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Photo courtesy: South Florida Sun Sentinel

A self-taught botanist, Roger Hammer, told SunSentinel he’s always been curious about nature. But it wasn’t until after reading Carlyle A. Luer’s guidebook, “The Native Orchids of Florida,” that his interest grew. He became determined to find each of Luer’s 102 orchids.

Decades later, he’s found 89 – plus two others not in the book.

As a Miami-Dade County senior naturalist for 33 years, his knowledge has led him to work as a survivalist instructor on the Discovery Channel series “Naked and Afraid”. In 2012, he accepted an honorary Doctorate of Science from Florida International University.

Now, he’s authorized his own series of nature field guides. A teacher first, he looks to connect others with the unique place which he has explored for so much of his life.

“It’s always nice when I go out into Everglades National Park and I see some people walking along with one of my books in their hand trying to figure out wildflowers,” he said. “It’s going to be a legacy I can leave behind and feel proud of that I’ve helped people educate themselves about wild Florida.”