FNGLA 2023 - 24 President Phil Buck addresses the group at Palm Quest 2024. | Image Courtesy UF/IFAS

President's Letter: Educational Events

May 6, 2024

I had the opportunity in April to attend a couple of events I found to be very informative: FNGLA Palm Quest Conference, a joint production by FNGLA and the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS), and the 2024 Urban Landscape Summit in Gainesville, organized by UF/IFAS and the Center for Land Use Efficiency (CLUE).

The theme of the Urban Landscape Summit was “Building water supply resiliency with Florida landscapes,” and it brought together leading experts, scientists, industry professionals, state agencies, and developers. As both an FNGLA leader, and arborist working in the green industry, I am always very proud of our Association and how it interacts with other green industry stakeholders.

Besides the fact that FNGLA was a co-sponsor of Palm Quest, my interest in attending was personal. I was looking to gain more knowledge and see what has changed in the past few years. I’ve been working with trees for two-thirds of my life, and I would classify myself as a tree geek. While other people are watching where they are going, I find myself looking up at the treetops diagnosing visible problems, or just admiring their beauty. Naples is an area where there are many exotic species of palms so I jumped at the chance to attend. Topics covered at the two-day event included palm physiology, species habits, growing conditions, planting, the use of palms in Florida Department of Transportation (DOT) landscapes, grades and standards, nutrition, and diseases. The event was held at Fairchild Tropical Gardens, so attendees had an opportunity to walk around and view a lot of Hardwood and palm species that don’t normally grow in other areas of Florida. As with the Landscape Summit, attendees represented a wide variety of professions who all play a part in what we do as green industry professionals. Arborists, landscape maintenance professionals, installers, growers, landscape architects, and educators all came together with the goal of receiving education. As I have previously mentioned in other President's Letters, education is one of our most vital tools. When it comes down to it, educating ourselves and the public is critical to create sustainable landscapes that will endure and provide environmental and aesthetic benefits for us all.

The Landscape Summit forced thought and discussion on sustainability, with water supply resiliency being the focus. We heard statistical projections from many of the presenters who pointed out current and future water availability, and each highlighted the critical need to conserve water. Moratoriums on building, the use of more native plants, having entire developments built on water conservation measures, and other subjects were discussed as possibilities to better deal with future water savings. As someone working in the industry with a front seat, the alternatives are eye-opening, but I also see a lot of areas that can be tightened up to help conserve water as it pertains to our daily water usage in our businesses. FNGLA is a big Association. As leaders in the green industry, we all need to do everything in our power to ensure everyone who works with or for the green industry works toward management practices which reflect BMPs established to conserve water.

As May is here and we are experiencing our normal dry weather conditions, I want to take this opportunity to invite everyone to attend FNGLA's 2024 Annual Convention, which will be held in my backyard in Naples.

And, as Mother's Day approaches, I also wish to send a special 'thank you' to all of the mothers in our FNGLA family.

Phil Buck sig

Phil Buck
Crawford Landscaping (Yellowstone Landscape)
FNGLA 2023-24 President

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