This spring seems to have arrived earlier than ever, with plants budding and bursting much earlier than usual. Is this a sign of climate change, or only an aberration? We can't tell from just one year, but phenologists are gathering data to track climate trends and try to improve climate predictions. Last June many of us attended George Kish's workshop for the USA Phenology Network and signed up to track temporal changes in plants and animals in our yards and neighborhoods. I'm a terrible procrastinator and got as far as creating an account online and adding my plants, but then have been completely remiss about entering data. I'm resolving to change that, because "citizen science" really is important. It can also be a lot of fun, and an excuse to really notice what's going on around you.
Spring is a great time to get out and do some hiking in our parks and preserves, before it gets too hot and muggy. We have some beautiful spring-bloomers, including black-eyed susan, sneezeweed, and tickseed. Coral bean is blooming now, and in wet areas look for iris and meadow beauty. The many members of the blueberry family—Vaccinium and Lyonia, for example—are blooming this time of year. With our early spring, dogwoods, redbud, and plums have largely finished blooming. If you're headed to an area where ticks are prevalent, you'd be wise to read Belinda Lambert's article in this issue about how to protect yourself from Lyme disease.
Our annual FNPS State Conference is coming up May 17-20, and this year it's close by in Plant City, making it very easy to attend. Because you register for each day of the conference separately, those who work during the week can sign up just for the Saturday sessions and a Sunday field trip, if they wish. A highlight of every conference is the conference plant sale, with vendors from around the state selling hard-to-find species. There is also a silent auction of "gifty, crafty" items which usually includes things like handmade pottery, jewelry, and art. Over the years, I have purchased a number of things that I dearly love. I encourage all members to attend the conference if time and finances allow—you will enjoy yourself, you will learn interesting things about our native plants and plant communities, and you will make new friends who appreciate and care about our environment as much as you do.
Because of our plant sale in April and the FNPS conference in May, we won't have a field trip until June and we're still deciding where to go, but we'll keep you posted. If you've got a great suggestion, please send it to me!
Pinellas Chapter of the Florida
Native Plant Society — Last Updated Apr. 11, 2012|
Direct web site comments/corrections/suggestions to Pinellas FNPS Webmaster
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