2017 Conference Speakers

Featured Speakers

Laura Super

Mycorrhizal fungi are fascinating: biology, human impacts, and solutions

Laura Super is in the Department of Forest and Conservation Sciences, Faculty of Forestry, at the University of British Columbia (UBC), Vancouver, Canada. She is a Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) CGS-D scholarship funded PhD student, supervised by Professor Dr. Suzanne Simard. Dr. Simard's lab specializes in forest and below-ground ecology. Laura Super's PhD research focuses on the impact of anthropogenic drivers, such as climate change, on plants, microbes, and invertebrates. She also works with Dr. Jiaying Zhao, Assistant professor, Canada Research Chair in Behavioral Sustainability, in the UBC Department of Psychology and the Institute for Resources, Environment, and Sustainability. For Dr. Zhao, she works on Project Happiness, examining how the environment relates to well-being. In addition to enjoying scientific research, Laura Super values science outreach and fostering science literacy, including creating STEAM (STEM with the arts) activities. As a member of the 2016-2017 cohort of the UBC Centre for Teaching, Learning and Technology (CTLT) Certificate Program in Advanced Teaching and Learning, she is dedicated to knowledge translation of her research by integrating theory and practice to create lessons for K-12 and post-secondary students. In July 2017, she will be attending a Summer Institute workshop in Colorado Springs as a PlantingScience Fellow to contribute to the PlantingScience community, which supports collaboration of scientists and teachers to promote scientific inquiry in the plant sciences (NSF-supported programming).

Suzanne Simard, PhD

Connections: Above and Below


The Conference Committee received some very sad news from Dr. Suzanne Simard.  Her father is very ill with lymphoma and his doctors are not sure how much longer he will be with us.  Dr. Simard has made the very personal decision to stay with her father in his final days and to cancel all of her out-of-country speaking engagements.  Our thoughts and prayers are with Dr. Simard and her family during this very difficult time.

Speaking in her place, Dr. Simard's scholarship-funded PhD student Laura Super will present their findings in forest and below-ground ecology. 

Tonya Clayton, Ph.D.

Sea Level Rise in Florida: News From Our Natural Areas

Dr. Tonya Clayton is an author, editor, and educator, with a particular interest in the earth and ocean sciences. She is also an NAI Certified Interpretive Guide and a graduate of the Florida Natural Resources Leadership Institute, the Florida Master Naturalist Program, and the University of California - Santa Cruz science communication program. Last year, she was named the 2016 Friend of FANREP (Florida Association of Natural Resource Extension Professionals). Her recent projects include contributions to the book Sea Level Rise in Florida, published in 2016 by the University Press of Florida, and the new UF/IFAS Florida Waters Stewardship Program. She is also the author of How to Read a Florida Gulf Coast Beach and senior author of Living with the Georgia Shore. Tonya’s earlier work as a geologist and oceanographer took her to the sandy barrier islands of Portugal and to the clear blue waters of the not-so-pacific Pacific Ocean (and many places in between) — but these days she’s most happy in the dunes and scrub of the Sunshine State. She is the author of “How to Read a Florida Gulf Coast Beach and “Sea Level Rise in Florida:  Science, Impacts, and Options.”

Roger Hammer

Wildflowers of the Kissimmee Valley

Roger Hammer is a retired professional naturalist, a volunteer instructor for Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden in Coral Gables, and works part-time as a survivalist instructor for the Discovery Channel’s reality television program, “Naked and Afraid.”  He received the first Marjory Stoneman Douglas Award from the Dade Chapter of FNPS in 1982, presented by Marjory Stoneman Douglas herself. Tropical Audubon Society honored him with the prestigious Charles Brookfield Medal in 1996. And in 2003, he received the Green Palmetto Award in Education from the Florida Native Plant Society. In 2008, he was the keynote speaker at the 19th World Orchid Conference in Miami and he gave the keynote address at the 2013 Florida Native Plant Society’s state conference in Jacksonville. In 2012, he received an honorary doctor of science degree from Florida International University. He is an avid long-distance solo canoeist, kayak-fishing enthusiast, wildflower photographer, and connoisseur of expensive rums. Roger is the author of Everglades Wildflowers, Florida Keys Wildflowers, Central Florida Wildflowers, Florida Icons: 50 Classic Views of the Sunshine State, Exploring Everglades National Park and the Surrounding Area, and Attracting Hummingbirds and Butterflies in Tropical Florida. He lives with his wife, Michelle, in Homestead.

