Volunteer Spotlight: Kenny Patterson

Our Volunteer Spotlight for for August is Kenny Patterson. Kenny has contributed almost 30 hours this month. Kenny has helped in our café, been a guide for our Lego Exhibit, helped at tram, and assisted in maintenance.

Kenny will often volunteer for multiple shifts and cover a lot of ground with different departments throughout the day. He has also already committed to helping our events department in the ensuing month of September. We are very thankful to have a volunteer like Kenny who is willing to do what it takes to help in any way he can.

Busy August for Eco-Teers: Promoting Sustainability and Protecting Beaches

As summer draws to a close, the dedicated members of the Eco-Teers have been busier than ever, working tirelessly to promote environmental awareness and take meaningful actions to preserve our natural world. From educational events to beach cleanups, August has been a month filled with impactful initiatives that highlight the organization’s commitment to sustainability.

Promoting Eco-Friendly Back to School with Flamingo Gardens

One of the highlights of August was the Eco-Teers’ involvement in the “back to school” event at Flamingo Gardens. Representing the organization, members took the opportunity to engage with visitors and spread the word about Eco-Teers’ mission. Ashley, our Eco-teer coordinator, accompanied by Beth Jarvis part of our Special Programs Department and Anita Sobaram our Education Manager, distributed informative pamphlets about the organization’s activities and the upcoming events at Flamingo Gardens. In an effort to captivate young minds and foster curiosity, Eco-Teers brought butterflies and a patch of fur from Josh the bear. The kids were encouraged to ask questions and interact with these tangible reminders of the natural world.

Taking Action: Beach Cleanup Collaboration

Eco-Teers demonstrated their commitment to the environment through their participation in a Beach Cleanup collaboration with MODS. On a Saturday, August 12th, morning the team gathered at Dania Beach at Dr. Von D. Mizell – Eula Johnson State Park, armed with determination and trash bags. From 8 AM to 12 PM, they meticulously combed the beach shore and surrounding pavilions, collecting an impressive 29.6 pounds of microplastics. Among the most common items were bottle caps and beer cans, which, if left unchecked, could wreak havoc on marine life and coastal vegetation.

The team’s efforts extended beyond mere cleanup. Their collaboration with MODS took an innovative turn, as they provided bottle caps to contribute to the museum’s plastics project. This project is a testament to the power of collective efforts and creative initiatives aimed at turning waste into valuable resources.

The Eco-Teers’ dedication shows no sign of slowing down. With plans for more events on the horizon, their commitment to environmental conservation remains unwavering. As the end of August approaches, another event is in the works. Furthermore, September promises to be just as eventful, with two initiatives scheduled despite a brief absence during the first week and a half of the month

If you would like to join the Eco-teers and help make an impact in our community against pollution and climate change, contact Ashley at [email protected] or call 954-473-2955 for more information.

Official NOAA Weather-Ready Nation Ambassadors™

We’re excited to share some fantastic news: Flamingo Gardens has taken a significant step towards enhancing community resilience and preparedness against extreme weather, water, and climate events. Flamingo Gardens has been accepted as a NOAA Weather-Ready Nation Ambassador™, joining a network of organizations dedicated to fostering a Weather-Ready Nation.

Flamingo Gardens’ was encouraged to apply after a recent visit to the NOAA facility in Miami, FL by our Eco-teers. The NOAA Weather-Ready Nation Ambassador™ initiative is an endeavor that recognizes and celebrates partners of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) who are actively contributing to the nation’s readiness for unpredictable weather challenges. Flamingo Gardens’ commitment to this initiative reflects our dedication to strengthening the nation’s capacity to withstand and respond to extreme weather events.

As a Weather-Ready Nation Ambassador, Flamingo Gardens is aligning itself with NOAA and other esteemed Ambassadors, forming a united front against the growing threats posed by extreme weather phenomena. This collaboration underscores the importance of preparedness, proactive response, and resilience-building at both local and national levels.

The NOAA Weather-Ready Nation logo, which Flamingo Gardens is now authorized to display, symbolizes our role as a key player in this initiative. This emblem will grace our digital platforms and print materials, serving as a visible reminder of our commitment to fostering awareness, education, and cooperation in the realm of weather and climate readiness.

