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Loret Thatcher obituary

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Loret Thatcher aka Loret Setters was a transplant from New York and one of the first things she did to learn about our Florida native plants was to join the Florida Native Plant Society Pine Lily Chapter. She joined with great determination, enthusiasm, passion and eagerness to learn. She began as Pine Lily’s newsletter editor. She went on to do an amazing job with publicity. She started a blog called “What Florida Native Plant Is Blooming Today?” chronicling what was blooming in her own small yard. This was followed by “Tales of a Central Florida Wildlife Garden” and “Central Florida Critter of the Day”. All of them wildly successful and followed by people around the world. In addition, she was a member of two team blogs: Beautiful Wildlife Gardens and Native Plant & Wildlife Gardens along with top garden writers around the country. Her excellent photography of native plants, butterflies, and insects have been everywhere including Alabama Butterfly Atlas, Earth and Space News, The

Tropical Milkweed is Harmful to Monarchs & Florida Ecosystem

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By Lilly Anderson-Messec The red and yellow blooms of tropical milkweed, Asclepias curassavica , are ubiquitous in Florida butterfly gardens. This non-native milkweed has exploded in popularity as demand for milkweed grows to support declining monarch butterfly populations. This tropical species is native to Mexico and very easy to propagate, so growers are able to quickly produce plant material to meet the milkweed demand. It’s also very showy, blooming prolifically all season and regrowing quickly after being decimated by hungry caterpillars.  Unfortunately, tropical milkweed has been an increasingly invasive species in Central and South Florida for many years, and has begun spreading in North Florida as well. It’s fast growth and prolific re-seeding have resulted in large monocultures of tropical milkweed in natural areas. This unchecked growth replaces native plants and disrupts the native ecosystems that both wildlife and humans rely on. The invasive quality of this plant is is j

April is now National Native Plant Month for the United States

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  As of March 25th, 2021, the United States has an official National Native Plant Month!  The Florida Native Plant Society has been celebrating Florida Native Plant Month every October since 2015 . Most recently, in 2019, Commissioner of Agriculture Nikki Fried declared October Florida Native Plant Month during a ceremony at Native Nurseries of Tallahassee. We have been following the quick introduction and passage of Senate Resolution 109, co-sponsored by Rob Portman (R-OR) and Mazie K. Hirono (D-HI) 1 . Introduced to the Senate on March 15th, it was passed by a unanimous vote on March 25th. 2 We signed on as a supporting organization for this resolution and wrote to Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Senator Rick Scott (R-FL) requesting that they support the resolution. The Washington Native Plant Society holds a Native Plant Appreciation month in April, and this year was even able to have April 2021 proclaimed as such by the State of Washington 3 .  Executive Director Juliet Rynear on t

Florida Native Azaleas

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Piedmont Azalea, Rhododendron canescens. Photo by Lilly Anderson-Messec By Lilly Anderson-Messec While growing up in North Florida, I began to recognize the arrival of spring by the boisterous show of white, pink, and fuchsia blooms of azalea shrubs. The house I grew up in had large, mature azalea hedges with a variety of different colors and forms. Every spring, my mom would bring in vases full of them and my dad loved to point out the showy shrubs as we drove through town. I suppose I assumed these plants were native, but most likely I never gave it a thought. I didn’t differentiate a native plant from a non-native one because I didn’t yet know the importance of native plants as the basis of our functioning ecosystems. I was so surprised when I learned the azaleas I was so familiar with (Rhododendron indicum) are actually transplants from Asia! They are favored by the horticultural industry for their fast, vigorous, and dense growth of evergreen leaves and large, showy blooms. Curio

Fred Mulholland, 1929-2020

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Written by Joel Jackson Fred was a long-time friend. The following information is provided so far as I know. Fred was a Florida native. He turned 91 years old on July 20 and passed away on December 20, 2020. Fred was one of the founders of the Florida Trails Association. He directed the buildings of many miles of nature hiking trails for the association. He attended Hillsborough High School and later was award membership in the school's "Hall of Fame". Fred with a poster of the activities that lead to his induction into the Hillsborough High School Hall of Fame. He retired from GT&E in management. Fred was in the Army National Guard for 21 years as a Green Beret and retired a Major. Fred was a long-time member of the Tampa Bay Model Airplane Flyers and held the World Championship for antique model RC airplane flying for several years. Fred with one of his model airplanes. Fred was a member of the Florida Native Plant Society for over 30 years. Until recently, he was a

Don Gann, 1931-2020

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George Donald (Don) Gann Sr., founding member of FNPS, passed away on December 11 in Redland, Florida. Don and his wife, Joyce, who died in February, helped establish FNPS and the Dade Chapter. They were co-recipients of FNPS Green Palmetto and Mentor Awards as well as the Dade Chapter’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas Award. (An interview published in the Palmetto spring 2000 issue tells of their experiences as founding members of FNPS.) Don was born on June 11, 1931 in south Dade County. He and Joyce were high school sweethearts and raised their family in Perrine and then Redland, where they built a cutting-edge energy efficient home without air conditioning designed by Alfred Browning Parker. Don teamed up with Joyce’s father growing tomatoes for 30 years. He was a modifier and inventor of farm machinery, a skill in which he took great pride. Early conservationists, Don and Joyce began restoring the native forest on their property in the 1960s. They began attending the Dade Native

Legislative Delegation Season - 2020

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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 requires action by our state legislature. Attached is the schedule of the state’s remaining meetings for 2019. Fill out and submit a speaker’s card i