The DEP Nursery currently consists of almost 5280 sq. ft. of greenhouse space and over 10,000 sq. ft. of production pad space under irrigation. Two heated quonset style greenhouses, 30' x 96' and 30' x 80', with roll-up sidewalls and a mist room with 288 sq. ft. of heated propagation bench space allow us to produce plants year round. The current holding capacity of the nursery is approximately 50,000 plants in four-inch containers at one time.
We currently operate with four greenhouse employees and regular volunteers. The nursery facility also serves as a staging area for the oyster restoration program and the seagrass restoration program.
We incorporate volunteer work at the DEP nursery as often as possible to aid in the propagation and distribution of our stock of plants. Volunteers are helpful in day-to-day tasks such as plant care and general upkeep of the nursery on a small scale, but they also are essential when the nursery is ready to complete a project outside of daily operations on a larger scale; volunteers aid in the timely completion of projects due to the extra workload that is usually required when a large number of plants have to be moved from the nursery back into a salt marsh habitat. Volunteers include private citizens, students from local schools, and members of groups and clubs within the Pensacola area.
The DEP nursery also provides internship opportunities for college students interested in an environmental career. Students have the opportunity to be involved in nursery operations as well as plantings and collections to witness, full cycle, work that is done to restore salt marsh habitats.
Upon request, nursery employees are available to give informal presentations at habitat sites that have been restored such as Project Greenshores. This aids in educating the public about the interactions between salt marsh habitats and humans, but can also serve as an ecological overview for science classes from local schools.
As part of a new program called "Grasses and Classes," several local schools have offered to aid in the production of plants in exchange for the hands-on experience that students will receive from dealing directly with plants that are to be used in restoration projects. This dynamic relationship allows the nursery to produce more plants and provides a learning environment for students that cannot be achieved inside a classroom.
The Florida Department of Environmental Protection is the state’s lead agency for environmental management and stewardship – protecting our air, water and land. The vision of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection is to create strong community partnerships, safeguard Florida’s natural resources and enhance its ecosystems.