On February 17, Steve Goff (Class of 2006) received a proclamation from the Vero Beach City Council on behalf of the Florida Medical Entomology Laboratory – Pelican Island Audubon Society volunteers who work hard to control invasive pest plants at the Oslo Riverfront Conservation Area.
Ironically, the palms depicted in the painting of Memorial Island behind Steve are queen palms (Syagrus romanzoffiana). This palm, once widely planted, is listed as a Category 2 invasive pest plant by the Florida Exotic Pest Plant Council for south and central Florida and has been found ‘volunteering’ in the hammock at the Oslo Riverfront Conservation Area.
Queen palms are less common since the 1989 hard Christmas freeze killed many and the 2004 hurricanes toppled others. These shallow-rooted palms, fertilizer-needy palms are ill-suited to Florida landscapes but, unfortunately, not to rich natural hammocks.