Florida keys yards:Bridging landscapes with natural habitats

Jeffery Stotts, Kim Gable

Abstract


The Florida Keys is host to 106 different species of butterflies that represents 65% of the butterflies throughout the state of Florida. The Florida Keys Yards & Neighborhoods butterfly gardening education program encourages the use of native flora to help buffer the effects of development on the remaining native tropical communities of the Keys. The program focuses on enlisting residents into developing environmentally friendly ways  to landscape on oceanfronts and interior island areas, which brings together a countywide conservation corridor that connects landscaped areas with natural areas. The FYN program uses two components. The first module educates the homeowner on the use of native and low-maintenance flora to provide butterfly food and habitat. The second module teaches homeowners how to identify the problem first, by developing scouting skills, and how to use alternative control measures if necessary. The program compels residents to maintain their yard habitats to be a bridge to the nearby or adjacent non developed areas of the Keys' islands, thereby creating residents' increased awareness of the potential effects of individual landscape practices. As interest grows to attract specific or random butterflies, a sense of community responsibility is imprinted that encourages gardeners to be actively involved with conservation efforts. Intergenerational interactions and family involvement has been observed during butterfly gardening seminars and in home landscapes. Butterfly gardens in different forms and several unique sizes are now in state parks, city parks, botanical garden areas, and private lands throughout the county.

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Proc. Fla. State Hort. Soc.     ISSN 0886-7283