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In the News

We have been hard at work this year on some exciting projects, and we’re pleased to share news of our newest grant recipients and upcoming public event, as well as to introduce our newest advisory board member to the Sunshine State Biodiversity Group.

Dara Miles looking through binoculars while birdwatching

The Sunshine State Biodiversity Group is honored to announce the first two members of its new Advisory Board, Amy Brady and Anthony J. Martin. After a very successful first year, the SSBG heads into 2024 with a new slate of initiatives, and the advisory board will help support intensified efforts in canopy research, environmental education, and land conservation.


The Board of the Sunshine State Biodiversity Group is pleased to sponsor a new program this year – The Florida Youth Naturalist Program. This program is developed to encourage a love of nature in our young people, designed for school children ages 10-13 and supported by the Leon County Extension Office and the local 4-H Club. 

A photograph of Charles Baisden and Marina Mertz of the Youth Naturalist Program

SSBG Vice President and FSU professor Alison Sperling has curated a suite of eight short environmental films for the Tallahassee Film Festival, September 2, at 1:30 pm, at the Residence Inn at 600 West Gaines Street. Ranging from hyper-local to international, these shorts push the boundaries of cinema with a deep engagement to eco issues.


The Sunshine State Biodiversity Group strongly supports Clean Water Wakulla in opposing the building of gas stations or any other potentially polluting structures over the Wakulla cave system that feeds into Wakulla Springs.

Image of a raccoon walking through a shallow pool of water

Last month, Reggie Pare captured extraordinary photographs of two raccoons catching a crab on the marsh flats out at North Florida’s St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge. Pare, a retired woodworker and housebuilder, tries to visit the refuge “at least once a week,” but this was a new sight.

Image of three fliers for the Word of South Festival

The afternoon of Sunday, April 23, come out to Tallahassee’s Cascades Park and the Midtown Reader Stage for conversations, readings, performances, and panel discussions about “Landscape, Nature, and Biodiversity,” featuring award-winning, critically acclaimed artists such as writers Brian Evenson, Alexandra Kleeman, Amy Brady, Vanessa Angélica Villarreal, and musician Larry Mitchell.


How we look at the world affects how we value the world. Sometimes a new perspective can bestow a refreshed beauty and uniqueness on what’s familiar or what we take for granted. In the first of a series of guest posts we call “From the Estuary,” retired EPA ecologist Brenda R. Jones shares her thoughts on what infrared photography can teach us about nature, with two photos taken at St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge in North Florida. – SSBG Staff

The Fredman Family Foundation has awarded a $40,000 grant to the Sunshine State Biodiversity Group environmental nonprofit to acquire and conserve important habitat in North Florida.


In his capacity as author and nonfiction writer, SSBG president Jeff VanderMeer gave a keynote along with former agricultural commissioner Nikki Fried at the 29th Public Interest Environmental Conference (PIEC) at the University of Florida on February 2. With climate resilience framing the future of a peninsula uniquely affected by weather and water issues, the conference's theme could not have been more timely: "Facing Florida's Future: Promoting Environmental Sustainability."


Best-Selling Author Jeff VanderMeer Finds That Nature Is Stranger Than Fiction

In August 2018, novelist Jeff VanderMeer gazed out at his new yard. He and his wife, Ann, had just bought a bright, airy home nestled in the forest canopy at the edge of a small ravine in Tallahassee, Florida. It perched like an observatory on a half acre of land that dissolved into lush, primordial jungle.


Take a Walk on the Wild Side: How one Floridian helped save the state’s wildflower crops crops

The country between Hosford and Tate’s Hell in the Panhandle along State Road 65, the deep heart of the Apalachicola National Forest, is like something from a fever dream: a hundred shades of hot green new leaves on the palmettos, skinny pines tall as church spires, and, blooming just off the shoulder of the road, white and pink clusters of wildflowers: Osceola’s plume, graceful sun-colored spring helenium, and butter yellow colic root. We’ve pulled off the blacktop on an April morning to wade into a sawgrass bog punctuated by cypress knees and white starbursts of daisy fleabane. We marvel at the thousands of neon-bright pitcher plants thrusting up out of the water, their chartreuse trumpet-shaped blossoms open to the sky and wet with nectar, waiting for some hapless fly, an unwitting beetle, or even an overconfident frog to perch on the lip of the flower and take a long, sweet drink. The next thing the critter knows, it’s what’s for dinner, slipping down to the bottom of the bloom where it’s trapped by tiny “hairs,” and drowns.

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