Everywhere you look, an explosion of blooming wildflowers drape the roadsides, full of busy pollinators and happy colors. Although not all naturally occurring wildflower areas are spectacularly showy, our roadside corridors provide a critical haven for the hundreds of species of pollinators responsible for one out of three bites of our food. Our pollinators need our help - and we need help from them! Florida's natural habitats are becoming increasingly more fragmented and impacted as we make room for a daily influx of 1,000 new residents to our state.
To offset these impacts, there is much we can do individually and as a group of wildflower advocates to increase habitat for pollinators, from beautifying our roadsides and changing our habits cultivating our home landscapes. Our PWA member and IFAS Extension Agent in Santa Rosa County, Mary Salinas, offers helpful tips for creating optimum habit for pollinators in our gardens in her article below.
Keeping our roadside wildflowers blooming is an ongoing challenge! We'll hear from two counties who achieved success through completely different actions. "Wildflower Warriors" fought and won on the political front in Wakulla County to maintain a wildflower program. And a PWA member in Okaloosa County, MaryAnn Friedman, scheduled a meeting in January, well before the spring bloom, to coordinate modified mowing management with an FDOT contractor to help conserve wildflowers and an endangered butterfly.
I welcome your articles, comments and photos to make this newsletter a voice for the Panhandle Wildflower Alliance. Let's share our success stories and ideas to save our roadside wildflowers. I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 850-570-5950.
- Liz Sparks, Florida Wildflower Foundation PWA/FDOT Liaison