Fairchild's Connect to Protect Network enlists Miami residents to plant native plants in order to connect the few remaining isolated fragments of pine rockland--a globally critically imperiled plant community. Planted areas can include private yards, rights-of-way along roads, and public lands such as schools and parks. Installing native pine rockland plants and removing non-native, invasive plants increases the probability that bees, butterflies and birds can find and transport seeds and pollen across developed areas that separate pine rockland fragments, improving gene flow and genetic health of native plant species.
Become a member
Joining Connect to Protect is free and easy! We only require that you are located in Miami-Dade County, and that you can maintain pine rockland plants (existing or donated) on your property for at least two years. If you would like to join the network but do not own property, you are welcome to join as an Email-only member, just contact us at ConnectToProtect@fairchildgarden.org.
Homeowners: Click here for an invitation to join. (File won't open? Try a PDF)
Schools: Click here for an invitation to join.
Businesses: Contact ConnectToProtect@fairchildgarden.org for more information.
- Free plants! New members have the opportunity to receive a free "pine rockland starter kit," grown by native plant experts in Fairchild's nursery. Existing members watch our newsletter for other opportunities for free plants throughout the year.
- Yard sign: We provide an optional yard sign to signify your property is part of Fairchild's Connect to Protect Network.
- Newsletter: All members receive the Connect to Protect Network's monthly e-newsletter
- Member meeting: Members convene semi-annually for education, discussion, plant exchange, and a pine rockland field trip.
- Citizen Science: All members have the opportunity to act as citizen scientists, providing information back to the network.
- Lower bills and increased wildlife presence: Last but not least, members receive all of the benefits that come with planting native plants (lower water and maintenance bills, increased visits from birds and butterflies).
One example of a pine rockland "starter kit" for new members
More about pine rocklands
South Florida’s pine rockland ecosystem is one of the most endangered in the world. Situated in the subtropics, pine rocklands support over 400 native plant species that are a diverse mix of both temperate and tropical plants. Many pine rockland plants are endemic, meaning they're found nowhere else in the world. Thirteen pine rockland endemic plant taxa are federally ranked as endangered, threatened, or candidates for federal listing.
Historically, pine rockland extended from downtown Miami, south and west into Everglades National Park. Due to rapid development, just 2% of the habitat remains outside of what is preserved in the National Park. The remaining 2% exist as forest fragments dispersed within urban Miami. A nice example of pine rocklands that is easily accessible to the public is Larry and Penny Thompson Park, one of Miami-Dade County's largest nature preserves.
Pine rocklands lined both sides of US1 in Miami, 1922 (W.A. Fishbaugh).
Photo source: State Library and Archives of Florida, www.floridamemory.com.
From 2007 to 2016, dozens of homeowners, teachers, and students carefully collected data on the health of their Connect to Protect Network gardens. This project drew to a close in 2016. Our summer intern Sarah Pinter has summarized all of the results into this Garden Data Report -- click to download it and take a look!
We no longer collect garden data from our members, but we often get requests from teachers for the blank datasheets, so we still make them available online-- click here to download a blank datasheet.
We will continue to harness the power of the Connect to Protect Network in the future by collecting data, but we will do so via periodic email polls, shared through our monthly newsletter. If you are not receiving our monthly email newsletter, contact ConnectToProtect@fairchildgarden.org to let us know.
Other links we recommend
Obtaining native plants
If you wish to purchase more pine rockland plants, in addition to the new member "starter kit," look for them at these native plant vendors:
Fairchild plant sales (in October, November and April, check our calendar!)
Tropical Audubon Society's plant sales in South Miami
Silent Native Nursery in the Redland
Veber's Jungle Garden in Homestead
Casey's Corner Nursery in Homestead
Richard Lyons Nursery in the Redland
Plant Creations Nursery in Homestead
Introducing the Connect to Protect Network. This video was recorded inside one of Miami-Dade County's pine rockland preserves, and it provides general information about pine rocklands and the Connect to Protect Network.
Creating a Pine Rockland. This video shows an ambitious project in Miami's Wynwood neighborhood to re-create a pine rockland from scratch. Fairchild trustee Lin Lougheed was behind this amazing and successful effort.
We'd like to thank the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service, Miami-Dade County Natural Areas Management and Environmentally Endangered Lands Program, the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Division of Plant Industry, and The Institute for Regional Conservation for supporting the Connect to Protect Network. Individuals can support CTPN too-- donate directly to the program by clicking here.