Is the Florida Native Plant Society Conference for Me?

Submitted by Sande Habali, Pawpaw Chapter


Many new members ask themselves this same question and many other questions like it. I know because I used to ask them myself.  Maybe you’ve wondered about the conference as I did.

There are many people in my group who know so much about plants. They are “experts” and I’m not.

 Visit the Park of Honor 755 Olive Street,  South Daytona. The Pawpaw 
Chapter maintains a section in exchange for a meeting place at the 
nearby Piggotte Community Center. Just enter the park, 
turn right and look for the pollinators!
While it is true the Florida Native Plant Society is a scientific based organization (and aren’t we glad it is?), the rest of us get the benefits of all the science based information out there. With the help of FNPS, we can make decisions about our yards, our neighborhoods, and our general community based of facts.  The conference is the best place to learn from the real experts!

It is a huge time commitment and I have other obligations.
This was also part of my hesitation to attend a conference. So, I started in small bits. I attended one conference for a day and was hooked with all the excitement of learning so many new things all at one time. On other occasions, I was only able to attend one field trip per conference, rather than two.  This year the basic field trips are free. Each trip is included in a day’s conference fee.  The field trips are unique to the area, but you learn so much about our state by just being there!

Do I really want to attend the socials?

Some people think skipping the socials is a way to cut down on the cost of the weekend. But, in reality, the socials are a way to “unpack your brain” after a day filled with information and meet new, like-minded folks from around the state.  Also, the socials provide a way to showcase the area of the convention. In Daytona Beach’s case, we get to enjoy the beautiful beach atmosphere at two of our venues. The Saturday venue features our newest attraction: The Cici and Hayatt Brown Museum of Art, adjacent to the Museum of Arts and Sciences.  The MOAS tells us this collection is the largest collection of Florida-based art in the world.  All this is included in the cost of the social! 

The Cici Brown Museum of Art is located in a natural habitat and has recently been landscaped with many native plants. The Tuscawilla Preserve is open to the public and features boardwalks and nature trails. You may want to arrive a bit early to enjoy this beautiful area. (Art featured below building, From left to right: Louis Comfort Tiffany; Natural Limestone Bridge at Arch Creek, Miami, 1920Emmett John Fritz; Keys Shrimper, J. Ralph Wilcox; South Beach Street, Daytona)

The cost of the conference seems high.

This is a big factor for many folks and takes a bit to get over. But, think about how good and refreshed you feel just spending the day on a chapter field trip, or maybe after hearing an inspirational speaker at a meeting; and that is how you will feel after an entire weekend (or day).  You get value for the event because you are learning from the best.  You can off-set ½ of a daily fee by volunteering at the conference for ½ a day. Contact sadehab@aol.com for more information on this. Volunteer spaces are filling up quickly, so act soon!

So, is the Florida Native Plant Society Conference for me?
These Suncoast Members said "Yes" to the Conference in 2014
 and have returned year after year. 

The answer is, “yes!”  Now I look forward to this special weekend every May. I return to my Chapter with new enthusiasm, new knowledge, new friends, and new commitments and maybe a few new plants I didn’t know I “needed.” It is like a mini-vacation! And also feel good about knowing money goes back into the FNPS mission for Conservation, Preservation, and Restoration.  

Sign up today and see if you don’t feel the same way! Oh. And by the way… I am still no expert, but I am a life-long learner!

Daytona Beach Resort and Conference Center
The conference offers you a great rate to stay at the Daytona Beach Resort and Conference Center, so you can consider
your time there like a "mini-vacation."

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