Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences
Program Update ...................................
Instructor Information ...................... 2
W ild Eye ................................................. 3
Interpretive Tracks ............................... 3
Class Information ................................. 4
Contacts ................................................. 4
Master Naturalist Program
Congratulations to all FMNP Instructors and
participating organizations your efforts are having
a substantial impact. Currently, there are 74 FMNP
Instructors representing 47 educational
organizations, including 10 University of Florida
Cooperative Extension offices. Thirteen Freshwater
Wetlands courses were taught in 2001, with 158
persons certified as Wetlands Naturalists across
south Florida. These students showed an average of
14.5% knowledge gain. Analysis of class participant
evaluation forms showed 75% "excellent' and 20%
"above average" ratings for FMNP Instructors. The
overall rating for the passes was 60% "excellent" and
29% "above average." Remarkably, 96% of the 2001
graduates plan on attending a future FMNP
ecosystem module when offered.
Extension agents in Palm Beach and Pinellas
counties have used the FMNP to train volunteers of
other natural resources programs, such as Master
Gardener and Florida Yards and Neighborhoods.
Palm Beach County also incorporated the FMNP
Final Project requirement into Master Gardener
training. Audubon Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary,
The Conservancy of Southwest Florida, and Collier
Parks and Recreation used the FMNP to increase
expertise of their employees and volunteers.
Congratulations are also in order for the FMNP
graduates. Final Projects provided by FMNP
students have provided direct benefit to
environmental education in Florida. Examples
include the North Sebastian Conservation Area 2002
Interpretive Plan, a "Science For Seniors Course" that
focuses on created wetlands at Okeeheelee Park, and
a slide presentation with handouts that describes
wetland plants and folklore for Wakodahatchee
Wetlands tours. Final Projects being used as
educational supplements by K-12 schools in south
Florida include the Delray Oaks Natural Area Strand
Swamp education booklet for elementary students
and an educational wetland quiz for middle-school
Our efforts continue going strong. To date, 25
Freshwater Wetlands 2002 courses have been
scheduled in central and south Florida, with 203
registered participants. We look forward to hearing
the creative ways FMNP Instructors and graduates
will be utilizing their experiences and we will be
collecting that information with surveys during the
Keep up the great work!
Dr. Martin B. Main, FMNP Program Director
Volume 2, No. 2 April 2002
Florida Master Naturalist Program
Advanced FMNP Instructor Training Opportunity
Topic: Native Bromeliad/Orchid Identification and Conservation Concerns
Date: September 21, 2002
Location: Sarasota's Selby Gardens
Cost: Free to registered FMNP Instructors
Registration: e-mail (email@example.com)
or call Ginger Allen (941-658-3409)
Space is limited. Register by July 1, 2002
Brought to you in conjunction with the Florida Council of Bromeliad
Societies (http://fcbs.org) and the University of Florida, IFAS, Department of
Entomology and Nematology (http://savebromeliads.ifas.ufl.edu).
The workshop will provide an overview of the Bromeliaceae and
Orchidaceae plant families, with an emphasis on identification and natural
history of Florida's native bromeliads and orchids. Following discussion of
each family, participants will have the opportunity to observe specimens
in the Selby Gardens collections.
10:00-11:30 Presentation on Florida's Native Bromeliads (Harry Luther)
11:30-12:30 Lunch break (on your own)
12:30-2:00 Presentation on Florida's Native Orchids (John Beckner)
2:00-2:15 Break (Weevil threat to native bromeliads)
2:15-4:00 Observe orchids and bromeliads in gardens with instructors
Marie Selby Botanical Gardens
811 South Palm Avenue
Sarasota, FL 34236
map: See http://www.selby.org/geninfo/directions.htm for directions.
Interested in sponsoring an advanced FMNP Instructor training?
Contact Ginger Allen by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wild Pine Spanish Moss
Interested in becoming an FMNP Instructor?
Read "Thinking of becoming a FMNP Instructor?" by clicking the "Instructc
www.masternaturalist.org. To attend an Instructor Workshop, fill out and
Application. You will be notified with further information.
Photos by Ginger Allen,
University of Florida
)r Information" link at
submit the on-line Instructor
Wild Eye Watch 1 on:
Giant Airplant (Tillandsia utriculata)
By Dr. Barbra Larson, UF, IFAS
Characteristics: grows to 2 meters tall; gray-green leaves, wide at base and
overlapping to form a tank-like rosette; 1 flower spike with many branches
Distribution: Florida, Caribbean, Mexico, Central and South America
Habitat: epiphytic in hammocks, cypress swamps, pinelands
Time of flowering: spring to fall
Fun Facts: reaches maturity in 5-8 years; only species of bromeliad in
Florida to reproduce only by seed; holds up to 1.3 liters of water in its tank.
Florida has 16 species of native bromeliads airplaness). Tank bromeliads, like the giant airplane, impound water in their
leaf axils, provide habitat to specialist aquatic invertebrates (15 known species in Florida), and a water source and
shelter for both vertebrates and invertebrates. Florida's tank bromeliads are among 10 species of airplanes that are
state-listed as endangered or threatened.
Giant airplant (Tillandsia utriculata) and cardinal airplant (Tillandsiafasciculata) have been given endangered status as a
result of attack by an exotic insect pest, the Mexican bromeliad weevil (Metamasius callizona). The weevil is damaging
populations of 5 bromeliad species and may threaten 6 more once it reaches their isolated habitats. It is now found in 16
counties and poses a threat to Big Cypress and the Fakahatchee Strand, home to Florida's richest diversity of epiphytes.
