Making a real difference

     The landscape industry has an immense and largely negative impact on the environment. Turf grass alone accounts for roughly a third of household water use across the country, much of which is lost to runoff and evaporation. Floridians see the effects of runoff polluted with fertilizers every year, it seems, as algae blooms in major and minor waterways cause fish kills, loss of aquatic vegetation, and masses of toxic cyanobacteria.

     In addition to our stressed water system, Florida is losing habitat at an alarming rate, straining both animal and plant populations. As of 2016, we had 64 animal species and 60 plant species on the Federal Endangered Species list; by far the biggest factor is loss of habitat. That doesn't seem to be stopping any time soon: fully a third of the state is expected to have been developed by 2070. As our cities and communities spread, the need to offset this will grow more and more critical.

     For years, we as a society have been growing more aware that all is not as it should be in Florida. With our rivers and lagoons visibly suffering, our rare species endangered and vanishing, and sprawling development seemingly unstoppable, it's difficult to feel we can make any meaningful difference as individuals. However, that's not the case! You may not see any noticeable changes from recycling cans or reducing your energy use, but there are things you can do right now, right where you are, to make a tangible difference.

     By planting your yard or garden with native plants and flowers— the species that flourish here naturally— you can reduce and even eliminate the need for irrigation and fertilizer, and avoid pest-prone exotics that depend on pesticides to survive. By manually pulling weeds (or letting us handle it for you!) you can avoid spraying overused herbicides. These small changes can measurably improve the water quality in your neighborhood! Not only that, but native plantings in even a small yard provide food and a home for the butterflies, resident and migratory birds, and other native fauna that are being squeezed by spreading development.

     With a native yard or garden, you can witness firsthand your own positive effect on the world around you! A giant swallowtail butterfly fluttering over your wildflowers; bluejays squabbling over the best berries in your shrubs; a flower that grows nowhere else in the world blooming beneath your window; all of these depend on a thriving native Florida, and that is something you yourself can provide.