Thomas Lodge

What is the Everglades All About?

With over 40 years as an environmental consultant, Dr. Lodge became self-employed in 2004. He graduated with Honors in Zoology from Ohio Wesleyan University (1966) and has a Ph.D. in Biology at the University of Miami (1974) where his dissertation involved the physiological ecology of Everglades’ freshwater fishes.  Chemistry, limnology, ecology, and ichthyology are his key areas.

Dr. Lodge specializes in wetlands and their restoration. He has conducted projects pertaining to terrestrial, wetland, aquatic, and shallow-marine environments, including considerations for listed species, water quality, and toxic contaminants. His regularly uses wetland assessment methodologies for determining appropriate mitigation for wetland impacts. In 1991 he developed the Wetland Quality Index, a methodology to give consistent, defensible equivalency between impacts and compensatory mitigation in southern Florida wetlands where wading birds are key food-chain indicators. Work applications have included federal, state, and local wetland permitting as well as conservation. He is an experienced expert witness and Certified Environmental Professional.

He is author of The Everglades Handbook: Understanding the Ecosystem, its 4th edition released in December 2016.  The book has been widely used as a college and advanced high school text, and as a guide for lay people’s understanding of the Everglades.

Scientific Research Presentations

Barrella, Gina, Alexandria Knoell, Gabrielle Skelton, William Turnipseed, Kelly West, and Kelsie Johnson. Florida native plant restoration. University of Central Florida.

Bennington, Cynthia C., and P.G. May. Pollinator visitation and diversity in a small urban fragment of immature sandhill habitat.  Department of Biology, Stetson University.

Cuni, Lydia M.1 and Cara A. Rockwell1, 2. Drivers of species composition and diversity in the pine rockland-hardwood hammock ecotone: implications for restoration efforts in a fragmented community. 1Department of Earth and Environment, Florida International University, Miami, FL, 2International Center for Tropical Botany, Florida International University, Miami, FL.

David, Aaron S. Soil microbes contribute to population persistence of imperiled species of the Florida scrub. Department of Biology, University of Miami, 1301 Memorial Drive, Coral Gables, FL.

Garcia, Sarah, Karen Cole, and Cynthia Bennington. Pollination perceptions: educating college students about pollination and native insect pollinators. Stetson University, DeLand, FL.

Gluvna-Munn, Jamie, and Gordon A. Fox. Growth rate heterogeneity in longleaf pine: the effect of fire. University of South Florida, Department of Integrative Biology, 4202 E. Fowler Ave., Tampa FL.

Griffel, Alex1, Steve Orzell2, and Edwin Bridges3. Black and pink: Life history observations of a Florida terrestrial orchid.  1Biological Consultant, 8115 Esperanza St. Orlando, FL 32817, 2United States Air Force, Avon Park Air Force Range, Avon Park, FL, 3 Botanical and Ecological Consultant, Gig Harbor, WA.

Harris, Brittany. Pesticides and pollination of imperiled plants in the Lower Florida Keys. Biology Department, Florida International University, Miami, FL

Lippi, Daniel and Todd Osborne. The consequences of biotic and abiotic stressors on growth, wound wood production, and chlorophyll content of black mangroves (Avicennia germinans) in Northeast Florida. University of Florida, Department of Soil and Water Sciences, Whitney Laboratory for Marine Biosciences, St. Augustine, FL

Menges, Eric S.1, Suzanne Kennedy2, Stacy A. Smith1, and Stephanie M. Koontz1. Management needs and population ecology of the narrow endemic Titusville mint, based on 15 years of data from its largest wild population. 1Archbold Biological Station, 123 Main Drive, Venus, FL 33960, 2Floravista, Inc., Merritt Island, FL.

