Society News

2023 FNPS Annual Meeting

The Annual Meeting of the Membership will be held on June 17, 2023 from 10-11:30am EST.  It will be on YouTube just like the Lunch and Learns.  A link is below, was emailed to all members on May 27, is on the members-only Facebook group, and is on the calendar.

This is the opportunity for all members to catch up on the major events of 2022, learn who the very deserving Palmetto award winners are, who is getting a Conservation or Research grant, and to vote on incoming Board Members!

Please take the time to review the agenda and the minutes from last year's meeting.

We will be voting on new Board members; each "membership" gets one vote. So, if you have a business or non-profit membership or a multi-member membership, select who will make your vote ahead of time. The slate of nominees is below:  If the button does not work for you, copy the link below it into your browser

          Join the meeting

          2023 Meeting Agenda

          2022 Minutes

Candidate Statements

Vice President for Administration

Athena Philips

Citrus Chapter (Lecanto, Citrus County), FNPS member 2015-present

I joined the Florida Native Plant Society (FNPS) shortly after moving from the Tampa suburbs to the Nature Coast. It was wonderful to see a part of Florida that still had numerous wild places with much biodiversity, and I wanted to be part of the movement to preserve that. The Society continues to grow and I commit myself to help it develop as a dynamic conservation organization, fostering stewardship among the members.

I currently serve on the Board of Directors for FNPS and have been leading the Conference Committee for the last year. I’ve been a Chapter Representative, the Council of Chapters Secretary, a Co-President for my FNPS chapter and it’s Social Media Chair. I have a firm foundation in handling administrative duties and a mind for the details. I am happy to accept the nomination for Vice President of Administration, and I plan to continue working with the FNPS Staff and Board to improve operations and pursue our mission.


Chris Moran

Magnolia Chapter (Tallahassee, Liberty County), FNPS member 2020-present

I have over 30 years experience as a CPA in Florida. I have spent the majority of my career working with not for profits and Local Governments. I have audited dozens of trade associations from the Florida Bankers, Florida institute of certified accountants, Florida Builders association, to many smaller ones. Being in Tallahassee makes it critical to becoming an expert in the industry. I have a vast amount of experience as an auditor, and a consultant, and as a member of associations. I have served on at least 5 other not for profit boards ( Tallahassee Symphony, Riverkeepers, Rainbow center, several sports boards etc.) I have recently opened a Plant nursery, and we want to specialize in Native plants.

I have been on the FNPS Board of Directors for one year, and I have been contributing to our FNPS Finance Committee and working with other committees mostly on topics related to native plants and recognizing those who plant them.

I am well qualified to be treasurer and thank you for your consideration.


(Listed alphabetically by last name) Please note that people whose names are shown in red are currently on the FNPS Board (either as a Director or Officer).

Adam Arendell

Ixia Chapter (Jacksonville, Duval County), FNPS member 2016-present

I've been an active member of the Ixia Chapter since 2016. Over the years I've held various roles such as Chapter President, Vice President, Field Trips Director, and Director at Large. It's been exciting watching our chapter membership and volunteer participation grow since I've been involved!

We're a very active chapter and besides the usual chapter meetings and outreach events we also manage Native Park, an award winning city park in the historic Riverside Avondale neighborhood. But one of my favorite outreach activities has been plant walks were I can share my knowledge of local flora. I've lead trips through northeast Florida preserves, county parks, and elementary schools. In 2022 the St John's Riverkeeper awarded me Educator of the Year. It was a big honor, and showed me how educational outreach really can make a difference.

My love of botany and ecology started when I was in high school. I had a great science teacher who saw the importance of the Indian river lagoon and the vanishing maritime hammocks in our area. Some of our projects were managing the Oslo Riverfront Conservation Area in its early days by cleaning up trash, invasive species, and blazing trails. We also participated in sea grass surveys in the lagoon, and found new populations of the endangered Johnson's Seagrass. I never pursued an academic degree in these fields but that early experience sparked a lifelong passion for Florida's wild areas and over the years I have continued to learn from volunteering for plant surveys, reading scientific literature, and documenting plant species throughout Florida.

Professionally I've been a full time graphic designer for over 10 years and have a BFA in Fine Arts from the University of North Florida. I'm also a part time Naturalist with Wacca Pilaka, a Florida friendly landscape company that specializes in using native plants for residential and commercial landscapes.

