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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!

Event Updates

Please check our Facebook Group and website calendar for the most up-to-date information.
  • Tuesday, 10/6 - Moccasin Lake Butterfly Garden Volunteer Opportunity
  • Wednesday, 10/7 - The Fun of Grasses (zoom presentation - details below) 
  • Saturday, 10/10 Cancelled - Native Grasses Walk at Brooker Creek Headwaters Nature Preserve 
  • Saturday, 10/24 - Kissimmee River Restoration Boat Tour
  • Saturday, 10/24 - Moccasin Lake Butterfly Garden Volunteer Opportunity
Wed., October 7th, 6:30 pm
Zoom Video Meeting and Presentation

The Fun of Grasses
Florida has the third greatest diversity of native plants of any state in the U.S., including dozens of ornamental bunchgrasses. Stefan Babjak, Pinellas Chapter V.P. and co-owner of Wise Hands Landscape Maintenance, will show you how to identify native grasses, which ones to select for your growing conditions, and how to establish and maintain them for aesthetics and wildlife benefits.

Presentation of 2021 Board Nominees at 6:30.
Program 6:35 - 7:30

Questions? Email

Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 862 4033 1352
Passcode: 274545

One tap mobile
+19292056099,,86240331352#,,,,,,0#,,274545# US (New York)

Saturday, Oct. 24th, 10:00 am - 2:00 pm

Kissimmee River Restoration Eco-Tour

We have two complimentary tickets for a first-hand view of the Kissimmee River Restoration Project, the largest river restoration project in the world. The project, a cooperative project between the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD), encompasses 43 miles of river and floodplain. Participants will learn about the watershed as they explore the biological habitats of the river, and learn about the river's hydrology, engineering structures and restoration methods.

Enjoy a 4-hour interpretive boat tour of the old river, the channelized C-38 canal and into the restored Kissimmee River. Get the “big picture” of the importance of the Kissimmee River Restoration to the Greater Everglades watershed with special focus on native plants used in restoration efforts. Bring a bag lunch. 

The tour starts at the the Florida Atlantic University’s (FAU) Center for Environmental Studies' Riverwoods Field Lab on Saturday, October 24 at 10 am. Masks will be worn and the boat allows for social distancing.  A few of us are renting cabins on nearby Lake Okeechobee Friday and Saturday. 

If you would like to claim the last 2 seats and join us email

Tuesday, Oct. 6th, 8:00 - 10:00 am
Saturday, Oct. 24th, 9:00 - 11:00 am

Butterfly Garden Maintenance

Landscape designer Nicole Jones will be leading 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, work gloves and drinking water. The chapter will provide trash bags. with your cellphone number for last minute changes.


Clearwater Audubon Presentation

Sunday 10/5 7:00 pm
Jim McGinity 

Where O Where Can the Songbirds Go?
Migratory Birds Along the West Coast of Florida
Pinellas FNPS member Jim McGinity presents a program on the challenges that migratory songbirds face on their biannual migrations north and south each year.  Zoom in and learn about migration from the perspective of one of our favorite groups of birds: warblers, tanagers and other Passerines.

This program will review the findings of the 10 - year study of the migratory birds in Hammock Park, Dunedin, discuss the future of the project on Caladesi Island State Park and end with a visual and auditory “songbird quiz” to close out the program.

Zoom Webinar Link (7PM)
Passcode: banding

Call for Volunteers

We are looking for volunteers for the following:
  • Conservation Committee:  We need a few members to help keep abreast of conservation issues in Pinellas County and send updates to be included in the monthly newsletter, represent PCFNPS at virtual meetings and in discussions with other organizations, advise Committee Chair and PCFNPS board on what conservation activities to engage in, participate in conservation projects.
  • Sign Design for the Moccasin Lake Butterfly Garden: Design educational signage for the butterfly garden to include the life cycle of butterflies, common butterflies and the native plants they use in the garden, basic benefits of Florida native plants. Signs to be produced by the City of Clearwater. 
Please email us at for more details and to sign up!

Its Fun and Easy to Grow Plants from Seed!

Make Your Own Plants from Seed
by Debora Moran

Here in Florida, autumn is a great time to start seeds. Seed starting helps you get more plants for less money and is a good way to acquire unique plants not available locally. Many seeds can be started outdoors, in the garden areas where they will grow. However, I have had the most success starting seeds indoors in containers and moving the new plants out into the garden. And it’s fun to make your own plants!

