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2009 Emerald Award Winners For Environmental Excellence
Broward County > Pollution Prevention > Emerald Award > 2009 Emerald Award Winners For Environmental Excellence

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NatureScape/Homeowner
Richard Allen & Steve Grzywacz
Oakland Park, FL 33334


Welcoming front entrance
Welcoming front entrance

In creating my yard habitat, I was inspired by my childhood home’s lush and tropical environment in Costa Rica and my property’s present needs with regard to our South Florida environment. I endeavored to incorporate native vegetation that would provide food and shelter to the fauna that lives and visits as well as create a native Florida feel to the cozy and cocoonish feel to the yard. I wanted an outside living area with individual “rooms” in which I could create unique views and interests.

I incorporated the tropical feel with a collection of palm trees (native and exotic) with and understory that includes native vegetation that would be able to provide a natural environment for the fauna that presently calls my yard home. I incorporated the nondescript Plumerias as staging areas for birds and epiphytic plants (orchids, tillandsia, and bromeliads) to which I catered to their needs. My yard is constantly being visited by a large diversity of birds which, eat, roost, and sleep in the trees and palms.

Outdoor seating area
Outdoor seating area

My yard has very little sod, mainly found only in the swell in the front yard and a small oval patch in the back for my dog’s needs. The rest of the yard is a combination of beds and gravel pathways. Standing at one end of the yard it is not possible to see the other from any position. This created a sense of being in a larger yard without limits. This type of design also allowed me to maximize my beds and increase the density of their plantings. This in turn has created hiding spots for glass snakes, lizards, tree frogs, plus the passing visits from opossums, raccoons, and squirrels. We do have exotic visitors and residents such as the Cuban Anole, curly-tailed lizard, Cuban tree frog, and Buffo toad.

The combination of native and exotic plantings allowed me to reduce the amount of water needed to maintain the plants happy and healthy. The larger palms and trees provide sun and wind protection to the lower shrubs which in turn shade the ground. A thick layer of mulch has also increased the amount of water retention in the soil.

The mulch has had a very important side effect in that thanks to its breakdown over the years and constant replenishment in addition to the use of old fronds/leaves, we have been able to create a very thin layer of soil above the ever present sand and construction debris with which I inherited the house. The improved soil has increased the presence of earthworms and other insects found in the soil and are helping me create my little paradise and feed my resident fauna.

Visiting my yard is like entering into a lush forest where you can find native plants flourishing around plants from other parts of the world. The Firebush, Black Ironwood, and Silver Buttonwood provide shelter and shade to orchids, begonias, porter weed, and pepperonia. Come visit and stay for a bit.

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NatureScape/Homeowner
Peter and Deborah Strelkow, RLA, ASLA
Strelkow Associates Landscape Architecture
Pembroke Pines, FL 33332


Front entry to residence
Front entry to residence

These creative homeowners and registered landscape architects have created their own backyard paradise. They have eliminated most of the

Bamboo grove
Bamboo grove
sod areas in order to create both a Florida native-friendly habitat for wildlife as well as and edible garden of fruits and vegetables. A native hammock planted on-site several years ago is now home to a wide variety of birds, butterflies, mammals and reptiles. The native plant species found within the hammock include canopy species such as live oak, green buttonwood, and red maple. The numerous understory species, include stoppers, firebush, and wild coffee. The homeowners have also incorporated native and non-native palms in their landscape, including the striking latan palm. Architectural elements are also an important part of the homeowners’ spectacular and colorful garden.

Latan Palm
Latan Palm
Additional information: Strelkow Associates Inc. offers a full range of landscape architectural services since 1983. The firm has an extensive portfolio of completed projects, which range from South Florida to the Caribbean. We are experienced with the private and public sectors and are a compact firm with direct, hands-on approach.We emphasize service, and give each client personal attention. For exceptional residential projects, we work to create an integrated, holistic design. Interior and exterior space flow easily from one to the other. We design paving, trellises, gazebos, fountains, pools, natural spaces, children’s gardens, wildflower gardens, sculpture gardens and outdoor lighting: all the details that make a project special. Contact Pete Strelkow at 954-434-9100 if you would like to speak and/or discussyour project.

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NatureScape/Municipality/Government/School
Suzy Pinnell, Deerfield Beach Middle School
Deerfield Beach, FL 33441
Parker Ranspach, Wildflower South, LLC
Boca Raton, FL 33432


Wildflower meadow in bloom
Wildflower meadow in bloom

The Wildflower “Meadow Path” is the latest addition to the Deerfield Beach Middle School 32-acre campus in an effort to reduce turf and increase native species, an important part of our Green Initiative in Broward County Schools. The Meadow Path added low maintenance ground cover to an area recently planted with sabal palms, slash pines, red bay, bald cypress, red maple, thatch palms, cocoplum, wax myrtle, beautyberry, firebush, wild coffee, milkweed, fakahatchee grass, muhly grass,

Student planting activities
Student planting activities

Parker Ranspach in wildflower meadow
Parker Ranspach in
wildflower meadow

saw palmetto, and other native species. The meadow is in a highly visible area in front of the school, and has been enjoyed by the students, staff and neighbors. The Meadow Path project is a lesson in low impact restoration of a native ecosystem. It is an environmentally friendly, sustainable, green, low maintenance and beautiful landscape.

