J. Scott Angle: Building Connections for a Green Florida

February 14, 2023

With a thousand new Florida residents a day, how many more lawns and landscapes does that mean? And what kinds?

Regulations, sensitivities to water quality, changing consumer preferences and environmental advocacy make the science of solutions vexingly complex. It requires collaboration among turf scientists, horticulturalists, ecologists, engineers, entomologists, economists, social scientists and others.

These folks work in different academic departments, disciplines and places. The Center for Land Use Efficiency (CLUE) was created so they all work in the same place on what matters most to you.

Last month that same place was CLUE’s Future Urban Landscapes meeting in Gainesville. Less than two weeks before, the U.S. Census Bureau identified Florida as the fastest-growing state in the nation for the first time since the 1950s.

CLUE Director Michael Dukes convened research and Extension faculty because he knows those thousand people a day will soon add up to millions. They will all have to fit in the same amount of land.

Dukes packed the agenda with quick-hit talks for the closest thing he could achieve in two days to a comprehensive survey on the state of the scientific response.

Tal Coley was among those drinking from the fire hose of information, and he briefed FNGLA members in the Jan. 11 edition of Tal’s Intel. For Tal, it was an opportunity to meet some of the people for whom he’s been writing supporting letters for grant applications. He put faces to the names and emails. He also increased his grasp of the sheer scope of what UF/IFAS does in the green industry space (something I, too, continue to do two and a half years into my job as head of UF/IFAS).

Here’s a smattering of what’s going on:


  • AJ Reisinger has enlisted individual homeowners across Alachua County to allow their yards to serve as research plots for an investigation into how to reduce loss of fertilizer nutrients from lawns.
  • Michelle Atkinson promotes sustainability through education in a homeowners association of a massive planned community in Manatee County.
  • Brooke Moffis reported that she’s investigating how native plants perform in the highly disturbed soils of a rapidly urbanizing central Florida.
  • Jennison Kipp has partnered with housing developments in Osceola County resulting in living labs to investigate new landscapes that reduce water use and increase biodiversity.
  • Mark Hostetler is researching the importance of urban trees as habitat for breeding and migrating birds.


The information from Florida-Friendly Landscaping™, CLUE and all of UF/IFAS has to be clear and consistent. That means continuing to build connections among our scientists like we did in January.

They’ll then build connections with you. And together, we’ll build connections to everyone who has a stake in a green Florida, many of whom aren’t aware of the important work FNGLA and UF/IFAS do. That could be government, businesses, non-profits and people yet to be born or to move here —the millions to come.

Scott Angle is the University of Florida’s Senior Vice President for Agriculture and Natural Resources and leader of the UF Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS).

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