Source Your Seeds

Some native plant nurseries sell seeds, and many varieties are available by mail. The Florida Wildflowers Growers Cooperative ( and Florida Native Wildflowers ( are two sources for native plant seeds and helpful seed sowing information.
If you already have a plant in your garden and want more (or if you have a friend or neighbor willing to share), seed collecting is another option. Instead of deadheading, leave the spent flowerheads on the plant. Seeds are ready when they turn brown or black and release easily from the seedpods. If you wish to trim back the plants before the seeds ripen, place the spent stems in a paper bag. Once the stems are dried, gently tap them on a paper towel to separate the seeds from the chaff. For later sowing, place the seeds in a paper bag or envelope and store in a cool, dry place.

Do Your Homework

Some seeds require special treatment to perform their best. For example, seeds of coral bean (Erythrina herbacea) have a hard coat and require scarification, weakening of the seed coat, so germination can occur. Carefully nick each seed with a sharp knife, soak the seeds, or rub them on a coarse piece of sandpaper. The seeds of butterfly weed (Asclepias species) benefit from a simulated “winter” period, called stratification. Wrap the seeds in moistened paper towels, place the bundle in a freezer bag, and store it in the refrigerator for several weeks. Read the seed packet or do a bit of internet research to gather specific information for the plants you wish to grow.

Collect Your Containers

If it can hold soil and has holes for drainage, most any container will work. Reused plastic pots are useful, but I have also repurposed plastic restaurant takeout containers, yogurt cups, etc. Just be sure to thoroughly clean any reused container with a mixture of one part bleach to ten parts water, and rinse well. And be sure to punch holes in the bottom to provide adequate drainage.

Prepare the Soil Media

Fill your container with potting mix, which is available at a garden center or big box store. It is often called “soilless” mix because it does not contain outdoor soil nor any weed seeds or insects that could interfere with plant growth. Instead it is a sterile mixture of components—such as perlite, vermiculite, and peat moss—that provide support for emerging seedlings. Before beginning, ensure the mix is moistened but not saturated. A proper mix will have the moisture content of a wrung-out sponge. As you fill the container, tap it gently on your work surface to settle the soil. Be sure to fill each container almost to the brim. If seeds are sown too low in a pot, the rim casts a shadow, limiting the amount of light that can reach the developing seedlings.

Sow the Seeds

Make a shallow hole in the soil, place the seeds where you want them, and cover, tamping down the soil gently. Be careful not to sow seeds too deeply. A good rule of thumb is to sow any seed at a depth of no more than two times the thickness of the seed. Tiny seeds should be sown on the surface with additional soil very lightly dusted over them; larger seeds can be covered with a little more soil. If the seeds require light to germinate, gently press them into the soil, but leave them uncovered.
After sowing the seeds, cover the container loosely with plastic wrap to maintain soil moisture but allow some air movement. Place the container in a warm spot but not in direct sun. Don’t forget to add a popsicle stick or attach a sticky note with the plant’s name so you remember which seed is in which container. (Yes, I have made this mistake!)

Check the container each day and mist it if the soil appears dry. Once the seeds germinate, remove the plastic wrap. First to appear are the seed leaves (cotyledons). The seed leaves provide an initial burst of energy as the seedling begins growing. As its growth continues, the seedling will put out true leaves, which resemble the leaves of the mature plant.

Grow the Seedlings
Place the container near a window where it can receive good light. If you notice the seedlings beginning to lean toward the light, rotate the container. If you plan to do a lot of seed starting, you may wish to purchase a light system or build a simple wooden stand with a fluorescent shop light suspended by lengths of chain attached to hooks. This system allows you to raise the chain and lift the lights as plants grow. Place the lights so they are no more than two to three inches above the plants. Otherwise, plants will stretch and weaken as they attempt to reach the light.

Be sure to watch the container daily to ensure the seedlings do not dry out. Mist or water gently if the soil appears dry. Bottom watering can also be useful. However, it is important that the container does not sit in water, or the plant roots may rot.