Flamingo Gardens’ participation in the Weather-Ready Nation Ambassador™ initiative signifies more than just a title—it’s a pledge to contribute to the betterment of our communities. By incorporating the NOAA Weather-Ready Nation logo on our website and materials, Flamingo Gardens is not only demonstrating our partnership with NOAA but also providing a link to valuable resources available through the NOAA Weather-Ready Nation website. This creates an avenue for visitors to access information that can aid in their own preparedness efforts.

What’’s on the horizon? Flamingo Gardens will collaborate with a designated NOAA point of contact, who will offer insights, answer questions, and explore potential a variety of opportunities. This partnership is a two-way street, with both sides benefiting from the exchange of knowledge and expertise to further enhance our collective ability to tackle extreme weather challenges.

To learn more about the NOAA Weather-Ready Nation Ambassador™ initiative, and to explore the valuable resources available, please visit the NOAA Weather-Ready Nation website at http ://www.weather.gov/wrn/.

Volunteer Spotlight: Gabriella Randall

Volunteer of the Month for July is Gabriella Randall. 

In this month Gabriella has amassed over 50 hours and has been so useful everywhere. She has worked in our gift shop, events, food services, and even maintenance. Gabriella takes initiative and points out areas of interest in which she can be an asset as a volunteer and that’s a quality we really love. She wants to be where ever she can make a direct and immediate impact and that is why we are so glad to have her.

Volunteer Spotlight: Kaitlyn Dunne

Our Volunteer Spotlight for June is Kaitlyn Dunne. Kaitlyn started volunteering this month but has already contributed over 90 hours of her time to Flamingo Gardens. She has literally been here almost every day. She has been a guide in the gallery for our new Lego exhibit. She has been a garden guide. Kaitlyn has also assisted gift shop, events, animal care and tram in the time she has been here. We feel thankful that we have Kaitlyn because she has really made her mark as a volunteer already.

Volunteer Spotlight: Angel Diaz

angel diaz picture

Our Volunteer Spotlight for May is Angel Diaz. 

Our volunteer of the month for May is Angel Diaz. Angel has being supremely helpful in a myriad of ways since starting at the beginning of this month. Angel has amassed over 140 hours in this month alone. He was crucial in helping us get our new exhibits set up with our events department as well as playing an integral role in breaking down the previous exhibit. He has been willing to put in extra effort at every call and get his hands dirty and that’s why have been lucky to have him.

By Way of The Dodo

The dodo (Raphus cucullatus) is an extinct species of bird that once lived on Mauritius island off the coast of Madagascar. Dodos have become a symbol of human-caused extinction. The dodo is also the centerpiece of a new exhibit at Flamingo Gardens highlighting the impact of Climate Change on wildlife. Sean Kenney’s Nature POP®! exhibit of 44 sculptures made from more than 800,000 LEGO® bricks consider the interconnectedness of nature and climate change through the highly stylized, colorful displays.

The dodo was a flightless relative of pigeons and doves, which once inhabited the islands of Mauritius and Reunion. Their large size and inability to fly were adaptations that contributed to their survival among the island’s adverse conditions and climate change events, including extreme drought and volcanic eruptions. These adaptations, however, became a hindrance when the Dutch colonized the islands in the 1600s. Mauritius and its neighboring islands harbored no permanent human population before the Dutch East India Company established a settlement there in the 1600s. By then, previous visitors to the island had already introduced so many predators that dodos no longer roamed the beaches and mountains. Later, deforestation removed much of the dodo’s woodland habitat. By the end of the 17th century, the dodo was extinct.

Estimates show that by 2100, up to 14% of all bird species across the globe could be extinct, given the momentum of climate change, widespread habitat loss, and an increasing number of invasive species.

It’s not just birds that will be affected. Biologists are becoming more and more concerned that global climate change will drastically reduce wildlife biodiversity. Some biologists estimate that 35% of animals and plants could become extinct in the wild by 2050 due to global climate change.

To date, global warming has been most pronounced in the Artic, and this trend is projected to continue. Temperatures in the Arctic are rising nearly four times as fast as the global average, and Arctic Sea ice extent has declined since 1979 for every month of each year. There are suggestions that before mid-century we could have a nearly ice-free Artic in the summer and two-thirds of the world’s polar bears could be extinct if greenhouse gas-fueled global warming keeps melting their Arctic Sea ice habitat.

