Rare Plant Conservation Program

Rare Plant Task Force 2018

April 12-13, 2018

Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens in Jacksonville, FL

Co-hosted by Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, Bok Tower Gardens, and Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens

The Impact of Climate Change and Natural Disasters on Rare Plant Conservation

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The Meeting

Thursday, April 12, 2018
8:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.

Download the agendaDownload the abstracts

The annual Rare Plant Task Force is a state-wide meeting that brings together a network of conservation professionals from a variety of disciplines and agencies to share approaches and findings, forge new partnerships, and discuss rare plant conservation priorities. This annual meeting is made possible by grants from the State of Florida, Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Division of Plant Industry.

The Mission of the Florida Plant Conservation Alliance (FPCA) is to study and preserve Florida’s flora through multi-disciplinary research. education, and advocacy; facilitate the recovery of rare, threatened, and endangered plants of Florida and the southeastern US through Collaborative efforts in our state; and communicate the importance of preserving biodiversity worldwide.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Where: to be held in the Samburu Room, Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens.

Presentations: Consists of presentations on a main meeting theme of The Impact of Climate Change and Natural Disasters on Rare Plant Conservation. This meeting day also includes the 2nd Annual Florida Plant Conservation Alliance section to discuss safeguarding endangered species in Florida.

Information Exchange: There will be an information exchange table at the meeting. Please bring copies of any relevant brochures, reprints, announcements, course offerings, job or grant opportunities, or other printed material to be made available to all meeting participants.

Poster Display: There will be an area for display of posters and time allotted within the meeting agenda for poster viewing. Please use this opportunity to display current research or other poster displays for viewing by all meeting participants.

Friday, April 13, 2018

Where: See each listing for meeting time and location

Field Trips: Consists of a variety of half-day field trip options to local native habitats.

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The Field Trips

Friday, April 13, 2018
8:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

It is our recommendation that you wear a hat, sunscreen, long-sleeved shirts, long pants, and close-toed sturdy shoes for these field trips. Even seasoned field botanists can be stung, poked, and/or poisoned by the local flora and fauna. Good clothes and a good sense of adventure can help make the experience more enjoyable. Please bring a bottle of water – extras will be provided. The group will have lunch on their own at local restaurants.

Please note that some field trips are limited to a certain number of participants.
Choosing to participate in none of the field trip choices does not lower the registration fee.

#1   Optional Field Trip 1 – Tour the Natural Areas of Jacksonville Arboretum and Gardens
The “125-acre urban woodland” that is Jacksonville Arboretum and Gardens (JAG) was originally created as a buffer between residential neighborhoods and a water treatment facility. However the property has transformed into so much more. JAG’s mission is to educate the community about Florida’s native plant communities, and to promote conservation and appreciation for Florida’s natural resources. Merrill Varn, the JAG Volunteer Conservation Manager, will lead a guided hike through 13 distinct plant communities, including three restoration project areas funded by the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens. Folks will also be lead off-trail to a pine scrub restoration area to assist with a plant survey and to offer suggestions for a native plant wish list for future plantings. Meeting location and time: Jacksonville Arboretum and Gardens, 1445 Millcoe Rd., Jacksonville, FL 32225; 8:30-11AM. Limited 10 people.

#2   Optional Field Trip 2 – Guided Hike at Pumpkin Hill Preserve State Park
This 4,086-acre state park protects one of the largest contiguous areas of coastal uplands (natural pine flatwoods) remaining in Duval County. These uplands protect the water quality of the Nassau and St. Johns rivers, ensuring the survival of aquatic plants and animals, and providing an important refuge for birds. Rare plants known to occur at Pumpkin Hill include, pond spice (Litsea aestivalis), hooded pitcher plant (Sarracenia minor), and rosebud orchid (Cleistes divaricata, which may be in bloom in April). Prescribed fire is the number one restoration tool used at the Preserve and its benefits will be explored as the hike, lead by Environmental Specialist Meghan Harris, moves through various natural communities, including areas with carnivorous plants. These rare plants and other interesting native plants of the northeast Florida coastal pine flatwoods will be easily located along the Preserve’s main trail system. Meeting location and time: 13802 Pumpkin Hill Road, Jacksonville, FL 32226; 8:30-11AM. *Use this address for location of the park, as Google will give you the wrong directions if you just enter in the park name. Limited to 12 people.