Transplant the Small Plants

After true leaves appear and the seedlings begin to get a little larger, you should transplant them. This will ensure each small plant has adequate room and proper air circulation. You can use individual small pots or flats that are capable of housing multiple small plants, one per cell. Carefully loosen and separate the seedlings. Place each in a separate clean container or cell filled with moistened soil mix. Try to retain a little soil around the roots to limit the plant’s shock. Once transplanting is complete, place the pots or flats back in the light so the plants can continue to grow.

Get Them Garden-Ready

Because the sun is so strong here in Florida, new plants must be sturdy enough to survive. When your plants have reached sufficient size, you can toughen them up with a gradual exposure to direct sunlight. This is called hardening off. Start by putting the containers outdoors in the shade. Then, move them into the sun, starting with short periods and increasing their time in the sun each day. Be sure to keep the plants moist and watch them closely. If you observe any signs of wilting, bring the plants into the shade, and begin the process again more slowly.

Plant Them Out

Once the new plants have gained sufficient size and strength, they will be ready to move to their permanent home in your garden. However, even when plants have been hardened off, moving can still be stressful for them. To reduce transplant shock, try to choose a cloudy day or when rain is in the forecast. My favorite solution is to provide new plants with a sunshade for the first day or two. I cover small plants with an upside-down flowerpot. For large plants, I move the garden furniture to cast some shade for them. The new plants will soon begin to thrive in your garden. And you will have the satisfaction of knowing you made them yourself!

Local Conservation Concerns

This new feature of our monthly newsletter will highlight local conservation issues and opportunities for our members to influence decision making by our local, state and federal governments. If you have items you would like to include, email them to with the Subject Line: Conservation Concerns.
Update: 44 Acres of Woodlands In Dunedin Under Contract For Development
From Michelle Hawk

Last month it was reported that 44 acres of pristine conservation land in Dunedin is under contract with a home developer. Sierra Club is leading a coalition of other organizations in virtual Zoom meetings to discuss the issue and recommend action. I have attended these meetings. The following is an update on the discussions so far.

•    Sierra Club has sent a letter to the Pinellas County Commissioners (PCC) and City of Dunedin government officials urging them to reconsider the purchase of this property.  

•    Sierra Club created a petition to bring awareness to this issue and it currently has over 2,700 signatures. The link to the petition has been posted to the Pinellas Chapter FNPS Facebook Group page.  

•    There is a new Tampa Bay Times (TBT) article that states Pinellas County and Dunedin officials met recently with the home developer and Douglas Estate representatives. 

•    Sierra Club Executive Chair James Scott spoke with Commissioner Charlie Justice recently and will have further discussions next week. Hopefully, this will keep this issue on the table.   

•    There is another scheduled Sierra Club Zoom meeting next week and I will be attending. 

•    There is another scheduled Sierra Club Zoom meeting next week and I will be attending. 

Calls To Action:

1. Sign the online petition to conserve this land. Please be aware that after signing the petition will ask you for a donation. This donation DOES NOT go towards this conservation effort. This is part of the site's fundraising model.
2. Contact your Pinellas County Commissioners, ask them to #SaveTheGDP (Gladys Douglas Preserve/Park/Property) AND increase the County's land conservation budget. Tell them our votes (for Commissioners on the ballot) will be informed by their position on this issue.

Clearwater Referendum Nov. 3, 2020 General Election Ballot: Landings Golf Course - Lease of Recreation/Open Space Real Property for Light Industrial Use
  • The referendum concerns 58 acres of municipal real property that is zoned for recreation/open space on the land use plan map and is a majority of The Landings Golf Course, located on the east side of Keene Road, on the north side of Airport Drive, whose post office address is 1875 Airport Drive, Clearwater, Florida.
  • The Huston family of PGA-golfing fame in the 1970s manages the Landings golf course for the city of Clearwater, generating $1,000 a month in revenue to the city. It is the largest open space/recreational area in central Clearwater.
  • At its June 18, 2020 meeting, the City Council declared a 66.30-acre portion of the 78.52-acre Landings Golf Course property surplus to develop it for light industrial use.
  • Of the 66.30-acre surplus parcel, the Council subtracted 8.53 acres to retain as a parkland buffer area between the industrial enterprise and the St. Andrews Cove II condominiums, therefore making the surplus property for lease to Harrod Properties 57.11 acres in size.
  • The remainder of the 78-acre property, approximately 12 acres, bordering Airport Drive, will be redeveloped as an aqua golf driving range leased by the city to the Huston family to operate.
  • For more information download an Issue Analysis prepared by the League of Women Voters on Sept. 11, 2020.

