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DeSoto, Hardee, Highlands, Polk and Sumter counties of Florida

   

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March 2003 Newsletter Articles

SIERRA AND THE WINTER HAVEN WILDLIFE HABITAT AREA TEAM APPLY FOR GRANT
MARCH FUND APPEAL
ATTENTION RECYCLERS, That's All of Us - Right?
NATIONAL CLUB ELECTION COMING
TENEROC ON THE ENDANGERED LIST
MORE ALIEN INVADERS

SIERRA AND THE WINTER HAVEN WILDLIFE HABITAT AREA TEAM APPLY FOR GRANT

Originally the Winter Haven Wildlife Habitat Area Team (WHWHAT) was formed to promote wildlife friendly residential yards. It soon became obvious that the opposite side of that coin was the eradication of invasive exotic plants; the invasives deprive native wildlife of more beneficial forage and cover. Sierra and WHWHAT have, therefore, applied for a Florida Department of Environmental Protection, Bureau of Invasive Plant Management grant. If the grant is approved the monies will be used to develop a slide show and brochure using photographs of local problem areas. Presentations will be organized and delivered to local groups such as garden clubs, civic organizations and schools. Displays will be developed which will be used at tabling events and educational workshops. Volunteers will eradicate invasives at some local, highly visible sites. The invasives problem that all our Bone Valley communities face can be summarized by the first two paragraphs of the grant which are as follows: During the year (1999-2000), nine Florida Agencies expended more than 90 million dollars to control invasive exotic plants in the state’s publicly owned lands in a battle that has continued for ten years or more. Despite this effort and a great expenditure of public funds, the problem persists and may even be worsening, at least in the Central Florida Region, A recent “windshield” and back yard survey conducted by members of the Sierra Club, Polk Group, and the Winter Haven Wildlife Habitat Area Team found extensive infestation on both private property and public lands, especially along road rights of way and lake shores which are owned by the state. Many local parks and recreation areas as well as many state or local government equipment depots or isolated work and storage facilities were infested with Brazilian Pepper, Melaleuca and other invasive species. Clearly, the efforts by various state and federal agencies to deal with the problem solely by attempting to eradicate these plants on only some selected publicly owned lands have not been effective and, in retrospect, cannot be expected to work. The potential for reseeding from nearby untreated lands, both public and private, is simply too great. Only a concerted attack by all appropriate public agencies allied with private landowners can offer the potential for success.
...Bob Taylor and Richard Coleman

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MARCH FUND APPEAL

Watch your mail in March, as you will receive a letter from the Florida Chapter asking for a contribution to the Annual Fund Appeal. This is the only time of the year when we can ask our members for contributions, and in the present political landscape, we can use your help. You may make a contribution for any amount (and no amount is too small) to: Florida Sierra Club, Polk Group Foundation; Florida Sierra Club Foundation; Florida Sierra Club; or Florida Sierra Club Political Committee. Only the first 2 are tax deductible, and the Polk Group would get 100% of the first; the Polk Group will receive a portion of contributions to Florida Sierra Foundation and Florida Sierra. A separate check is needed should you donate to more than one, and the check(s) should be mailed to:

       Florida Sierra Club
       % Don Lieb
       4039 Acoma Dr.
       Ormond Beach, FL 32174-9349

So watch for the letter, and help us if you can. Your support is appreciated.
...Gail Bond

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ATTENTION RECYCLERS, That's All of Us - Right?

During this past year some changes were noticed at the recycling centers around the county (i.e. no separation of glass by color). Curiosity about this prompted a call to Betty Henderson, Recycling - Polk Solid Waste (284-4319). She provided the information for this update. As of the first of the year the market for recycables is best for newspaper, then cardboard, then metals and lastly plastic. The plastics market is an iffy thing; her best estimate is that the county breaks even on it. Some of the instruction decals on the big bins are worn away but the county's plastics request is still the same: bottles with necks stamped 1 or 2, no lids. Bleach bottles are okay but no to bottles that ever contained motor oils. Now to the original question on glass; there is no market for it so the solid waste division pulverizes all glass and uses the product as a soil stabilizer on roads at the land fill. This is deemed cost effective because it eliminates the need to purchase stabilizers. As always encourage your neighbors to recycle, don't contaminate the bins with inappropriate material and practice reduction and reuse as well as recycling.
...Frances H. Coleman

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NATIONAL CLUB ELECTION COMING

The annual election for the Club's Board of Directors is now underway. This month you will receive in the mail your national Sierra Club ballot. This will include information on the candidates for the Board of Directors. The Sierra Club is a democratically structured organization at all levels that requires the regular flow of views on policy and priorities from its grassroots membership in order to function well. Yearly participation in elections at all Club levels is a major membership obligation. Your Board of Directors is required to stand for election by the membership. This Board sets Club policy and budgets at the national level and works closely with the staff to run the Club. Voting for candidates who express your views on how the Club should grow and change is both a privilege and responsibility of membership. Members frequently state that they don't know the candidates and find it difficult to vote without learning more. You can learn more by asking questions of your group and chapter leadership and other experienced members you know. Visit the Club's election website - http://www.sierraclub.org/bod/2003election - which this year will include candidate responses to questions posted by various Club entities. You should use your own judgment by taking several minutes to read the ballot statement of each candidate, make your choices, and then cast your votes. You will find our ballot is quite straightforward and easy to mark. You can even cast your vote electronically!
...Inspectors of the Election, Sierra Club

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TENEROC ON THE ENDANGERED LIST

Fishermen are understandably upset with the news that the Tenoroc Fish Management Area near Lakeland may be shutdown due to the financial crisis in Tallahassee. They are not the only group impacted. The local birdwatching community has also enjoyed the opportunity to observe the large and varied bird life of the area. In fact, year long bird surveys conducted by the Lake Region Audubon Society over the past 20 years found that Tenoroc bird populations rivaled areas such as Lake Kissimmee State Park and the Disney Wilderness Preserve. The miles of hiking trails there will be used more and more in the future. Just five minutes from downtown Lakeland lies a wonderland of lakes, streams, and forests. Few other cities in the southeastern U.S. are so blessed. If this facility is shut down, who knows what the future will hold. Except for the Bridgewater section, it could be declared surplus property and disposed of to the highest bidder. Unlikely but possible. Equally important is the work that the staff biologists are doing in the extensive reclamation of the former phosphate mine and the restoration of the entire upper Peace River. If they are let go, that worthy goal is also lost. Surely the $300,000 can be found somewhere in Jeb Bush’s budget.
...Charles Geanangel

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MORE ALIEN INVADERS
Second of a Series

Chinaberry

Chinaberry
This messy deciduous tree can achieve 50 feet; its leaves are lacy dark green. In spring it has small lilac flowers which lead to yellowish round fruit in summer. The fruit is poisonous to humans and small mammals. Chinaberry can form tickets which exclude native vegetation upon which wildlife is dependent for forage, nesting and cover.

pictures Copyright © 2003, Richard Coleman, All Rights Reserved

 

Rosary Pea
This vine has thin twining stems that will form a tangled mass covering trees and scrubs. The leaves alternate and there are 5-15 pairs of leaflets. The flowers are white-pink to red, then pods form. When the pods mature and burst open, red and black seeds are exposed; the seeds are extremely poisonous.
...Frances H. Coleman

   

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masthead picture: Reedy Creek , published with permission
Copyright © 2003, P C Daniel, All Rights Reserved

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