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Meet FNPS Board Members

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Melanie Simon, Director and Chair of the Council of Chapters Melanie is a lifetime member and has been with us since 2015. Melanie pledged to help match the first $10k of donations to our 2022 Annual Fund Drive. We asked her a few questions. What attracted you to join FNPS? I started volunteering at my local state park around 2001 and started working with the park biologist and learning about native plants.  In 2015 I learned they may be starting an FNPS chapter in my area - with meetings and activities close enough to attend.  Tell us your fondest native plant memory. Helping a newbie at a plant rescue find and laboriously dig up the huge root of an endangered Scrub Buckwheat ( Eriogonum longifolium var gnaphalifolium ). What's your favorite plant joke? Why couldn't the gardener plant any native plants? She hadn't botany. Tim Keating, Director Tim has been a member since 2020 and is a new board member this year. Tim joined the board and staff in putting up a match for the

2022 Annual Fund Appeal

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  "This Land is My Land, This Land is Your Land, and Native Plants Are Meant for You and Me" - Mark Kateli Conservation. Preservation. Restoration. What do they mean for the future of Florida? What do these words really mean to you ? Many decades ago, these questions were answered as if by premonition. Unaware of the staggering growth that Florida would experience, a group of grassroots plant enthusiasts formed our organization and gave their voices to our precious plants. By sharing their love of natural Florida to newcomers, they grew from a chorus of a few, to a symphony of many that tangibly amplified the native plant priority. The Florida Native Plant Society was precedent setting. WE DEPEND ON YOU. Florida Native Plant Society is YOUR Society. Your gift of $100 or more can help make a difference today. Please help us reach our goal of $50,000 or more for this appeal. Our chapters have been remarkably resilient post-pandemic. The sheer volume of reported volunteer hours

Hercules's Club, Pollinator Magnet, Host Plant, Culinary Delight

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"People who have tasted the bark call it pepperwood, rabbit gum, sting tongue, tongue-bush, and toothache [tree]". (Austin, 2004) 'Toothache tree' is how I was first introduced to Zanthoxylum clava-herculis about a decade ago. My partner made the introductions and told me the leaves would numb my mouth, so I popped one in to check it out. It was August and the leaves quite mature (in other words, potent!) and yes, it numbed my mouth. Completely. Over the years I've watched and admired as what started as a scraggly, knee high cluster of prickly twigs in our backyard stretch out and up into a majestic specimen nearly two stories tall. The pollinators go crazy over the hundreds of tiny flowers that appear briefly every spring and occasionally we are lucky enough to find giant swallowtail larvae nibbling away at the pungent leaves. It wasn't until this year that I considered trying the leaves again, this time in early spring, just as they are starting to unfurl a

[ACTION ALERT] Stop Governor DeSantis from Signing SB 2508

We need your help NOW to convince Governor DeSantis that he should veto Senate Bill 2508 because FLORIDA DOES NOT NEED A COMPLETE MAKE-OVER OF OUR IMMENSELY SUCCESSFUL LAND CONSERVATION PROGRAMS! The Florida Legislature passed this terrible bill and it is now awaiting the Governor’s signature. It threatens to upend our successful approach to land conservation by essentially replacing the science-based, transparent, and accountable Florida Forever program with one designed to keep agricultural lands in production. The Rural and Family Lands Program (RFL) was created to purchase conservation easements over privately owned forests and ranches, and is a valuable complement to Florida Forever because the working lands it keeps in production sometimes have supplemental habitat value for native plants and wildlife, and can maintain connectivity within wildlife corridors. But Florida Forever has been, and should remain, our principal land conservation program . Call Governor DeSantis at (850)

FNPS Requests Veto of SB 2508

On March 16th we sent a letter to Governor DeSantis recommending that he veto the atrocious Senate Bill 2508 which would replace the scientifically-rigorous and highly successful statewide conservation land purchasing program known as Florida Forever with the agricultural land protection program Rural and Family Lands that had been run alongside Florida Forever as a complementary easement program. You can read our letter here and please consider contacting the Governor to veto this bill.

Rick McDonnell, 1947-2021

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On December 8 2021 Hernando Chapter lost a big part of the heart of its native plant community. Our friend Rick McDonnell died from complications of pneumonia after a lengthy hospitalization. He was 74 years old. Many of Rick’s FNPS friends know him first as a nurseryman. In the early 1980s Rick started a small commercial nursery in Brooksville Florida which became Hickory Hill Native Nursery, Inc.. He was a longtime member of both the Florida Association of Native Nurseries and the Florida Native Plant Society. Hickory Hill Native Nursery has always been a participant in the Hernando Chapter’s plant sales and a key source of native plants in our area. “We always looked forward to Rick’s arrival on plant sale day – the van loaded to the top with all our favorites – his famous wild coffee, coral honeysuckle and coralbean, sunshine mimosa with some wild garlic thrown in for fun. He had the most interesting wetland plants – native hibiscus, swamp mallows and string lilies.” – Cindy Libe

Kathleen 'Kay' Brennan, 1944-2021

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Kay at one of PBC ERM's staff Halloween parties Dedicated, detail-oriented, determined – these descriptive words and phrases probably spring quickly to the minds of all who knew Kay. She was a person who lived a life of service to her church and community; all of us who love the natural world were part of the community that benefited from her service. One of the first hires of the newly created Palm Beach County Department of Environmental Resources Management in January 1988, Kay spent the early portion of her 24 year career with the County diligently identifying and acquiring environmentally sensitive lands for the County’s Natural Areas Program. She spent the later portion of her career working on related ordinances, and management plans to keep acquired environmentally sensitive lands in their natural state. In January 1988, the County did not own any environmentally sensitive lands. Today it owns and/or manages over 31,600 acres of environmentally sensitive lands. We often si