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  • January 21, 2021 3:04 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Association of Zoological Horticulture

    2020-2021 Commitment to Plant Conservation

    Zoo horticulture involves more than enhancing the landscape for its resident animal populations as evidenced by the thousands of dollars used to protect and conserve the natural environment within our zoos and around the world.

    One of the core values of the Association of Zoological Horticulture (AZH) is conservation of rare plants and plant diversity.  This commitment to plant conservation through the AZH Plant Conservation Grant program began in 1992 and has awarded over $475,000 to projects spanning the country and the globe.

    AZH plant conservation grants encourage plant conservation activities and partnerships within and between AZH members, member zoos and member zoo partners.  Grant monies are provided through the Disney Conservation Fund (DCF), AZH member donations, and auction proceeds from annual conferences. AZH Plant Conservation Grants are awarded for both in-situ and ex-situ plant conservation work.

    Congratulations to the recipients of the 2020-2021 AZH Plant Conservation grant program!

    Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden

    Establishment of a community-based tree nursery for landscape enrichment and community engagement in the buffer zone of a newly established 2000-acre reserve in the Guatemalan Dry Forest 

    San Diego Zoo

    California Native Oak Conservation 

    Atlanta Botanical Garden 

    Seedbanking Georgia’s critically imperiled native plant species on the Chattahoochee Oconee National Forest 

    Naples Botanical Garden 

    Building Capacity for Conservation of Native Trees and Shrubs in Puerto Rico

    Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden

    Advancing Cryobiotechnology Research, Networking, and Information Sharing for Oak Conservation


    The Association of Zoological Horticulture is a non-profit membership organization dedicated to the advancement of zoo horticulture in zoological parks, gardens, and aquariums. AZH works to highlight the importance of plants within zoos and aquariums, and seeks to support the horticulturists who work in a zoological setting.


  • November 30, 2020 11:40 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    Halloween may be over, but common fungal diseases on tropical plants ensure that spooky season never ends in our interior exhibits. According to the Ohio State University fact sheet on the topic, fungal diseases wreak more havoc on plants than any other group of plant pest or pathogen. Estimates hover around 85% of plant diseases are caused by fungal agents. The spores and hyphae of these mysterious, understudied organisms are lurking in your water, soil and air, waiting to strike like the masked psycho in a horror movie.

    The very lack of what we understand about the Kingdom Fungi can make management difficult, however. They obtain nutrients by sending thread-like filaments throughout their food sources – you, me, a loaf of bread, your favorite plants, your jack o’lantern. They often hang around dead and decaying things (spooooky!) but not always. Sometimes they are straight-up evil parasites of living things. But, of course, evil is in the eye of the beholder – in this case, the beholder is the zoo horticulturist attempting to protect their tropical collections from the undead fungal hordes. Nevertheless, we should never forget the beneficial fungi that collaborate in vast mycorrhizal support systems for plant communities, as well as the yeasts that make sourdough bread and beer possible.

    But we are here today to discuss the villains! Below are some of the common symptoms of fungal infections in interior plantscapes:

    Leaf spots – Leaf spots are indicative of several different fungal species. Look for roughly circular tan/ reddish brown spots, concentric rings and small black fruiting bodies. If infection progresses, lesions may join together, killing off the growing tip or spread to branches of plants.

    Powdery mildew – Powdery mildew is not just one but several fungal species. What starts as powdery spots on upper leaf surface can join together to cover the entire leaf. Powdery mildew is often found in temperate, humid climate conditions - temperatures above 86 do not support powdery mildew.

    Stem canker – This infection is similar to an abscess- dark and mushy spots on stem. If an infection gets this far, the plant is usually not salvageable.

    Black sooty mold – This fungus looks as grimy as a Victorian street urchin. Black sooty mold grows on the honeydew exudate of aphids, scale, and other sap-suckers. That high sugar content encourages the growth of black sooty mold. If the mold gets heavy enough, it can shade out the plant and stunt its growth. The horticulturist’s first response is to take care of the insect pest, which removes the source of the problem.

    If fungal infections were like a horror movie, they would be like “The Thing”, starting off with small, seemingly innocuous symptoms but slowly infiltrating the plant completely and consuming it from the inside out. But unlike “The Thing”, the wise horticulturist does not need to blow up an entire Antarctic field station to contain the damage. Prevention and speedy diagnosis, as always, are going to be the most effective way to keep your plants healthy. Keep in mind that spores can live a long time and be carried by air currents, water, soil, tools and clothing, so our mantra for fungi should be “CONSTANT VIGILANCE” (shout-out to Mad-Eye Moody!).