One of the most exciting aspects of this landscape feature is the opportunity to educate students about the importance of native landscapes as opposed to exotic and invasive ones. It provides the opportunity to explain what is native and what is exotic and why exotics are so damaging to our environment. Where once was a high maintenance (high impact) lawn is a low maintenance (low impact) wildflower meadow and outdoor classroom. Students who are members of the GREEN Team (Gardening, Recycling, and Environmental Education Network) learn about sustainable gardening practices and help maintain the planted areas on campus including the wildflower meadow. Wildflower species include coreopsis, yellowtop, blanket flower, beach sunflower, powderpuff mimosa, and black-eyed susan.

The meadow is described by experts as a ‘repopulation engine’ and is perfect for man-made disturbed sites. Additional advantages in the Ecology, Economy, Aesthetics and Heritage of native plants and wildflowers:

  • water conservation;
  • exotic pest plant suppression;
  • preservation of attractive and endangered wildflower species;
  • long term substantial reduction of maintenance costs;
  • promotion of ‘good bugs’ and discouragement of invasive pests;
  • food for butterflies and birds
  • energy savings;
  • noise mitigation.

Additional information:

Wildflowers South LLC
Parker Ranspach, RLA, CA
1724 NW Arcadia Way
Boca Raton, FL 33432
561-213-7702

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NatureScape/Special Achievement
Kelly Heffernan, Program Director
South Florida Audubon Society’s Project Perch


Area Closed
Area Closed sign

Project Perch is creating a real life "hoot" in Broward County. Kelly Heffernan, an avian biologist, started Project Perch for the South Florida Audubon Society to protect and nurture Burrowing Owls as well as document changes in this bird population of special concern.Project Perch has partnered with Brian Mealey, Executive Director of the Institute of Wildlife Sciences, NatureScape Broward, and the SPCA Wildlife Care Center.

Twenty Broward County schools have participated thus far in educating children and youth about ways to care for, protect and count the owls. Activities have included making a wildlife journal, creating artificial burrows, providing perches, signs, stakes and rope, and learning how to become "Certified Burrow Caretakers Annual bird census of these owls during breeding season has been important in documenting changes to this population and to feed into national databases.

Burrowing Owl Projects
Burrowing Owl Projects

Because lawn mowing equipment is heavy and damages burrows, the creation of artificial burrows has been an important part of the process of saving the Burrowing Owls. It also facilitates relocating burrows away from unsafe areas of school grounds. The school children have also learned how to create native landscape beds and artificial nest boxes complete with web cams powered by solar panels. They are prepared to participate in the SPCA Wildlife Care Center's release of rehabilitated Burrowing Owls.

Additional information:

To see videos, photos, media stories, and blogs regarding Project Perch activities visit their website www.projectperch.ning.com.

To invite Project Perch to your South Florida school call Kelly Hefferman, 978-412-5313.

To contribute funds to help continue this project, mail your check to South Florida Audubon Society, Post Office Box 9644, Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33310. Make the check out to South FL Audubon and indicate that it is for Project Perch. Thank you!!!

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NatureScape/Special Achievement
Dr. Genevieve Chung
Wildflower Project
Broward College Central Campus
Davie, FL 33314


Wildflower presentation
Wildflower presentation

Sustainability Superstar

Dr. Genevieve Chung, professor in the Biological Sciences, has added a new critical dimension to our sustainability efforts on campus with the creation and implementation of the Native Florida Wildflower project at Central.She has offered wildflower presentations and workshops at Broward College and pre k-12 schools, as well as at the Broward County Water Matters Day. As if this were not enough, Dr. Chung developed the Native Florida Wildflowers web siteto educate the community about the importance of incorporating native nature in our own gardens and life.

Wildflowers
Wildflowers

Dr. Chung continues to monitor, promote, and enhance the use of native gardening in the community. A good example is her central involvement in the creation of a Math/Botany Learning Community in which elementary algebra equations were implemented by planting native Florida wildflowers. Currently, she is an active member of the Sustainability Committee at the Central campus.

Additional information:

Dr. Genevieve Chung
Professor, Biological Science
Broward College, Central Campus
Phone: 954-201-6964
Email: gchung@broward.edu

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