Friends of St. Sebastian River Newsletter

  January 2018

Our newsletters are available in the "Library" section of our website, in PDF format, at
Please visit this page for more information about delivery options.

St. Sebastian River Preserve State Park to Receive Friends’ Award

Samantha McGee, Environmental Specialist with the St. Sebastian River Preserve State Park, will join us for our meeting this month. Ms. McGee will present updated information on the invasive plant removal project, on 35 acres along the western shoreline of the South Prong of the St. Sebastian River that took place this past summer. She will talk about other resource management projects being conducted at the Park as well. As the longest serving employee at the park, Ms. McGee is widely recognized for her extensive knowledge of land management issues, which include burning, scrub jay monitoring, red-cockaded woodpecker research, and habitat restoration.

As a result of this excellent work, the Friends has chosen the Preserve State Park as the recipient of our 2017 Environmental Enhancement Award. Park Manager Dylan Gavagni will be in attendance to accept the award. The award is presented to an individual, organization, or project that has contributed significant enhancement to the River and its habitat in the past year. A full list of past recipients may be found on our website, and on the plaque located in the Sebastian City Hall lobby.

The meeting this month is also our Annual Meeting, at which current Friends members will be electing this year’s Directors. The current slate of nominees is Mark Bondy, Tom Bauer, Jane Schnee and Lynn Stieglitz, all of whom are incumbent members. Please join us on Tuesday, January 23rd, 6pm at the North Indian River County Library, 1001 Sebastian Blvd.; all are welcome to attend. For more information, visit our website at or call 772-202-0501.

FSSR Yard Sale Fund Raiser

As a reminder, we will be holding one of our biggest fund-raising events of the year, our annual yard sale, on Saturday, February 10th, from 8am until noon at the About Storage facility off Roseland Road, across from Dale Wimbrow Park. Your assistance is appreciated with donations of clean and serviceable items! We will be accepting donations the week prior, but if you need assistance or just can’t wait to get rid of something, please contact Buzz Herrmann at 772-589-9811.

Another option to help out – do you have any graphic design skills? We are looking to redesign out membership brochure. If you are interested in assisting, just let us know.

Volunteer Nature Stewardship Class

Oslo Riverfront Conservation Area Trail, by Janice Broda

Would you like to learn about the natural history and ecology of some of the habitats like those along the St. Sebastian River?

The Florida Medical Entomology Laboratory (FMEL) will offer its twenty-first Volunteer Nature Stewardship Class on Saturday afternoons from 1:30pm to 4:30pm from January 20 through February 24, 2018. This 6-week, free class is taught by researchers and staff from the FMEL and other educational institutions. It provides an introduction to understanding the habitats of the Oslo Riverfront Conservation Area with classroom talks and field activities. For more information and to register for this class, visit

Transforming Landscapes for a Sustainable Future

Many species could live in sustainable harmony with us if we redesigned our landscapes to accommodate those species by providing food, shelter, and nesting sites using native plant species. This conference is an opportunity for you to learn how to landscape in a way that is sustainable, cost-effective and helps enhance our quality of life and our community’s health.

The conference, of which the Friends is a sponsor, is hosted by the Pelican Island Audubon Society and takes place on Saturday, January 20th, with an opening reception and keynote address, on Friday, January 19th. For more information or to register for this event, please visit the Audubon website at

Out of Control: Old World Climbing Fern!

It was first found in 1965 in Martin County, but was not a problem until the 1990’s when populations of this climbing fern exploded throughout south Florida, engulfing other vegetation. Now, old world climbing fern (Lygodium mircrophyllum) is overwhelming land managers and homeowners along the St. Sebastian River.

If you see this fern in your yard, get rid of it as swiftly as you can. No other fern climbs like this evil invader. Its growth, unchecked, will smother other vegetation. Wind and water spread its spores. For more information, visit the University of Florida Center for Aquatic and Invasive Plants at You will find links to more information about old world climbing, as well as the invasive plant flyer we assisted in the development of, on the “Library” page of our website. Look for the invasive plant flyer at our meetings as well.

Thanks to Janice Broda for contributing to this article. You may find color photos of old world climbing fern in the electronic version of our January newsletter in our website “Library,” provide by Janice, as well.

Photos by Janice Broda

The Blue Mind RX: Wild Waters Can Be Lifelong Medicine For All People

Our wild waters provide vast cognitive, emotional, physical, psychological, social, and spiritual values for people from birth, through adolescence, adulthood, older age, and in death…. Keeping them healthy, clean, accessible, and biodiverse is critical to human health and well-being.

