WEBINAR — Natives For Your Neighborhood: Transforming Native Plant Gardening Into Habitat Restoration

“Natives For Your Neighborhood: Transforming Native Plant Gardening Into Habitat Restoration” was originally broadcast live on July 19, 2023. View the recording above.

Natives For Your Neighborhood (NFYN) is a free online resource created by The Institute for Regional Conservation (IRC) that helps turn native plant gardening into ecosystem restoration by using plants that are native to your specific area. By planting combinations of native plants and recreating natural habitats that are unique to your area, you can make a valuable contribution to the conservation and restoration of Florida’s natural heritage! Originally designed for South Florida (counties from Lake Okeechobee southward), NFYN is now moving north and will soon be serving all of the state of Florida. In this webinar, IRC Executive Director George Gann and IRC Assistant Director of Programs Cara Abbott explains the various ways you can use NFYN, and will discuss the significance of at-home restoration in the context of the United Nations Decade on Ecosystem Restoration and combating the biodiversity extinction and climate change emergencies.

George D. Gann, Executive Director, Chief Conservation Strategist

A founder of IRC, George is responsible for IRC’s core Regional Conservation Models program, and contributes to national and international outreach on behalf of IRC. George has spent more than 40 years working on the conservation of rare plants, the restoration of ecosystems, and a host of other conservation and sustainability issues. He has played a leadership role in a number of organizations including IRC, the Society for Ecological Restoration, the Florida Native Plant Society and Tropical Audubon Society, and has received a number of awards for his conservation work. Originally from South Florida, he attended the University of Colorado Boulder where he received a BA with distinction in International Affairs and Environmental Conservation in 1984. In addition to his work with IRC, George acts International Policy Lead for the Society for Ecological Restoration and is highly engaged in the development of global guidance on ecological restoration.

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Cara Abbott, MSc, Assistant Director, Programs

Cara joined IRC in 2015 as Education and Outreach Coordinator and is now Assistant Director of Programs. She is project lead for IRC’s Restoring the Gold Coast program and is responsible for organizing and implementing volunteer events, providing educational talks and programs, and supporting IRC’s online databases like Natives For Your Neighborhood. A native of northern Virginia, Cara graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Biology with Teacher Licensure in 2012. As an undergraduate, she worked as a research assistant for an ongoing study on the federally threatened Peaks of Otter Salamander (Plethodon hubrichti). Cara then moved to South Florida where she earned a master’s degree in Environmental Science from Florida Atlantic University in 2015. Her thesis research focused on the effects of sea level rise on the Black needle rush (Juncus roemerianus) grown in a high nutrient environment. Cara also teaches biology courses for a Palm Beach County homeschool enrichment program and volunteers with the Sea Turtle Conservation League of Singer Island. 

Cara Abbott, IRC