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FNPS Mission: To preserve, conserve, and restore native plants and native plant communities.
Learn more by visiting the FNPS website • Check our calendar for upcoming events sponsored by the Pinellas, Nature Coast, and Suncoast Chapters • Not a member yet? Join today!

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Event Updates

Please see details for these events in the newsletter below and check our Facebook Group and website calendar for the most up-to-date information. 
  • Wednesday, 7/6, 6:30 - 7:30 PM: Pinellas FNPS Monthly Program - Formed With Nature in Mind
  • Monday, 7/11, 6:30 PM - 7:30 PM: Pinellas Chapter Conservation Committee Meeting
  • Saturday, 7/16, 8 AM - 10 AM: Moccasin Lake Butterfly Garden, Volunteer Opportunity
    • Saturday, 7/30, 10 AM - 1 PM: Moccasin Lake 40th Anniversary, Volunteer Opportunity
Formed With Nature in Mind
Arnold Rutkis, Stoneshovel Designs
Wednesday, July 6th
In-person and Zoom Presentation
6:30 pm - 7:30 pm

This meeting is in person and on Zoom. We hope you will join us in person.

Arnold Rutkis, Landscape Designer and owner of Stoneshovel Designs, will share with us his vast knowledge and experience with Florida native landscapes. This presentation will focus on working with nature and native plants to create functional garden additions whether in the form of planted borders, unique water features or specific spaces to add habitat and ecological value to your landscape.

Moccasin Lake Nature Park
2750 Park Trail Ln, Clearwater, FL 33759

Arrive at 6:30 to enjoy refreshments, meet other members and participate in a silent auction of donated native plant "volunteers", seeds and cuttings. Prices start at $1. Bring what you can and be sure to bring cash to purchase.

Arnie grew up in Connecticut going to school at Uconn then to the University of New Orleans. Having completed both a BFA and MFA in sculpture allows a unique perspective infused with a creative approach, while completing programs like Florida’s GI/BMP certification and native plant certification courses which help to ground his decisions in a practical horticultural basis. His artwork is also in many private collections and draws from the intersection of nature and culture, urbanity and wildness. With over 25 years of practical experience in the horticulture industry as a greenskeeper, installer, designer & plant propagator among other things his unique blend of the science and the art of garden design lives on in his gardens big and small.

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 883 7376 5772
Passcode: 307188
One tap mobile
+13017158592,,88373765772#,,,,*307188# US (Washington D.C)

Questions? Email

Join Zoom Meeting
Pinellas Chapter Members Receive Silver Palmetto Award
Each year, at the annual state FNPS conference, the FNPS Board of Directors and President recognize members for their outstanding efforts in support of FNPS and its mission.  At the recent 2022 Annual Conference, three Pinellas Chapter Members received the Silver Palmetto Award for their efforts to purchase and preserve the Gladys Douglas Property (GDP) between August 2020 and January 2021.  The Silver Palmetto awards are given to FNPS members, chosen by the FNPS President. They typically go to those who make major contributions to the Society.

Rebecca Wellborn, Nichole Mattheus and Michelle Birnbaum were each awarded a Silver Palmetto award for their volunteer work to save 44 acres of woodlands, and critically endangered native "scrub" habitat, from development. The parcel contained the last intact "rosemary bald" in Pinellas County and is home to many protected gopher tortoises. Through their efforts, and the support of the local community, City of Dunedin, Pinellas County and other organizations, the land was purchased by the City of Dunedin and Pinellas County for use as a public park and conservation area. The Pinellas Chapter is currently undertaking a year long floristic inventory of the property to provide the City of Dunedin and Pinellas County with important data on the plant life there, to guide their infrastructure and management plans.

Michelle Birnbaum and Nichole Mattheus were among the first Dunedin residents to raise awareness of the pending sale of the property to national builder Pulte Homes. In the fall of 2020, through social media, press coverage, speaking at commission meetings and public protests, they mobilized support for the purchase of the land by the city and county, and gained the support of The Suncoast Chapter of the Sierra Club and Blue-Green Connections. "Save The GDP" quickly became a familiar phrase in Dunedin and Pinellas County. Pulte pulled out and the property owners offered to sell the property for $10 million dollars to the city and county. An anonymous donor came forward and pledged $2 million towards the purchase. A fund was established through the Pinellas Community Foundation to receive and manage public donations, and a fundraising drive was launched to fill the gap.

Rebecca Wellborn contacted FNPS at the state level in December 2020 to ask how they, and the chapter, could support the conservation and fundraising effort. Executive Director Juliet Rynear committed to supporting a floristic inventory of the property and native plant rescue. Valerie Anderson, Director of Programming committed to supporting a fundraiser, and suggested a live-streamed virtual concert. With the backing of FNPS, Rebecca set forth planning a live-streamed concert and fundraiser, with a goal of raising $10,000.  The Pinellas Chapter made a pledge to match donations up to $5,000.

