The Florida Panhandle Wildflower Alliance was initiated in 2012 as an informal network of regional wildflower enthusiasts that advocates for conservation of wildflowers in sixteen Panhandle counties from Escambia County to Jefferson County. Through communication, collaboration and information sharing, PWA members support and inspire each other as they grow knowledge and awareness of native wildflowers and their value to Florida’s environmental and economic health.
Alliance members assist city, county and state agencies in identifying roadside wildflower areas and developing mowing schedules that allow native wildflowers to thrive. They engage the public and more formal organizations through the creation of events, workshops and tours that spotlight Eastern Panhandle wildflowers.
Members represent county commissions, tourism agencies, chambers of commerce, environmental organizations, garden clubs, national and state lands, ecotourism and agricultural businesses, state agencies, extension offices and the public at large.
The Florida Wildflower Foundation, as the Alliance’s founder, supplies a liaison to guide members in working with counties and facilitates communication with the Florida Department of Transportation. Contact PWA/FDOT Liaison Liz Sparks at LSparks@flawildflowers.org.
To learn more, visit the official website at: https://flawildflowers.org/florida-panhandle-wildflower-alliance/
The Magnolia chapter is an active member of the Alliance participating in volunteer events, representing at county commissioner meetings, spreading awareness, and more.
Source: FNPS's bi-monthly newsletter, Sabal Minor, January - February 2020 | Volume 22, Number 1.
By: Helen Roth & Rayanne Mitchell
Blountstown lost many valuable urban and suburban trees during Hurricane Michael. We received over $600 in donations at our booth during the spring North Florida Wildflower Festival. Part of the reason for this is Gail Fishman’s work raising and giving away hundreds of native plants she grows from ethically-collected wild seeds. We rounded the $600 in donations up to a cool thousand and purchased native plants and trees to plant in the new native pollinator garden along the Florida Trail next to a popular trailhead for the Blountstown Greenway, M&B Depot Park.
We partnered with the Blountstown FFA Chapter, 4H Entomology Club, RiverTown Church, UF IFAS Extension Calhoun County, and the Florida Wildflower Foundation to do this planting project. The local Rotary club provided a hearty breakfast and over 40 volunteers planted native trees, shrubs, and wildflowers. Both Rayanne Mitchell, Magnolia Chapter Treasurer, and Liz Sparks of the Florida Wildflower Foundation were instrumental in involving our Blountstown partners.
Magnolia Chapter is based in Tallahassee and Blountstown is over an hour and nearly 50 miles away. Still, Magnolia Chapter members came out in support.
Photo: The volunteers pose on the Florida Trail with the event banner
This community planting project was only one day in our Chapter’s long history of support for plant conservation initiatives in the Panhandle. We have sponsored and participated in the Calhoun County Wildflower Festival –“ to support economic development by promoting natural resources and eco-tourism.” The festival is one result of Eleanor Dietrich’s many successful efforts in the region. Her grace and diplomacy paved the way towards establishing a model Wildflower in many counties in the Panhandle. Travis and Karen MacClendon have recruited local garden club members, religious, and civic groups to establish native plantings along the very Greenway you see us planting up in Helen’s photos.
Photo: Volunteers plant a Red Oak (Quercus falcata) aliong with 200 other native trees, shrubs, and forbs.
The planting was designed by Bob Farley, Magnolia Chapter member, and Rex Lumber donated a dump truck load of pine chip mulch.
Bob Farley’s work with roadside wildflower plantings, and plant rescues are only two of the many activities in the region he shows up for. Up here, every month is Native Plant month. Whether Diana Picklesimer is leading a group of volunteers to remove invasive plants in the Angus Gholson Nature Park in Chattahoochee, or Helen Roth gathers experienced volunteers to join visiting scientists on rare plant surveys in Torreya State Park, or Ann Johnson and Nia Wellendorf stay in town and stage pop up educational booths at community events like the Tallahassee Science Festival and the local middle school science night.