Miller, Jono.  They died with their boots on: The mystery of variable dead leaf base retention in cabbage palms, Sabal palmetto. New College of Florida (retired), 4535 45th Court, Sarasota FL

Morgan, Amanda. Assessing Scutellaria integrifolia, a Florida native skullcap, as a valuable specialty crop. University of Florida, Mid-Florida Research and Education Center, 2725 S. Binion Rd., Apopka, FL

Petri, Tabitha.  Do seeds trust crust: The influence of soil crust physical structure and sterilization on germination of native and non-native legumes? Archbold Biological Station.

Pinson, Jerald1, Jennifer Possley2, and Emily Sessa1. Florida’s sinkholes, and the separation of generations in ferns. 1Department of Biology, University of Florida, P.O. Box 118525, 521 Bartram Hall, Gainesville, FL 32611-8525, 2Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, Coral Gables, FL

Rose-Person, Annika. Time-since-fire and temporal shifts in flower visitor networks in two central Florida plants. Archbold Biological Station.

Trotta, Lauren1, Benjamin Baiser1, Jennifer Possley2, and Emily Sessa3.  Phylogenetic relatedness of threatened, endangered, and invasive species in Florida’s imperiled pine rocklands. 1Wildlife Ecology and Conservation, University of Florida, PO Box 110430, Gainesville, FL 32611, 2Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, Coral Gables, FL 33156, 3Department of Biology, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 

Friday Speakers   (day subject to change)

Chris Lockhart

How changes in climate are affecting Florida plants and shifting plant communities

Chris Lockhart is president and plant ecologist of Habitat Specialists, Inc. since 1998.  Interest in Florida’s invasive plant species began during graduate studies at Florida Atlantic University (FAU). While conducting invasive plant surveys with Florida Natural Areas Inventory on public conservation lands, her awareness of the stress that invasive species place on otherwise intact natural plant communities increased.  Her interest in issues related to climate change began during the 2007 Wildlife: On the Front Line of Climate Change Summit.  This led to work with FAU’s Center for Environmental Studies on their Sea Level Rise Summits.  While being a field biologist and botanist is her primary passion, she has also become an instructor for the Florida Master Naturalist Program.  Chris is Conservation Chair for the Palm Beach County Chapter of FNPS, and is active with FL Association of Environmental Professionals, Florida Exotic Pest Plant Council, and continues to watch how plants adapt to changes in climate.


Ernie Cox, J.D.

History of Land Conservation in Florida

Ernie Cox is the President of Family Lands Remembered, LLC, a company focused on the conservation and enhancement of significant land, water, agriculture, energy and other resources using creative planning, partnerships and market-based incentive strategies./He received bachelor’s degrees in geology and economics and a law degree from the University of Florida. /Ernie is involved in innovative projects such as the C-51 Reservoir, 4G Ranch Beneficial Reuse Project, JB Ranch, Babcock Ranch and Farmton. Ernie serves as Chair of the Steering Committee for the USFWS Landscape Conservation Cooperative, Chair of the Board of the Florida Earth Foundation, President of the Jupiter High School Athletic Boosters and President of the Alpha Eta House Corporation of the Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternity at the University of Florida.

Paul Gray, Ph.D.

Dry Prairie and its dependent, the Florida Grasshopper Sparrow

Dr. Paul Gray is a Science Coordinator for Audubon Florida's Everglades Restoration Program.  He has been with Audubon for 22 years and working in and around Lake Okeechobee since 1988. 

Paul provides technical support for Audubon policy teams in issues ranging from water quality, water management, agricultural best management practices, and ecosystem and bird conservation issues.  He formerly managed Audubon’s Ordway-Whittell Kissimmee Prairie Sanctuary and remains active with the Kissimmee Prairie Preserve State Park.

Paul’s educational background includes a BS from the University of Missouri, an MS from Texas Tech University on wetland ecology and a Ph.D. from the University of Florida in 1993, working on Florida's Mottled Duck in the Okeechobee region.

Craig Huegel, Ph.D.