The virtual concert quickly morphed into a live concert and special event, hosted by Woodwright Brewing Company in Dunedin and co-hosted by Blue-Green Connections, Suncoast Sierra Club and The City of Dunedin. Rebecca was able to secure a donation to the fund from the Clearwater Audubon Society for $15,000 and added them as a co-sponsor of the event. In just two short weeks, volunteers from all of the partners organized an online silent auction with 100's of donated items valued between $10 - $1000. WMNF radio stepped up to provide a line-up of folk music performers, and Professor Craig Huegel agreed to serve as the MC.  Local print and radio media helped publicize the event and tickets sold out in two days.

Both Michelle and Nichole spoke during the live-streamed event, making appeals to the public for donations between the musical performances. Valerie Anderson spoke on behalf of FNPS. Local elected officials joined in to make appeals for support. The fundraiser was a phenomenal success, despite the rainstorm that rolled in during the second set. Guests ran for cover and hovered under umbrellas, as video crews scrambled to get their equipment out of the rain. After a 15 minute downpour, the event moved forward -- without the livestream.  When the proceeds were tallied the event raised over $30,000 (not including Audubon) and reached thousands of people via live stream and media coverage. A second $2 million dollar public donation was pledged, along with individual donations of about $450,000. The city and county agreed to pay the remaining $4.5 million, and the purchase became reality. The GDP was saved!  Following the purchase the County was awarded $2.5 million by the The Florida Communities Trust for the purchase.

Shortly after the purchase, the Pinellas Chapter was awarded a $5,000 Conservation Grant by FNPS to conduct a Floristic Inventory of the GDP, to guide the city and county in their plans for development and management of the property.  Rebecca Wellborn, Michelle Matteus and Debbie Chayet developed the grant proposal and Debbie Chayet is managing the project. Clearwater Audubon provided additional funding for equipment and signage and Catherine Bowman, Bowman and Associates was hired to conduct the inventory and prepare the reports. The research, conducted quarterly, began in winter 2021 and will conclude in winter 2022.

Congratulations to Rebecca, Nichole and Michelle for their award and to the chapter for their support of the GDP.
Watch Live Stream Video
Volunteers Needed for Moccasin Lake's 40th Anniversary Event!
Saturday, July 30th
10 AM - 1 PM
Moccasin Lake is celebrating 40 years in the City of Clearwater on Saturday, July 30, 10am to 1pm!

Join us for a few hours on Saturday, July 30 from 10 AM - 1 PM for fun, face-painting, live music, Cal's Soul Food Express and crafts and animal presentations through the Clubs & Societies that meet at the park!

We are looking for a couple of volunteers to help out with activities for the children at the FNPS table. Please sign up below if you're interested.
 You don't have to be a native plant expert, just be able to smile and share your passion for native plants. Sign up for 9 - 11 or 11 - 1.  Questions? Email

Other organizations participating include:

GFWC Clearwater Community Woman's Club
Suncoast Herpetological Society
Friends of Moccasin Lake
Safety Harbor Garden Club
Hukyu Bonsai Society
Friends in Focus Photography Club of Clearwater
The Florida Herb Society
Cal's Soul Food Express
G.E. Sassani Band
Chapter Volunteers Make History Come Alive in Palm Harbor
On Friday, June 24th, Pinellas Chapter volunteers helped The Palm Harbor Museum install native trees, plants and wildflowers in their new gardens. Once a family home and site of a citrus ladder factory, the 105-year-old Hartley House and grounds today serve as home to the Palm Harbor Museum. Their exhibits highlight local, regional, state, and national events, history, culture, and environment as it ties into their Palm Harbor and North Pinellas community.

The garden renovation project was led by chapter members Terry Fortner and Evan Earle, and was funded by a Pinellas County MSTU grant, to reintroduce Florida native plant species to complement and enhance existing Historic Specimen Plants. Assisting in the planting day were Keep Pinellas Beautiful, GFWC North Pinellas Woman's Club and the Pinellas County Master Gardeners.Vision Ace Hardware of Oldsmar provided a donation of 50 buckets for water.

This summer the grounds of the Palm Harbor Museum will undergo landscape improvements. Future visitors will view native and historically introduced plants, and informational signage to tell how these were useful to early humans and subsequent settlers (Ethno botanical emphasis). Museum volunteers expect the landscape improvements to be immediately useful and also to evolve, improve and mature over time. A “Bird Thicket,” “Native Florida Butterfly Garden,” “Heritage Rose Garden,” and “Pollinator Overlook” will be established. These features benefit the ability of Palm Harbor Museum to convey stories about our local history and to enhance the experience of even the most casual visitor.

