The Sparkleberry Chapter of the Florida Native Plant Society held a Florida Arbor Day celebration on Jan. 17, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. outside of Branford Town Hall. The Chapter promoted the many benefits of planting trees and gave away a potted native tree to those who stopped by and wanted to take a plant home. Instructions were also included on how to best care for any one of the five varieties of the 250 plants.
“We like to teach people about native plants. We feel like they’re important to our state,” said Sparkleberry Membership Chair Carol Sullivan. “They’re disappearing at a terrible rate. We’re trying to preserve what we have.”
She said that plant species have been and continue to evolve to survive and endangered species are trying to hold on, but many with little chance of survival.
Sullivan mentioned that plants in her mind are pretty much at the bottom of the food chain as the insects eat the plants, the birds eat the insects, the larger carnivores eat the birds and so on.
“We really need to be aware of it,” said Sullivan. “So many evasive things have happened around here like the Red Bay disease that’s killing all the Red Bay trees around here and has decimated just about every large Red Bay along the East Coast of Florida.”
She said the disease only attacks plants in the Laurel family which includes avocados and to expect avocados and by-products prices to go up. She said there were already reports of the decimation as far down as Homestead, located in Miami-Dade County.
On a happier note, Sullivan said that day was celebrated not only in Florida, but many of the Southeastern states because of the temperatures. National Arbor Day 2014 will be celebrated on April 25.