Ricky Pires Director,
“Wings of Hope” Program
2006-2007 featured Florida Environmental Symbols.
State of Florida Environmental Symbols and Adoption Dates are as follows:
Bird: Northern Mocking Bird (1927) Animal: Florida Panther (1982)
Reptile: American Alligator (1987) Butterfly: Zebra Longwing (1996)
Marine Mammal: West Indian Manatee (1975)
Saltwater Mammal: Porpois/Bottle-nose dolphin (1975) Saltwater Fish: Sailfish (1975)
Freshwater Fish: Largemouth Bass (1975) Tree: Sabal Palm/Cabbage Palm (1953)
Flower: Orange Blossom (1909) Wildflower: Coreopsis (1991) Fruit: Oragne (2005)
Shell: Horse Conch (1969) Stone: Agatized Coral (1979) Gem: Moonstone (1969)
Soil: Myakka Fine Sand (1989)
More Cool Facts: Click Here
2008 featured Florida's Keystone Symbol the Gopher Tortoise.
The decline of the Gopher Tortoise, a keystone species of over 300 Florida wildlife species, and the destruction and loss of its habitat has become a conservation crisis in Florida. Many other wildlife species share upland habitat and will benefit from Gopher Tortoise habitat protection. Those species include other imperiled species such as the gopher frog, indigo snake, scrub jay, Sherman fox squirrel and the Florida panther.
Thanks to a partnership of Collier County Audubon Society and Florida Gulf Coast University “Wings of Hope” Program our Collier County elementary to high school students with Florida Senator Burt Saunders lobbied with their art, education, and awareness to have the Gopher Tortoise accepted as one of Florida’s Symbols. Through the art of the students they were able to educate others about the Gopher Tortoise as an important part of Florida’s ecology. As in any food web, if you start taking certain flora and fauna out of the equation then you can adversely affect the survival of that ecosystem.
Having the Gopher Tortoise as the new land tortoise symbol of Florida could not be without thanks to the Golden Gate High School Artists directed by art teacher Diane Ferguson and the Pelican Marsh 4th grade Panther Posse directed by Leslie Lofgren. Again many thanks to Collier County Audubon Society sponsoring this poster awareness project and to Burt Saunders for lobbying in Tallahassee.
2009-2010 featured Water The Umbrella Resource.
"When you protect and conserve water, you also protect wildlife, habitats, the environment and the human community."
This poster contest was supported by a partnership between Florida Gulf Coast University "Wings of Hope" Program and South Florida Water management District-Big Cypress Basin and Lower West Coast Service Center.
Thank you to the Golden Gate High School Students in Naples, Florida for their wonderful artwork that will bring awareness of the importance of water conservation through the "Water: The Umbrella Resource Project". Also many thanks to thier Fine Arts Teacher Diane Ferguson.