    • Include fungal symptoms in scouting regimen
    • Check new plants for symptoms before installation
    • Sanitize tools and containers regularly
    • Eliminate cracks/ drafts if you suspect diseases are coming in from outer environment
    • If fungal diseases are a significant and ongoing issue in your exhibit, consider resistant plant varieties
    • May need lab analysis to pinpoint exact pathogen – most symptoms can be caused by wide array of fungal species

    The next best way to manage fungal infections is to focus on plant health care and adjusting conditions to be better for plants, but worse for fungi. In the horror movie realm, this would be analogous to if you never build a summer camp, you are less likely to get a masked murderer hanging around.

    • Reduce overall humidity
    • Water early in the day to allow plant surfaces to dry
    • Water to avoid wetness on surface of leaves, reduce overhead watering – dry leaves are less supportive of fungi. At Butterfly Pavilion, we often syringe our tropical exhibit for pest management, but we’ve gotten more focused over the years, so that we aren’t indiscriminately wetting leaf surfaces.
    • Increase air circulation through strategic pruning and thinning.
    • Remove debris from the ground regularly.
    • Follow a balanced fertility program to avoid too much or too little of key plant nutrients
    • Avoid wounding or stressing plant material as much as possible.

    If cultural methods are not effective, you may want to consider the ultimate in physical methods – removing the infected plant entirely from the exhibit before it can be a source of new infections. Fortunately, you’ll have better luck with plants than in most horror movie franchises; those monsters just keep returning and returning!

    Chemical controls can used to protect new tissue, but keep in mind that nothing can be done about the old infected tissue. Chemical fungicides, just like any chemical tool, require caution. Different fungicides are effective against different species of fungus, so checking the label is key. Fungicides can be irritating to skin, eyes and respiratory system, while chronic exposure may lead to negative health effects on the nervous system. Also, runoff and contamination, if it reaches the outside world, can negatively impact aquatic ecosystems and other organisms. For example, copper sulfate has been shown to have a negative effect on bees. Now that’s the real horror story!

    Amy Yarger, Horticulture Director at Butterfly Pavilion

  • October 25, 2020 3:45 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)


    Honoring an accomplished person whose passion for life reflects ours.

    All too often in everyday life as horticulturists we experience the philosophical mindset of people who view plants as an inferior form of life to animals and/or the inability to appreciate the unique features or aesthetics of plants. We are focused on changing this mindset.

    In this regard, the Horticulture Team at the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens would like to thank AZH for selecting us as a recipient of the 2020 Wendy Andrew Cultivation Grant. Despite being the “Covid-19” year, we were eager to share with the public our role in the Zoo and Garden dynamic.

    Choosing and planting a Southern live Oak (Quercus virginiana) was a conscious choice among our group because of the declining oaks in that area and the majesty of the mature tree.

    I personally started from seed (basically at no cost to the zoo during the pandemic) the Shasta Daisy (Chrysanthemum maximum) and Verbena speciosa 'Imagination' to use as colorful, bee and butterfly attracting undercover plantings!

    We eagerly await a recognition sign that’s design is currently in progress and I am personally excited to see the finished result. Once the sign is installed we will send an updated photo.

    A lot of time and hard work went into this project and I hope you agree that we accomplished the respect it deserves.

    Thank you for this opportunity and for your support,

    Robin Vancil

    Horticulture Technician II Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens


  • September 30, 2020 12:11 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Join international experts on 13 – 15 October 2020 to discuss actions for protecting and sustainably using the world’s plant and fungal biodiversity for the benefit of people and the planet.

    https://www.kew.org/science/engage/get-involved/conferences/state-of-the-worlds-plants-and-fungi-symposium

    This online symposium brings together experts to discuss findings presented in the report and to motivate actions for protecting and sustainably using the world’s plant and fungal diversity. The outcomes of the discussions will be used to inform policies and research aimed at exploring and sharing knowledge and benefits associated with plants and fungi around the world. 

    By holding it online, we’re able to bring together even more people globally – representing a diverse range of skills, experience and ethnic backgrounds.

    Programme

    The programme is based around six themed sessions in which invited experts will address a topical question through presentations and a Q&A panel discussion:

    Session 1 – Collections 
    Why are they important for averting biodiversity loss? What should we do to help them evolve to enable us to address future challenges?

