Tag Archives: Conservation

Daggerwing Nature Center Volunteer awarded Annual Scott Cowan Memorial Scholarship

Megan Mui, recipient of 2020 Scott Cowan Memorial Scholarship.

Friends of Daggerwing Nature Center, Inc. (FOD) announced the 2020 Scott Cowan Memorial Scholarship has been awarded to Megan Mui.

 Megan has been a volunteer in the nature center’s gift shop since 2017 and has just graduated from North Broward Preparatory School, an AP Scholar with Distinction. She is also a 2020 National Merit winner. Megan will pursue a premed program at the University of South Florida. She plans a career in medical research in virology.

Initiated in 2017 by the Cowan family, FOD established this annual $500 scholarship to recognize outstanding student volunteers at Daggerwing Nature Center and promote their future educational goals. “We hope to both continue and expand our volunteer scholarship program to recognize and celebrate these young volunteers who make a valued contribution to our nature center”, said Edith Cowan, President of FOD, and mother of Scott Cowan for whom the scholarship is named.

Scholarship contributions to the Scott Cowan Memorial Fund can be donated to Friends of Daggerwing Nature Center, Inc.

Photographers get Unique Opportunity to Photograph Birds of Prey

  • Owl
  • Hawk
  • Owl
  • Hawk
  • Kestrel
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Raptor Day for Photographers was held at Okeeheelee Nature Center (ONC) on January 18, 2020. Sponsored by Friends of Okeeheelee Nature Center, this annual event provided 50 photographers with an opportunity to take close-up portraits of birds of prey. This year, ONC partnered with the Treasure Coast Wildlife Center (TCWC) to ensure a diversity of species for the participants to photograph. The birds displayed included two species of hawk, three species of owl, a kestrel, and a crested caracara. The birds are placed on outdoor perches so the photographers can capture images of the animals in natural light and in front of wooded backgrounds.

All of the raptors live at educational facilities under human care because they have an injury that prevents them from returning to the wild. Although many of the birds have visible imperfections, the talented photographers were able to bring out their best features and highlight their natural beauty.

ONC staff and volunteers were present throughout the event to provide information about the birds and answer questions. Participants were also given a brochure that included facts about the raptors and explained a little about each bird’s history.

Feedback from the participants was tremendously positive. Irwin Goldzweig wrote to share some of his beautiful photos and say, “Thanks to you, Heather, and your staff and volunteers. My wife and I thoroughly enjoyed Raptor Day. It was professionally organized and implemented which made it totally enjoyable for us as visitors. The staff and volunteers were wonderful, informative, and very helpful. We look forward to the next one.”

Friends of Okeeheelee Nature Center sold out the event within two weeks, raising over $1,200. All proceeds benefit the programs, exhibits and animals at Okeeheelee Nature Center.

Local Students Help Increase Tree Canopy in Palm Beach County at Florida Arbor Day Event

The Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation Department and National Garden Clubs, Inc., Florida Federation of Garden Clubs, Inc. (FFGC) District X, and Plant America with Trees, together with more than 70 student volunteers from Latinos in Action, planted 27 native trees in John Prince Park on Saturday, January 18, in celebration of Florida Arbor Day.

The event was part of a national effort to encourage community engagement for the purpose of offsetting tree loss and promoting carbon sequestration in the atmosphere. $1,500 in native trees were donated by FFGC District X for the event; 60 trees were previously planted by local Boy Scout Troop 199 on January 4 in John Prince Park, which allowed the boys to earn badges and help promote environmental sustainability.

The event began with a small ceremony, followed by the tree planting at Custard Apple Trail.

Farm to table experience coming to Osprey Point

A farm to table experience is coming to The Nest Eatery at Osprey Point Golf Course in Burt Aaronson South County Regional Park! Palm Beach County and Osprey Point Golf Course have dedicated a portion of land at the golf course to create an organic garden which all will be used at the restaurant. Going a step further, they are creating a composting initiative that all food waste will be composted and used to fertilize the garden for future vegetables.

COUNTY HOSTS WEEKEND BEACH CLEANUP FOLLOWING HURRICANE DORIAN

In the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian, PBC Parks teamed up with the County’s Environmental Resources Department (ERM), along with other community organizations, to host a weekend beach cleanup event on the morning of Saturday, September 7. The cleanups were prompted by the impacts of Hurricane Dorian, which caused large volumes of plastic, trash and debris to wash ashore.

Groups of at least a dozen hard-working volunteers at each site — DuBois Park, Ocean Reef Park, Ocean Inlet Park, Ocean Cay Park and R.G. Kreusler Beach Park — spent part of their Saturday morning removing all sorts of trash from along the shore and around the park. After two hours of work, they volunteers from all the sites managed to collect hundreds of pounds of trash.

