Chapter Award Vote

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on: April 01, 2010, 10:08:42 PM
Nominee: Magnolia Chapter

The Magnolia Chapter is blessed by being in the state capital with several federal and state agencies that have foresters, botanists and ecologist, universities with professors who do plant and plant community research, awesome photographers, artists, writers and a community that appreciates native plants.

Each month from September to May the chapter has an invited speaker and at least one field trip. During the social half-hour before each chapter meeting, a pre-meeting power point loops continually with items such as native plant of the month, quote of the month, announcements, factoids, and photos from the previous month’s field trip and volunteers.

The chapter has moved its meeting site to FSU’s King Biological Science auditorium which allows state of the art viewing on two large screens. We are excited with the large room and our closer association with the campus as attendance averages around 70 including more students. Last year we scheduled an extra meeting in June to allow a botany Masters student to present her thesis and we will probably have that opportunity again this June.

In February, in addition to our chapter meeting and lecture, the chapter helped sponsor Doug Tallamy to come to Tallahassee and speak to the community on his book “Bringing Home Nature”.

Members of the Chapter have been actively working with the FDOT and the surrounding county governments to time the mowing of the roadsides to allow for longer blooming and to promote reseeding of the native wildflowers. What started as voicing concerns with the widening of Highway 65 and its impact on the pitcher plant and other native plant communities has slowly grown into an expanded and trusted relationship in several surrounding counties.

Last winter, Chapter members organized native tree planting at the Wakulla Station playground on the Tallahassee-St. Mark’s Historic Railroad State Trail. Marks National Wildlife Refuge. The Chapter is also sponsoring future plantings along the trail after the widening project is complete.

In Maclay Gardens State Park, the Chapter has a native plant area of about one acre where members have planted native trees, shrubs, and wildflowers over the last 20 years. Chapter members provide valuable volunteer hours in adding new plantings and maintaining this native plant display.

Chapter members have provided help with various workdays at Angus Gholson Nature Park in Chattahoochee and in some of the city parks within Tallahassee for the identification and removal of various exotic invasive plants.

One of my favorite quotes is “Plant communities do not recognize political boundaries, so why should we”. The Chapter crossed the border into Georgia and took the lead in preserving land that has one of the largest southern populations of trout lily, Erythronium umbilicatum and was scheduled for development. The Chapter teamed up with the citizens of Cairo, Georgia, and the Georgia Botanical Society and successfully raised the funds to purchase and put this valued plant community into a conservation easement to be managed and protected forever. This year the Chapter’s field trip was joined by some seven other organizations from Florida and Georgia.

Also in Georgia, Chapter members were crucial in bringing to the attention the importance of the “Lost Creek” property which was scheduled to be cleared and developed into an industrial park. This forested property, which has been a field trip favorite for fall leaf color, is now being developed as a community natural area park.

In March, the Georgia Botanical Society had its spring pilgrimage meeting in Bainbridge, Georgia. Since this our backyard, the Magnolia Chapter provided expert guides for field trips and two of our members were the keynote dinner speakers.

A major fund raising project has been through the sale of the Chapter’s native plant calendar. The chapter has sold upwards of 500 calendars per year with photos submitted by members. Each year has had a specific theme. This year’s theme was for photos that showed plant-insect or animal interactions. The chapter will be selling its 2011 calendar at the Annual Conference with the theme of plants named by famous Florida botanists.

The Chapter has developed a traveling tri-fold poster display since it has so many invitations to attend festivals and events. This year the chapter attended several Senior Centers, the Arbor Day Festival and the Wakulla Wildlife Festival. The Chapter booth is well known for its native azalea raffle, native plant sale, fresh cut native flower display and its display of exotic invasive plants. In April we have been invited to have our booth at the Tallahassee Garden Club Bazaar. We are excited about this opportunity to educate and influence the gardeners and gardens of Tallahassee.

This year, the Magnolia Chapter has the honor of hosting the 30th anniversary annual conference. In has been a major volunteer effort in which the Chapter members have risen to the occasion. Our volunteers have organized a great line up of speakers, field trips and some wonderful social events that will give you a taste of this wonderful city and surrounding area.

Nominee: Paynes Prairie Chapter

I’ve always been impressed by how the chapter so neatly balances it’s programs between the rare plant scientifically-oriented members and the backyard gardener who is environmentally-oriented members such as myself. The speakers chosen for our meetings reflect this balance, as do the vendors recruited for the spring & fall plant sales and the field trips organized by the chapter.

The outreach efforts of the chapter that I like are the plant raffle at our monthly meetings and the openness of board members regarding the inner workings of the group. The first allows people to take home a “trial” plant to put in their yard, and if it does well, they are inspired to get more of them, and to recommend them to their neighbors. The second enables members to feel like they are an integral part of the group, involved in it’s decisions, and eliminates the insider/outsider division I’ve seen in other societies I belong to.

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« Last Edit: April 01, 2010, 10:47:15 PM by fnpsorg »
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