I would like to serve on the FNPS board to have a greater impact educating the public on Florida's vanishing natural areas. Educating young Floridians is one of the most important ways we can instill the importance and stewardship of native plants and the ecosystems they're found in. I also want to learn how to be more effective on state level conservation issues.

Some of the ways I would like to do this are:

  • Develop and provide educational material to high school science teachers and county naturalist centers for example regional posters of plants and ecosystems.

  • Host bioblitzes with high school science teachers and county naturalist centers.

  • Provide regional native plants for garden projects of schools, nonprofits, and county naturalist centers.

Thank you for considering me for the FNPS board!

(MAC) Camacho-Viera

Tarflower Chapter (Orlando, Orange County), FNPS member 2019-present

Originally from Puerto Rico, she grew up in Annapolis, MD. MAC is passionate in her involvement and commitment to the study of nature and the environment. MAC is a Rollins College Alum with a Degree in Psychology.

MAC works as a Native Plant Concierge at Green Isle Gardens and enjoys assisting clients in selection of their habitat plants. She understands the tremendous therapeutic and restorative power in being outdoors in nature, gardening and exploring wilderness. Curator of Environmental Education and Natural Resources at Boggy Creek Airboat Adventures. She is a long-standing member of the Florida Humanities Council, she enjoys Kayaking, Hiking, Flats fishing, and traveling. An avid photographer and mix media painter, she regularly contributes observations to iNaturalist and the UF Air Potato Patrol as a Citizen Scientist. Mac volunteers on a regular basis at the Oakland Nature Preserve assisting in restoration of habitat, plant surveys and education efforts as a Florida Master Naturalist and Blue-Hike leader, exploring Florida Waterways. She has proven expertise in Guest Services, and oversight management within Theme Parks and international tourism industry.

MAC is member of the Tarflower Chapter and is its President Elect. MAC has worked on collaborative projects with organizations- to share the vision and mission of the Society on an ongoing basis across the state and beyond.

MAC has served on the FNPS board as a Director since 2019 and is running for renewal of that position.

Deborah (Deb) Curry

Marion Big Scrub Chapter (Anthony, Marion County), FNPS member 2013-present

I am interested in participation in the Florida Native Plant Society Board as a Director. I am interested in the Florida Native Plant Society continuing to be a society of knowledge,able to assistance in guiding the inclusion of our native habitats, communities and plants in all plantings, from city planners to developers.

I am interested with all of Florida, I have lived in many of these regions. As a fourth generation Florida I am passionate about the maintenance of native environments, helping create these environments within landscapes of individuals of this state.

At my first meeting as president of the Marion Big Scrub chapter of FPNS I met Adele Mills, the biologist of the Marjorie Harris Carr Cross Florida Greenway (110 miles). I looked up the endangered plants and chose the two of interest, our group flower, Dicerandra cornutissima and one Jim Buchner, a member, was working with Warea amplexifolia. I have collected information, evaluated life cycles, habitats, identifies associating animals and plants for these endangered plants. Until she left most outings were with Juliet Rynear.

I worked with Valorie Anderson and Juliet Rynear planting natives on the greenway, removing invasives, generally helping learn about and maintain this corridor. We also worked collecting data relating to efficient maintenance, lifecycle and ecology of the endangered Dicerandra cornutissima. We referred to the Archbold Biological Station protocols and helped collect data to insure consistency with their data. Now a student of Raelene Crandall, PhD, a professor ,at UF is working at the data collection of our species of Dicerandra.

Before COVID, I totally enjoyed attending the maintenance evaluations for Parks and Forests in and around Marion County. I am interested in being a part of the Land Management committee. I believe I can be an asset to the FNPS community.

Susan Earley

Suncoast Chapter (Tampa, Hillsborough County), FNPS member 2016-present

I’m a life-long, native Floridian who—except for a few years to attend out-of-state schools in Minnesota during 7th and 8th grade and for graduate school in North Carolina—has lived in Tampa since the 1950s. After graduation from USF in 1972, I taught high school English for 38 years before retiring in 2011.

Since retiring—except for my travel adventures and time spent as one of Florida Native Gardening Facebook Group's admin team, most of the time I’m outside in the yard gardening with the goal of establishing and maintaining a native habitat for the local wildlife, my 2 little pups and me. Having lived in the same area all my life, I’ve seen Tampa's Interbay Peninsula and much of the Tampa Bay area's surrounding counties stripped of their native ecosystems and replaced with what developers and new residents consider Florida’s “tropical” look.