Creating wildlife habitat in developed landscapes that creates connections with natural areas

Dr. Huegel is an ecologist and educator with extensive experience in wildlife and plant ecology, natural lands management and restoration, and the impacts of urbanization on natural systems. As the cofounder of the Urban Wildlife Cooperative Extension Program at the University of Florida (UF), he worked with local and county governments, state agencies, and the public on a wide variety of issues related to wildlife management and conservation at the urban interface. Dr. Huegel left UF to direct the newly created Environmental Lands Division, Pinellas County, where he served as the Administrator for programs at Brooker Creek, Weedon Island, and Shell Key Preserves. He developed the Education Centers at Brooker Creek and Weedon Island Preserves, a Biological Field Station at Brooker Creek Preserve, and the countywide Wildland Fire Team. In 2009, he founded his consulting firm Ecological Services Associates. In 2012, Dr. Huegel became an adjunct professor at St. Petersburg College, where he continues to the present. He regularly teaches Plant Biology, Field Botany, Vertebrate Zoology, Conservation Biology, and Ecology. He is a committed instructor and receives high evaluations for his work. Dr. Huegel has written five books for the public on native plants and wildlife, lectures throughout Florida, and writes a popular blog dedicated to Florida wildflowers.

Anne Cox, Ph.D.

Panel Moderator: Conservation Connections in Florida

Dr. Anne Cox has been a member of the Florida Native Plant Society since September 1982. She is currently a member of the FNPS CocoPlum Chapter in Martin County and the current past-president of FNPS. Anne started the Land Management Partner’s committee for FNPS in 2004. She continued as LMP Chair promoting FNPS involvement with state lands until 2014 when she accepted the position of President of FNPS (2014 to 2016). Anne earned her Ph.D. in Biology from Florida International University in Miami, FL (1998), and M.S. and B.S in Biology from Florida Atlantic University (1988 and 1982).

Anne has worked with Pine Jog Environmental Science Center, private consultants, Palm Beach County Environmental Resources Management, University of Florida as research biologist on TNC’s Apalachicola Bluffs and Ravines Preserve, Florida Division of Florida as Rare Plant Coordinator on the Lake Wales Ridge State Forest, Florida Natural Areas Inventory (FSU) and is the owner of Ecolo-G, Inc., an environmental consulting corporation. Ecolo~G, Inc. specializes in federal and state listed species surveys, native and non-native plant identification, vegetation assessments and habitat management. Rare plant studies include the federally endangered four-petal pawpaw (Asimina tetramera), wide-leaf Warea (Warea amplexifolia), and Perforate Lichen (Cladonia perforata). Anne serves on the Advisory Board for the Friends of Jonathan Dickinson State Park; is a past member of the steering committees for the SE Florida Scrub Ecosystem Working Group and the Treasure Coast Cooperative Invasive Species Management Area (CISMA). She belongs to a number of conservation organizations, including American Water Resources Association, Bok Tower Gardens, Florida Association of Environmental Professionals, Florida Wildflower Foundation, Florida Association of Native Nurseries, Natural Areas Association and the Florida Native Plant Society.


Connie Caldwell

Pine Rockland Post-Burn Restoration and Community Education, Florida International University Nature Preserve

As a Miami native, Connie can remember the days when strawberry fields could be found just off the Florida Turnpike and North Kendall Drive. She credits witnessing the explosive growth of South Florida’s population and sprawl to opening her eyes to the myriad of issues and challenges unfolding with climate change.

In 2008, she decided to further her studies with the goal to become influential in facilitating South Florida’s transition toward a more sustainable society. In the process, as an undergraduate Connie graduated Magna Cum Laude, with her MPA she received the FIU College of Art and Science Certificate of Outstanding Academic Achievement and FIU Center for Leadership and Service Excellence in Civic Engagement Medallion of Distinction. Connie also served as President of the FIU chapter of Pi Alpha Alpha Honor Society for Public Administrators and is most proud of her internship with the Office of University Sustainability where she took part in GoGreen initiatives and the University’s first STARS sustainability benchmarking report. Connie became a LEED Green Associate in 2014 and plans on becoming a LEED for Homes Green Rater. As Program Coordinator, she is committed to/ and anticipates an expansion of FIU’s commitment to greener growth. Connie strongly believes that through greater understanding, empowerment, and opportunity individuals will make the changes that ultimately improve sustainability on a global scale. Connie’s areas of interest are green living, public participation, community development, and global governance.

Steve Bousquin, Ph.D.