    Session 2 – Biodiversity loss
    What is driving the extinction rates?

    Session 3 – Plant and fungal uses
    How can we maximise the use of plant and fungal diversity to meet global challenges?

    Session 4 – Genomics
    How do we embrace novel approaches to studying plant and fungal biodiversity?

    Session 5 – Commercialisation
    How do we optimise the economic benefits of plant and fungal biodiversity in recognition of different stakeholders’ needs?

    Session 6 – Policies   
    How can we work globally to respect and enable Access and Benefit Sharing and CITES regulations, while increasing the diversity of plants and fungi being studied?



  • September 30, 2020 12:05 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Based on information from Hong Liu, Ph.D., Florida International University

    It was nearly 20 years ago that Hong Liu, Ph.D., was awarded the Catherine H. Beattie Fellowship. Working toward her Ph.D. at Florida International University (FIU), Hong used the fellowship funds to support her investigation of the impact of fire dynamics on a rare Florida keys endemic, narrowpod sensitive pea (Chamaecrista lineata var. keyensis). The fellowship, as well as her research, were important steps on her path to becoming a plant conservationist.

    The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) supported Hong’s research on how rare plant species were being impacted by a fire management program designed to provide forage for the endangered Key deer, an endangered species. Though the pine rockland habitat supported many species adapted to fire and shallow limestone soils, Hong found that not all fires are created equal. In early summer, the sensitive pea sinks its resources into flowering and is most vulnerable. Fires occurring in this season prevented the plants from reproducing and were more likely to outright kill them. In contrast, late August fires allowed for the survival of plants and the recently matured seed. When the narrowpod sensitive pea was eventually listed through the Endangered Species Act, Hong’s dissertation (five years of field work and simulation modelling) became part of the backbone of the USFWS’s management plan on the refuge where she conducted her fieldwork.

    This fieldwork was central to the project’s success, and the Beattie funds helped get the fieldwork done. With freedom to use the funds as needed, Hong was able to buy needed field supplies and hire undergraduate assistants to help her collect data at her numerous plots. Perhaps more importantly, the Beattie Fellowship was a confidence boost for Hong: “To have my idea endorsed by a national plant conservation organization made me very proud.”

    In some ways, things have not changed much for Dr. Hong Liu since her Beattie Fellowship. She still conducts plant conservation research through FIU – only now as an associate professor in the Department of Earth and Environment and researcher in the FIU Institute of Environment. Her many research projects have focused on wild populations of endangered species. They include examining the impacts – and ways to reduce the impacts – of collecting pressure on wild orchids, the role of climate change on species, and the impact of biotic interactions on population persistence and expansion. In a current project, Hong is comparing populations of orchids that are rare in Florida (their northern distribution limit) to more populous communities of the same species in Cuba. She continues to work with pine rockland species, extending her studies to other rare plant species in this dwindling habitat type.

    Photo of South Florida pine rockland forest

    South Florida pine rockland forest.

    But Hong hasn’t forgotten the plight of narrowpod sensitive pea. She is presently seeking support for a restoration project that will help the species become established on higher-elevation islands in the Keys, to enable the plant to survive rising sea levels. Her forward-thinking work continues to make a significant contribution to the long-term survival of endemic species in Florida.

    Source - September 2020 Save Plants

  • August 19, 2020 8:23 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

    August 17, 2020

    CONTACT: Devin Murphy   Global Wildlife Conservation
                        dmurphy@globalwildlife.org
          845-598-8092

                       Lindsay Renick Mayer
     Global Wildlife Conservation                    lrenickmayer@globalwildlife.org    202-422-4671                                       San Diego Zoo Global
                       Public Relations
                       619-685-3291

    WEBSITE: SanDiegoZooGlobal.org

    MULTIMEDIA NEWS RELEASE

    President of Cameroon Suspends Logging Concessions

    in Ebo Forest

    Conservationists Urge an Inclusive

    Land-use Planning Process to Determine Ebo’s Future

    Nearly three weeks after the government of Cameroon approved a forestry management unit that would destroy Ebo Forest in the country’s Littoral Region, on Aug. 11 President Paul Biya withdrew the decree establishing a logging concession and suspended the process for a second concession. Conservationists welcomed the news and are hopeful that the government will embark on an inclusive land-use planning process with local communities to determine the future of Ebo Forest.

    Ebo Forest is the ancestral land of more than 40 communities. The local Banen communities depend on Ebo Forest for food and traditional medicines. Any non-consensual development of the forest would heavily affect them. Before Cameroon’s independence in 1960, many communities lived in the forest, and their patriarchs and matriarchs are buried there.

