Florida Audubon has awarded Pelican Island Audubon 2022 Best Chapter Conservation Project for its Education and Demonstration Native Plant Garden at the Indian River County Commission’s Building A Entrance.
As part of our major conservation project, Plant 100,000 Trees for Life/Plants for Birds, our goal for this year’s project was to plant a native garden at the entrance to the County Commission Building A to educate and demonstrate to the public that a native plant garden can be beautiful and beneficial for our county. Now they can see that, by planting native trees and plants, they can play a role in helping solve the crises of our climate and lagoon.
Besides being beautiful, the 271 native plants (21 different native species such as Beautyberry, Beach Verbena, Goldenrod, Coontie, Firebush, Elliott’s Lovegrass, and Scarlet Tropical Sage) that will attract hummingbirds, provide food for birds and wildlife and help maintain clean water for fish and manatees. Pamphlets on-site recommending native plants for birds, butterflies, and bees are being picked up.
Bob Montanaro, our Office Manager, took photos and video showing the creation of the garden (see PIAS website and YouTube: Attached Fig 1. shows the sequence of planting from a turfgrass lawn to the garden when finished in Jan 2022, and Fig 2. shows the garden this October as the plants have matured.
Many thanks to the Indian River County Commissioners for approving this garden plan. The impetus for it came from County Commissioner Laura Moss. When Commissioner Moss was on Vero Beach City Council, all the sod was removed around Vero Beach City Hall, and the site today is so beautiful. Thanks also for the approval of the County’s Public Works Director, Rich Szpyrka.
We appreciate the Garden’s 12 sponsors: Margot Funke, Clean Water Coalition, Indian River Neighborhood Association, Temple Beth Shalom, Henry Fischer & Sons, FPL, and Audubon Florida. Sebastian River Farms provided the four native trees. Cheryl Ronan of ANOVA provided the recycled-plastic contour bench. Teresa McCarthy from Site One provided the Permaloc Landscape Edging. Britten Industries provided the wood chips for the path.
A very special thanks to Stephanie Dunn of Cadence Landscape Architects, one of the best in Florida, who did a terrific job of designing the native garden and directing our volunteers in planting, She supervised closely, even helping plant many of the plants. Planting was done by 32 community volunteers and chapter members. The Garden is a great advertisement for our tree and native plant nursery at our Audubon House. People have stopped by our Audubon House to pick up free trees, purchase plants, see what we are up to. Over 12,600 native trees and plants have been distributed to folks.