After our business meeting, Laura Starkey will tell us a little about the history of the land which Heartwood Preserve now occupies, from her family’s involvement with the land since the 1930s and her childhood in the 70s, up to the present. She will give us a perspective on the area with relation to the intensive development and growth of an area that was once “the boondocks.” We will learn how her connection to this land led her to create the region’s only conservation cemetery, one of only a couple dozen in the nation.
Presenter: Laura Starkey is the founder and Executive Director of Heartwood Preserve Conservation Cemetery; a natural cemetery and nature preserve located in Trinity. A third-generation Floridian, Laura began Heartwood Preserve on a corner of her family’s former cattle ranch as a way to protect an intact longleaf pine flatwoods ecosystem. She is the granddaughter of Jay B Starkey Sr, namesake of the Jay B Starkey Wilderness Park. Laura is a Prescribed Burn Manager, which means she gets to set the woods on fire.
Field Trip: Heartwood Preserve has two primary ecosystems, longleaf pine flatwoods and cypress wetlands.
The flatwoods community is dominated by longleaf pine, wiregrass, saw palmetto, small shrubs and many wildflowers. Wildlife includes gopher tortoises, bobwhite quail, Sherman’s fox squirrel, Florida wild turkey and white-tailed deer. In the cypress dome wetland, rainfall drains and percolates back into the ground to replenish the Floridan aquifer – the underground source of our drinking water.
Field Trip Leader: Richard Stauffer – well known member of our chapter – became interested in native plants after meeting Mike Kenton and helping him survey the plants in the Aripeka area as part of a grant application for the Gulf Coast Conservancy. Through Mike he got involved with FNPS and his interest in Florida natives grew by attending field trips to the many diverse areas in our state. Currently he is working on restoring a portion of the five acres where he lives. He’s always curious to learn more about the whole life of the plants and how they fit into the ecosystem.
Telephone inquiries are taken by Molly at (813) 469-9597.
Nature Coast Chapter: firstname.lastname@example.org