Jennifer Possley, Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden
For over a decade, Fairchild’s Connect to Protect Network (CTPN) has inspired South Florida residents to plant native pine rockland plants in order to help connect the few remaining isolated fragments of pine rockland—a globally critically imperiled (G1S1) plant community. CTPN members include more than 700 individuals and approximately 100 schools. Each year, we donate hundreds of “Pine Rockland Starter Kits” to homes and schools. CTPN is growing rapidly; more than half of our members joined in the past two years. We have found that it is wonderfully easy to get South Floridians excited about free native plants, however, it can be difficult to keep members engaged and is even more challenging to tap into the network and obtain meaningful citizen science data. This presentation reviews some of CTPN’s more recent changes and near-future plans, which include the use of iNaturalist and the incorporation of more media to help more homeowners garden with native pine rockland plants.