The other day, signs appeared at M.E. De Palma Park in Wilton Manors. It’s a little nature preserve and I’ve written about it. As a park, it requires care. We thought we’d go by and Lettie is getting ready to add her own Special Care to the spot.
This is a Nature Preserve, and here in Florida that means that we’re trying hard to keep native species there. Some are showy, most of the ones down here due to their being adapted to the poor soil (think Beach Sand) are small. Labeling the local plants helps, since most folks are from other places, it is nice to be told that this particular plant is from your own area. Reminds me of the “Brown Fish” controversy at the Camden Aquarium in New Jersey. Apparently the native fish of the Delaware river between NJ and PA tend to be dark and not showy – and people expected tropical fish… Head down to the nearest pet store and …
This would be why my neighborhood can have flocks of Monarch butterflies and I need to check my Honeybell Orange tree for Swallowtail Caterpillars daily. The little plants surrounding the sign are Mexican Milkweed. I have a stand in my yard, and I’m quite close to this sign as I write this. The Butterflies fly back and forth between my own back yard and this park, leaving Eggs that become Caterpillars, then Chrysalis and more Butterflies that float on the breezes.
In fact one just floated by my front window gliding toward the park.
Brown Fish and Native Species have a place. They may not be showy and that is most likely WHY they need help. “Charismatic Megafauna” have champions. People fly to Yellowstone so they can see Bear and Cougar but certainly don’t want them in their yards. They’re quite hard to keep in a city so we have big parks “out there” to help them along. In the case of the butterflies and the geckos that live with them, its merely a choice of picking native species to give wildlife a little toe hold in your own back yard.
But don’t get me started on Iguanas!