Steve Bousquin has worked on the Kissimmee River Restoration Project at South Florida Water Management District since 1999, primarily as a vegetation ecologist. Currently he is Project Manager of the Kissimmee River Restoration Evaluation Program and leads the Restoration Evaluation Unit of the District’s Lake and River Ecosystems Section. In addition to Florida he has done extensive field work in many western states including Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, South Dakota, New Mexico, Utah, Arizona, Nevada, and California. He holds degrees from Colorado State University, University of Colorado, and Emerson College. He lives in West Palm Beach, Florida.

Susan Carr, PhD

Floristic Variation Across the Landscape of Pyrogenic Pinelands of Florida

Dr. Susan Carr is a native of Gainesville Florida, where her interest in the natural world began as a child exploring the wild lands of Alachua County.  After receiving a B.S. in Botany from the University of Florida, Susan worked as an ecologist before returning to graduate school to earn a master’s degree in plant biology from Louisiana State University.  After returning to Florida, Susan obtained a Ph.D. in wildlife ecology and conservation from the University of Florida.  Her Ph.D. research centered on the ecology and diversity of fire-maintained pinelands in Florida, and it was from this work that she developed an appreciation for Florida’s wildlands and an avid interest in land conservation.  

Todd Hopkins, PhD

Defining Landscape-Scale Conservation Targets for Florida

Dr. Todd Hopkins is the Coordinator for the Peninsular Florida Landscape Conservation Cooperative (PFLCC) based in Vero Beach. For the past four years he worked in Reno, NV as the Science Coordinator for the Great Basin LCC; a five-state, self-directed partnership that is delivering conservation and climate resilience though it’s partner organizations. Prior to that, Dr. Hopkins spent 10 years working on Everglades Restoration with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, where he and his staff completed the first five projects. Dr. Hopkins also co-chaired the Everglades Adaptive Assessment and Management Team, and helped write the Department of Interior’s Science Plan for South Florida. He has held scientific, regulatory, and leadership positions with the USFWS, the FL Department of Environmental Protection’s Coastal and Aquatic Managed Areas, and two National Estuarine Research Reserves. Todd has a BS in Zoology University of California, Berkley, an MS in Ecology from San Francisco State University, and a Doctorate in Ecology from the University of California, Davis.

Jennifer Reed

Rural and Family Lands Protection Program: Why is this Program working so well?

Jennifer Reed is a native Floridian who grew up in the North Florida region, graduating from Florida State University with a degree in International and Environmental Economics.  After living in Mississippi, Fort Walton Beach, and the Tampa area, she returned to Tallahassee to raise her family.  In 2004, she joined the Department of Environmental Protection, Division of State Lands as an analyst and researcher, then from 2006 to 2013, Jennifer worked for the Department of Corrections in the Land Administration Section./Joining the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Florida Forest Service in 2013, where she now manages the Rural and Family Lands Protection Program (RFLPP).  Dedication to the RFLPP has come quickly and easily, as she grew up with an appreciation of Florida’s natural beauty and way of life.  Jennifer and her husband, Hal, have two teenage boys.  They love Florida State sports, spending time on their lake, and going to the beach.  She is a volunteer for her oldest son’s high school band and her youngest son’s PTO and school advisory council.

Saturday Speakers  (day subject to change)

Alan Franck, PhD

Fungi in Florida

Dr. Alan Franck is the director of the University of South Florida herbarium, a large collection of preserved plant specimens from around the world. His research interests focus on understanding and exalting plant diversity in Florida and the West Indies. He has taught many biology courses at USF, especially Medical Botany, which takes a diverse look at how plants influence the health of humans. He also makes contributions towards furthering the knowledge of fungi in and round Florida.

Deah Lieurance, Ph.D.

An Update from the UF/IFAS Assessment of Non-Native Plants in Florida’s Natural Areas

Dr. Lieurance has been the coordinator of the UF/IFAS Assessment since 2013. In the past 4 years, she helped redesign the Assessment website and added approximately 100 species to the species database.  She received her Ph.D. from Wright State University in 2012 and spent 3 years in Ft. Lauderdale at the USDA Invasive Plant Research Laboratory participating in research on the biocontrol of Melaleuca and Schinus. 

