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January Newsletter

Legislative Session Update:

Your Voice Matters

in Protecting Our Waters

As the Legislative Session progresses in Tallahassee, a flurry of bills, both promising and concerning, are being brought to the table. It's a challenging task to stay updated, but your involvement and voice are crucial in shaping the future of our waterways and environment.

To help you stay informed and make your voice heard, we recommend the following resources:

  • Vote Water: A powerful organization that tracks water-related legislation and lobbies for water. Their updates and insights are invaluable for understanding how proposed bills could impact our water resources.

  • 1000 Friends of Florida: An organization dedicated to protecting Florida's natural and community resources. They offer detailed analysis on legislation affecting urban development, conservation, and environmental policies.

  • Friends of the Everglades: Committed to preserving and protecting the Everglades, this group offers unique perspectives on how legislative actions could influence this critical ecosystem.

  • Audubon Florida: A go-to source for bird and wildlife conservation news, Audubon Florida provides comprehensive coverage on environmental legislation and its potential impacts on Florida's diverse ecosystems.

  • IRNA Weekly Newsletters: For a local perspective, the Indian River Neighborhood Association's newsletters offer updates and insights on how state-level decisions could affect our community here in Indian River County.

Your representatives need to hear from you. Whether you support or oppose certain bills, your opinion matters. These resources not only keep you informed but also guide you on how to effectively communicate with your legislators.

Together, we can advocate for clean and healthy waterways. Stay informed, stay involved, and let's make a difference.


Warm Welcome to New CWC Board Members

Indian River County, FL: The Clean Water Coalition of Indian River County (CWC) is excited to welcome our new board members, Denise Forgione and Kristy Polackwich. Their passion for environmental advocacy and community engagement makes them perfect additions to our team.

We look forward to the fresh ideas and energy Denise and Kristy bring to the CWC. Their involvement is key to our mission of advocating for clean water and healthy ecosystems in Indian River County.

Join us in welcoming them and stay tuned for future initiatives and events where you can meet our new members and learn more about our ongoing projects.


Riverkidz Starry Nights

The RiverkidZ Starry Night Pajama Party on Saturday night (January 13th) at the Audubon House invited families from all over to enjoy some s’mores and learn about what goes on in the outside world after we go to sleep.  Sixty guests were welcomed, with attending children as young as 4 years old and as far away as Miami. The night began with a presentation by Lauren Reeves, the Audubon Environmental Educator on what we see in the sky above in addition to the phenomena we can witness on our own planet at night. Children in attendance got a real kick out of the different sounds made by our local wildlife at night. They were surprised to learn frogs don’t all just go “ribbit” and not all owls just “hoot”. There was a special shout-out to our most important pest control crew, the 13 species of bats that call Florida home. Many families had no idea how special Indian River County is for sea turtle nesting, which occurs at night. So many folks in this area live just 30 minutes from the most integral sea turtle nesting habitat in the United States, the site of tens of thousands of nests, and have no idea. With sea turtle nesting being such a fragile process, especially when it comes to the use of light at night, awareness goes a long way in promoting conservation.  

The irresponsible use of light at night has a major impact on the night activities of our local wildlife as well as human health. Limiting use of light at night and having environmentally friendly light fixtures are steps we can take to reclaim the true visibility of the Milky Way that every human who has lived before us was able to enjoy. It is also intrinsically important to birds’ ability to migrate and to the health of the nocturnal beings we share the planet with. With all that we learned in mind, we set out into the darkness to appreciate the night sky.

We enjoyed hot cocoa and s’mores while listening carefully to the sounds of the night. Unfortunately, there was a good amount of cloud cover that obscured the celestial bodies above us for most of the evening, but children got to peek through a telescope at Orion’s Nebula and at Jupiter when the clouds cleared. Families left with a new perspective about nighttime and a consciousness of the power possessed by light, or the lack thereof.

The CWC is proud to be a sponsor of Riverkidz.


Pruning Palms: Best Practices for Healthy Trees

Effective palm pruning is essential for maintaining the tree's health and aesthetic appeal. A healthy palm should have a full, rounded canopy, which not only looks better but also strengthens the tree.  When pruning, it's advisable to remove only dead leaves and flower stalks.

Palms with crownshafts naturally shed their old leaves, so pruning isn't always necessary. When half-dead leaves persist, this usually points to a potassium deficiency, highlighting the need for appropriate fertilization rather than excessive pruning.

Overpruning can harm the palm by reducing its photosynthetic ability and weakening its structure. It's particularly important to avoid removing potassium-deficient leaves, as this can accelerate the decline of the palm. In terms of weather resilience, palms with fuller canopies are better insulated against cold and more robust in severe weather conditions compared to overpruned ones.

In summary, proper palm care involves thoughtful pruning, understanding the natural leaf shedding process, and addressing nutrient needs to ensure the health and longevity of the palms.

For more info, visit this page.


Emerson E-Series

In the heart of Vero Beach, Florida, The Emerson Center is set to host two lectures in January as part of its E-Series, engaging the community with tales of sunken treasures and marine wonders.

1. Quest for Spanish Treasure: The 1715 Fleet’s Legacy

  • Date: January 23, 2024, 7:00 p.m.

  • Speaker: Jim Wilson, a native of Vero Beach, shares his lifelong passion for the 1715 Fleet. Inspired by a childhood encounter with treasure hunter Mel Fisher, Wilson will guide the audience through the fleet's rich history, its catastrophic demise, and the art of treasure hunting. Attendees can expect a vivid recounting of this historical saga and practical tips on metal detecting and beachcombing for relics.

2. Stealing Sharks and Ravaging Rays: A Scientific Assessment of Their Interactions with Florida’s Fisheries

  • Date: January 30, 2024, 7:00 p.m.

  • Speaker: Dr. Matt Ajemian from FAU Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute. With a Ph.D. in Marine Science, Dr. Ajemian will explore the complex relationship between sharks, rays, and Florida's fisheries. His lecture promises to shed light on the shared seafood cravings of these marine creatures and humans, backed by innovative research methods for studying their interactions and promoting coexistence.

About The Emerson Center  The Emerson Center, renowned for educational and entertaining programs, invites the community to these events. While admission is free, a $10 donation is suggested. Located at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Vero Beach, this premier venue continues to offer a diverse range of lectures and musical events, fostering enlightenment and enjoyment.

The CWC is a proud sponsor of the E-Series hosted by the Emerson Center.


Join the Pelican Island Audubon Society at their 5th annual conference, "Transforming Landscapes for a Sustainable Future," on January 20, 2024, at the Emerson Center, Vero Beach, FL. Starting at 8 a.m., this event focuses on reducing pollution in Florida's waterways by promoting native plant landscaping over traditional grass lawns.

Key highlights include expert speaker presentations, native plant sale by Native Butterfly Flowers Nursery and Nancy’s Nursery, and practical planting demonstrations. Registration is $25 in advance or $35 at the door, including a box lunch. The conference emphasizes the benefits of native plants in conserving water, reducing the need for fertilizers and herbicides, and supporting local wildlife.

For more details and speaker bios, visit PIAS's website. Free admission is available for HOA board presidents. This event is a crucial initiative towards preserving Florida's unique habitats and waterways.


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