Educating Florida residents about the state’s ecosystems is important to the 200 members of the Sun City Center Audubon Club, and they are working hard to do just that. They are bringing in experts to talk about ecosystems in a trio of presentations. The first two workshops were held last fall; the third — What You Didn’t Know about Florida Ecology—is planned for April 24, at 10 a.m. Doors open at 9:30 a.m. in the Florida Room of the Community Association’s Central Campus Atrium Building at 945-D N. Course Lane. It is open to CA members and their guests.
At the first two workshops, experts talked about the state’s geology, hydrology and wetlands. At this third session about its ecology, Reed Noss, PhD is the featured speaker. Dr. Noss is the director of science and planning in the Conservation Ecology Laboratory at the University of Central Florida and has had an extensive career advocating conservation biology and ecology. He literally “wrote the book” on the challenges we face to preserve Florida’s special places. Copies of his book, Forgotten Grasslands of the South, will be available for sale and signing.
You would not be alone if you asked: What is an ecosystem anyway? Broadly speaking, it consists of communities of plants and animals. Florida’s unique ecosystems are home to over 100 endangered plant and animal species. In mountainous states, most are familiar with species that live above or below the “tree line.” In our relatively level state, mere inches of elevation change can determine the type of species that can survive. Dr. Noss’ work encompasses the ideas of species and ecosystem vulnerability to sea-level rise, disturbance ecology, climate adaptation strategies and ecosystem conservation and restoration.
Mary Duncan, the Audubon Club president, is excited about the upcoming workshop. “It should be awesome,” she said. “As members of the SCC Audubon Club, my husband and I enjoyed the great talks and field trips that were presented. Now, as president, I am so impressed to see the hard work of the board. They plan 12 field trips each year; bring the club seven great speakers at our regular meetings; and now have brought two distinguished speakers for additional workshops this year.”
Duncan and other members of the club are dedicated to the group’s projects. Currently, they are working on two major conservation activities—installing bluebird boxes around SCC and maintaining/improving the two nature trails on the CA’s West Campus. For club information, call her at 813-260-3322.
The SCC Woman’s Club is partnering with the club for this free event. Organizers have established online ticketing at www.eventbrite.com. Search for What you didn’t know about Florida — Ecology — Dr. Reed Noss. Although advance sign-ups are encouraged, walk-ins are welcome. For more information, call Melanie Higgins at 813-625-1271, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.