Volunteers will have another opportunity to help keep our beaches clean during the International Coastal Cleanup event on Saturday, September 21 at select beach parks. Thanks to all the volunteers who came out to help keep Palm Beach County’s shorelines clean and green, for the health and enjoyment of beach visitors and the animals who call them home!

Palm Beach County Golf Shines in Audubon International’s Annual BioBlitz Competition

red fox sitting on grass
The award for Best Photograph went to Southwinds Golf Course, for their photograph of a Red Fox on the course.

In Audubon International’s BioBlitz, Southwinds Golf Course received the Community Engagement Award with a total of 271 participants. The key to their success was both a Lady’s Night Out and a Junior BioBlitz session that included crafting both animal masks and birdhouses along with the hunt for wildlife. The Southwinds clubhouse joined in by featuring a wildlife-themed drink menu throughout the week of the event. Park Ridge Golf Course came in second place for Community Engagement.

The award for Best Photograph went to Southwinds Golf Course, for their photograph of a Red Fox on the course. Sharon Painter, Southwinds’ General Manager, says, “We make it a priority to educate our golfers of all ages about the habitat our golf course provides to the diversity of species that call Southwinds Golf Course home.”

Now in its fifth year, this annual event, sponsored by the United States Golf Association (USGA), provides a unique opportunity for golf courses to engage their community members in activities designed to showcase and record the abundance of wildlife found on their course landscapes. Participating courses went above and beyond in their outreach and environmental stewardship efforts. Participants also competed for awards in Community Engagement, Biodiversity, and Best Photograph.

All five Palm Beach County golf courses are certified Audubon International courses, a distinction that is given to golf courses that employ environmental-friendly practices in maintaining their facilities.

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Audubon International is a not-for-profit environmental organization dedicated to creating sustainable environments in all the places people live, work and play. To meet this mission, the organization provides training, services, and a set of award-winning environmental education and certification programs for individuals, organizations, individual properties, recreation sites, and entire communities.

Southwinds Golf Course and Park Ridge Golf Course are operated by the Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation Department. For more information on county-operated golf courses, visit www.pbcgolf.com.

Palm Beach County Celebrates Marine Life Protection Under Blue Heron Bridge

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On Thursday, April 11, Palm Beach County and scuba diving enthusiasts joined together for a celebration of marine life protection at Phil Foster Park under the Blue Heron Bridge in Riviera Beach.

“We were able to do this and preserve a really important part of Palm Beach County – the County has invested a lot here and we wanted to help them protect that and make this resource available for everybody,” said Dr. Thomas Reinert, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) Regional Director.

The event celebrated recent changes by the FWC that prohibit the collection and possession of marine life fishery species (species collected and managed for the tropical aquarium trade) within Phil Foster Park and surrounding waters.

The changes will maintain high-quality snorkeling and diving opportunities and contribute to the conservation of species under the Blue Heron Bridge and at Phil Foster Park. The Blue Heron Bridge area is internationally recognized by scientists, scuba divers, underwater photographers, and snorkelers for its abundance of unique marine life and was named one of the 50 best dive sites in the world by PADI Sport Diver magazine and referred to as Florida’s “best shore dive” by SCUBA Diving Magazine.

PBC Parks Hosts Beach Cleanup on National Skip the Straw Day

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Boynton Beach residents Jessica and Sandy Rowley are a mother-daughter duo, who, for the past 25 years, have made a habit out of cleaning up parks and natural areas around the area to ensure a cleaner, safer community. So naturally, when they heard about Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation’s Skip the Straw Day Beach Cleanup on the morning news, they immediately wanted to be a part of the effort.

“Every little bit helps, we come here all the time, might as well keep it clean,” said Jessica.

On the morning of February 22, roughly a dozen volunteers made their way to Ocean Inlet Park to help rid the popular beach of litter. It was held on National Skip the Straw Day, in an effort to bring attention to the issue of non-degradable litter often found on Palm Beach County beaches. The unofficial holiday encourages people to recognize the harmful effects of non-degradable plastic commonly known to contaminate the ocean and harm marine life.

Volunteers liked the Rowleys filled a 33-gallon trash bag with debris from the beach park. Every volunteer received a bag containing a t-shirt, water, snacks & environmental literature, and pickers, gloves and garbage bags were supplied.

For the mother-daughter team, the cleanup was important because it helps strengthen their appreciation for nature. “We love getting out in nature and enjoying everything and seeing all the animals… and it’s sad to see garbage everywhere,” said Jessica.

For more information about volunteering for the Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation Department, visit pbcparks.com.

What’s that Plant? Strangler Fig!

The Florida Strangler Fig wraps its roots around host trees, widens, and forms larger roots that eventually take over its host tree. This unique tree is also the host plant for the Daggerwing Butterfly! Check out the latest episode of “What’s that Plant?” to learn more about the Florida Strangler Fig.