Littering: “4th-grader works to educate others on the issue of cigarette butts littering Florida beaches”

Littering: “4th-grader works to educate others on the issue of cigarette butts littering Florida beaches”

Video: Orlando News 13

“Shells and sand aren’t the only things you’ll see on Florida’s beaches — cigarette butts are also a common sight.

According to a 2021 report from Ocean Conservancy and International Coastal Cleanup, cigarettes were the number one trash item found at beaches in 2020, with 964,521 recorded. Plastic bottles followed with 627,014 recorded and 573,534 food wrappers found.

It’s an issue fourth-grader Robert Dhingra wanted to do something about. Dhingra, who lives in Cocoa Beach, said he really began noticing all the cigarette butts back in January, which bothered him, especially because he didn’t see places for people to dispose of them safely.

‘There should be receptacle cans for cigarettes too because if you put them in the regular trash cans, the trash could catch fire,’ Dhingra said.

He and his mom, Mina Sharma, started going out once a week on the beach near their apartment and picking up butts for an hour or more at a time.

But when he kept noticing them, Dhingra decided just cleanup wasn’t enough. He wanted to call attention to the issue. So, the then third-grade student penned an op-ed for a local newspaper…

He also created a presentation, which he showcased at his elementary school for the teachers and students.

During the 2022 legislative session, Republican State Sen. Joe Gruter introduced a bill that would allow counties and municipalities to establish bans on smoking in both state parks and on public beaches, which was signed into law and will go into effect on July 1.”

— By Will Robinson-Smith Brevard County, Orlando News 13

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Growing Problem? The market for artificial turf is rapidly growing partially driven by extreme draught conditions in much of the country…artifical turf coming to Florida too!

Growing Problem? The market for artificial turf is rapidly growing partially driven by extreme draught conditions in much of the country…artifical turf coming to Florida too!

Photo: PRweb.com

“This August, Turf Distributors is opening a new distribution center in Davie, Florida. This new facility will significantly speed up deliveries across the East Coast. Artificial grass dealers and distributors operating in the Florida area can now expect to receive shipments within 48 hours of placing their order! The hub will also bring quality jobs to Davie.”

— PRweb.com

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Fernandina Beach Commissioners dive into tree protection controversy and go ahead with vote to protect six Heritage Trees

Fernandina Beach Commissioners dive into tree protection controversy and go ahead with vote to protect six Heritage Trees

Photo: Shown in Fernandina Observer

“Amelia Island’s trees are beloved by its residents, and problems with protecting those trees will go before the Fernandina Beach City Commission at the Commissioners’ workshop in a couple weeks. The issue drew a number of people to this week’s Commission meeting to press their concerns that real damage is ongoing to the tree canopy…

One of the problems is in development.

“You all saw the Amelia Bluff tree protection zones,” Vice Mayor Len Kreger said. “This is a major — I think there’s probably six or seven houses out there — not one of them had a tree protection zone. There was garbage, there was cinder blocks, there was everything.”

It’s crazy, he said, that there are all these tree protections that don’t seem to be carried out because of improper maintenance.

‘We’re out there planting hundreds of trees, we have a tree management plan … 17 pages, there’s like five lines devoted to tree maintenance,’ Kreger said.

He intends to reintroduce a proposal for the city to adopt tree construction procedures from an international arborist standard.

‘We lose more trees during construction — we’ll have to plant a thousand trees,’ Kreger said. ‘Remember, our canopy’s 37%. We’re never going to be able to maintain it.’

It’s a management issue they need to do better on, he added.

The discussion came on the same night as the Commission voted to protect six trees within the city as heritage trees…”

— Wes Wolfe, FloridaPolitics.com, Suanne Z. Thamm, Fernandina Observer

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“Coontie and nectar plants attract rare atala butterflies to your yard”

“Coontie and nectar plants attract rare atala butterflies to your yard”

Photo: Sally Scalera, Florida Today

“Florida Today ran an article in 2017 about the Atala butterfly that was previously thought to be extinct but had been discovered again.

Since that time, the butterflies have made a resurgence and have expanded their range.

