What's up with land conservation in Florida and how does FNPS fit? Dr. Susan Carr answers. - Audio

by Valerie Anderson, staff

Check out our first trackConservation and the Role of the Florida Native Plant Society by President Susan Carr, PhD. Susan delivers a podcast-worthy speech to make sure you understand what happened to Florida Forever, what land trusts do, exactly, and what we're doing about rare plant habitat loss. Susan spoke at the Tarflower chapter meeting last night. Listen here!

I am collecting plenty of audio from plant rescues, chapter meetings, and member interviews. SoundCloud is perfect for periodically releasing quality audio - followers can subscribe to our channel, receiving notifications of new tracks via email, the SoundCloud app, and/or the web interface. I'll also tweet (@fl_native_plant) when I drop a new track.

Native Plant Art

by Valerie Anderson, staff

Florida native plants and ecosystems have long been appreciated and have been memorialized in media. Bartram's Travels document with words and in great detail the natural communities, flora, and fauna of Florida. The Highwaymen painted Florida's landscapes on found material and became legends in the process. Minna Fernald created beautiful watercolors of native plants around the time of WWII.

The native plant art scene is being reinvigorated. Longtime artists and FNPS members like Marjorie Shopshire and Cindy Liberton and photographers like Shirley Denton and Paul Rebmann are joined by Kara Driscoll and Mark Kateli. Kara is a fantastic artist, a hidden talent I wasn't aware of until Mark created the Florida Native Plant Art Group on Facebook.

UPDATE on Veggie Garden legislation

by Bonnie Basham, Sarracenia Chapter

Last week, the House Bill (HB 145 by Elizabeth Fetterhoff, Deland) passed its first committee of reference. The bill was amended with a new definition of vegetable garden: A vegetable garden will now be defined as “a plot of ground where herbs, fruits, flowers, or vegetables are cultivated for human ingestion.” The bill declares it “in the best interest of the state to encourage the development of the sustainable cultivation of fruits and vegetables at all levels of production including personal consumption.”
The bill forbids local governments from passing or enforcing, ordinances which regulate vegetable gardens on residential properties. The bill does allow local ordinances regulating things like water restrictions during droughts. Thus, a local zoning ordinance prohibiting vegetable gardens in the front yards of homeowners would be unenforceable if the bills become law. In addition, any existing ordinances or regulations which regulate vegetabl…

"I found my passion here. I wish I had found it and joined earlier" - interview with Tayler Figueroa of Pine Lily Chapter

Tayler Figueroa is the Chapter Representative for the Pine Lily Chapter. She lives in Kissimmee with her husband and two young boys. I interviewed her at her house on January 10, 2019.

VA: When did you become an FNPS member and how did you hear about FNPS?

TF: I started a vegetable garden in the spring, and I noticed there were very few bees in my garden. I started researching how to help the native pollinators, and planting native wildflowers kept coming up. I used FNPS’s plant search and when I saw that you could get discounts on native plants by joining FNPS, I was excited, but I balked at the $35 per month membership fee. I would need to buy a lot of plants, but I thought it would be worth it. I was pleasantly surprised to find that it costs much less to be a member than I thought.

VA: Why do you stay involved with FNPS?

TF: Once you start and you realize what’s at stake… you can’t give in. Wait, let me back up and really answer the questions. Once I was hooked, I realized wh…

Legislative Delegation season is here

WHAT A Legislative Delegation is an office within (most) county governments and the group of state-level legislators that represent that county. This group holds public meetings once a year in the Board of County Commissioners chambers or some other public meeting place. This meeting is in the winter, between December and February. Members of the public who wish to speak must submit a completed Public Hearing Form well before the meeting, although in most cases citizens can show up and file a card on the spot to speak to the delegation.

This Legislative Delegation meeting provides local constituents with a rare opportunity to speak directly with the state lawmakers who represent them in Tallahassee. Local politicians often attend these events, so they will hear your concerns, too.

WHY Protecting native plants and their habitats in Florida…

The Little Garden-in-the-Sand

by Carolyn Gregsak, Mangrove Chapter

Just before Thanksgiving 2018, Bonnie Moore and I headed down to the tip of Gasparilla Island. We were on our way to meet Christine and John Holyland at the native plant garden in the State Park. I had heard about the garden from a few members of the Mangrove Chapter of the Florida Native Plant Society (FNPS) - the “Little Garden-in-the-Sand” or as Christine Holyland sometimes calls it, “The Little Triangle Garden”.
The garden was initiated by Sharon McKenzie, Director of Barrier Island Park Society (BIPS). She is a strong advocate for native plants and energetic in her support of the environment. Through BIPS, she appeals for grant money and donations. Her efforts have helped with hurricane clean up, repairs, boardwalk and dock replacement, as well as renovation of the lighthouse. Her duties cover Gasparilla Island, Cayo Costa, Don Pedro, and Stump Pass.
The native plant garden was approved a year after Sharon’s plan was submitted, with the stip…

"You can’t just sit at home and whine about it:" Interview with Alex Farr, President of Sea Oats Chapter (St. Augustine)

Sea Oats was, until recently, a small, struggling chapter that wasn't holding regular meetings. When asked why she did jumped in to lead the chapter, she said, "No one else wanted to do it. I was like, damn it, let's do it!"

Alex has been a Florida Native Plant Society member for five years, she was working in general horticulture when she saw a tiny little notice in the newspaper for a native plant meetup group, so she joined. She quickly learned about native plant landscaping and soon joined St. Augustine Beach's Beautification Advisory/Tree Board. Three years later she has transitioned three city landscapes from non-native to native and is the Vice-Chair of the Board!

Initially, the leadership at the time put Alex in charge of the Facebook page, which was essential in keeping her engaged in the chapter. Chapters, take note.

I asked her what her chapter's thing was. What are they into? They got a grant from the Wildflower Foundation and they're using i…