Fairchild's Connect to Protect Network enlists South Florida residents (Miami & The Keys) to plant native plants in order to connect the few remaining isolated fragments of pine rockland--a globally critically imperiled plant community. Planted areas can include private yards, rights-of-way, and public lands such as schools or community parks. Installing native pine rockland plants inreases the probability that bees, butterflies and birds can find and transport seeds and pollen across developed areas that separate pine rockland fragments, improving gene flow and genetic health of native plant species.
Become a member
Joining Connect to Protect is free and easy! We only require that you are located in Miami-Dade or Monroe County, have an email address, and can maintain pine rockland plants on your property for at least two years. If you would like to join the network but do not own property, you are welcome to join as an Email-only member. To join, simply send an email to ConnectToProtect@fairchildgarden.org, and provide your name, address, and telephone. Schools and businesses, please provide the name of your institution and the name and email for at least one additional coworker who supports joining the network.
- Free plants! New members have the opportunity to receive a free "pine rockland starter kit," of 5 plants (10 for schools) grown by native plant experts in Fairchild's nursery. Existing members should watch our newsletter for other opportunities for free plants throughout the year. We do not deliver. Plants are distributed at Fairchild's private nursery, one Saturday per month. The schedule is included in our monthly newsletter.
- Yard sign: We provide an optional yard sign to signify your property is part of Fairchild's Connect to Protect Network. Click here to see our new, more durable sign, which is available free to members, thanks to a generous donation from Florida Power & Light.
- Newsletter: All members receive the Connect to Protect Network's monthly e-newsletter
- Member meeting: Members convene annually for education, discussion, plant exchange, and a pine rockland field trip.
- Citizen Science: All members have the opportunity to act as citizen scientists, providing information back to the network. Sometimes this is as simple as responding to an email poll (2-3 times a year). Other times, we may ask interested members to contact urban ecology researchers if they are interested in having your urban garden being part of a study.
- Helping your neighbors: Existing members can enlist in our "Neighbors to Neighbors" program, so that if a new member joins the Network and needs on-site advice, we can put them in touch with their nearest neighbor who has opted in to this program (if you are en existing member and would like to enlist in this program, please email to let us know).
- Lower bills and increased wildlife presence: Last but not least, members receive all of the benefits that come with planting native plants. These include lower water and maintenance bills and increased visits from birds and butterflies.
One example of a pine rockland "starter kit" for new members
More about pine rocklands
South Florida’s pine rockland ecosystem is one of the most endangered in the world. Situated in the subtropics, pine rocklands support over 400 native plant species that are a diverse mix of both temperate and tropical plants. Many pine rockland plants are endemic, meaning they're found nowhere else in the world. Thirteen pine rockland endemic plant taxa are federally ranked as endangered, threatened, or candidates for federal listing.
Historically, pine rockland extended from downtown Miami, south and west into Everglades National Park, and in a handful of the Florida Keys (most notably Big Pine Key). Due to rapid development, <2% of the habitat remains in Miami outside of what is preserved in the National Park, and the situation in The Keys is similar. The remaining pieces of pine rockland are widely scattered across urban Miami and The Keys. A nice example of our urban pine rocklands that is easily accessible to the public is Larry and Penny Thompson Park, one of Miami-Dade County's largest nature preserves.
Pine rocklands lined both sides of US1 in Miami, 1922 (W.A. Fishbaugh).
Photo source: State Library and Archives of Florida, www.floridamemory.com.
Selected pine rockland publications
Natives for your Neighborhood
Are you looking for specific information about a particular pine rockland plant, like how big it will grow or when it flowers, there is no better resource out there than The Institute for Regional Conservation's "Natives for Your Neighborhood" page. Please click on over and check out this wonderful resource.
Obtaining more native plants
If you wish to purchase more pine rockland plants, look for them at these native plant vendors:
Fairchild plant sales (in October, November and April, check our calendar!)
Tropical Audubon Society's plant sales in South Miami
Silent Native Nursery in the Redland
Veber's Jungle Garden in Homestead
Casey's Corner Nursery in Homestead
Richard Lyons Nursery in the Redland
Plant Creations Nursery in Homestead
The Connect to Protect Network is a group effort, and many wonderful volunteers contribute to the cause. We would especially like to acknowledge superstar volunteers Daniela Champney, Cari Eno, Sharyn Ladner, Carol Farber, Patty Phares, Leah Laurel, Wendy Coles, Joanne Rose, Amanda Freeland, Graciela Martin, Isabel Lamas, Maria DuQuesne, Pedro Basabe, Jim Palma, Kim Bavuso, Maria Ewald, Rosa Allen, Brian Woolfolk, Camilo Villamizar, Louise Reece, and Sabine Wintergerst for their contributions to the Network.
Currently, we need one or more volunteers who could make phonecalls to re-locate "lost" members and follow-up with school gardens, as well as for occasional data entry. Some or all of this work could be done remotely. Email us at ConnectToProtect@fairchildgarden.org if you are interested!
We gladly accept large and small donations from individuals or companies. Donations help to purchase pots and soil, fund staff time, and keep CTPN free. You can donate directly to the program on this page: click here. In the "Comments" field, mention that your donation is for Connect to Protect. You can also contact Jennifer Possley directly about donations, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Many people and agencies have shown financial support to CTPN since our 2007 inception. We thank them for their support, and acknowledge our two largest recent funding sources: the Florida Dept. of Agriculture and Consumer Services and Florida Power & Light.