Currently viewing the tag: "Urban Paradise Guild"

Transit Miami friend and environmental activist Sam Van Lear is celebrating the second successful year of the Urban Paradise Guild. If you are not already familiar with the UPG, it is a great organization that Sam founded to work toward the restoration of native ecosystems throughout South Florida. Please check out the celebration at Oleta Park this weekend. Look below for more details.

Where: Oleta River State Park: 3400 N.E. 163rd Street, North Miami, Florida 33160
Why: This Volunteer-Powered organization has removed over 100,000 Destructive / Invasive Exotic
plants and trees using Organic Stewardship (no herbicide) methods developed by the group. UPG
has also planted mangroves, Hammock trees, and native groundcover by the thousands. In 2010
UPG has expanded, with the Location Adoption of Matheson Hammock (Miami-Dade County Parks)
and new UPG Chapters at El Portal, Hialeah, Vizcaya, and Liberty City. UPG Nurseries at Oleta and
Vizcaya are producing native plants, with the Liberty City Nursery coming on line soon. Partners
make so much possible. Activities take place almost every weekend, ensuring steady progress
toward UPG’s goal of “Creating Sustainable Paradise in South Florida, one Habitat at a time.”
Who: We extend a special invitation to UPG Volunteers, Interns and Staff, plus Partners including
Florida DEP, Miami-Dade Parks, DERM & Vizcaya, MWC, and of course Miami Dade College and
other schools, students, faculty & staff (Kindergarten – Grad School). The public is welcome. Bring
your Families.
What: Birthday Activities include…
• Demonstration Planting on Oleta’s South Point (site of 1,000’s of UPG Stewardship hours).
• Picnic / BBQ, with separate grills for meat, veggies and seafood. Bring family-favorite food!
• Live Music by UPG Members and Friends (bring and instrument & play!)
• Kayaking & Canoeing on the Bay.
• Volleyball by the Beach. Bring Football, Futbol, Frisbee, and whatever you need.
• Swimming and Snorkeling.
• Weeds to Wonders activity: Building a Burma Boat (Kayak made from Exotic Burma Reed).
Cost: Admission is FREE for Planting Volunteers before 10am. $6 per car after 10am.

If you encounter problems with Evite, send an e-mail to and you will be added.
Email Michelle London: with what you are brining for the Picnic/BBQ.
Please bring a family favorite food, or beverages (no alcohol), cups, plates, etc.

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Very Cool. Thanks to Sam Van Leer, Executive Director of the Urban Paradise Guild for this cool photo of a Sandhill Crane on Virginia Key. He had this to say about the re-appearance of the bird (a first in an area heavily damaged by decades of environmental abuse):

The bird was  in an area that has been undergoing habitat restoration for years by members of the Historic Virginia Key Beach Trust’s Nature and Environment Committee. Urban Paradise joined that effort at the beginning of this year, performing hundreds of hours of Intensive Stewardship to remove and control Invasive Exotic Plants.

To me, the bird’s existence there is a statement of how, with some human TLC, nature can recover some of the ground it lost. It is a harbinger of Virginia Key’s future, and how the people (and economy) of Miami can benefit by recovering such lost treasures.

I agree Sam. Lets hope that the approved Virginia Key Masterplan recognizes the opportunity to restore a native habitat in an area so close to our urban core.