Yay! It's the COCCOLOBA JAM!
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The Coccoloba Chapter meets on the third Thursday of each month at the
Holton Eco-Center at Unitarian Universalist Church, 13411 Shire Lane,
Fort Myers, FL 33912, which is about halfway between Six-Mile Cypress and I-75.

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Like us on Facebook: Coccoloba Chapter, Florida Native Plant Society
Inside March 2017
  • Guest Speaker
  • Follow Coccoloba happenings on the web, Facebook, & Twitter 
  • Call to Action
  • Wings of Hope
  • Site Visit Saturday
  • COC Meeting Brief
  • Chapter Activity Report
  • Annual Conference
  • Calusa Heritage Day
  • General Membership Meeting Minutes
  • Board Meeting Minutes
Follow Coccoloba happenings on the web, Facebook, & Twitter! 
Check out Coccoloba's website for up-to-date information on chapter events (  Like us on Facebook (type in Coccoloba Chapter, Florida Native Plant Society) and follow us on Twitter (@FNPSCoccoloba) to join the conversation!
Interested in getting more involved? Contact us: 
President:  Martha Grattan - 239.247.1566;
Vice President:  Marlene Rodak - 239.273.8945;
Treasurer:  Kara Tyler-Julian - 813.785.5730;
Secretary:  Barb Forster;
Director: Jim Rodwell - 239.565.7437;
Director Emeritus: Dick Workman
State Chapter/Council of Chapters Rep:  Ben Johnson;
Jam Newsletter Editor: Miss Isabella Peedle 
FGCU Native Plant Club Liaison: Miss Isabella Peedle 
Katie Schulman

March Speaker

Katie Schulman

Growing up camping and hiking often with her family, Katie developed her love for the outdoors. Building her education through an Environmental Studies in high school and then FGCU's Environmental Studies, she dreams of becoming part of the team of scientists dedicated to preserving Florida's ecosystem. Her experience as an intern at Naples Botanical Garden for four years fed her desire to make sure that tillandsia in Florida do not go locally extinct. She ultimately hopes to work with the park service as a park ranger and eventually become a Park Biologist.


Her Talk:

Florida is home to the giant airplant, Tillandsia utriculata, an often overlooked, but essential resource to multiple South Florida ecosystems. T. utriculata, as well as other tillandsia with large tanks, act as a steady and reliable wet ecosystem for many amphibians, insects, and microorganisms year-round (Cooper, 2008); some species that have co-evolved with the giant air plant are so specialized that they are only found living in the tanks of the giant air plant (Frank and Fish, 2008; Frank et al. 2004). Unfortunately, the introduced species Metamasius callizona, is quickly destroying Florida's large Tillansdia species. The larvae eat and destroy the meristem, the place at which new growth takes place in a plant. (Salas and Frank, 2001). Once the meristem is destroyed, the plant dies, along with the organisms that depend on the air plant (Cooper et al., 2014). There have been multiple efforts by researchers at the University of Florida, local South Florida botanical gardens, and affected state parks to find a way to prevent the total loss of large native Tillandsia.
Top: Adult of Metamasius callizona (Chevrolat), the Mexican bromeliad weevil. Photograph by J. L. Castner, University of Florida.
Bottom left: Adult Metamasius mosieri Barber, the Florida bromeliad weevil. Photograph by P.M. Choate, University of Florida. 
Bottom right:Color pattern of the adult silky cane weevil, Metamasius hemipterus sericeus (Olivier). Photograph by Robin M. Giblin-Davis, University of Florida.

Action Alert!  

Contact Your Representative And Ask Them to Support HB 761

Important legislation that would help protect the Indian River Lagoon and Pine Island Sound estuaries, while advancing Everglades restoration, has been introduced in both the Florida Senate and House of Representatives.  While the Senate bill (SB 10) is advancing, the House bill (HB 761) has stalled with no show of support from members of the House.

Please contact your Representative to let them know you support this important legislation, and you want them to support it too.


Every year, the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee Rivers discharge nutrient-enriched water from Lake Okeechobee into the downstream Pine Island Sound and Indian River Lagoon estuaries.  The polluted water causes severe algae blooms that are destroying seagrass beds and other estuarine plant communities, killing manatees, fish and other wildlife.  While these estuaries are being choked with pollution, the Everglades and downstream Florida Bay are being starved of fresh water.
The Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP) is all about restoring the altered water flows.  CERP was authorized by Congress more than 15 years ago, and one of the approved projects calls for construction of a reservoir south of Lake Okeechobee that would purify the lake water before it drains into the estuaries, while directing more clean water into the Everglades and Florida Bay.
The degradation of the estuaries has reached a crisis stage.  Last year, Governor Scott declared a state of emergency in response to the destruction.  Although CERP calls for work on the reservoir to begin in 2021, it cannot be delayed any longer.  Bills filed in the Florida Senate and House would expedite this critical project.  Although the Senate is showing broad support for SB 10, the House is refusing to consider HB 761 and may not even schedule the bill for a hearing by the House Natural Resources and Public Lands Subcommittee.
The reservoir project will be expensive; however, as an approved part of CERP, half the funding would come from the Federal government.  And Florida can afford its share, thanks to the passage of Amendment 1 by the voters several years ago – if the legislature would respect the will of the people and spend those funds as the voters intended.
Florida is facing a crisis.  The environmental and economic impacts resulting from destruction of the estuaries were the reason the Governor declared a state of emergency.  While the grassbeds and fisheries die, surrounding residents and business are watching their quality of life and local economy decline.


