Key Society Activities

Key activities of FNPS are typically organized through the standing committee structure.

Grant Programs

The Society budgets money each year for grant awards that encourage projects that further the mission of FNPS. Application information and criteria are available on the FNPS website.

Conservation Grants

The Conservation Grants are awards to support applied plant conservation projects. Recipients must be sponsored by an FNPS Chapter. This is an excellent way to reinforce local partnerships and increase chapter recognition. The number of grants per year awarded, up to $5,000, depends on the budget for the program and the quality of proposals in the pool of nominees. The Chair of the Conservation Committee is responsible for convening a review team, and assessing submissions. The Committee then makes recommendations on proposals to be funded to the Board of Directors. The grant applications are typically due in March, and the application can be found on the FNPS website .

Endowment/Science Grants

The Endowment Grants are made from the Society’s Endowment Fund and donations from Chapters and individuals to support funding of research on native plants or native plant communities. Awards are made annually at the FNPS Annual Conference, and recipients receive up to $1500 to support their projects. Presentation of a paper at the FNPS Annual Conference or contribution of an article to the Palmetto on the results of the research is required. Project proposals are reviewed by a team convened by the Chair of the Science committee, and projects are selected to recommend for funding based on scientific merit and relevance to the mission of FNPS. Recommendations are made to the Board of Directors, who must approve the recommendations. The grants applications are typically due in March, and the application can be found on the FNPS website .

Dan Austin Award for Ethnobotany

This award is limited to graduate or undergraduate students who are studying Florida ethnobotany – i.e., the study of the relationship between peoples or cultures with plants native to Florida or Florida ecosystems. These can be current uses or historic uses. Research must focus on Florida native plant species or plant communities and have a human/plant connection. Research can include mycology, taxonomy, botany, demographics of medicinal plants, medicinal chemistry, human effects on soils, economic importance, etc. The grants applications are typically due in March, and the application can be found on the FNPS website .

Award Programs

Landscape Awards

This program provides recognition for the propagation, preservation, and use of Florida native plants in different types of landscapes. The awards are competitive, and contestants submit an entry fee with an application that describes the landscaping plan and provides the corresponding plant list with before and after images. Entries are accepted for commercial, community and residential categories. There are also categories for restorations and butterfly gardens. The Landscape Award Committee examines images, documentation, and deploys local judges to visit qualifying contenders. Contestants are disqualified by presence of Type I invasive exotic plant species, as defined by the Florida Exotic Pest Plant Council. Winners are recognized at the annual FNPS conference. There are no cash prizes accompanying these awards.

Palmetto Awards

At the FNPS annual conference, the Florida Native Plant Society bestows various awards to members and chapters for their contributions to our mission. The Palmetto awards were established in 1984 by Sherry Cummings, Palm Beach Chapter (then FNPS President), to further the mission of the Florida Native Plant Society by encouraging and acknowledging the contributions to conservation of natural areas and native plants, and educating to these objectives. Nominations for these awards are solicited during the November Board of Directors meeting.

The Green Palmetto Awards.

The Society generally awards one Green Palmetto award for service or education, one for science, and one to the outstanding chapter of the year. FNPS Board members are not eligible for this award category. Contributions can be of regional or statewide significance. Any member can make Green Palmetto award nominations by contacting their chapter director or the FNPS president.

The Silver Palmetto Award.

The Silver Palmetto award is made by the FNPS President to the Board member who has been of the greatest assistance during the past year.

The Mentor Award.

Created in 1995, the Mentor Award recognizes distinguished individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the science and practice of native plant conservation, preservation, and restoration. This award is the highest honor the Society can bestow and is reserved for lifelong or career-long contributions.