A recent two-year drought in Kenya has wiped out 2% of the world’s rarest zebra species as the climate crisis continues to take its toll on Africa’s wildlife. The Grévy’s zebra is in rapid decline, with estimates that their population has decreased by 50% over the last 18 years, attributed in part to having one of the most substantial reductions of range of any African mammal. Once found roaming across Ethiopia, Kenya, Djibouti, and Somalia, the animal is now confined to Ethiopia and Kenya, with an estimated 1,966 to 2,447 left in the wild. The biggest threat to zebra populations are habitat loss and drought. Increasing temperatures and changes to the rainy seasons mean lack of water for zebras, forcing them to congregate at the remaining water sources where there is an increased chance of disease.

Most of the time when we think about climate change, we think about warming temperatures. However, rainfall patterns will change as well, which is something that insects seem to be especially sensitive to. Rainfall extremes can have negative effects on insect populations over very short timescales.

Insects are incredibly diverse and important, filling the ecosystem roles of pollination and decomposition, and as a food source for many birds and mammals. Spiders eat an astronomical number of insects, many of which are agricultural pests or the carriers of human diseases. Their loss will become ours as it impacts future ecosystems.

Several traits make the monarch vulnerable to a changing climate. Like most butterflies, they are extremely sensitive to weather and climate, depending on environmental cues (temperature in particular) to trigger reproduction, migration, and hibernation. Their dependence on milkweed alone as a host plant is a further vulnerability, particularly as milkweed abundance is declining throughout the monarch range.

The bald eagle is a resilient species, and often held up as a symbol for conservation success. But as the climate changes, they too face new challenges. Extreme temperatures cause drought which threatens bodies of water that eagles depend on. Stream temperatures have spiked in recent years as glaciers retreat and provide less cool water, affecting cold-water species like salmon that bald eagles rely on for food. Climate change has also led to heavier river flows and floods in late fall, washing dead salmon out to sea before they can be eaten by eagles.

Global warming also brings extreme weather and damaging winds that can endanger nests and baby birds, and in the south, extreme heat which could threaten the bird’s ability to reproduce. Taking all these factors into account, the Audubon Society predicts that three quarters of the bald eagles’ current summer range will become unsuitable for the birds in 60 years’ time.

Sculptures featured in Sean Kenney’s Nature Pop®! exhibit include a polar bear, zebra, lion, snow leopard, rabbits, dragon flies, and many more.  Nature Pop®! hopes to engage young brick-building enthusiasts and inspire acts of art, preservation, and conservation while educating the public about Climate Change and its impact on global wildlife.

Sean Kenney’s Nature Pop®! is on display at Flamingo Gardens May 27 to September 4, 2023. Tickets are included with the price of admission. For more information, visit www.FlamingoGardens.org or call 954-473-2955.

Special Sunday Yoga

Special Raw Essences Flow (Yoga and Aromatherapy)

Join us Sunday, May 28th at 8:30 AM for a special Raw Essences Flow with Cintia Wess. Reset your body, mind, and soul with a combination of yoga and aromatherapy that will help keep you in harmony with nature.

“Feel Good” Flow with Sarah Freemyer will return on Sunday, June 4th

Volunteer Spotlight: Linda Crutchfield


Our Volunteer Spotlight for April is Linda Crutchfield. 

Linda has been a dedicated volunteer in Animal Care for months now and can be seen making sure our Animal enclosures are in the best conditions. Linda has already amassed over 165 hours in a short amount of time because of her commitment to the Animals and Flamingo Gardens. We are lucky to have a valued volunteer like Linda on our team.

Volunteer Spotlight: Publix Staff Members

Publix Serves 2023
Our Volunteer Spotlight for March are Publix Representatives.
As apart of their Publix Serves Campaign, they had over 100 volunteers participate in various volunteer experiences for us here at Flamingo Gardens. They assisted us in animal care and took on larger projects. They also made a major contributions with their time and effort to our Horticulture Department. This is also in addition to painting and helping Maintenance. We are thankful that every year Publix has continued a partnership with our Volunteer Department and really allowed us to attempt more creative volunteer opportunities.