Please call your Representative and tell them this project cannot wait until 2021 because the stakes are too high.  Ask them to support HB 761 and to consider serving as a co-sponsor.  About half the members of the Florida House of Representatives are new to the job and they need to hear from us.   If you do not have contact information for your Representative, it is available by clicking on your Representatives name at:

If you are unsure who your current Representative is, you can find out at:

The contact information provided includes both local and Tallahassee phone numbers, a link to their email, and the address of both their local and Tallahassee offices.  Nothing is more powerful than a face-to-face meeting with a constituent, so try to arrange a meeting in their local office if you are able.  If you cannot act before Monday March 3, then contact then through their Tallahassee office.

Never Say Goodbye Event

FGCU Wings of Hope Honored Guest Jim Fowler Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom March 31st—Friday—2pm Cohen Center—247 Jim Fowler has been a tireless educator, advocate and spokesman for wildlife and conservation all over the world. Best-known as co-host, and later host, of the pioneering wildlife television series, “Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom.” Fowler has dedicated his life to finding new ways to help people understand that the continued existence of wildlife and wilderness is important to quality of human life.
Joining the event will be Tina Osceola and Bryce Osceola, members of the Florida Seminole Tribe Panther Clan. The Seminoles have always viewed themselves, as humans, as equally a part of the environment as any other creature and have a deep respect for nature. FGCU Wings of Hope Program Limited seating: Please—RSVP to Ricky Pires at
(No animals will be present at the event, they need to be in their natural habitat)
Site Visit: On Saturday, March 18 at 10 am, we will visit the littoral demonstration planting we installed last year at Island Park Village. Please contact Ben Johnson for more information.

FNPS Council of Chapters Brief

Submitted by Ben Johnson, Chapter Representative

14 Attendees
1. Reviewed Website/Forum tools and resources 
2. Education/Outreach volunteer hours has been divided into two different categories:
    a. Education/outreach organization - organizer (volunteer hours)
    b. Education hours for attendees - members AND non-members attending chapter meeting or other    outreach activity (education participation hours) 
3. 2016 Volunteer hours for each chapter has been posted on the forum 
4.Reviewed draft of Chapter Representative Duties and Expectations
5. Suggested orientation/training for new chapter representatives, possibly a powerpoint and/or video tutorial, and face to face sessions maybe twice a year
 6. Nominating committee has one possible candidate to replace Dave Feagles as council director. Still looking for other possible candidates. Nominations by Mar 22, and an online vote by April 29. 
To see the full minutes check the forum on the FNPS website.

Chapter Activity Report 

Coccoloba members have really stepped up! With strong member activity, we were able to promote native plants at a whopping SIX DAYS/EVENTS in a single week. Isn't that amazing!? In addition to the weekly Koreshan State Historic Site Farmers Market and Native Plant Sale, the FGCU Native Plant Club is participating in the FGCU Farmers Market. We are delighted to help these young adults fulfill their mission. Isabella Peedle and James Javauski are working the FGCU Farmers Market every other week, Barbara Forster and Ben Johnson held a plant sale at Matanzas Pass' Visions of the Past event. Kara Tyler-Julian staffed a plant sale table at Butterfly Estates' Butterflies and Blossoms Festival. Finally, Fred Geist manned a table during Senior Day at the Lee County Fair. WHEW! It was certainly a busy week not only volunteering for these plant sales, but buying appropriate plants to support these members! 

Meanwhile, at Koreshan State Historic Site we are continuing to monitor the endangered Asclepias curtissii (Curtiss' milkweed) populations. We are excited to see new plants springing to life! The lupines have also been dazzling us with their beautiful displays of blue flowers. We're hoping to collect seeds to propagate more areas of the park. 

An impromptu conversation with a bright young park volunteer resulted in us applying for a monitoring/collecting permit for bromeliads. Katie Schulman is passionate about protecting our native tillandsia from the Metamasius callizona weevil and we are delighted to help her. Plans are underway to build a bromeliad cage at the Koreshan nursery for treating and protecting these air plants. At Florida Park Service's request, we applied for a permit (as we did with the A. curtissii).

Coccoloba members also participated in a home landscape visit on Saturday followed by a plant ID at Lakes Library to ID plants for signage.