    Chief Victor Yetina of Ndikbassogog and a representative of the Association Munen Retour aux Sources, and Ekwoge Abwe, manager of the San Diego Zoo Central Africa Program’s Ebo Forest Research Project, issued a joint statement following the news of the suspension of the logging concession: 

    “We welcome the suspension, for now, of logging plans in Ebo Forest, but are concerned that its fate remains unclear,” the statement read. “This decision must be the first step toward recognition of Banen’s rights and forest protection. We call on the government of Cameroon to adhere to its international commitments, and to promote participatory mapping and land-use planning with local communities. Land tenure reform must have, at its core, the full recognition of communities’ rights. We also call on international donors and NGOs to support these processes with technical expertise and resources, both in Ebo Forest and across the Congo Basin.”

    Ebo Forest is a hotspot for conservation research and discoveries. The forest provides critical habitat for many species of endangered primates, including gorillas, chimpanzees and red colobus monkeys. Researchers believe that the small population of gorillas in Ebo may be a new subspecies, because they are geographically distinct from other populations of western lowland and cross river gorillas. In 2005, researchers discovered that the tool-wielding Nigeria-Cameroon chimpanzees in Ebo Forest are culturally distinct from any other group of chimpanzees in Africa. They are the only chimpanzees to use tools to both fish for termites and crack hard-shelled nuts.

    The Cameroonian government had signed an international agreement to protect gorillas and their habitats on July 20, but two days later, it issued a decree establishing a logging concession in Ebo Forest. 

    “The president’s intervention to halt the imminent destruction of this unique forest is hugely welcome,” said Bethan Morgan, San Diego Zoo Global’s Central Africa Program head, who has been working to conserve the great apes of Ebo since she first observed gorillas there in 2002. “We hope that the international community will seize this opportunity to work with the government of Cameroon to make Ebo a showcase for long-term conservation, in harmony with very challenged communities. These communities have been responsible for the preservation of the treasures of Ebo to date, and an inclusive land-use planning process is now needed to fully share information, in order to make clear and calculated judgements about the future of the forest and its people.”

    Ebo Forest makes up half of the Yabassi Key Biodiversity Area, making it a site of global importance to the planet’s overall health and the persistence of biodiversity. It sequesters 35 million tons of carbon. Botanical survey efforts, supported by the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, with Herbier National Camerounais, have resulted in the discovery of 29 species new to science, and the area is known to contain 52 globally threatened species on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Ebo is a proposed tropical Important Plant Area.

    “We are hugely happy with this positive news for Ebo,” said Martin Cheek, head of the team working on African Important Plant Areas at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. “Not only is Ebo of incredible global importance for its documented plant diversity, but it is the most exciting forest in Cameroon in terms of the high numbers of new scientific discoveries of species still being found.”

    Cameroon’s Minister of Forestry signed two orders Feb. 4, proposing the classification of two forestry management units for timber extraction in Ebo Forest. The units would have destroyed the entire gorilla habitat and would have leveled the western part of the forest. The orders were posted publicly March 9, but that did not give the local communities living around Ebo sufficient time and opportunity to provide their input.

    “Ebo Forest is such an important site for primate conservation,” said Dirck Byler, great ape conservation director at Global Wildlife Conservation and vice chair of the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Species Survival Commission’s (SSC) Primate Specialist Group. “With their habitat shrinking across Africa, it’s especially good news that Ebo can continue to provide a home for gorillas and chimpanzees. Hopefully it will be protected from any unsustainable development in the future."

    In April, more than 60 conservationists, including experts from the IUCN SSC Primate Specialist Group and Global Wildlife Conservation, signed a letter to Cameroon’s Prime Minister Joseph Ngute, asking that the plans for the logging concessions be put on hold and the government work with local communities to develop a sustainable land-use plan. They argued that adopting a more inclusive process would signal to Cameroon’s international partners during this critical year for biodiversity that the government intends to honor its commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

    About Global Wildlife Conservation

    Global Wildlife Conservation (GWC) conserves the diversity of life on Earth by safeguarding wildlands, protecting wildlife and supporting guardians. The organization maximizes its impact through scientific research, biodiversity exploration, habitat conservation, protected area management, wildlife crime prevention, endangered species recovery and conservation leadership cultivation. Learn more at globalwildlife.org.