The more I’ve learned through my Florida Native Gardening work and FNPS membership connections, I've evolved into an ardent and vocal advocate for learning about the “real” Florida environment and educating others willing to listen and learn and probably to several who wish I’d quit. But I’ve never been much of a quitter when it comes to issues I feel passionate about, and I’m eager to take my skills as both an educator and an advocate to work with FNPS for the Florida that lies beyond my yard.

Jane Graham, Esq.

Pinellas Chapter (Safety Harbor, Pinellas County), FNPS member 2020-present

Jane Graham, Esq. is a Florida Bar Board Certified Attorney in City, County, and Local Government Law. She is the attorney and founder of Sunshine City Law, a Tampa Bay law firm focused on local government, environmental law, constitutional law and property rights issues. Ms. Graham previously worked as a lobbyist and policy advocate for National Audubon Society/Audubon Florida on Everglades restoration and conservation, water policy, and wildlife law issues. She also previously worked as a local government attorney at two coastal municipalities in South Florida, where she focused on a variety of environmental, land use, and ethics matters, and as an attorney at a well-known boutique land use and environmental litigation firm in downtown Tampa.

Ms. Graham holds a Masters of Laws in Environmental Law, magna cum laude from Vermont Law School. She is a proud double Cane, holding a Bachelor of Arts, cum laude with a double major in history and political science, and a Juris Doctor, cum laude from the University of Miami School of Law. Ms. Graham has published in numerous law journals and national legal publications on environmental, land use, and property rights issues.

Jane would be honored to serve on the Florida Native Plant Society Board of Directors. She proudly served as the Conservation Chair and Vice-President of the Pinellas Chapter, Florida Native Plant Society and was delighted to volunteer in recent efforts to create and conserve the Gladys Douglas Preserve in Dunedin. She admires the science-based education and advocacy of FNPS and its pursuit of excellence in sustainable landscaping.

Gage LaPierre

Paynes Prairie Chapter (Gainesville, Alachua County), FNPS member 2021-present

I grew up in rural north central Florida admiring the natural communities around me. After working in the construction industry for several years the rate of development in my home area was startling and I became more interested in environmental issues. I attended the University of Florida (UF) and earned a bachelor's degree in environmental science. Upon graduating I then worked for several years as a technician in different research labs on campus. I was later offered the opportunity to attend graduate school at UF to study fire ecology and restoration. After earning a master's degree, I received further funding to study groundcover restoration and pursue my doctorate degree. In addition to my research, I currently help oversee the management of the Natural Area Teaching Laboratory, a 60-acre conservation area and teaching center on main-campus. In pursuit of restoration of this area I later founded and currently manage the UF Native Plant Nursery, an operation dedicated to providing research, extension, and teaching opportunities for native plant materials on campus.

I look forward to serving on the FNPS Board, and will bring my experience, knowledge of and passion for native plant propagation, and restoration of native ecosystems.

David Martin

Eugenia Chapter (Vero Beach, Indian River County), FNPS member 1985-present

My work experience is varied, but I’ve spent most of my professional life in Florida, studying the natural areas and native flora of our incredibly botanically rich State. I worked with the U.S. Department of the Interior starting 1975, studying the route of the Cross Florida Barge Canal, which revealed a scrub mint, now Dicerandra cornutissima. My next post was in NW Wyoming with the Bureau of Land Management, then on to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Jacksonville, Portland, Ore. for three years, and finally Vero Beach until I retired in 2009. I played a role in discovering two plants new to science: Dicerandra cornutissima south of Ocala, Florida and Cymopterus evertii in the Bighorn Basin of Wyoming. Perhaps my most memorable bit of work was arranging funds for Fairchild to get a new irrigation system and do plant collecting in Cuba after Hurricane Andrew. My memories include study of three damaged South Florida hammocks, including Castellow Hammock which is a hammock again. I was instrumental in the establishment of the Lake Wales Ridge National Wildlife Refuge; our planning precipitated the big state land purchases to create the Refuge. Other posts included stints in Oregon, California and Hawaii.

I have been in FNPS since 1984 (short lapse), and with the Eugenia Chapter in Indian River County since 2000. I am finishing my term as FNPS Vice President of Administration, and am happy to accept the nomination to stay on the Board as a Director. As a Board Director, I’ve admired FNPS’s remarkable people and expanding activities, even under difficult conditions. I look forward to continuing to serve.

News Posted 25-05-2023