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Restoring Soil/Soul in Vanishing Pine Rockland


5 hours of Professional Development (In application process)
3hours Face to Face, 2 post assignment

Facilitated by Sarah Martin or George Gann, Institute of Regional Conservation
Professor Carlos Gonzalez, MDC, English           

Why is Pine Rockland rare and worth restoring? The answer lies in its resilient bed of limestone, a porous stone with no barriers to saltwater intrusion where beautiful but dwindling species thrive, from the hairstreak butterfly and Florida lantana to the bonneted bat. Pine Rockland occur only in South Florida, the Florida Keys and some islands of the Bahamas. Officially designated as globally imperiled, Pine Rockland once covered 185,000 acres of Miami-Dade County; today only 2 percent remains in the county outside of Everglades National Park.

At MDC’s 185-acre Kendall Campus, the 9-acre Environmental Center has 2 acres of rare Pine Rockland.

What role does restoring this small bit of land play in building a resilient, regenerative and prosperous Miami-Dade County today? And how does the process of saving Pine Rockland transform the hearts and minds of those who undertake this mission? Explore components of a healthy Pine Rockland, efforts to revitalize this habitat on Kendall Campus and the impact this vital work has on students engaged in the process. Participants will identify ways to contribute to this project, and in the process help to create a new story for the region and themselves.


-Describe the pine rockland ecosystem and list defining components of this habitat.

-Explain the history of the pine rockland and conservation efforts in Miami-Dade County

-Identify local efforts of pine rockland conservation, restoration and maintenance and opportunities for civic engagement

-Develop a course module or lesson plan incorporating key concepts of sustainability and/or pine rockland restoration as a lens to teach course objectives.


Evaluation will include completion of workshop and participant must develop a discipline specific lesson plan or course module that incorporates key concepts of sustainability and/or the link between human and landscape/ecosystem, or pine rockland restoration. Lesson plan is due to the director of Earth Ethics Institute within three weeks of the workshop, and will be posted on the Earth Ethics webpage.


Sarah Martin is Program Coordinator for the Institute of Regional Conservation’s Pine Rockland Initiative. She supervises a skilled invasive exotic plant removal team that works on improving the habitat of Miami-Dade’s remaining globally-imperiled pine rocklands.  She received a degree in Environmental Studies and French from Seattle University in 2005. Learning new lessons at every turn, she has also interned and at The University of Pennsylvania’s Morris Arboretum, worked in Belize and France, served as a deck hand and environmental educator on a restored oyster schooner, and acted as a gardener at Seattle University’s organic, sustainable campus garden.

Martin worked with the Florida Park Service, The Nature Conservancy, the US Fish & Wildlife Service and other agencies in South Florida with a conservation focus. She has worked in a number of regional ecosystems including cypress swamp, scrub, pine flatwoods, maritime hammock, freshwater marsh, coastal strand and the beautiful riverine systems of Florida’s first federally designated Wild and Scenic River, the Loxahatchee. Her primary responsibilities focused on invasive exotic species removal, prescribed fire, native plants installations, water quality testing, species monitoring, volunteer coordination and environmental outreach and education.

Carlos González, MDC professor, Earth Ethics Institute Council Member and a Global Sustainability and Earth Literacy Studies (GSELS) Learning Network professor teaches English at Kendall Campus. For the past two semesters, Carlos has taught English courses completely at the Environmental center, using the lens of the pine rockland to cover course objectives.



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Earth Ethics Institute • An Earth Literacy Resource Center Serving MDC Administrators, Faculty, Staff,  and Students, as well as the South Florida Community
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