The Friends are celebrating our one year anniversary since diving into the very tough task of managing and working to transform about an acre of Oleta parkland, which had become a blighted space, overrun with some of the worst invasives in years prior. We had a leg up thanks to the City of North Miami Beach, who had done clearing of the space to help remedy problems arising from huge amounts of waste and trash dumped there plus vagrants living on the parkland. Our next big boost came from a generous donation of trees/shrubs and a planting team for our 2016 Earth/Arbor Day event from SFM Services, Inc. and FIU-SEAS also agreed to partner with us to reclaim and restore the land. SFM donated two gorgeous tall Buttonwood trees and 75 cocoplum shrubs, along with completing the hard work of planting them into rocky, highly disturbed soil.
After planting several hundred native wildflowers and butterfly/pollinator-sustaining plants (including trees), we are extremely proud of what we have accomplished thus far with a big group of amazing volunteers. We have boosted biodiversity and local ecosystems by planting many native species, to include: Wild Limes, White Stoppers, Geiger Tree, Cinnecord, Locust Berries, White Indigo Berries, Gumbo Limbo, Satinleaf, Sea Grapes, Dahoon Hollies, Seaside Goldenrods, Sea Oxeye Daisies, Pineland Lantanas, Scorpiontalls, Lantana Involucrata, Blanketflowers, Muhly grasses, Biscayne Prickly Ashes + more. Thank you to Alexander Landscaping and Tree Farm for generously donating some native 15-gallon trees!
We are also choosing species known to bring the benefits of Green Infrastructure. The sunflower, goldenrod and native grass families have shown to be excellent at phytoremediation - which means they are good at removing many of the worst pollutants typically found in urban rainwater runoff - which naturally flows through this highly urbanized land (part of our watershed) towards coastal waters. Native plants do not require irrigation (once established) and powerful root systems reduce erosion. Native planting also begins natures' processes to rebuild healthy soils. These are just a few of the benefits our planting provides the community, not to mention education and a place to connect with nature and more...we will be posting on these issues soon!