We can dwell on environmental messes — or we can use our knowledge and resources to clean them up.
Since the beginning, the Garden has been dedicated to the latter. Today, our natural areas, once choked with invasive plants, showcase how nature can heal itself when land managers create the conditions for it to do so. Likewise, we’re studying how to protect Southwest Florida and our partners in Latin America and the Caribbean from intensifying storms, rising seas, warming temperatures and related threats so that our regions will continue to prosper ecologically as well as economically. Restoration and resiliency projects include:
The Collier Enterprises
South Wetland Preserve
This Southwest Florida habitat had once been lost to invasive exotic melaleuca trees and cattails. Once cleared, native plants reclaimed the land, creating habitat for wildlife and purifying runoff water.
Urban Forest Project
Naples Botanical Garden is collaborating with subtropical partners in Latin America, the Caribbean and Mexico to create a database of trees and shrubs that have proven to fare well and require little upkeep in urban settings such as streetscapes and parking lots. While we promote native Florida plants, we’re also looking for hardy species from climatically similar regions to promote biodiversity. Landscapes with a broad diversity of plant matter tend to better withstand natural threats, including invasive threats, than more homogenous ones. We are partnering with Collier County and modeling these practices in a demonstration landscape at the Collier County Sports & Special Events Complex.
The Garden serves as a demonstration site on how to manage and naturally purify stormwater runoff. Waterbodies throughout Florida are suffering from excess nutrients from fertilizer and other sources. The Garden was carefully engineered to protect area waterbodies such as nearby Naples Bay. The shorelines of our lakes feature diverse native grasses and plants that absorb nitrogen and phosphorous from runoff water. Our main parking lot features a manmade wetland that similarly treats stormwater, and bioswales throughout the property slow the water and give grasses time to absorb nutrients before it returns to a waterbody.
Naples Botanical Garden is among several organizations working to protect giant air plants in Fakahatchee Strand Preserve State Park from the ravages of the Mexican bromeliad weevil. We remove the plants and keep them safe from the pests until they have reach reproductive maturity. We then take them back to the park to disperse their seeds naturally. The ongoing project is saving the plant from extinction.