In addition to fostering more widely documented ecological, economic, and cultural diversities, our mental well-being, emotional diversity, and resiliency also rely on the global ecological integrity of our waters.

Being on, in, and near water can be among the most cost-effective ways of reducing stress and anxiety.

Water is the essence of life: The ocean, healthy rivers, lakes, and wetlands are good for our minds and bodies.

This information is excerpted from the document by the same title, authored by Natalie Spear and Wallace J. Nichols, PhD. The full text may be read online on Dr. Nichols’ website Blue Mind Life at

Dr. Nichols gave a presentation this past year at the Environmental Learning Center during his travels around the world presenting his “Blue Mind” Summit. He will be conducting a workshop on June 8, 2018 in Miami; more information may be found on his website above.

St. Sebastian River Videos

Three years ago this month, local photographer Bob Barbour gave a presentation of his beautiful, local photographs at our meeting. Since then, Bob has been getting more involved with infrared photography and aerial videos by drone. He recently shared a couple of his latest productions of the St. Sebastian River! You may view them on his YouTube channel at Check out the videos entitled Infrared photography with Bob, and Chasing Alligators on the Sebastian River (that’s St. Sebastian River, Bob!).

Forests and Drinking Water

Forests capture rainfall and replenish and cleanse our water supply. Although these ecological services provided by forests are widely accepted in the scientific community, they have not really been translated into the language that most often drives planning and land use decisions at the local level: dollars. Local government officials often make tough decisions about growth at the expense of natural resource conservation, and they must make these decisions without the benefit of economic data that measures the true costs of development and values of natural resources.

For decades, technology has replaced, to some extent, the services provided by forests, but at a high price. Billions of dollars are invested in the construction and upgrade of water treatment plants to clean our public water supply degraded by pollution as a result of industrialization and urban development. In fact, water utilities spend 19 times more on water treatment chemicals every year than the federal government invests in protecting lakes and rivers from pollution by using techniques such as conservation of forest land.

The full report, with links to more information, may be read on the Center for Watershed Protection website at

The Important Places

“The Important Places” is an award-winning short film about the relationship between a father and son and their connection to the Colorado River throughout their lives. Watch the video online at

Calendar of Events

Please visit the Meeting Info/Events page of our website for a listing of more events!

Thursday, January 18, 7pm
Native Dune Plants
Kendra Cope, Sea Turtle Coordinator & Environmental Specialist and James Gray, IRC Coastal Engineer
FL Native Plant Society, Eugenia Chapter
FMEL Boathouse
Oslo Road
info: 772-567-1565

Friday/Saturday, January 19-20
Transforming Landscapes for a Sustainable Future
Pelican Island Audubon Society
The Emerson Center
1590 27th Ave. Vero Beach
info: or call 772-567-3520

Monday, January 22, 6pm
Ospreys at Pelican Island: An Exploration Into the Life of the Fish Hawk
Bob Montanaro
Pelican Island Preservation Society
North IRC Library
1001 Sebastian Blvd.
info: or 772-202-0697

Tuesday, May 23, 7:30pm
Indian River Conservation Lands
Wendy Swindell, IRC Conservation Lands Program
North IRC Library
1001 Sebastian Blvd., Sebastian
info: or 772-202-0501

Welcome New Members

Roger Nelson

Corporate Sponsors

About Storage
Roseland Community Association
Sedor Quality Consulting, Inc.
Tropical Kayak Tours

2017 Officers & Directors

Tim Glover, President
Buzz Herrmann, Vice President
Mark Bondy, Secretary
Bill Brennan, Treasurer

Tom Bauer, Director
Lee Ann Kluepfel, Director
Judy Orr, Director
Jane Schnee, Director
Bob Stephen, Director
Lynn Stieglitz, Director
Bruce Zingman, Director

The Friends of St. Sebastian River newsletter is published bi-monthly, five times per year, starting in January, except July. A subscription is included with membership. Delivery by email is a benefit of membership, and encouraged, as it saves time, money and paper, and increases your support! If you would prefer to receive our newsletter by email only, please email us at Please contact us to notify of change of address or email, as well.

The Friends of St. Sebastian River is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and donations are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law.
For membership information, visit

Banner photo courtesy of Kristen Hanson

Friends of St. Sebastian River
P.O. Box 284
Roseland, FL 32957-0284