Egret feeding (photo Mike Stocker, courtesy The Miami Herald)

Keys Coastal Habitat

By Gillian Drake

This garden is for the birds!

We certainly hope it is! The Keys Coastal Habitat, located in the southeast corner of the Garden, is one of Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden's newest features. The habitat, with existing marsh and mangroves, was planted with Florida native species, principally those from the Florida Keys, that are attractive to birds throughout the year, but with a special emphasis on migrant species.

This area is more than just a collection of Florida natives, since with the plants come their pollinators, pests, and predators. A delightful bonus is finding that many butterfly species have made it their home. This special place gives us the opportunity to study ecology first-hand. Even on such a small scale, our observations help us understand that our actions have global consequences.

Zebra Longwing caterpillar (photo courtesy of Everglades National Park)

This project began in 1995, with staff from the Education-Center for Teaching and Learning, Living Collections and Garden Landscapes, and Center for Tropical Plant Conservation departments working with members of the Tropical Audubon Society. Funding from the Winona Foundation has enabled it to come to fruition.

Photo of Egret feeding by Mike Stocker, courtesy The Miami Herald;
photo of Zebra Longwing caterpillar courtesy of Everglades National Park;
Semaphore cactus, Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden.

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11935 Old Cutler Road, Coral Gables, FL 33156-4299 USA

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