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The Florida Botanical Gardens Foundation



Notes from FLBGF’s Board President and Executive Director In 2018, the work of the Foundation involved new construction and planning for the future. This included both physical aspects of the Gardens, as well as programming to be accomplished in the years ahead. The construction of the Wetlands Walkway and Wildlife Overlook project was completed with the installation of benches along the concrete walk bordering the small pond. After several months of workshops and study by our consultant, David Sacks Landscape Architecture, LLC, a Master Plan to help guide future improvements and programs at the gardens was issued in late August. A Strategic Plan providing guidance for our programs and future work was commenced and has been approved by our Board. These efforts reflect our continued efforts to refocus the work of the Foundation. The County’s employment of a horticulture specialist, jointly funded in 2018 by the Foundation, coupled with our hiring of an Executive Director and Administrative Assistant, has allowed us to develop new initiatives. As outlined in our Strategic Plan, we have divided our efforts into four main categories: Engage, Educate, Enhance and Grow. Our goals for these initiatives cover four topics: • • • •

Engagement of a broader audience and collaboration with our site partners. Educational opportunities to achieve a quality visitor experience. Enhancement of the Gardens to support the work of Parks and Conservation Resources. Growth of our membership and community connections.

Our goals are ambitious and will take considerable work. The strategies to achieve these goals are outlined in our Strategic Plan 2019-2021. This plan can be found on the Foundation’s website or you may pick up a hard copy during your next visit to the Gardens. We welcome our members, volunteers and others interested to help us achieve our desired outcomes. John E. Thomas, Sr. President, Florida Botanical Gardens Foundation

This year has been an amazing ride, but none of this could have been accomplished without all of our amazing volunteers. In addition to our phenomenal board, garden volunteers, Florida West Coast Orchid Society and Master Gardeners, we have partnered with new groups this year. Kudos to the Pro Bono Committee of the Tampa Bay Chapter of the Association of Corporate Counsel and Habitat for Humanity Pinellas. This photo is of a few of the volunteers from Habitat who helped during Holiday Lights in the Gardens. We are always in need of more volunteers to keep our momentum going -- please consider volunteering with us! Vernon Bryant Executive Director, Florida Botanical Gardens Foundation


Meet Your FLBG Foundation Board Members JOHN THOMAS President VIVIAN HAICKEN Vice-President DAN BEAVER Treasurer EMMA ESHBAUGH Secretary JANET KOTASH Board Member PAT DIETERICH Board Member JIM SCHANZ Board Member MARY SWEENY Board Member SPENCER CURTIS Board Advisor PAUL COZZIE Board Advisor VERNON BRYANT Executive Director EMILY BLOXAM Administrative Assistant STACEY ZIDI Gift Shop Manager

JANET KOTASH New Board Member New Board Member, Janet Kotash, recently retired from Moraine Valley Community College, where she served as full professor of Natural Sciences for 25 years. Her passion is sharing nature with learners of all ages. Fulfilling her motto of “No Child Left Inside,” she has personally taught more than 3,000 students birdwatching, tree hugging, wetland wading, and rock hunting. Students proclaim Janet’s enthusiasm to be contagious. She continues to share her love of Earth and its biotic communities with lifelong learners through her volunteer activities in Nature Interpretation. In her self portrait Black & White Art photographs, Prof. Jay Boersma contends, “....and there is the wondrous celebration/integration of the female with the earth that she loves. Loves, touches, and is touched by. We should all be so lucky in love. “

Donor Acknowledgement* Every gift, memorial, and sponsorship helps us to move toward our vision of making the Florida Botanical Gardens a premier destination. Thank you to the people and businesses who have aided us in our future endeavors. We wish to acknowledge those members who support at a higher level. We send gratitude to our annual renewals and welcome our newest members. Thank you for supporting the foundation as we support the Gardens. *Reporting period October 1, 2017, to September 20, 2018 $1,000 to $4,999 Terry & Richard Berube Terri & Lane Ziegler John & Kathleen Thomas Plumlee Gulf Beach Realty Dr. Randal Butch, Seminole Chiropractic Wellness $4,000 Anonymous Donation Given Carol Hopper Edgewater Investments $500 - $999 Gail & Tim Anderson Robert & Denys Walk Dr. Berry & Vivian Haicken Marjorie Sturges Sherran Blair The Lancasters Ray Marshall (in kind) CKP Insurance Helene Hemphill Belleair Pool