Included in the installation were:

Wax myrtle (Morella cerifera) 
Marlberry (Ardisia escallonoides) 
Florida privet (Forestiera segregata) 
Myrsine (Myrsine cubensis) 
Yaupon holly (Ilex vomitoria)
Walter's viburnum (Viburnum obovatum) 
American Beauty Berry (Callicarpa americana)
PokeBerryWeed (phytolacca americana L.)

Common tickseed (Coreopsis leavenworthii) 
Lance-leaved coreopsis (Coreopsis lanceolata) 
Starry rosinweed (Silphium asteriscus) 
White Manyflower beardtongue (Penstemon multiflorus) 
Lop-sided Indiangrass (Sorghastrum secundum)
Black-eyed-susan (Rudbeckia hirta) *
Savanna blazing star (Liatris savannensis) *
Stoke's aster (Stokesia laevis) *
Giant ironweed (Vernonia gigantea) *
Oldfield aster (Symphyotrichum pilosum) *
Greeneyes (Berlandiera subacaulis) *
Wild petunia (Ruellia caroliniensis) *
Florida Indianplantain (Arnoglossum floridanum) *

Palm Harbor Museum volunteers want visitors to “see” and “feel” a sense of place and community pride. The outdoor project with native / historic plants and educational signage is cross-cultural and appealing, no matter the age or background of the visitor. Perhaps this project will inspire residents to utilize native plants in their home landscapes. You are invited to visit this “pocket park,” located at the corner of Belcher and Curlew Road in the historic Hartley House. Palm Harbor Museum is open Thursday, Friday, Saturday 10 AM-2 PM

If you would like to participate in the care of the Living Landscape please leave a message at 727-724-3054 or write an email to: 
Moccasin Lake Butterfly Garden Volunteer Opportunity
Saturday, July 16th
8 - 10 am

Join a team of volunteers in maintaining the Butterfly Garden at Moccasin Lake. This is a great opportunity to learn more about which plants attract and host our local butterflies, what conditions they grow in and how to prune them.

Please bring hand tools (if you have them), work gloves and a reusable water bottle. The chapter will provide trash bags.

We really appreciate the City of Clearwater allowing us to use the classroom at the park for our monthly meetings, and volunteering in the park is our way of showing it.

RSVP with your mobile number for further instructions.


Volunteer Opportunities

The Pinellas Chapter has several volunteer opportunities that will allow you to channel your passion for native plants and conservation into helping the chapter fulfill its mission. Many volunteer positions require just a few hours a month, and most duties can be performed at your home. If you are interested in applying or would like more information, email

Volunteer Committee Member
  • Recruiting volunteers for special projects and the speakers bureau utilizing social media, emails, and special events.
  • Collecting volunteer contact information, availability and skills, and maintaining a volunteer database.
  • Keeping new and existing volunteers informed about the organization’s volunteer opportunities, matching volunteers to opportunities that suit their skill sets, and ensuring they understand their responsibilities and receive the proper training.
  • Keeping records of volunteers' hours and reporting them to FNPS.
  • (2 to 4 hours per month)

Marquette McManus
Volunteer Chair
(727) 776-2794

Thank You To Our Business Members

City of Dunedin Parks Department
City of St. Pete Beach
Hort and Soul Landscape Design
Living Roots Eco Design
Rebecca Wellborn, Realtor, Coastal Properties Group
Sunshine City Law 
Vision Ace Hardware - Oldsmar
Toftegaard Design
Wilcox Nursery & Landscape
Wild Floridian LLC

Wise Hands Professional Gardening Services

Pinellas Chapter Florida Native Plant Society
2022 Officers, Directors and Committee Chairs

All chapter members are invited to attend Board meetings, normally held via Zoom the third Wednesday of the month from 6:30 pm - 8:00 pm.  Email the President for information about the next meeting, and/or if you have an issue that you would like addressed.
President - Davis Byrkit
Vice President - Jane Graham
Secretary - Andrea Andersen
Treasurer - Robin Peacock
Past President  - Michael Coleman
Director / Chapter Representative - David Perkey
Director / Membership Chair - Ginger Brengle
Director / Programs Chair - Pam Schrader
Director / Communications Chair - Jessica Palenchar
Director At Large - Vicki Thomas
Director At Large - Sari Wood
Social Media and Email - Rebecca Wellborn
Newsletter Editor - Nataly Capote
Webmaster - Patty Perkey

Florida Native Plant Society Mission

The Mission of the Florida Native Plant Society is to promote the preservation, conservation, and restoration of the native plants and native plant communities of Florida.

The Society fulfills this mission through:
  • Support for conservation land acquisition
  • Land management that enhances habitat suitability for native plants
  • Education
  • Public policies that protect our native flora, especially rare species
  • Research on native plant species
  • Encouragement of local landscaping practices and policies that preserve Florida's native plant heritage
Join/Renew Membership
Copyright © 2022 Pinellas Chapter of the Florida Native Plant Society, All rights reserved.

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