For more information on Florida s bromeliads and the weevil threat, see http://savebromeliads.ifas.ufl.edu or
Interpretive Tracks Q p d t
FMNP Instructor Dolly Cummings of the Camp Bayou Outdoor
learning center, Ruskin, Florida uses "Resource Roundup" as an
interpretive way for students to learn ecosystem relationships and
get to know each other, and to use as an educational activity with
children groups. The Resource Roundup teaches plant survival
strageties, competition, invasive exotic plants, and the importance
of energy resources for healthy environments.
Students gather in a circle awaiting Dolly's Instructions. Dolly, who
is now "Mother Nature," tells them they are willow shrubs
surrounding the banks of a pristine wetland marsh in Florida.
Mother Nature explains how she is going to throw out life capsules
(dry macaroni) containing water, nutrients, and sunshine, for them
to thrive and grow. Mother Nature scatters a generous supply of
life capsules on the floor around the shrub roots (students feet). She
tells them to pick up all the life capsules they can. This is survival,
so politeness DOESN'T count!
Mother Nature explains they have used up those nutrients
(collects the macaroni) and now require more, since they have
grown and have to compete for space, sunlight, water and energy. Elderberry (Sambucus canadensis)
Mother nature scatters Fife capsules again selectively--not all Found along wetland edges and roadsides. Berry drupes
areas in an ecosystem receive exactly the same resources (can provide food for wildlife and are used to make wine and
discuss topography, human impacts, etc.) Some "shrubs" will be jellies.
deficient in resources. Shrubs (students) who have 2 or less life Cattle and humans can become sick if poisonous leaves,
capsules are eliminated from the marsh bank. These native shrubs twigs, roots, and unripe fruits are eaten.
have died, and in their place there has seeded a new plant, a non-
native invasive, such as Brazilian pepper (bring back eliminated Drawing by Ann Murray, Center for Aquatic and Invasive
students, new role). Life capsules are thrown out by Mother Plants, University ofFlorida,Gainesville
Nature, but since Brazilian pepper is aggressive and prolific, they
get an extra 5 seconds before the natives to grab as much water
and nutrients as they can. Continuing, more native shrubs die as
new invasives (more pepper shrubs) encroach until the exotic
invasive dominates the landscape!
Current Course Offerings
April 3-May 11, 2002 (Alachua County)
April 10-May 8, 2002 (Seminole County)
April 22-May 5, 2002 (Hendry County)
April 29-May 20, 2002 (Pinellas County)
May 4-29, 2002 (Glades County)
May 5-25, 2002 (Lee County)
May 6-17, 2002 (Collier County)
May 9-June 6, 2002 (Highlands County)
May 18-June 9, 2002 (Brevard County)
May 28-June 7, 2002 (Polk County)
June 18-July 30, 2002 (Alachua County)
Class locations, schedules, and registration
information is available from the main FMNP Web
Click on "Course Offerings" for:
Locations and time schedules. After you have chosen
your course, follow the prompts to register online.
Click on "Information" for:
TlI ;I 1j i of becoming a Florida Master Naturalist ?
FMNP-Freshwater Wetlands Course Description
Instructor workshops for the Coastal Systems
Module will be offered in fall 2002.
FMNP Newsletter Staff
Editor: Dr. Martin Main
Managing Editor: Ginger Allen
Contributing Editor: Julie Carson
Web Coordinator: Buddy Walker
Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences
You Want Me To Do What?
Story by Joy Ann Coll, FMNP Graduate, ELC, Vero Beach
Panic surged through her as she sat in the first meeting of
the Master Naturalist class. He wants me to walk through
a swamp? She wondered if this class was really for her.
On their first field trip, she steeled her nerves and waded
into a knee-deep marsh. Panic struck when she felt
something around her ankle. While her fellow students
wore looks of confidence, she wondered: can I do this?
Later, when she entered an unspoiled cypress dome, she
felt awe struck. She waded into the water-filled world and
stood in silence among cypress and tupelo trees, leather
ferns, mosquito fish, sparkling black water and decorative
epiphytes. Silence fell over the dome as students and
swamp became one. Her stressful life disappeared. Calm
Six weeks later, she had blossomed into a self-confident,
knowledgeable graduate. Today, she and her fellow
graduates serve as interpretive guides on wagon rides and
canoeing, kayaking, hiking and riverboat tours. One
graduate began combination kayaking-hiking excursions.
Two graduates developed an environmental curriculum to
educate 140 families of home-schooled children. Another
team is compiling four sophisticated trail maps for the
Florida Department of Environmental Protection. Several
graduates have continued their education through
interpretive guide and volunteer training classes. Future
plans will support county and state efforts to open new
conservation areas to the public.
Now, the once uneasy student gazes at the red, glowing
sunset and wishes she were back in that cypress dome ...
standing silent ... experiencing life from an intimate
distance. Many thanks to the University of Florida and the
Environmental Learning Center for sharing life-altering
experiences with the FMNP graduates of Indian River
FMNP Wetlands Module funding provided by:
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission,
Advisory Council on Environmental Education (ACEE)
Southwest Florida Council on Environment Education, Inc.
Florida Master Naturalist Program
Director: Dr. Martin Main, Assistant Professor and
Coordinator: Ginger Allen
Southwest Florida Research & Education Center
2686 State Road 29 North
Immokalee, FL 34142-9515
Phone: 941-658-3400; Fax: 941-658-3469