$100 - $499 Anthony LeVelle & Denise Hawks McManus and McManus Dr. Rob & Sue Hamill Dr. David & Pat Dieterich Emma & David Eshbaugh Mary Sweeny (in kind) Dr. Deb Bloome Dan & Debra Kramer Angela Strain Cary Petron Steward Financial Oakhurst Veterinary Hospital Radiance Med Spa Mark Osborne The Vermazen Family $50 - $99 Andrea Cook (in kind) Donald & Dorothy Anderson


FY 2018 Financial Summary October 1, 2017 - September 30, 2018

INCOME Unrestricted Donations

Holiday Lights:


$344,175 311,649




Gift Shop and Events




In-kind Donations






40,607 107,583 77,396

25,075 32,526

EXPENSES Payroll & Fringe


Holiday Lights Expenses


Plants and Garden Supplies


Contract Services


Operating Expenses


In-Kind Expenses:


Professional & Insurance


Cost of Products Sold


All Other




Unrestricted Net Assets Available as of 10/1/17: $1,048,389 Unrestricted Net Assets Available as of 9/30/18: $1,000,014 Fiscal Year Change (Decrease): $48,375


5,174 36,250 48,656


110,831 136,727




Stewardship in the Gardens Stewardship of the Florida Botanical Gardens involves many different activities, both planning and onthe-ground work. It includes everything from daily maintenance of the irrigation systems to litter control to keeping walkways free of debris and overhanging plant material to major plantings and much more. A core group of Park Rangers perform the daily work with the help of volunteers, while the Park Horticulturist and Natural Resource Specialists undertake the majority of the planning and oversight and the Parks Trades crews undertake the larger maintenance projects. With 100 acres of land comprising the site, there are always new projects in the planning and implementation stages going on here. One project Pinellas County Parks and Conservation Resources recently performed involved mechanical thinning of overgrown vegetation to promote a healthy, diverse ecosystem. This also reduced fuel loads of McKay Creek Greenway South, a natural area southeast of the main gardens. Palmetto had become the dominant understory, growing at densities which shaded out and did not not allow the growth of the normal healthy diversity of ground cover vegetation. A number of native vines had also grown at densities that were shading out trees and other native vegetation. A brush hog type of mechanical equipment was used to reduce the overgrowth of vines and palmetto within the nine-acre unit. Active vegetation management helps lessen the impacts of potential wildfires and helps increase the diversity of flora and faunal species. Additional work will be undertaken in the area on the south side of the Walsingham entry road in the fall of 2019. Both of these areas are part of the Preservation 2000 Property, which was acquired by the County for land protection within the McKay Creek Greenway and is part of the Florida Botanical Gardens site. This work will enhance public access to the managed areas and is fully in accord with the State Lands Management Plan that outlines the following criteria: 1. Encourage the establishment or re establishment and management of plant species that are indigenous to specific sites (i.e., emphasize hardwood management on hardwood sites; manage for pines on areas where fire would normally retard hardwoods; encourage both hardwoods and conifers on suitable sites). 2. Encourage the protection of endangered and threatened plants, and plants and plant communities which serve as important food sources and habitat for endangered and threatened animal species. 3. Encourage the location and removal of noxious exotic plant species. 4. Manage state-owned lands in a manner that maintains a desirable vegetation cover while providing multiple-use benefits to the citizens of the State of Florida.


Spotlight on Our Volunteers Over the summer, Derek Boing, along with the help of Boy Scout Troop 468, constructed a beautiful arbor in our Tropical Fruit Garden. Derek formulated a design, raised funds and organized the group construction for his Eagle Scout project. A great addition to the Garden, the arbor will be used for growing Luffa, a versatile vining plant native to Southern and Southeastern Asia. Luffa, or Loofah, as it is sometimes called, is from the cucumber family and can be either eaten when the fruit is young or used as a bath or kitchen sponge when the fruit is fully mature. The vine has a beautiful yellow bloom and grows well in Florida. Many thanks to Derek, all of the Scouts, and the parents that participated. Also thank you to Pinellas County for allowing this most worthy project to take place!

