Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences
Master Naturalist Classes Off to Exciting
Start in South Florida
The first FMNP Freshwater Wetlands classes are
underway in eight south Florida counties, and
student and Instructor anticipation is high.
The first class began September 12, 2001, at the
Fairchild Tropical Garden in Miami. Martin Main
(FMNP Program Director) and Patti Anderson
(FMNP Instructor) addressed the class.
"The students seem to be paying dose attention in
class and enjoying the hands-on field trip
experiences," Patti states. Students are learning both
about large and conspicuous organisms, as well as
the small and inconspicuous, such as these students
examining lichens growing on the trunks of trees.
Lee County's first FMNP class kicked off October 1 at
the Calusa Nature Center in Fort Myers. FMNP
Instructor Laura Greeno led students on a field trip
to Audubon Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary in
Naples, where another FMNP course begins October
9. Students learned about various plants, birds, and
other wildlife, including the ancient stand of cypress
trees for which Corkscrew Swamp is famous.
(third from right)
directs a class
discussion at Corkscrew
Program Update ............................ 1
Instructor Information ................. 2
W ild Eye ......................................... 3
Interpretive Tracks ......................
Class Information ........................ 4
C ontacts .......................................... 4
Volune 1, b. 3 0--tcber 2001
Florida Master Naturalist Program
Advanced Instructor Training:
Leslie Breland of Collier County's Rookery Bay
organized wet prairie and swamp field trips for
south Florida FMNP Instructors during September.
Mike Owen, park biologist, was the host and
Though the wet prairie field trip was cancelled due
to a tropical storm, a few brave Instructors ventured
out into Fakahatchee Strand State Park on Friday,
Sept. 21. Although the water level was high and
mosquitoes plentiful, participants didn't mind.
Mike described Fakahatchee as "Florida's Amazon"
as he led the group through the slough to find rare
plants. In the Fakahatchee, water flows through
shallow, elongated depressions or "sloughs" in the
limestone base rock. When a swamp is linear and
provides a conduit for water flow, it is called a
"strand." The Fakahatchee Strand is approximately
20 miles long and three to five miles wide.
Colonized by many water-tolerant species of trees,
such as bald cypress, pond apple, pop ash, red maple
and others, the Fakahatchee is a diverse swamp
forest. "South Florida is unique in having north
Florida plants in their extreme southern range and
tropical plants in their extreme northern range,"
Mike explained. The swamp contains the largest
stand of native royal palms and the largest
concentration and variety of orchids in North
America, as well as other rare ephiphytes and ferns.
Mike showed the group where he attempted to
reattach orchids that were poached in the early
1990s. Out of the 94 orchids confiscated, less than
10% survived the ordeal. Orchid poaching in the
Fakahatchee Strand has been a serious problem, and
was the basis for the book The Orchid Thief and a
soon-to-be-released motion picture. Orchids spotted
included ghost, clam shell, butterfly, and night
scented. Bromeliads were fairly common, such as
Giant, Stiff-leaf, and wild pine.
Fakahatchee Strand also provides habitat for many
rare species of wildlife, including Florida panther
and black bear, wood stork, mangrove fox squirrel,
and Everglades mink.
A Pond Cypress towers over
Fakahatchee Strand State Park.
Photos by Ginger Allen,
University of Florida.
Park biologist Mike Owen leads FMNP Instructors through a
Fakahatchee Strand slough.
A Blue Waterlilly is
spotted during the FMNP
Central Florida FMNP Instructor Orientation Workshops Set for November
November 7-8 Disney Wilderness Preserve, Kissimmee, Florida
November 28-29 Silver River Museum, Ocala, Florida
Interested environmental educators can click on the "Instructor Information" link at www.masternaturalist.org. to
read "Thlinking of becoming a FMNP Instructor?" To apply, complete the online Instructor Application. You will be
notified with further information.
Wild Eye Watch 1 on:
Velvet Ant, Dasymutilla occidentalis i"' 1. i
Body: hairy, red with black bands, 1" long
Characteristics: female wingless 4
Range: New York south to Florida, Gulf Coast states west
Habitat: sandy areas near fields and forest edges .
