Suzanne Spencer was honored as the Florida Wildflower Foundation Outstanding Volunteer of the Year on April 13 at the foundation’s annual wildflower symposium in Gainesville for her efforts in protecting roadside wildflowers. Spencer serves as a Florida master gardener volunteer in Santa Rosa County under the direction of Mary Salinas, UF/IFAS Extension residential horticulture agent and master gardener coordinator.In 2016, Spencer began implementing an ongoing statewide program of the Florida Wildflower Foundation that promotes reduced mowing along state and county roads that preserves naturally occurring native wildflowers. She works closely with Santa Rosa County Public Works Director Stephen Furman and the Florida Department of Transportation to identify appropriate roads and develop suitable reduced mowing protocols. Her efforts resulted in reduced mowing along 70 miles of state and county roads, saving $70,000 in state and county tax dollars as well as creating pollinator habitats that support the success of panhandle agriculture.Spencer has held numerous public programs on wildflowers, assisted groups in other counties in adopting the program, writes reports for the Florida Wildflower Foundation’s Panhandle Wildflower Alliance newsletter, presented at a symposium and recruits fellow master gardener volunteers to assist in regular monitoring of the 70 miles of roads.For more information, contact Mary Salinas at email@example.com.
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