Wayne Huneke made the move from Indiana to Florida after being discharged from the military in 1952. In 1995, he saw an ad in the paper calling for volunteers. Wayne stresses that this was not the Botanical Garden you see here today. “It was mostly just the Extension Services, a banana patch and a small Herb Garden,” he says. “It’s certainly different now.” Wayne admits at the time he did not have much interest in gardening, other than home improvements, but he began volunteering his time and enjoyed watching the Gardens develop. The volunteers had some freedom, choosing many of the Banana and Papaya plants you see here today. Every Tuesday, and the occasional Thursday, Wayne and a group of committed volunteers spend their time maintaining the gardens. Last year alone, Wayne logged 258 hours in the Tropical Fruit Garden. “It’s just another day in paradise,” Wayne assures.


Improvements for the Future An update of the Master Plan for the Gardens was completed in late summer 2018. The Foundation has begun to embark on the work to implement elements of the plan. Two landscape architectural firms have been engaged to prepare conceptual level plans for five projects. The projects will be prioritized for advancement to the design development and construction stage. Presently, the new Children’s Garden seems to be generating the most excitement. David Sacks Landscape Architecture, LLC will be working on three projects: • • •

Renovation of the Wedding/Celebration Garden Redesign of McKay Creek Plaza Design of a new Children’s Garden adjacent to the Butterfly Garden

The firm of VHB will be working on two projects: • Renovation of the Palm Garden • Redesign of the front entry to the Parks/Extension Services Building In addition to these projects, the Foundation is exploring alternatives for a visitor center that would have the potential to serve both the Gardens and Heritage Village.


Education in the Gardens Every day, we contemplate how to interpret the Gardens for our visitors. This is not a simple task, as our visitors are extremely diverse and spend time in the Gardens for many different reasons. Our primary goal is to help them enjoy the Garden while providing them an opportunity to learn lots of different things while they are here. At the heart of this is the work of our youngest committee, Education. Since the committee formed a little over a year ago, its members have been prolific, with four substantial projects coming to fruition in the last year. Through the work of volunteers and Master Gardeners, new literature was created for the Herb and Palm Gardens, the first in a new series of fun children’s brochures titled “Winter Math: a Mathematical Nature Walk” was created, and a new piece on Florida Friendly Landscaping™ at the Florida Botanical Gardens is in the final stages of production. The Florida Botanical Gardens is home to a number of plants on the UF/IFAS list of Florida-Friendly plants. Two Master Gardeners and members of the Education Committee, Margaret Gates and Pam Schrader, recently completed their Master Gardener project focused on promoting Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ here at the Florida Botanical Gardens. They created a brochure detailing the nine principles and showcasing key Florida-Friendly plants in each garden area. The project went on further, identifying and tagging all of the Florida-Friendly plants in the Gardens, for easy identification by visitors. So be sure to look for the new, green “Florida-Friendly Plant” tags on plant labels throughout the Gardens. Florida natives will have have a “Florida-Friendly Native” tag because all natives are, of course, Florida-Friendly. There are many more projects in the works, including plans to upgrade our website, create more brochures, redo our outdoor educational signs, and much more. We encourage you to reach out to us with ideas, suggestions, and comments. Even more than that, we want to invite you to join us in this important work by being part of the Education Committee. This way, you can smile when you see someone learning at the Florida Botanical Gardens thanks to your direct contribution to the cause.


Botanical Bounty: A Treasure Beyond Compare What is in a name? When it comes to our gift shop, “Botanical Bounty” truly lives up to its name, in more ways than one. In our previous fiscal year, the shop saw $64,029 in sales, which is notable for a small retail space with limited operating hours and no online presence. However, the sales are but a small part of the bounty accumulated every day by the shop. Here are some other accomplishments of the shop, which prove you cannot determine the value of our shop solely by looking at the bottom line. As the main contact for memorials and honorariums, the shop took in $7,250 during FY 2018. This was done with the utmost care and concern for our donors, who are often going through a very difficult time. As an entry point for new and renewing members, the shop processed 78 memberships in that same time frame. Although we receive lots of renewals and new memberships online, there are still many of our members who prefer a face-to-face transaction in the gift shop. The gift shop serves as a resource for our members and guests. It provides information on the American Horticultural Society Reciprocal Agreement Program, our local nursery partners offering member discounts, or about events happening on our campus. The shop also allows us to meet our educational mission, by supplying literature that correlates to the garden experience. On our shelves are books about birds and other wildlife, plants, environmental topics— from books for toddlers to scholars and everyone in between. Our volunteers are members of our community, donating their time to serve as “goodwill ambassadors” for the Foundation and the Gardens. They offer guests everything from a cold beverage for purchase to general Garden knowledge and even just being a caring face. Their presence serves as a warm, appealing place for visitors and staff to get out of the heat or away from their desk and into a place that makes you feel good. We give kudos to our Botanical Bounty manager, Stacey Zidi, and her volunteer salesforce for going above and beyond, serving as the front door to the Florida Botanical Gardens Foundation. We always need volunteers to work in the shop! If interested, pease contact Stacey directly.