Return to the St Pete Pier

by Debora Moran

We received lots of great feedback following last month’s article on the native plants at the St. Pete Pier. One item that came out after publication is worth sharing. About three years ago, when landscape planning for the gardens was underway, a committee met with the designers to provide input to the process. One of our own Pinellas County NPS members, Ray Wunderlich, founder of Wunderfarms community gardens in St. Petersburg, was among them.

The committee helped to educate the landscape designers on the value of native species, suggested plants for possible inclusion in the gardens, and directed the designers to local parks and preserves (including Boyd Hill, Weedon Island, Little Bayou, and Ft. DeSoto) where they could see mature native plants and learn more. The inclusion of so many native plants in the gardens at the St. Pete Pier is a testament to these early efforts. Well done!


Meet Our Amazing Communications Team

We are so excited and grateful for our Communication Committee team, who keep us connected with our members and the public! Join me in saying Thank you to:

 Lara Wojahn, Newsletter Editor
Originally from Canada, Lara is a recovering lawyer who, with her husband and dog, recently found respite from gritty Los Angeles on the shores of Boca Ciega Bay. She holds a Bachelor of Applied Science in Environmental Systems Engineering and is passionate about the strategic use of landscaping to filter stormwater runoff to protect the surrounding water bodies. A lifelong nature lover, Lara loves to hike, bike and paddle. She looks forward to learning all about, and spreading the gospel of, the beauty and utility of Florida native plants.

Debra Moran, Feature Writer and Public Relations 
Debora Moran has a Bachelor of Technology in Plant Science from the State University of New York at Cobleskill and was a Senior Extension Educator with Cornell Cooperative Extension in Schenectady County, New York. She has written for Fine Gardening magazine and Green Scene, the journal of the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society.

Patty Perkey, Webmaster 
Patty Day Perkey grew up in Clearwater and is a proud member of the Clearwater High School Class of 1968.  She graduated from USF with a degree in Geography, but her career took a strange turn when she was introduced to computers in the early 80s and the rest, as they say, is history.  While Patty is fond of databases, spreadsheets, and websites, she is crazy about her grandkids, politics, WMNF radio, traveling, and dogs.  She produces two public affairs shows for WMNF Community Radio and is on air Friday afternoons on Rev. Billy's Rhythm Revival.  Happily retired, Patty and her husband, Dave, live in Dunedin with their two dogs.  They have converted their former St. Augustine turfgrass into a native plant and pollinator paradise and they invite you to stop by!

Rebecca Wellborn, Chair, Email & Social Media Editor 
Since 2004 Rebecca has been providing real estate services full time, and joined Coastal Properties Group Christie's International in 2015. She has a B.S. Degree in Marketing from Georgia Southern University. After 20 years in marketing and non-profit management, Rebecca entered the Peace Corps and spent 4 years in Jamaica promoting eco-tourism and environmental protection in the rural communities of the Cockpit Country. Having grown up on the gulf coast, she moved back to Florida in 2011 and lives in Dunedin with her mother.  Single, with no kids (except Mom), she travels whenever she can and volunteers for multiple organizations. She served as chapter Treasurer from 2018 – 2020.

Thank You To Our Business Members

Bartlett Law Offices

City of St. Pete Beach

Vision Ace Hardware - Oldsmar

Hort & Soul Landscape Design

Rebecca Wellborn, Realtor, Coastal Properties Group

Wilcox Nursery & Landscape

Pinellas Chapter Florida Native Plant Society
2020 Officers, Directors and Committee Chairs

President - Michael Coleman
Vice President - Stefan Babjack
Secretary - Susan Taylor
Treasurer - Rebecca Wellborn
Past President - Jan Allyn
Director - Belinda Lambert
Director / Membership Chair - Bonnie Carine
Director / Programs Chair - Pam Schrader
Director / Events & Volunteer Chair - Nicole Jones
Director / Communications Chair - Robin Peacock

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
Pinellas Chapter Website
Copyright © 2020 Pinellas Chapter of the Florida Native Plant Society, All rights reserved.

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