Diet: Parasitic females drop eggs inside a bee nest, ant '
larvae invade and devour bee larvae
Fun Facts: females have a nasty bite, called "Cow Killer,". .
because people claimed it could kill a cow. Velvet ants are a ..'.
member of the ant, wasp, and bee order (Hymenoptera). j 1
They are considered wasps, not ants. These wasps live in ,
hot or arid regions around the world. There are more than 4*
400 species in North American and 5,000 species
worldwide. Individuals of the same species may vary in *
color, but all are black with bright yellow, orange, or red -
hairs possibly to warn off enemies. Most males are smaller
than the females, all have wings, and like all male wasps,
they do not bite.
Interpretive Tracks 6. dS 4
FMNP Instructor Patti Anderson of Fairchild Tropical o"
Gardens in Miami uses the following interpretation
activity at the beginning of her class to increase : '
appreciation of the fragile and complex relationships that
exist among plants and wildlife.
Missing Species Musical Chairs
Make equal numbers of tags for native plants that grow in
your area and associated insects, birds, or mammals eat, f
pollinate, or use them for cover. Set up chairs for everyone, '
play your favorite tune and, while the music is playing,
remove some chairs explaining that a road is coming
through. Stop the music. Have the people left standing read
their tags. These are the species eliminated due to habitat
loss in their ecosystem. Additionally, species (students
sitting) that depended upon the eliminated plants and
wildlife also are lost from the ecosystem and out of the
game. Remove some more chairs (we need that mall!) and
continue as before.
Cardinal-flowers (Lobelia cardinalis) live in marshes and wet meadows.
This activity emphasizes that species depend upon each Their chief pollinators are hummingbirds, which are attracted to the
other and that the loss of one often influences many others bright red flowers. Medicinal uses of lobelias included treatment for
Patti says this activity sets the stage for nature
interpretation and is a great way for the students to get to Drawing by Ann Murray, Center for Aquatic and Invasive Plants,
know each other at the beginning of the class. Try it! University ofFlorida,Gainesville
Master Naturalist Training Opportunities
November 5-14 2001 (Hillsborough Co.)
November 6-December 15, 2001 (Broward Co.)
January 12-February 16, 2002 (Collier Co.)
January 22-February 14, 2002 (Collier Co.)
February 9-23, 2002 (St. Lucie Co.)
February 23-April 6, 2002 (Collier Co.)
May 6-17, 2002 (Collier Co.)
Class sites, schedules, and registration information is
available from the main FMNP web site. This great group of naturalists taught by Karen Pate of the Museum of
Science & Industry (MOSI) in Tampa is the first graduating class of the
FMNP. "The students were immersed in the program for one straight
www.masternaturalist.org week. They formed new friendships, soaked up all the information I could
give them, and are very enthusiastic about continuing to share what they
Click on "Course Offerings" for: learned with others," stated Karen. Marty Main and Ginger Allen
Locations and time schedules. After you have chosen celebrated with the class graduates at their final session.
your course, follow the prompts to register online.
Click on "Information" for:
TMl S t of becoming a Florida Master Naturalist?
FM]INP-Freshwater Wetlands Course Description
Karen Pate, FMNP Instructor at
MOSI, serves a special cake to the
first graduating class.
Funding for FMNP Wetlands module:
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission,
Advisory Council on Environmental Education (ACEE)
Training classes in Coastal Systems and Upland Southwest Florida Council on Environment Education, Inc.
Habitats is anticipated to be available during 2002. (SWFCEE)
FMNP Newsletter Staff Florida Master Naturalist Program
Editor: Dr. Martin Main Director: Dr. Martin Main, Assistant Professor and
Managing Editor: Ginger Allen Wildlife Ecologist
Contributing Editor: Julie Carson
Web Coordinator: Buddy Walker Southwest Florida Research & Education Center
2686 State Road 29 North
U~ NIVERSITY OF Immokalee, FL 34142-9515
FLO R ID A Phone: 941-658-3400; Fax: 941-658-3469
E X T E N S IO N Web: www.MasterNaturalist.org
Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences