Volunteer of the Month: Henry Roesslhumer

Our Volunteer of the Month for October 2022 is Henry Roesslhumer.

Henry started volunteering at Flamingo Gardens in September and has already accumulated close to 70 hours. With dreams of one day becoming a veterinarian, Henry has been volunteering in our Animal Care Department early in the morning preparing diets and cleaning enclosures. On top of those hours, he volunteered every Saturday and Sunday during Harvest Fest, assisting with pony rides, hayrides, and the Gallery exhibit. He even helped with renovations for the Animal Care department. He’s always willing to do whatever we ask and his hard work and commitment to volunteering are truly appreciated!

Thank you Henry!

More Green, Less Screen

The amount of time children spend outside in nature has decreased significantly over the years, while the amount of time spent in front of entertainment devices has increased. It is said that the average American child spends less than 30 minutes a day outside in unstructured play but spends more than seven hours a day in front of an electronic screen.

Whether you grew up in the city, in the suburbs, or in the country, chances are you probably spent time outside playing and exploring. Maybe you climbed trees in the backyard or rode bicycles down the street to the corner store or played ball in the vacant lot.

Unfortunately, young children today do not have as much interaction with nature as previous generations and it’s taking a toll. Childhood obesity rates have doubled and pediatric prescriptions for antidepressants have risen tremendously.

In his 2005 book, Last Child in the Woods, author Richard Louv coined the term “nature deficit disorder” to describe the then-controversial theory that detachment from the outdoors results in poor physical and mental health for both adults and children.

While not a recognized medical condition, Nature Deficit Disorder has gained scientific traction. Since his book, hundreds of studies have shown a connection between exposure to the outdoors and better health, as well as better learning and cognitive development, among children.

According to a 2010 report released by the National Wildlife Federation, Whole Child: Developing Mind, Body, and Spirit Through Outdoor Play, the benefits of nature can be seen on many levels. The report contends that outdoor play increases fitness and builds active, healthy bodies, raises levels of Vitamin D to protect against a myriad of childhood health problems, and improves vision.

Exposure to nature may also be effective in reducing ADHD symptoms. Outdoor play reduces children’s’ stress, anxiety, and depression levels, while enhancing a child’s social skills and ability to form relationships.

The reports also contends that children that participate in outdoor environmental education programs score higher in math, reading, writing, and listening skills, and significantly increases critical thinking among students.

Flamingo Gardens has been at the forefront of providing environmental education for almost 40 years, providing fieldtrips to about 28,000 school children annually. But we can do more!

That’s why we’re launching “More Green, Less Screen” a new program to encourage kids to put away their electrical devices and spend more time outdoors. Look for #MoreGreenLessScreen campaign to come in 2023.

Volunteer of the Month: John Leon

Our Volunteer of the Month for September 2022 is John Leon.

John has been volunteering with us for almost 2 years and has taken part in every special event we’ve had.

John has accumulated a total of 205 hours and in September volunteered every single weekend for the full day. John has been a guide, assisted in our café, kept the park clean, helped prepare for events, and even helped with renovations for the Animal Care department. He’s always willing to do whatever we ask and that’s why we appreciate him so much.

Thank you John!

 

Climate Change is Heating Up and Here’s How You Can Help!

Climate change is really heating up! Communities around the world are experiencing extreme heat, intense wildfires, scorched crops, water shortages, strained power grids, buckling infrastructure, and even loss of life. 

It’s only July and already extreme temperatures are reaching new heights and setting records. In Texas, temperatures have exceeded 110 F° in parts of the state, causing a spike in heat-related illnesses and rolling blackouts. Both Austin and San Antonio have already topped their records for hottest summers ever, and it’s not even August.

In Spain, wildfires have burned more than 193,268 hectares of land and extreme heat in the United Kingdom has melted streets, airport runways, and traffic signals and have caused dozens of wildfires near London. This current European heat wave has accounted for more than 4,600 deaths in Portugal, Spain, Germany, and Britain in June and July 2022 — and it’s not over yet.

Climate change is increasing the frequency and intensity of life-endangering extreme heat events. Extreme temperatures can exacerbate drought, in turn decimating crop yields and increasing the risk of wildfires.

Higher temperatures also create a greater chance of more intense storms, including hurricanes and tornadoes. Higher temperatures evaporate more water from the surface of our oceans, and warmer air holds more moisture, both of which create greater chance for extreme precipitation events which can lead to flash flooding and mudslides.

Extreme heat is increasingly posing risks to our health too. Beside dehydration, extreme temperatures can cause heart attacks, heat stroke, organ failure, and respiratory illnesses.

We must act now to combat these deadly heat waves! Fortunately, there are things we can all do to help mitigate climate change to help prevent even more extreme temperatures.

1. Use less Fossil Fuels

Scientists agree that climate change is caused by greenhouse gas emissions and Fossil Fuels are responsible for more than 25 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions. Offset your Carbon Footprint. Lead by example by knowing your carbon footprint and offset it; but make sure that your offset leads to a measured reduction in carbon emissions. Adjust your thermostat and make home improvements to reduce energy use. If you can, switch to renewable energy like solar or wind. Reduce gasoline consumption with little changes like walking or biking when possible. Carpool or ride share with a neighbor and consolidate your shopping to one day. Consider an electric vehicle for your next purchase.

2. Reduce Single Use Plastics

Plastics production accounts for 4-8% of annual oil consumption. The plastics industry in the United States alone is on pace to eclipse the carbon footprint of the country’s remaining coal-fired power plants by the end of this decade. Every step from production to disposal of plastics releases greenhouse gasses. When plastics enter our landfills and waterways, they leak pollutants into the environment. Just switching to a refillable water bottle, you can save an average of 156 plastic bottles annually. Reducing single-use plastics and recycling will make a difference in your own personal carbon footprint and reduce the billions of items of plastic currently choking our oceans, lakes, and rivers.

3. Eat less Meat

Producing the livestock we eat generates as much climate pollution each year as do all the tailpipe emissions from all the vehicles in the world! This doesn’t mean you have to give up meat entirely- small changes in your diet can make big changes for the planet as well as your health. Try eliminating meat for one meal each day or incorporating “Meatless Monday” into your menu schedule. Have smaller portions or try plant-based meat options.

4. Plant a tree.

Trees absorb CO2 as they grow through the process of photosynthesis and are extremely important in combatting climate change. When trees perform photosynthesis, they pull carbon dioxide out of the air, bind it up in sugar to build its trunk, branches, and roots, and convert it into the oxygen we all need to live. Trees mostly store the carbon in its wood and roots, releasing only small amounts of carbon to the soil as its roots capture nutrients and water or when its leaves decompose. While planting one tree won’t reverse climate change, every tree counts. Plus, trees provide shade and help to mitigate extreme heat!

5. Get Involved!

Educate yourself about Climate Change issues and talk about it to help educate your friends, family, and neighbors. Contact your elected officials and let them know how you feel. Volunteer with Climate Change initiatives. There are hundreds of environmental organizations that can use your help, like Flamingo Gardens’ Eco-teers.

You can help the Eco-teers collect mangrove propagules on August 27 in an effort to protect our Florida Coastline and absorb carbon. To join or for more information contact [email protected] or visit The Eco-teers!

 

Eco-teers Milkweed Planting for Monarch Conservation

The Eco-teers planted milkweed for Monarch butterfly conservation this past Saturday morning, July 23, at Flamingo Gardens. Twenty volunteers helped in the efforts to plant nectar and host plants in the garden and stratify milkweed seeds in growing cells for future planting.

The Monarch butterfly has recently been added to the endangered species list by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. As the population decreases for these important pollinators, Eco-teers have dedicated their focus to nursing milkweed plants and seeds to help conserve the species.

As climate change continues to rise, so does the threat of biodiversity and habitat loss. The Monarch population is experiencing the detrimental impacts of the climate crisis firsthand and is just steps away from extinction if action is not taken immediately. 

To protect our pollinators, the Eco-teers planted 24 host and nectar plants including milkweed, coontie, lantana, and penta. 720 milkweed seeds were stratified and placed in growing cells for future planting. Besides these efforts, approximately 83 pounds of weeds were removed from the Flamingo Gardens butterfly garden and 24 Monarch butterflies were released into the garden. More Monarch butterflies are to be released soon.

