Native Plant Talk and Q&A by Laura Schiller at Plant Native Day 2020
The Mangrove Chapter serves Charlotte County and southern Sarasota County.
In-person events are on hold due to COVID-19.
Check the calendar for updates and webinars .
Our meetings, presentations, field trips and events are generally free and open to the public. Come to a meeting, be informed and meet friends who share your interests.
Most of our programs and events are open to the public. We rely on the dues that members pay to support these activities.
There are also personal advantages to being a member. Get helpful publications, discounts, members-only virtual programs and more. But all-important, help us fulfill our mission.
An important aspect of being in this type of organization is that you gain a community of like-minded people to support you. We provide means, such as our meetings and field trips. We also provide an active Facebook Group.
We get out into the woods, into our parks, into our swamps, into other wild lands. We have field trips lead by local botanists and ecologists. Contribute by being a participant. Help us with our plant surveys. Lead trips.
Many people are "plant-blind" -- to them plants are the green stuff. What we know little about tends to be valued less. The Mangrove Chapter and FNPS work to teach people about the plants that we live with and why they and the native plant communites around us are important.
When we convert native plant ecosystems to subdivisions and farms, we lose the native plant communities that they supported. The same thing happens when we withdraw management of the native systems. Some become overgrown and smothered by non-natives, causing us to lose the wildflowers that need sunlight. In other native ecosystems, invasive species outcompete natives for soil and nutrients. Most of the really bad weeds you see are non-native.
Preserving mangrove forests along our coastlines is critical. Removal of mangroves increases the chances that hurricanes will cause increased coastal erosion because the natural thickets of protective mangrove roots are gone.
Local actions can make a difference. When we change our landscaping to include native plants grown with techniques that minimize the need for added water and fertilizer, we can and do minimize our footprint on our environment.
Plants are enormously important to insects, a huge number of which rely directly on native plants. Did you know that the larvae of monarch butterflies depend exclusively on native milkweeds? There is a close relationship between insect abundance and native plants because they co-evolved together. Recent studies have shown that we are losing our insects, in terms of both the number of species and the number of insects within those species locally. The Mangrove Chapter programs and programs provided by FNPS are designed to educate our members and the public.
Wildlife depend on native plants and native plant habitats. Some wildlife, such as deer and rabbits, are herbivores. Some are insectivores. Most birds feed their babies insects, even species in which the adults are herbivorous, eating mostly grains and fruits. You can attract hummingbirds to a feeder, but they need insects to feed their young. They also need nectar that is more nutritious than sugar water from a feeder, as well as places to nest, to rest, and to hide.
The Mangrove Chapter has an enthusiastic group of volunteers. Whether it is helping with a plant sale, handing out native plant information at a public event, presenting a program, or helping manage our chapter, volunteers are our life-blood.
Filling our mission is non-political, and it needs all of us. We are non-political. We are multi-racial. We are multi-ethnic. We welcome anyone who shares our mission.
© 2020 Mangrove Chapter, Florida Native Plant Society