Focusing on social, environmental, and economic issues affecting urban Florida landscapes.
Annual Report 2017-18
I am happy to present our 2017-18 annual report. This year was a productive year despite some budget setbacks. Even though we had excellent support from our friends in the industry and legislature, we and IFAS as a whole were not successful in regaining the budget cuts that occurred last session. Despite this setback we will carry on this year, producing high-quality research and extending that research to stakeholders. In the meantime, we will be seeking new funding in the legislature this year.
We again hosted the Landscape Summit for a third year. As in the past, it was very popular, attracting 80 county and state faculty as well as 15 other attendees. We had an incredibly interactive graduate student poster competition with 13 students competing. In the face of reduced funding available for Extension In-Service Trainings, we partnered with our faculty to host two IST’s in addition to as a part of the summit itself. This collaboration altered the format of the summit somewhat but was popular with many of our county faculty who were able to get three IST’s—a total of two days of education—with one trip.
For the past year, a group of CLCE faculty have been discussing the formation of an “Urban Landscape Topics” class. This class will be team taught, with 1-2 faculty each week, across a wide range of topics for a semester. The class will broaden CLCE’s primarily Research and Extension research and Extension focus to formal teaching as well. In addition, it will help familiarize and potentially recruit students into the green industries. Read more about the upcoming class in this report.
It occurs to me frequently that while we enjoy a high standard of living, I am still reminded that the winds of change are always blowing. We currently have nearly 21 million residents in Florida and there are estimates that 1,000 people per day continue to move to the state. Meanwhile as I write this, algae chokes the canals in South Florida and red tide washes up on the southwest coast. It reminds me that we likely will not be doing things in 10 years and beyond the same way we are now. You will read about cutting-edge ideas and projects in this report: investigating soil compaction and amendments to mitigate stormwater quality, as well as enhancing landscape plant health, plant diversity on golf courses to enhance improve biological insect control, the investigation of mulch to control weeds, and more. These are just highlights of the many ways that CLCE is working to address issues in urban landscapes and conserve Florida’s natural resources. I invite and encourage you to attend the fourth Landscape Summit already being planned for March 20-21, 2019 to hear the latest cutting-edge in science and education.
—Michael Dukes, CLCE Director