    About San Diego Zoo Global

    Bringing species back from the brink of extinction is the goal of San Diego Zoo Global. As a leader in conservation, the work of San Diego Zoo Global includes on-site wildlife conservation efforts (representing both plants and animals) at the San Diego Zoo, San Diego Zoo Safari Park, and San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research, as well as international field programs on six continents. The work of these entities is made accessible to over 1 billion people annually, reaching 150 countries via social media, our websites and the San Diego Zoo Kids network in children’s hospitals in 12 countries. The work of San Diego Zoo Global is made possible with support from our incredible donors committed to saving species from the brink of extinction. To learn more, visit SanDiegoZooGlobal.org or connect with us on Facebook.

    ###

     

    Link includes: Photo: A field camera photo of a gorilla in Ebo Forest in Cameroon. Ebo Forest is home to a small population of gorillas that may be a new subspecies. The gorillas live about 200 kilometers away from any other groups of western lowland or cross river gorillas. (San Diego Zoo Global)


  • August 05, 2020 9:48 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    2014 AZH Plant Conservation grant recipient Dr Murphy Westwood recently published results from study partially funded by AZH for "In situ and ex situ genetic diversity of the endangered Georgia oak, Quercus georgiana"

    Effectively conserving biodiversity with limited resources requires scientifically informed and efficient strategies. Guidance is particularly needed on how many living plants are necessary to conserve a threshold level of genetic diversity in ex situ collections. We investigated this question for 11 taxa across five genera. In this first study analysing and optimizing ex situ genetic diversity across multiple genera, we found that the percentage of extant genetic diversity currently conserved varies among taxa from 40% to 95%. Most taxa are well below genetic conservation targets. Resampling datasets showed that ideal collection sizes vary widely even within a genus: one taxon typically required at least 50% more individuals than another (though Quercus was an exception). Still, across taxa, the minimum collection size to achieve genetic conservation goals is within one order of magnitude. Current collections are also suboptimal: they could remain the same size yet capture twice the genetic diversity with an improved sampling design. We term this deficiency the ‘genetic conservation gap’. Lastly, we show that minimum collection sizes are influenced by collection priorities regarding the genetic diversity target. In summary, current collections are insufficient (not reaching targets) and suboptimal (not efficiently designed), and we show how improvements can be made.

    Read more about this exciting project...https://royalsocietypublishing.org/doi/10.1098/rspb.2020.0102


  • June 24, 2020 4:07 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    One goal of Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden’s conservation team is to increase the availability of plants that are native to our imperiled pine rockland habitat in South Florida. However, some species prove to be especially tricky to grow from seed and with the support of AZH we are now working towards unlocking the secret to their germination. Once we are successful, we will be able to grow these species in greater quantities, which will allow us to distribute them more widely through our outreach program the Connect to Protect Network as well as in habitat restoration projects in Miami-Dade and Monroe Counties.


    The pine rockland is a fire dependent habitat and many species germinate abundantly after a fire, especially those growing in the herbaceous understory. Therefore, it is likely that at least some pine rockland species will produce seed whose germination is triggered by chemical signals from smoke.


    Navy Wells Preserve in Miami-Dade County three months after a fire in 2013 (photo by Jennifer Possley)


    By creating a smoke solution, we were able to bring the effect of fire into our seed lab. To catch all the water-soluble compounds of smoke we burned pine straw in a bee smoker and guided the smoke through a heater hose into a side-arm flask filled with water.


    Setup to create a smoke solution that can be used to test the effect of fire on seed germination.


    So far, we can report that using this smoke solution has improved germination in two species that were previously difficult to grow from seed. The most dramatic effect was in Blodgett’s silverbush (Argythamnia blodgettii) a federally listed species endemic to South Florida. But also, the germination of Pineland croton seeds (Croton linearis) improved significantly after the smoke solution treatment.


    Germination of Blodgett’s silverbush seeds without treatment (left) and after soaking in smoke solution for 24h (right).

    Besides testing how chemical signals from smoke can increase germination of pine rockland species we are now working to improve germination of additional species with different seed dormancy breaking methods, such as scarification, desiccation, and gibberellic acid.

    We are very grateful for the support of this project from AZH!

