GNPS Supported Educational Projects
In support of our mission, the GNPS has donated money to support special projects that are in line with our mission. Currently, GNPS is undergoing a strategic initiative and will have a formal application process for these projects in the near future. These are a few past examples of the wonderful work being done in Georgia. Funds from GNPS members have made possible the support of these projects.
Hometown Habitat film
Hometown Habitat is a 90-minute environmental, education documentary focused on showing how and why native plants are critical to the survival and vitality of local ecosystems. The film is due for release in late fall of 2015. Entomologist Doug Tallamy, whose research, books and lectures, sound the alarm about habitat and species loss provides the narrative thread throughout Hometown Habitat. Total funding: $5,000
Georgia DNR Heritage Program
The Georgia Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Heritage Program is a part of the Nongame Conservation Section of the DNR Wildlife Resources Division which includes all animals and plants. The Heritage Program is a small organization and the field botanist staff number only three. The GNPS gift will establish a “Recovery Actions for Rare Plants” account as a special purpose funding source within the overall Nongame Conservation Fund with the express and exclusive directive to support plant conservation efforts for Georgia’s rare, threatened or endangered plants. Some initial uses of this special purpose fund would include activities such as: field surveys for rare plants, landowner contact to set up management agreements, monitoring of endangered species, technical assistance in the preparation of conservation easements or other conservation plans, and support of management activities to enhance rare plant habitat. Total funding: $15,000.
State Botanical Garden of Georgia Center for Native Plant Studies
In 2010, SBG launched a new program called the Georgia Native Plant Initiative. Its goal is to build a partnership between commercial growers, horticultural scientists, land managers, restoration ecologists, and plant societies to promote the ethical, sustainable, and creative use of native plants in Georgia. As part of this effort, SBG is developing expertise in collecting and propagating regional native plant material for roadsides, power line right-of-ways, restoration, and home use.
The Board was pleased to be able to support new efforts to bring native plants into the nursery trade for projects large and small. A gift from GNPS will be used to provide funding to build raised beds, convert a hoop house, and support a fall internship at the Mimsie Lanier Center for Native Plant Studies. Total funding: $8,617.
Abraham Baldwin Agriculture College (ABAC) — Mill’s Bog
Coastal plain bogs are threatened because of loss of habitat. These wetland plant communities are attacked by construction, erosion, changes in hydrology, suppression of fire and pollution causing them to be destroyed or degraded.
Abraham Baldwin Agriculture College (ABAC) in Tifton has the opportunity to acquire some property that includes a coastal plains bog. Although a small tract, the bog site contains an intact flatwoods and longleaf pine uplands. The uplands support typical wiregrass associates and gopher tortoises. The flatwoods buffer a small stream bordered by Ogeechee lime and remnant slash pine. With continued prescribed burning, the entire site will remain a coastal plain botanical showpiece. The Mill’s Bog property is currently for sale for $38k but only $5k remains needed to purchase it.
ABAC will assume ownership and provide custodial duties. The intent is that Mill’s Bog will become a vital living educational resource in ABAC’s Forestry and Wildlife/Natural Resources Department to provide student education in both plant id and habitat maintenance. This will become an excellent venue for educating those who will provide the stewardship of native plant habitats in the future. Total funding: $5,000.
Partnership with Georgia Piedmont Land Trust (GPLT)
The Board is pleased to partner with the Georgia Piedmont Land Trust (GPLT) to help broaden the educational reach of the Society to a new community of people. Funds will be used to print Simply Native publications. Total funding: $1,755
Georgia Natural Heritage Program
The Board of Directors voted to award the Georgia Department of Natural Wildlife Resources Division (WRD) Nongame Conservation (NCS) Natural Heritage Program (GNHP) in recognition of this program’s outstanding work in conserving Georgia’s rare native plants and education on natural environments and habitats. The Natural Heritage Program has a broad conservation impact across the state.
The awarded funds will be put to the best possible use in the areas of most need for the Natural Heritage Program whether that be in conserving Georgia’s natural habitats, conducting rare plants surveys, supporting GNHP’s education program, or performing other critical work. Total funding: $6,200
Predator Beetle Rearing Lab
The Board of Directors also voted to award the NGCSU predator beetle lab for their program of research and frontline defense against the hemlock wooly adelgid (Adelges tsugae), an invasive aphid-like insect that is devastating Eastern and Carolina hemlocks.
The NGCSU lab, established in 2007, mass rears and releases USDA approved predator beetles that feed exclusively on the hemlock wooly adelgid pest. The Sasajiscymnus tsugae beetle has been reared for several years, and in 2010 the lab added another predator –- Scymnus sinuanodulus. This species will be added to releases in 2011.
The aim of the NGCSU lab is to release beetles into threatened hemlock forests and evaluate the success of these releases. Their work is in cooperation with other academic institutions in the region that are rearing a variety of predators to guarantee a year round fight against the adelgid.
In addition to establishing predator beetle populations to help prevent the wooly adelgid damage to the hemlock trees, the lab conducts research into the unique environmental conditions in Georgia that promote trends that vary from those seen north of here. The gift from GNPS will be used for lab equipment and outdoor measuring units, and to fund travel to research sites. Total funding: $6,200