constraints. Those plants are Wild Taro (Colocasia esculenta), Madagascar periwinkle (Catharanthus roseus) and Elephant Ear (Xanthosoma sagittifolium).

We visited the fence line around Sheridan Oaks Natural Area, did not venture in, because the overgrowth of Caesar’s Weed was too intensive to get through, but hopefully this will be cleared out by new volunteers from Boy or Girl Scout Troops. We did remove as many pods of Rosary Pea and Air Potato tubers from as possible from outside, however.

The volunteers were Lisa Cook and Jessica Cook from Hollywood Hills High School, Joanna Herring and her two children, Kathleen and Christopher. Kathleen single-handedly removed 94 tubers, and Christopher removed 25. We were very proud of them!

A very special thank you goes to Barbara DeWitt, a Broward County Master Gardeners/Native Plant Society/North American Butterfly Association member for her help this weekend.

We hope to organize an on-going program for Boy Scouts or Girl Scouts to help maintain this beautiful park.

There will also be a special program for Tu B’Shevat (the Jewish ‘Arbor Day’) on February 4, 2007 at John Williams Park. If you are interested in attending with your children, contact Lily Rosenblatt, Special Events Coordinator, Chai Lifeline Southeast, 1140 N.E. 163rd St., North Miami Beach, FL 33162, work (305)956-9990, cell (954)540-1119, fax (305)956-7879, email , or helping out, contact me at or 954-449-5428. Last year was very successful and the children had a great time.

Our next scheduled exotic plant identification/removal will be February 10, 2007, at John Williams Park. We’ll meet at 9 AM in the parking lot.