The success of this project could not have been possible without the help of the education and horticulture team at Flamingo Gardens and the Youth Environmental Alliance. Support has been provided by the following Funds at the Community Foundation of Broward: Leonard & Sally Robbins Fund, Mary and Alex Mackenzie Community Impact Fund, Frederick W. Jaqua Fund, and support from Spirit Airlines. If you are interested in joining these efforts, you may apply to become an Eco-teer by requesting an application at [email protected]g

2022 ‘SOUTH FLORIDA ADVENTURE PASS

2022 ‘SOUTH FLORIDA ADVENTURE PASS 

ON SALE MAY 15, 2022

 

 4 Broward attractions for one low price equals a summer full of savings and family fun!

 

 

 

Fort Lauderdale, Fla. (April 22, 2022) — Four local attractions have joined together to offer the ‘South Florida Adventure Pass’ for the seventh year. For one unbeatably low price, locals and tourists can enjoy unlimited admission this

summer to Butterfly World, Flamingo Gardens, Museum of Discovery and

Science and Sawgrass Recreation Park.

 

From animal encounters to interactive activities and airboat rides, the South

Florida Adventure Pass boasts experiences of all kinds. The Pass will be sold at each of the participating attractions beginning May 15, 2022, granting
unlimited admission to each location until September 30, 2022. 

 

Cost

$50 plus tax- Adults ages 13+

$40 plus tax- Children ages 3-12.

 

Flamingo Gardens Members get $10 off Adult and Child passes

 

For more information, please visit southfloridaadventurepass.com.

 

# # #

 

Butterfly World – Enjoy free admission to the World’s Largest Butterfly and Bird Park. “Open-air” aviaries with a breathtaking display of 20,000 exotic butterflies & tropical birds from all around the world. Explore and interact with rare, delicate butterflies in a South Florida Tropical Rain Forest. Discover metamorphosis in our Research Facility. Vine Maze, Live Bug Zoo, Lorikeet Encounter where you can hand-feed small parrots, Butterfly Museum and Insectarium, Swinging Suspension Bridge, Botanical Gardens, Gift & Plant Shop, Outdoor Cafes. Tradewinds Park weekend/holiday gate fee may be in effect. 3600 W. Sample Road, Coconut Creek, FL 33073 954-977-4434; butterflyworld.com.

 

Flamingo Gardens – Enjoy free admission to this botanical garden & wildlife sanctuary. Established in 1927, Flamingo Gardens is one of the oldest eco-adventures and botanical gardens in South Florida.  The 60-acre not-for-profit botanical garden and wildlife sanctuary contains over 3000 tropical and sub-tropical species of plants and trees and is home to the largest collection of Florida native wildlife! Visit the historic Wray Home Museum and take a narrated tram tour through native jungle growth and wetlands. See alligators, bobcats, panthers, peacocks, a bear, and more. You can even feed the flamingos! 3750 S. Flamingo Road, Davie, FL 33330; 954-473-2955; FlamingoGardens.org.

 

Museum of Discovery and Science – Discover a full day of Inspiring Science and Family Fun! Fly into MODS for more than 150,000 square feet of mind-blowing boredom-busting interactive exhibits, Florida’s only aviation-themed Makerspace, wildlife habitats, and an outdoor Science Park. Families can enjoy super STEM science shows, demonstrations, wildlife encounters, and more. Catch a thrilling documentary film on our AutoNation IMAX 3D Theater GIANT screen, large enough to show a whale life-size! 401 SW Second Street, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33312; 954-713-0930; Mods.org.

 

Sawgrass Recreation Park – Enjoy a thrilling 30-minute Airboat Adventure ride for free. Discover South Florida’s Top Eco Airboat Adventure! Glide over the sawgrass and cattails and let your spirit soar as you hear the stories of this unique environment and explore exhibit areas featuring adopted and rescued reptiles, and the chance to meet an alligator! Fun for all ages! Visit the Gator Grill, Sweet Tooth Café, and Gift Shop. Call to make your reservations for your visit. 1006 N. Highway 27, Weston, FL 33327; 954-389-0202; EvergladesTours.com.