Eugene Kelly

Growing the Influence of the Florida Native Plant Society – How to Become an Advocate for Good Environmental Policy

Gene is a Conservation Biologist with a long history of working to conserve natural Florida. As the Environmental Lands Planner for the Southwest Florida Water Management District, he helped identify lands to be protected through the Save Our Rivers, Preservation 2000 and Florida Forever land acquisition programs, and also played the lead role in writing land management and public use plans for the acquired properties.  After 16 years at SWFWMD, he spent 5 years serving as the Conservation Planner for the Florida Chapter of The Nature Conservancy before working for several years as a Wildlife Biologist for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. He is currently self-employed working as a conservation biologist and environmental consultant. Gene has also been actively involved with the Florida Native Plant Society’s Board of Directors, where he has served terms as President and Conservation Chair, and is serving currently as the Policy and Legislation Chair.

Larry Weaner

Breaking the Rules: Ecological Landscape Design and Traditional Landscape Methodology

LARRY WEANER has been creating native landscapes since 1977. His firm Larry Weaner Landscape Associates has a national reputation for combining ecological restoration with the traditions of garden design. The firm’s work has received numerous awards, been featured in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Garden Design, American Gardener, and Landscape Architecture Magazine, among other publications, and been included on tours with The Garden Conservancy, The Cultural Landscape Foundation, and the American Horticultural Society. Larry lectures actively throughout the U.S., and in 1990, he founded New Directions in the American Landscape, a conference series with a national following. He recently coauthored Garden Revolution: How Our Landscapes Can Be a Source of Environmental Change (Timber Press, 2016). Larry’s more recent accolades include being granted the Lady Bird Johnson Environmental Award by the Westchester Community College Native Plant Center as well as the New England Wildflower Society Regional Impact Award both for his continued work with native plants.

Patricia Burgos

A Passion for Public Lands: Empowering Stewardship

From city girl to biologist, Patricia has worked in the environmental field for the past 20 years educating the public and restoring our public lands. She received her Biology degree from the State University of New York at Potsdam and her Master's at the University of Florida in Environmental Planning. As staff of the Lake County Water Authority she oversees the management of Hickory Point Park and the restoration of 6,600 acres of public lands. She "stays off the streets" by trying to convert her (blah) yard into a wildflower meadow, paddling our local lakes, birding our natural areas and learning to enjoy astronomy with her husband.

Scott Davis

The Monarch/Milkweed Initiative and Florida Native Plant Society Milkweed Mapping Project

Scott Davis is a busy biologist, with Ethnobotany among his passions. He is the Vice-president of the Florida Wild Mammal Association, serves on several committees of the Florida Native Plant Society and is president-elect for the Magnolia (Tallahassee) Chapter. In addition to his day job as a ranger and botanist at St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge, he serves as Coordinator for the new Milkweed-Monarch Conservation Initiative, VP for Friends of Wakulla Springs, and as a committee member for the FWC Great Florida Birding Trail and Black Bear Stakeholders. He also owns a native plant nursery and is an officer of a non-profit agency on urban forest conservation.

Sue Mullins

Growing the Influence of the Florida Native Plant Society – How to Become an Advocate for Good Environmental Policy

Sue Mullins is a public policy and campaign professional based in Tallahassee Florida, where she has served as an advocate for environmental and related issues for 23 years. She established a full service lobbying, campaign and public relations firm in 2007 to advocate issues for clients in numerous fields including natural resource protection, energy and climate change policy, business regulation, election law, transportation, corporate governance and public finance. Sue’s representation includes advocacy before the Florida Legislature and Cabinet, Congress, state agencies, and local and regional governments. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology from St. Leo College and a Masters in Anthropology from Florida State University. Sue’s campaign experiences include managing all aspects of political, grassroots and public campaign planning, operations and communications for district and statewide offices, issues and referenda. She has won 17 local ballot initiatives for land conservation and four Florida House races. After serving as lead policy analyst for two years in the Florida Senate, Sue now serves as policy advisor to Ramba Law Group, LLC and has represented the Florida Native Plant Society for six years.

