Southeast Volusia Audubon Society, P.O. Box 46, New Smyrna Beach, FL 32170;

October 2010 speaker: Lisa Roberts

Our October speaker will be Lisa Roberts, Executive Director of the Florida Wildflower Foundation.  Lisa moved to Florida when she was four years old and grew up in the Orlando area.  She attended UCF and received her Bachelor Degree in Journalism from that school.  She is a certified Florida Master Naturalist and enjoys kayaking, hiking, oil painting and gardening with native plants and wildflowers. 

 Lisa is a lifelong journalist who worked for the Orlando Sentinel for 33 years, where she often wrote about Florida’s natural lands and their recreational opportunities. She left the Sentinel in 2007 to form 321 Communications Group LLC, a public relations and marketing firm in Maitland.  In 2008, Lisa became Executive Director of the Florida Wildflower Foundation.
The Florida Wildflower Foundation’s mission is to enrich lives with Florida’s native wildflowers. Through the sale of the State Wildflower license tag, the non-profit organization increases the visibility and availability of native wildflowers and grasses by funding research, education and planting projects statewide.

Since 2000, the $15 donation from each State Wildflower license plate sale has:
•    Provided more than $2.3 million for native wildflower education, research and planting projects.
•    Spurred the development of the wildflower seed industry by supporting the Florida Wildflower Seed and Plant Growers Association.
•    Supported Florida’s native nursery industry by increasing demand for flowering native species.
•    Built awareness and knowledge of native wildflowers and plants.
•    Supported highway beautification through widespread wildflower seeding and planting projects.
•    Promoted wildflower tourism and its enormous economic benefits.
•    Partnered with like-minded agencies and organizations to support programs such as the Florida Forever land preservation effort.
Ultimately, the Foundation seeks to build a center for wildflower research and education that conveys to visitors and residents alike the beauty of wildflowers and their roles in Florida’s diverse habitats.

To support its research effort, the Foundation in 2007 established the Gary Henry Research Endowment Fund at the University of Florida. The endowment is in honor of the contributions made by the organization’s first executive director.

The Foundation is steered by a board of directors that represents organizations and agencies interested in preserving and conserving Florida’s native flowers. They include the Florida Federation of Garden Clubs, Florida Department of Transportation, Florida Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects, University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, Florida League of Cities, Florida Master Gardeners, Association of Florida Native Nurseries, Florida Native Plant Society and Wildflower Seed and Plant Growers Association Inc.

Lisa will elaborate a bit more on what The Foundation does and how they do it.  She will also discuss the importance of using native plants in your gardening and landscaping and will explain how that contributes to the diversity in our environment.  This is a presentation which will be of interest to both birders and gardeners.

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