Enticing new members with dinosaurs and smiles
|Earth Day special: 11 native plants when you join the Naples FNPS Chapter|
As the new 2011-2012 season of the Naples Chapter rolled into action in September, so did Philip. This time around, Phillip had the help of Mr. K.C. Klein from Duck Lake Trees and Shrubs, and they were able to gather twenty-five 3-gallon Zamia pumila (coontie) and have them ready for the two day Collier County Yard and Garden show in Immokalee in October. Prior to the event, Harriet Heithaus of the Naples Daily News interviewed Philip and placed an informative article in the local newspaper. The article not only let everyone know they could obtain a free plant with membership, but it touted the beauty and ease of care of the Zamia and other natives. (See below for the original press release.)
|The offer: A free coontie when you join FNPS|
A large plastic dinosaur was placed by the sign with a sprig of Zamia in its mouth. The dinosaur grabbed the attention of those who wandered by the booth, and opened the door to questions and conversations with the FNPS members at the booth. The dinosaur was, of course, the Zamia itself; a member of the cycad family – meaning living fossil that has survived through the ages as a part of the natural Florida ecosystem. In addition to the dinosaur, while selling native plants at his personal booth, Philip would send folks over to the FNPS booth, boosting our number of visitors.
|The booth attracted a lot of attention.|
|How could anyone resist?|
I think Zamia Chapter is shell shocked, not getting much coherency from them; like the exact number of new members.
Our booths at the fair were supposed to be together, but the Society for some reason ended up in the boonies. As a repeat offender, I mean vendor, from the inauguration of the annual Yard and Garden show, eleven years ago to the present, I have a permanent and very nicely shaded spot.
When I get up on someones shoulders I can see Jean way over by the parking lot signaling me by holding up her hands. (both of them) since we are long past five new members.
Let's see, now was that five fingers on the left and three on the right, or maybe that was a double flash on the left or is she just swatting flies? Okay I'm sure it's five plus five plus three.
Good Lord, thirteen? Impossible! another finger up? The coontie are flying off the shelves. Jean has gone mad grabbing handfuls of air, fingers going in all directions.
Oh dear, the member whose back I've requisitioned has just collapsed and I with her. I keep forgetting dear Eva is 82. Fortunately we both land in my wildflower section.
Looking eyeball to eyeball with a black-eyed susan is an experience not to be forgotten. Almost as thrilling as signing up another seven members that singular sensational sunny Sunday. My apologies to that rather indignant calaminta under my chin, but what a gorgeous scent.
|Someone realized that a cootie leaf fit very nicely in steggie's mouth.|
Delighting the kids, including me! And of course, a rose being inappropriate
(not Mesozoic), I lunched in a similar fashion.
I kind of think we made history!
P.S. Next incentive: Earth Day 2012. Top Secret!
Here's the Press Release:
At Yard and Garden Show a genuine Florida 'living fossil' offered with membership
On Saturday Oct 29 and Sunday Oct 30, the Naples Chapter of the Florida Native Plant Society will be manning a booth at the SW Florida Yard & Garden Show, at the Collier County University Extension Office on Immokalee Road. Members of our Zamia chapter will be on hand to answer all your 'going native' questions with information and friendly advice on how to create a wildlife-friendly Florida yard.
The purpose of FNPS is to preserve, conserve and restore the native plants and native plant communities of Florida. The encourage you to join our society, we are making a very special offer. During these two days anyone who joins will receive (along with their membership) a beautiful 3-gal Florida coontie. This complimentary plant, officially named Zamia pumila, is an education in itself. Coontie is a cycad--a 'living fossil.' These primitive plants were a dominant form of plant life during the dinosaur age and were relished by those long-gone behemoths. Once common throughout the state, coontie is now rarely found in the wild due to intense collection in the past for starch production. The starch, called Florida arrowroot, was extracted from its underground stem or caudex.
|From the article in the|
The cycad will be included with individual, family or student membership; the dinosaur will not be.
As a result of the above press release, we received good press coverage in the Naples News.
Wow! What a great membership drive. Has your chapter had success in gaining new members? We'd love to hear about it. Send article ideas or text and photos to firstname.lastname@example.org