Wendy Poag

A Passion for Public Lands: Empowering Stewardship

Wendy Poag was born in Central Florida and grew up camping, hiking, and boating the state from coast to coast and the forests in between. Wendy’s backyard has been the Ocala National Forest for the last 30 years so scrub, sandhill and flatwoods are her neighbors. She has worked for IFAS in plant disease research and has been propagating Florida’s native plants for over 20 years. Wendy has a BS in Landscape and Nursery Horticulture and an MS in Forest Resources and Conservation with a focus on ecological restoration through the University of Florida.

She currently works for Lake County Parks and Trails as their naturalist/land steward/recreation coordinator. Her job involves best management practices, water resources, conservation, restoration, native plants, exotic species and wildlife. Ms. Poag’s certifications include a pesticide applicators license for aquatics and natural areas, prescribed fire training, Natural Areas Training certificate through UF and the Nature Conservancy, and she is a certified Horticulture Professional. She also serves on the steering committee for the Big Scrub Cooperative Invasive Species Management Area.

Nicole Cribbs

Connections Through Education

Nicole Cribbs is the recently appointed Chair of the Education and Outreach Committee. She lives in Plant City, Hillsborough County with her husband David and two sons. Mrs. Cribbs is a graduate of the University of South Florida with a BS in Botany and works as an environmental consultant in the Tampa area. She took two years off to teach high school science and then returned to consulting. Different projects throughout the years provided Nicole the opportunity to develop a broad base in ecology and botany. Major work activities include wetland mitigation design, mitigation monitoring, permitting public transportation projects, wildlife surveys, plant surveys, and submerged aquatic vegetation surveys.

Amir Khoddamzadeh, Ph.D.

In-Vitro Conservation of the Critically Threatened Floridian Orchids by Encapsulation-Dehydration

Dr. Amir Khoddamzadeh is a full-time faculty in the Agroecology Program within the Department of Earth and Environment at Florida International University. Dr. Khoddamzadeh is also an affiliated faculty in the International Centre for Tropical Botany at the Kampong Botanic Garden. He is the faculty supervisor of the FIU garden club and the FIU organic garden and also is the advisor/co-advisor of the BS.c, MS.c and Ph.D student’s research projects. Dr. Khoddamzadeh is the chair elect of the Seed and Stand Establishment working group in American Society for Horticultural Science, editor in chief of Scientific Journal of Agricultural Research, editorial board member in Advances in Food Technology and Nutrition Sciences, and member of the several national and international societies. He also serves in the Conservation and Education Committees of the Florida Native Plant Society. He teaches Agriculture Colloquium: Medicinal, Aromatic, and Poisonous Plants (MAPs) and Biotechnology Applications in Horticultural Crops, Sustainable Agriculture, Introduction to Environmental Science & Sustainability, Modern Crop Production, Introduction to Horticulture Sciences, Horticulture Science Lab, and Professional Horticulture Workshop. His current research projects focus on (1) Medicinal Plant and anti-cancer compound, (2) Smart application technology for fertilizer management in greenhouse/nursery producer, (3) Gene-banking of endangered plants mostly orchids, and (4) Seed technology and biotechnology. For more information please visit his webpage:  https://earthenvironment.fiu.edu/faculty/amir-khoddamzadeh/

Juliet Rynear

Conservation, Restoration, and Citizen Science

Juliet Rynear volunteers her time as the Conservation Committee Chair for the Florida Native Plant Society.  In this capacity, she has helped to develop the Habitat Restoration Program in order to promote the restoration and management of the natural resources that Floridians and wildlife depend on for their survival.  Ms. Rynear has extensive experience managing projects focused on habitat restoration; conservation of plant species, habitat surveys, and post-project monitoring that is designed to inform ongoing management.  She received a Master of Applied Science in Environmental Policy and Natural Resource Management from the University of Denver and earned a Certificate in Applied Plant Conservation from the Center for Plant Conservation.  Since moving to Florida in 2008, her research has focused on the conservation and restoration of Florida’s rare plant species, plant communities, and their habitats.  Juliet has enjoyed a lifelong love of plants and seeks to inspire others to experience the transformative power of our natural world.

