- Monthly Meeting- Nature Coast Chapter: (public invited)

Tuesday, November 9, 2021

7PM- Land O' Lakes Community Center

5401 US 41/Land O' Lakes Blvd.,

Land O' Lakes, Florida

Bluebirds - 2012 to 2020: What We Now Know.

Henry David Thoreau described the bluebird as “carrying the sky on its back.”  Unfortunately these colorful birds have been in decline for decades due to loss of habitat, loss of nesting sites and pesticide use in orchards.  This presentation will explain the West Pasco Audubon Bluebird Project which provides nest boxes and educates the public about how to help the bluebird thrive.  Through the monitoring of the nest boxes in various Pasco locations the project provides statistical evidence of how the local bluebird population is now doing . 

Mike Kell, has been a member of the West Pasco Audubon since 2006, has been a board member and is the Vice President of Education. He has been running the Bluebird Project since 2012 and currently is webmaster for the web site. Mike has been a past field trip leader and will begin teaching a Beginning Birding class in the fall. His Life List of birds seen is at 266 species. Mike and his wife, Laurie, have added several native plants to their yard over the years as the result of their association with the Florida Native Plant Society.

Please wear a mask.




Field Trips:





Behind the Scenes Tour of the Rare Plant Conservation Program at Bok Tower Gardens

NOTE: (If you plan on attending this trip you must sign up and pay in advance.)

Date and Time: Saturday, November 13, 10:00 a.m. Rain or shine.

Location: Bok Tower Gardens, 1151 Tower Blvd, Lake Wales, FL 33853 

Field Trip Leader: Cheryl Peterson, Manager of the Rare Plant Conservation 

Program at Bok Tower Gardens


There will be a sign up sheet at the November meeting or contact 

raclayton01@yahoo.com or text 813-416-5672 

Cost: $12 person, paid in advance.  Pay Jonnie before the field trip at one of the meetings or call Jonnie 813-435-8143.

Carpooling is encouraged. (There will be a sign up sheet for drivers and rides at the meetings)

Wear good walking shoes, a hat, sunscreen.

Lunch is offered at the Blue Palmetto Cafe or bring your own.  Outdoor seating is available at several locations in the Gardens.   


Through an integrated conservation program of propagation, reintroduction, monitoring and management, Bok Tower Gardens has helped to conserve 64 rare Central and North Florida plant species, part of the National Collection of endangered and threatened plants. Of this collection, 29 are federally-listed and 35 are state-listed as endangered or threatened native flora.

Bok Tower Gardens is one of the 39 institutions that participate in the CENTER FOR PLANT CONSERVATION (CPC). The CPC is a national coalition dedicated to conserving and restoring the rare native plants of the United States of America. National Collection plants are housed in a network of participating institutions as living plants and stored seed. Approximately 64 of Florida’s rarest plant species are housed at Bok Tower Gardens. Living material is carefully collected from the wild and maintained in one or more of the 60 endangered planting beds. Seeds are stored within the facilities at Bok Tower Gardens, or within cryogenic, long-term storage facilities at the National Center for Genetic Resources Preservation in Fort Collins, Colorado. The National Collection provides material for establishing new populations and for collaborating researchers and educators, which serves as a buffer against extinction.  Cheryl will lead a behind the scenes tour of the research areas the National Collection Beds, storage areas and endangered plant garden.

(Copy/Paste the link to view a YouTube video of Cheryl in the National Collection Beds)


More info about their conservation program. 


Cheryl Peterson has been the Manager of the Rare Plant Conservation Program since 2002. She has a BA in Botany and Microbiology and a Master degree in Cell and Molecular Biology.  Her previous research involved biodiversity and genetics of marine invertebrates, and studying the Florida endemic mint genus Conradina.  At Bok Tower Gardens she works to establish new populations of rare species, including Scrub Lupine, Florida Goldenaster, Brooksville Bellflower, Clasping Warea and Savanna Mint onto protected lands. Her other current projects include Sandhill and Scrub restoration, analyzing the genetic structure and placement of rare plant species, microhabitat and breeding system studies, plant-soil interactions, insect pollinator and predator studies, population demography and climate change impacts, rare plant rescues, and maintaining the nationally recognized repository for safeguarding Florida’s rare plant germplasm as part of the Center for Plant Conservation.  In 2011 she was awarded a Media for Individual Achievement in horticulture from the Florida Federation of Garden Clubs, the Preserving Polk Award in 2017 and the SIVB Service Award in 2019.  Her Rare Plant Conservation Program was named the 2011 Regional Recovery Champion by at the Southeast region of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and won the 2014 Livable Polk Award for regional conservation efforts, the 2017 International Botanic Gardens Conservation International Global Seed Conservation award, and the 2018 Preserving Polk for Regional Conservation. 

There are many other things to see and do while you are at Bok Tower Gardens.  There will be a live Singing Tower carillon concert at 1:00 and 3:00 pm. There are two short nature trails in the long leaf pine and turkey oak habitats:


And of course there are also the historic landscape gardens to explore.




1151 Tower Blvd, Lake Wales, FL 33853

From SR56 go to I75 and head south,  keeping left at the fork to stay on I75S and follow signs for Naples I4 for 11 miles.  Take exit 261 for I4 toward Orlando. Stay on I4 for 18 miles and then use the right 2 lanes to take exit 27 for FL-570 toward Lakeland/Winter Haven  (This is a toll road.)  Go 8.3 miles and then take exit 10 and turn right onto US98S/Bartow Rd. Continue to follow US98 for 7.5 miles.  Turn left on E. Van Fleet Dr.  Then  turn right onto FL60/E Van Fleet Dr. (signs for Lake Wales/Vero Beach) and travel 16 miles. Turn left onto Lake Shore Blvd. and go 1.6 miles to Tower Road. In 2.4 miles will be the entrance.  

Questions?  Contact Becky Clayton raclayton01@yahoo.com or text 813-416-5672.Becky Clayton

Becky Clayton





November 6th, 10-4. Pasco Upcycle & Arts Festival at Sims Park in Downtown New Port Richey - Grand Blvd and Bank Street. The Pasco Upcycle & Arts Festival is presented by Covanta. The event features a variety of upcycle vendors and artists selling items such as jewelry made from spoons, repurposed furniture and decor made of pallets. Farmer’s Market vendors, plant sales and food trucks will also be available. Live bands will be providing entertainment.


 For more information about the Pasco Upcycle & Arts Festival, call 727.834.3611 or e-mail info@keeppascobeautiful.org.




To All Native Plant Chapter Members:  As you have heard, our holiday event will again be held at Starkey Park as it was last year.  And , again, I will be in charge of the raffle.  Please consider donating an item for this raffle.  We had a wonderful assortment of items last year that provided a lot of fun, trying to win a special item!  The items can consist of nature items ( photos, statues, wall hangings, quilts, etc.), jewelry, garden art, tools (I have ordered and received two very popular garden tools from last year's raffle, the cobra head "digger"-- a short handle one and one with a long handle), gift cards, gardening T-shirts with funny sayings, and on and on.  The reason I am sending this out is that I would like many of you to bring your item to the November meeting so I can have it ready to go in December.  You can bring it to my home if you will not be able to attend the meeting or I can meet you somewhere.  Or just bring it to the December holiday party.  Thanks to everyone for making the raffle a very fun event!


Mary Ellen