Empowering Resilient Women & Girls field trip to Urban Habitat Miami
On Sunday, March 3rd, 5 participants attended a field trip as part of the Allapattah Empowering Resilient Women and Girls program. The visit was to the Urban Habitat Miami nursery, run by Howard Tonkin and his team. The nursery carries primarily native plants and the organization does large landscaping projects around South Florida that utilize native species.
During the nursery visit, we had the opportunity to learn about many different native species that grow in Florida and their importance in the local ecosystem. These species are not only beautiful, but they also attract fauna that is essential to our functioning ecosystems. Many of the plants discussed are well-adapted to extreme weather events and our natural environment in Florida, making them ideal to build a resilient future in our backyard. That being said, many of them are endangered and are seen less and less, hence the importance of bringing them back and creating awareness around them. A few that we learned about:
· Dade County Pine: Its needles are great for local birds to make their nests. Many birds are on a trajectory for extinction, in large part because of climate change. These trees are increasingly being replaced with palm trees around the area because palms are more synonymous with tropical living.
· Cypress bald: a mature bald cypress can absorb 880 gallons per day,depending on the soil type and saturation. This can be a great way to reduce flooding on low lying areas around the city.
· Tick seed: one of the state’s wild flowers! Tick seed repels ticks. As our planet warms and the range of ticks expands, these kinds of plants will play a more important role.
· Milk weed: is crucial for butterflies, especially the migrating monarchs that stop in Florida.
Following our tour of the nursery, we had the opportunity to plant a few Dade County Pines on the edge of the property. The city needs more trees! Trees provide shade and they absorb water and they provide structure for soil. This was a great learning experience for all the participants. We had a great day, spending time outdoors, learning about nature and reconnecting with what’s important: our living environment.
Thank you to Howard and his team for all the great work they do!