    Sabine Wintergerst, Seed Lab Manager, Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden



  • June 14, 2020 9:23 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The alligator lizard Abronia campbelli is considered the most threatened Abronia species in Guatemala. Campbell’s alligator lizard is critically endangered due to habitat degradation and destruction. Habitat loss affects many species around the globe, but the impact can be especially drastic for an arboreal species with a naturally restricted distribution as A. campbelli. Local land-use change has originated from three different fronts: livestock and agriculture on private farms, firewood consumption from surrounding communities and subsistence farming from local families. Based on this, our strategies include the creation of biological corridors on private farms, accompanied by the creation of community forests to remove pressure on habitat restoration areas.


    With this project we begin to tackle the third component that drives habitat loss in the area: subsistence farming. We teamed up with 100 local families and turned a threat into a conservation opportunity. Now each smallholding used to grow food for a family will also serve to house biodiversity, reconciling local means of support with conservation. We believe that successful conservation is voluntary and locally driven, so our project focuses on making livelihoods compatible with the protection of biodiversity, resulting in long-term sustainable conservation strategies. 

    THIS IS WHAT WE ARE DOING

    Progress

    Our plan of action started with nursery maintenance actions designed to provide the native key forest species needed for the creation of the biological corridors. These activities consisted of seed collection, soil preparation, seed sowing, irrigation, fertilization, pest control and daily oversight to ensure general and ongoing care of the seedlings. Thanks to the support of Association of Zoological Horticulturists Conservation Fund and from the local community our nursery will produce approximately 15,000 seedlings exceeding the original project goal by more than 3 times.


    We have completed the 8 Site Planning sessions with each of the families participating in our project. We visited the plot to plan and map the reforestation areas. During these activities we noted that family plots varied greatly in size, because of this the number of trees was customized to each family according to the size of the land and reforestation strategy.

    Families responded to the project with great enthusiasm, wanting to participate with a wide variety of family owned plot sizes ranging from small yards at home (0.03 ha) to considerable land extensions (9 ha) within mountainous areas. Many families also had the desire to reforest their entire plot not just the edges, in order to create small forest patches.

    We knew we had to rise to the occasion and harness the level of participation that we obtained from the community. We multiplied our efforts in the nursery, which resulted in an unexpected but satisfactory expansion of the objectives and goals of the project. This new goal will not only meet the level of local participation but also the necessary scope of actions necessary to ensure the resilience of A. campbelli.


    Our habitat focused conservation work is accompanied by species reintroduction efforts through our captive breeding program. Right now, we are waiting for females to give birth, for families to liberate neonate A. campbelli in habitat remnants and in our previously reforested areas.

    What is next

    Build key allies in local communities through awareness-raising activities that culminate in tangible conservation actions, this is the foundation and key to the success of our conservation projects. However, the Conservation sessions, Nursery sessions and Conservation presentations in schools (all awareness activities in this project), are on hold since March due to the preventive measures against COVID - 19 imposed by the government of Guatemala. Social meetings are not allowed, schools are suspended, department borders are blocked, the country is under curfew and lockdown. We are in contact with families and local leaders to carry out the activities as soon as the situation changes. Due to the great progress in the other aspects of the project, we feel completely confident that when the restrictions in the country are lifted, we will achieve the project's goals and that the only change to the original plan will be in the scheduling of the activities.

    We are also waiting for the start of rainy season in order to begin reforestation activities with the families. I addition we already have established alternative methodologies to be prepared in case the reforestation is carried out under restrictions due to COVID - 19.

    Brad Lock, Oklahoma City Zoo

  • May 26, 2020 11:38 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Our Mangrove propagules are well on their way, happy and healthy, and ready for transplanting. There are over 1000, all from propagules collected here at The Florida Aquarium. We were scheduled for a planting at Veterans Park in St. Petersburg, Florida this month in partnership with Keep Pinellas Beautiful and St. Pete College.

    Also a second planting was tentative for mid May with the City of Tampa and Tree Inc. Both are on hold, with no set date for a definite reschedule. The St. Pete event is holding July 11th as a possibility only at this point. The Florida Aquarium did have to suspend our most recent internship program as well during this current Covid 19 situation. Our Horticulture intern was slated to have this as part of her required project, and she hopes to return as an Aquarium volunteer when things are back to normal to help continue this project.

    Mangrove propagule propagation area

    To date we have spent: $1046.42 of the $2000 grant. We do not plan to spend more until or unless this project is confirmed that is can be completed as intended. We will look for alternatives if needed. That being said, is the Committee assessing current Zoological circumstances and allowing for alternatives to the utilization of funds, or a facilities ability to complete their projects as intended?

    Thank you again for the opportunity of receiving this grant.

    Stephen Schwanebeck

     


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