The Atala’s primary host plant is our native coontie, Zamia integrifolia, and because they are a popular landscape ornamental, the butterfly has made its way up to many parts of Brevard County.

The coontie is native to most of the Florida peninsula, where its natural habitat has well-drained soil dominated by pine trees. It is hardy from zones 8B through 11, and can survive winter temperatures as low as 15 degrees.

Originally, they were found throughout hammocks and pinelands, but due to the excessive collection of its starchy root and use in the landscape, it is rarely found in the wild now. Collection of wild coontie plants is prohibited, because they are on Florida’s Commercially Exploited Plant List…

If you would like to support atala butterflies, plant coontie and nectar plants in your yard, then keep your eyes peeled for the small little butterflies, with the blue stripe and red spot. ”

— Sally Scalera, Florida Today

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“For Earth Day: Five Idyllic Ecotourism Destinations Across The Southern U.S.”

“For Earth Day: Five Idyllic Ecotourism Destinations Across The Southern U.S.”

Photo: Amelia Island CVB

“Every destination has a story, no matter how small.

Spring is in full swing across the Northern Hemisphere, and as we welcome the warm weather and extra daylight, Earth Day is just on the horizon. Established in 1970, this annual event serves as a call to action for the preservation of our home planet, ushering in conversations around renewable energy, protecting biodiversity, reducing plastic waste, and a wealth of other sustainability-driven causes.

Though Earth Day brings environmental issues to the forefront of public discussion each April, avid ecotourists are on the lookout for pristine natural destinations 365 days a year—and the Southern United States just happens to be a treasure trove of protected parks and wildlife preserves brimming with native flora and fauna….

Amelia Island, Florida

A boardwalk snaking through a verdant marsh. Amelia Island is equipped with 13 miles of sandy Atlantic shoreline.

Planning a trip to the Sunshine State? Don’t miss out on Amelia Island, a charming seaside getaway located just northeast of Jacksonville. Down in the southernmost reaches of the island, the idyllic 200-acre Amelia Island State Park is an absolute must-visit for those seeking out native shorebirds—but there’s no need to travel far to find wildlife on the island. The city of Fernandina Beach is rife with incredible ecotourism destinations ranging from Egan’s Creek Greenway Trail—a top spot for alligator sightings—to the Fernandina coast, a sandy expanse that’s ideal for viewing bottlenose dolphins and even the occasional sea turtle. Once you’ve had your fill of wildlife viewing, beer fans can head to First Love Brewing for some much-needed hot honey pizza paired with a hoppy Cardinal Truth IPA.”

— Jared Ranahan, Forbes

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“Alachua county reaches agreement to preserve Native American land in Micanopy”

“Alachua county reaches agreement to preserve Native American land in Micanopy”

Video and Text: myCBS4.com

“During a meeting on March 22, Alachua county commissioners passed a motion to buy a parcel of land at the intersection of U.S. 441 and Tuscawilla Road, in order to preserve Native American history.

A developer wanted to turn the 5-acre property into a Dollar General store. The land holds historical significance because it is where the second Seminole war started. Micanopy resident Aaron Weber has been fighting to preserve this land since March of 2020.

‘Everyone told us we couldn’t do it, from former county commissioners to hired experts, and something just kept us persevering and pushing along. It was like the spirit of Osceola was with us, that spirit of never surrendering and never quitting,’ Weber said.

Weber said along the process more people joined like Micanopy resident Robert Rosa.

‘It was a difficult process. Most of our people are unseen, our voices are invisible or even ourselves are invisible to the common people, the government. They just don’t realize that we are still here,’ Rosa said.

Martha Tommie, member of the Seminole tribe, feels thankful.

‘He said, we won. And I just started being humble and just respecting our elders and our ancestors and our Seminole tribe of today,’ Tommie said.

Weber said with this gesture the board of county commissioners in Alachua county showed they care.

‘The county motto is Where nature and culture meet and they exemplified that and they care about nature,’ Weber said…”

— Massiel Leyva, myCBS4.com

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Citizens for a Scenic Florida