Workshop Leaders

Vince Lamb

Florida Wildflower Photography Workshop

Join Vince Lamb at Lake Kissimmee State Park for a 15-20-minute presentation on wildflower photography basics.  We will then carpool to multiple locations within the park where wildflowers should be blooming.  Vince will scout the property ahead of time with the assistance of State Park staff to find the best locations for seasonal wildflowers.

Vince Lamb is a former chairman of the Florida Wildflower Foundation as well as a Florida Master Naturalist.  He has led numerous photography classes and workshops featuring wildflowers and other natural subjects.  

Marjorie Shropshire

Nature Journaling “On and Off the Trail”

·  Learn to relate to nature through “Deep Looking” – a mixture of close observation and sketching.

·  Sketching is a form of visual note taking and an invaluable skill not only for artists, but also naturalists observing the world around them. Field sketches are simple drawings done while on location, and either used a reference for more detailed renderings later, or drawn in a field journal used to document sightings and identify specimens.

What we will learn and experience:

·  Discover details of Florida’s ecosystems by learning to focus and sharpen observational skills by “Deep Looking” - using drawing as a method to look closely at an object with the goal of seeing things that otherwise would be overlooked.

·  Learn simple drawing techniques that will help with the journaling process. Drawing is a skill that can be learned by anyone. The goal of the journal is not to make pretty pictures but to learn how to accurately observe and record what you see.

·  Learn how to integrate drawing, writing, scientific observation and personal reflection in a nature journal. Gain inspiration that will encourage you to continue journaling as a regular practice that provides personal enrichment.

Workshop details:

·  Morning: Classroom introduction that includes a slide lecture and presentation (“The Palest Ink”) about the history and use of nature and field journals, followed by an overview of some of the techniques to be used in the field and practice sketching.

·  Lunch Break

·  Afternoon: Walk “off the trail” where we will practice journal drawing and recording observations outside.

Marjorie Shropshire was born in Miami, Florida where her interest in the natural world was forged at an early age on Biscayne Bay. “I could look into the water and see all manner of fantastic creatures swimming and crawling - the clear water was a giant hand lens allowing a peek into another world."

Marjorie spent a lot of time exploring, hunting fossils, diving, and bird watching in the Everglades and on Florida’s southwest coast. Her eccentric childhood also helped develop an early taste for adventure travel. Birds, orchids, seashells, skulls, fossils and stones are common elements in her work, and her drawings often explore the complex forms of mangrove roots and hammock plants from the Florida Keys and the Everglades. A trip to Antarctica led to an ongoing series of drawings that contain images of the frozen continent.

Marjorie graduated from University of Miami, Coral Gables, Florida, and she has also studied at the University of Florida, Gage Academy of Art, The Armory Art Center, and Penland School of Crafts. She works in a variety of media, and drawing and painting are often combined with three dimensional constructions and hand made elements.

Marjorie is a member of the Guild of Natural Science Illustrators and edits the Florida Native Plant Society’s magazine, PALMETTO.

James Stevenson

Plant ID Introduction

Join James Stevenson, Extension Specialist in Pinellas County, to examine the basics of plant identification, from using simple keys to identifying critical characteristics that will help any would-be botanist in the field.  An emphasis will be placed on flowering plants, but ferns will be included as well.  Registration is required and all materials will be provided.

James Stevenson is an Extension Specialist with the University of Florida IFAS Extension Services in Pinellas County.  He works out of the Brooker Creek Preserve Environmental Education Center in Tarpon Springs.  James teaches classes on a variety of natural resource conservation topics, including:  plant identification, botany, entomology, ecology and particular groups of native plants such as ferns, wetland wildflowers and epiphytes.  Exploring the natural world has been James’ passion since he was a child growing up in Clearwater.  After graduating from Clearwater High, James went on to get his Bachelor’s degree in Plant Ecology from the University of the South in Sewanee, TN.  From there he found himself working in botanical gardens around the world; from North Carolina to England, Germany, Israel and Spain.  Before returning to Florida in 2006, James had spent a decade in the UK, working on his advanced degree at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew and as the Assistant Curator at the University of Oxford Botanic Garden.  James doesn’t really understand gardening in Florida, so he now grows orchids and watches birds.