#3   Optional Field Trip 3 – Guana Tolomato Matanzas National Estuarine Research Reserve
Teeming with life, the Guana Tolomato Matanzas National Estuarine Research Reserve (GTM Research Reserve) is a dynamic, ever changing place with many interconnected habitats from the ocean to the forests. The reserve is a research and educational facility formed in collaboration with FDEP and NOAA. The Reserve covers 74,000 acres of coastal lands in northeast Florida from Ponte Vedra Beach to Palm Coast, and the large Environmental Education Center includes exhibits, and laboratories for educating the public, professionals, and for hosting visiting scientists. This trip will feature a tour of the different habitats on the reserve, so visitors should be prepared to traverse maritime hammock, mesic flatwoods, and wetlands. Waterproof boots and waders are suggested by the guide. Meeting location and time: 505 Guana River Road, Ponte Vedra Beach, FL 32082; 8:30AM-12:00PM. Limited to 8 people

#4  Optional Field Trip 4 –Guided Hike of Cary State Forest and Botanical Survey of the Thomas Creek Tract
Established as Florida’s second state forest in 1937, Cary State Forest is known for mature flatwoods, sandhill and basin marsh habitats, and is home to 11 different natural plant communities. Guests will be taken on a guided hike with Florida Forest Service Forester Jon Johnson and FNPS volunteers to a mature 95yo longleaf stand, and home to a healthy population of Calopogon multiflorus, which should be in flower!. Following the guided hike, the group will travel ~5-miles north to the Thomas Creek Tract, acquired in 2005 through Florida Forever and Save our Rivers programs, to assist with a botanical survey as part of continued efforts to compile a full plant occurrence within this tract. Meeting location and time: 7465 Pavilion Road, Bryceville, FL 32009; 8:30AM-12PM. Limited to 10 people.

#5  Optional Field Trip 5 – Swamp and Upland Tour of Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge Additional $20 (cost of boat tour)
The Okefenokee Swamp is one of the most intact freshwater wetland systems in the United States and contains over 700 square miles of cypress/gum and bay swamp forests, scrub/shrub wetlands, ‘prairies’ of emergent aquatic vegetation, and upland pine flatwoods. Topographically, the swamp occurs within a bowl-shaped sandy depression, and drains to the south and southwest forming the headwaters of St. Mary’s River and the Suwanee River. To properly experience the swamp, guests will enjoy a 90-minute boat tour guided by a USFWS botanist, followed by a guided hike along Trail Ridge, a strip of elevated land, and former dune system, that holds the swamp on its eastern border. This area offers a great opportunity to access all major general habitats of the refuge, including uplands, wetlands, and transitional ecosystems. Meeting location and time: 2700 Suwanee Canal Road, Folkston, GA 31537: 8:45AM-12:30PM. Limited to 12 people.

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Directions & more information

Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens is located at 370 Zoo Parkway, Jacksonville, FL 32218.


Local Hotel Information

Aloft Hotel Special meeting rate:
$109.00 a night(doubles/kings)
Email Maureen McGuire for Rate

or call 904-380-8407
Deadline is March 23. 

51 Skymarks Drive, Jacksonville, FL 32218
DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Jacksonville Airport avg. room price: $159-177
2101 Dixie Clipper Drive, Jacksonville, FL 32218
Omni Jacksonville avg. room price: $199-259
245 Water Street, Jacksonville, FL 32202

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We wish to acknowledge the following sponsors and collaborators: Florida Rare Plant Task Force is sponsored by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Division of Plant Industry and is co-hosted by Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, Bok Tower Gardens and Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens. Special Thanks to Chris Dailey and Houston Snead of Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens for hosting the meeting, and to staff and biologists of the Florida Forest Service, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Florida Park Service, the Jacksonville Arboretum, and the Guana Tolomato Matanas National Estuarine Research Reserve for hosting the optional field trips.

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