Advocacy

The Society utilizes its scientific foundations to support policy that works toward better conservation and preservation of the biodiversity of Florida’s native plant communities. The Society focuses advocacy efforts on issues specifically related to mission, and employs FNPS policy statements to support opinion on specific public issues. The FNPS lobbyist follows, analyzes and interprets the activity in the Florida Legislature on the Society’s behalf, and offers opinion to the FNPS throughout the session on priorities for advocacy and action. In the event that the opportunity presents for FNPS to propose and craft legislation, the lobbyist will assist in writing the bill and bringing it to the attention of the appropriate legislator for sponsorship.

Policy formation

A central role for the Policy & Legislation, Conservation, and Science Committees is the development of policy statements. Such statements summarize the position of the Society, and can be used by any member in advocacy efforts (e.g., “The Florida Native Plant Society supports…”) Policy statements are based on science, and are accompanied by background and literature supporting the FNPS position. To date, policies have been developed related to a range of topics from protection of water resources to rescuing plants from development sites. As new policies are developed, subject matter experts are recruited to work on the language and background. The Committees bring final drafts to the Board of Directors for discussion and approval. Once approved, the policy becomes part of the FNPS record as of that date, the new policy is announced, and the statements become available on the FNPS website.

Action Alerts

Members of FNPS can elect to participate in the Action Alert program by indicating their wish during membership registration or renewal. Action Alerts are issued when specific citizen action is important to influencing decision making regarding policy formation, regulations, laws, or actions directly related to the mission of the Florida Native Plant Society. Participants receive notice of the Alert via e-mail, and the alert is posted on the FNPS website. Alerts generally include brief background on the issue, statement of relevance to FNPS, talking points, the action suggested and contact information. Any one can recommend an alert, however the request must be vetted by the Policy Committee, and endorsed to be of state-wide importance and direct relationship to FNPS Mission. The Policy Committee frequently consults with the FNPS lobbyist prior to issuing an Action Alert, as legislative issues are difficult to interpret without inside information, and ill-timed or off-target action can dilute the voice of the Society.

Support for Conservation Lands Acquisition

For many years, FNPS has supported the acquisition of conservation lands.  We also partner with land trusts to acquire lands that support intact habitat and plant communities before they are lost forever.

A number of our committees oversee projects that seek to preserve public and private lands and responsibly manage and restore lands that protect intact ecosystems, native flora, and wildlife.  Volunteers and staff members serve on these FNPS committees that work together to fulfill our mission:  

•    Policy & Legislation Committee
•    Conservation Committee
•    Science and Research Committee
•    Land Management Partners Committee
•    Education Committee

Participation on the FDACS Endangered Plant Advisory Council

FNPS has a seat on this council which is responsible for developing and reviewing the list of rare plant species listed as Endangered, Threatened, or of Special Concern by the State of Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS).

Habitat Restoration and Citizen Science

FNPS members across the state bring expertise for a broad array conservation projects:

  • seed collection for restoration projects
  • propagation of plants for restoration projects
  • monitoring of plant populations
  • native plant surveys and floristic inventories
  • invasive plant species removal
  • prescribed fire
  • plant rescues from sites slated for development

Our partners include Florida State Parks, Florida Water Management Districts, Florida Forest Service, Orlando International Airport, county and city parks, local nature preserves, private landowners, Peninsular Florida Landscape Conservation Cooperative, Florida Association of Native Nurseries, and many more.

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Publications

The Palmetto, the official journal of FNPS, is a magazine published and mailed to members on a quarterly basis. The Palmetto features articles of specific native plant species and related conservation topics illustrated with high-quality botanical works of art in a variety of mediums, and photographs.

The Sabal Minor is the official bi-monthly newsletter of FNPS. The newsletter contains timely notices of events, messages from FNPS officers, reports of what individual FNPS chapters are doing, and articles highlighting seasonal changes related to native plants and the wildlife that depends on them. FNPS members can receive the Sabal Minor by mail, black and white only, or through electronic delivery which comes in full color.

The FNPS blog, an on-line publication, provides interesting and timely messages of general interests to members and the general public.

Social media:  Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, Flickr, and LinkedIn.  The use of social media is focused on the FNPS mission.   Click here for direct links to each of these pages.

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