Big Pine Key

Nancy Klingener / WLRN

One little cottage of less than 800 square feet got a lot of attention - and even a ribbon-cutting Thursday. The home, in the Avenues neighborhood of Big Pine Key, was the first Keys Cottage to be completed by the Florida Keys Community Land Trust.

Monroe County Fire-Rescue

A brushfire has burned about 100 acres and destroyed one home on Big Pine Key — an island that saw some of the worst devastation from Hurricane Irma.

Nancy Klingener / WLRN

The nonprofit group Habitat for Humanity is known for helping people fix up their property. But one South Florida branch is now facing its own problems with a fixer-upper.

Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore on Big Pine Key is a 6,000-foot showroom with everything from sofas to chandeliers – at very reasonable prices. 

U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

  Key deer were almost hunted to extinction. By 1950, as few as 25-50 of the animals were left.

But the creation of the National Key Deer Refuge on Big Pine Key and protection under the Endangered Species Act have led to a comeback. The most recent population study estimates the herd at 900 to 1,000.

"They are truly one of the success stories of conservation," said Adam Emerick, a refuge biologist who gave an update on the Key deer to the Monroe County Commission this week.

Nancy Klingener / WLRN

  Patrick Garvey was working for the state Department of Children and Families four years ago when he got a grant from Volunteer Florida to create an edible garden at a food stamp outreach site in the Florida Keys.

"It was $5,000. It was all volunteers," said Garvey. He was supposed to create one garden and get 50 volunteers.

"We ended up doing 11 gardens and engaging more than 500 volunteers," he said.

Garvey was hooked on the idea of helping people learn how to grow their own food. But he didn't want to do it while working for the state.