Liatris bloom in pine flatwoods

Heartwood Preserve

Heartwood Preserve is the first conservation cemetery within a nature preserve in the Tampa Bay area. Join us on Saturday, November 18 for this unique opportunity to learn about the efforts to conserve and permanently protect this endangered natural habitat through environmentally friendly burial options. 

Executive Director Laura Starkey will take us on a tour of the land, which includes two primary ecosystems: longleaf pine flatwoods and cypress wetlands. The flatwoods community is dominated by Longleaf pine, Wiregrass and Saw palmetto. We expect to see many fall-blooming wildflowers, including Goldenrod, Blazing star, Chaffhead, Coreopsis and Asters. And we’ll look for wildlife — Gopher tortoises, Bobwhite quail, Sherman’s fox squirrel, Wild turkey and White-tailed deer all reside within this pristine habitat. The cypress wetland, which runs through the central part of the preserve, is a lush, sensitive system protected by limited human access and a broad buffer. It contains both Bald and Pond cypress.  

Laura will tell us the story of Heartwood Preserve, her family’s ranch, and neighboring Starkey Wilderness Park. She’ll give us an overview of the land’s history and management, and discuss the importance of fire ecology to the overall health of the preserve. She will also explain the process of conservation burial and its positive environmental impact. 

This field trip is free for Foundation members and $10 for non-members. Click here for details and to register.

Not sure if you’re membership is current? Contact Stacey Matrazzo at to find out. To join as a member, visit