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Let simple Florida Friendly Landscape™ practices attract wildlife into your backyard – A citizen science opportunity

  • Wildlife needs a good neighbor and citizen science is in the driver seat to create great neighborhoods for that environment to thrive.
  • Learn ways to attract wildlife with landscape practices through citizen science efforts in your own backyard.
  • A free Zoom webinar is scheduled for May 4 from 6:30 to 8 p.m. provided by University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) Extension Broward County. Register through this link https://bit.ly/3vkBOLN

 

Tricolored heron wading in water.

BROWARD COUNTY, Fla. — Science didn’t cease to take place despite disruptions the rapid spread of COVID-19 in 2020 had on all of the industries it touched. While lockdowns prevented groups from holding public monitoring events, citizen science opportunities shifted to a hyperlocal and individual approach.

Fast forward a year later and UF/IFAS Broward County wants to keep the momentum going on behalf of wildlife by providing steps and tips on how following Florida Friendly Landscape principle Number 5, can make a world of difference for wildlife and our environment.

Register and join a free Zoom webinar on May 4 from 6:30 to 8 p.m. offered by UF/IFAS Extension Broward County where Shelly Johnson, a state specialized agent in natural resources with IFAS Extension and joint faculty in the Department of Wildlife Ecology and Conservation at UF will share approaches for enhancing wildlife habitat in your community, especially for birds, bats, and others. Register through this link https://bit.ly/3vkBOLN

“Our urban areas are rapidly increasing worldwide,” said Lorna Bravo, extension director and horticulture agent at the UF/IFAS Broward Extension Office. “By creating your wildlife haven in your backyard, you are providing a home for our local wildlife. They need a place to rest, feed on, and protect. It is as simple as when choosing your native plants, to consider plants with seeds, fruit, and flowers or berries that our wildlife neighbors are attracted to.” 

Participants will also learn about ways to help scientists manage wildlife that conflict with landscaping goals. Getting involved with citizen science projects now that COVID-19 restrictions are less restrictive provides a multi-step approach to not only help wildlife flourish but also provide engaging and educational options for community members to work on together even while social distancing.

Broward County has conducted annual citizen science BioBlitz projects with social distancing that demonstrated the importance of citizen science involvement for Broward County’s wildlife conservation. A BioBlitz provides an opportunity for scientists and the general public to work together to conduct scientific research. In the case of a Bioblitz, it is an event that joins scientists and residents together to survey the diversity in a geographic area. The survey can be about monitoring wildlife, plants, invasive and noninvasive.

Since 2018, Broward County’s BioBlitz has contributed to 3,753 iNaturalist observations, said Bravo. In 2020, amid a pandemic, Broward County Master Gardener Volunteers prioritized connecting with and contributing 3,125 BioBlitz observations, 3,952 identifications, and 907 species from their individual Broward County backyards.

“This vital survey provided scientists with yet another lense into the progression and status of wildlife and diversity in our urban environment of Broward County,” added Bravo.

For more information about the webinar, please contact Lorna Bravo at lbravo1@ufl.edu; Anthony Gross at Anthony.gross@ufl.edu or Samuel Chillaron at Samuel.chillaron@ufl.edu.

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By: Lourdes Mederos, rodriguezl@ufl.edu

The mission of the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) is to develop knowledge relevant to agricultural, human and natural resources and to make that knowledge available to sustain and enhance the quality of human life. With more than a dozen research facilities, 67 county Extension offices, and award-winning students and faculty in the UF College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, UF/IFAS brings science-based solutions to the state’s agricultural and natural resources industries, and all Florida residents.
ifas.ufl.edu  @UF_IFAS