The Garden in One Word: Oasis How do we describe our Garden in one word? At a recent meeting of our Education Committee, the word “oasis” was agreed upon. Webster Dictionary defines oasis as: “Any place or thing offering welcome relief from difficulty or dullness.” Centered in Pinellas County, the Florida Botanical Gardens provide a welcome relief from the fabric of the surrounding urban area. The Garden is one of the parks and protected lands along the McKay Creek Greenway. This Greenway and its chain of impounded water bodies extend nearly four miles from open land south of Walsingham Park to Taylor Park in the north. There are many benefits of visiting a park, especially a botanical garden. A walk in our Gardens can provide both mental and physical relief from the commotion of day-to-day obligations. Take a break from a walk to spend a few minutes in the Adirondack chairs along McKay Creek and you will observe a variety of birds and waterfowl. With good fortune and timing, you may witness the lazy passage of an alligator or the playful fishing of an otter. Is this what makes an oasis? Adjacent to the Creek, there are Gardens with stunning green plants, flowering vines, magnificent trees and more places to stop and take in the beauty of nature. Some of the flowers are so unique and beautiful, they contrast dramatically against the dullness of the surrounding concrete in the commercial world. “Research has shown that spending time in green space can lift mood and reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety (Jamie Ducharme 11/2018).” Our Garden is truly an oasis in the fabric of urban land use of Pinellas County. Come visit with us and explore, there is so much to see, learn and enjoy in this peaceful setting!


Upcoming Events at the Gardens FBGF ANNUAL MEETING Feb. 26th: 5pm This event will bring you up to date on everything we have accomplished this past year and introduce exciting things we are planning for 2019 and beyond. Our meeting will include a presentation on children’s gardens by highly acclaimed Landscape Artist, Sally Coyle, who created the recently opened Children’s Garden at Bok Tower Gardens.

FLORIDA WEST COAST ORCHID SOCIETY (FWCOS) ORCHID REPOTTING CLINIC March 23: 9am - 12pm Florida West Coast Orchid Society members will re-pot your orchids and provide you with information on orchid culture. You can watch and learn while your orchids are taken care of. All proceeds go to FWCOS to offset the cost of the materials.

4TH ANNUAL TOUR OF PUBLIC AND PRIVATE GARDENS May 5: 10am - 4pm Each year a number of gardens are selected that represent the very best in landscaping and gardening. Enjoy a delightful day visiting private and public gardens in Pinellas County. A great early Mother’s Day gift!

PUMPKIN FEST October 27th: 12-4pm Get ready for Halloween and come carve a pumpkin with us! Templates and kid-friendly carving tools will be available for use. It’s a time for fun and laughter, and children are encouraged to come in costume.

GIFT AND PLANT SALE (TBD) Dec. 7 or 8: 10am - 4pm With more than 45 vendors, this is sure to be an event you won’t want to miss. Shop from local vendors, providing tropical plants, orchids, herbs, citrus, bromeliads, begonias, unique clothing, jewelry, doggie treats, body lotions and more.

HOLIDAY LIGHTS IN THE GARDEN Nov. 29 - Dec. 31: 5:30 - 9:30pm Join us for a Pinellas County holiday tradition! The Gardens will once again sparkle in over a million LED lights. Come out and celebrate the season with us, and enjoy live entertainment and concessions. For more information on any of these events, visit:



Profile for Florida Botanical Gardens Foundation

Annual Report FY 2018  

The Florida Botanical Gardens Foundation's Annual Report for Fiscal Year 2018. Inside you will find information on the Foundation's achievem...

Annual Report FY 2018  

The Florida Botanical Gardens Foundation's Annual Report for Fiscal Year 2018. Inside you will find information on the Foundation's achievem...