We would love to have you involved in some of these activities. There is something for everyone! Working plant sales or participating in a workday or even just picking up and delivering native plants is a great way to learn more about our wonderful Florida native plants. We are currently working on a few plantings, too. If you want to get involved, just drop us a note or call us. 

As always, thank you so much for your support.

On behalf of The Coccoloba Chapter of the Florida Native Plant Society, 
Marlene Rodak, Vice President

The 37th Annual Conference of the Florida Native Plant Society will be held in the heart of Florida, and central to the largest river restoration project in the world! The Kissimmee River restoration, a joint project by the US Army Corps of Engineers and the South Florida Water Management District, is designed to restore the complex relationships between land, wildlife, water and climate that were torn apart when the river was channelized in 1962. Before channelization, the river was a haven for native plants and wildlife, but afterwards many species of birds, fish and plants were lost, creating havoc on our economy and our environment. The restoration project to restore the river to its natural path is nearly half complete, and already  much of the original flora and fauna have returned and the water quality is improving.

This year’s conference addresses those connections that are so important to the Kissimmee River Basin and beyond. What can we learn from the negative impact of the channelization, and the surprisingly quick recovery that has followed the restoration? What more needs to be done?  How can the lessons learned in the Kissimmee River Basin be applied to other areas of Florida, the country and the world?

The venue will be the Westgate River Ranch Resort. This upscale dude ranch is in the heart of Florida, just south of SR 60 and south of Lake Kissimmee.  
View your resort options and make your reservation now!
Our room blocks are filling fast!
(If you experience issues booking your lodging, please report it to We can help.)

Wednesday, May 17 - onsite registration begins
Thursday, May 18 - Field trips and workshops
Friday, May 19 - Speakers and workshops
Saturday, May 20 - Speakers and workshop
Sunday, May 21 - Field trips

Program Highlights
Our speakers will address environmental connections that are known, broken, restored, and newly discovered. These include University of British Columbia professor, Dr. Susan Simard’s research on “How Trees Talk.” We will hear from Florida experts Steven Bousquin, project manager of the Kissimmee River Restoration Evaluation Program, Dr. Thomas Lodge on the ecology of the Everglades, and Dr. Tonya Clayton, on sea level rise in Florida..
Other speakers will provide insight into specific habitats, flora and fauna, such as Roger Hammer on the Wildflowers of the Kissimmee Valley, Dr. Alan Franck on fungi in Florida, Dr. Paul Gray on the connection between the decline of the Florida Grasshopper Sparrow and the loss of native habitat, and Connie Caldwell on pine rockland post-burn restoration.

Learning about these issues requires that we also address how we respond to them:
  • Dr. Susan Carr will discuss floristic variation across the landscape of pyrogenic pinelands of Florida.
  • Todd Hopkins of the Peninsular Florida Landscape Conservation Cooperative will define Landscape-Scale Conservation Targets for Florida.  
  • Dr. Craig Huegel will discuss creating wildlife habitat in developed landscapes that creates connections with natural areas.    
  • Eugene Kelly and Sue Mullins will  talk about becoming effective advocates for the environment through public policy.  
  • Nicole Cribbs and Wendy Poag will talk about implementing native plant education programs by FNPS Chapters
  • Juliet Rynear will provide information on FNPS initiatives in conservation, restoration and citizen science and about the FNPS conservation grants.
  • Results of research on Florida native plants will be presented.
Field Trips
Field trips will further our education by taking participants to see parts of the Kissimmee River Restoration in different phases of restoration. We will visit some of the vast array of ecosystems that connect in central Florida to form a long natural corridor from north to south through the center of Florida.  These include ancient scrubs, dry prairies, swamps, and flatwoods.   Many of these provide important habitats for rare plants and animals. We will have trips that will let people see good land management practices and environmental stewardship on some of our working agricultural lands.

Calusa Heritage Day

The Randell Research Center in Pineland will be hosting Calusa Heritage Day on Saturday, March 25th, 10:00 am-4:00 pm. If any Coccoloba Chapter members are welcome to help by volunteering for a couple of hours to help with the ethnobotany table. There will be native plants on display with information on their use by the Calusa people. During the day there will be activities, presentations, tours and exhibitions in which volunteers can participate. For more information on Calusa Heritage Day, call 239-283-2062.
Kahla Gentry, Randell Research Center volunteer

Phone: 865-223-8243

Membership Meeting Minutes 

Coccoloba Chapter of the Florida Native Plant Society

Thursday, February 16, 2017
Barbara Forster, Secretary
Attendance for program and for the meeting-16

Martha Grattan, President, introduced Dee Serage Century, Environmental Educator for the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation, who gave an interesting discussion on her observations and work with bees/pollinators on Sanibel and then provided examples and information about the human uses of native plants from the past to the present.

Ben Johnson provided information and example of the native Porterweed for the plant of the month and it was auctioned off along with many other donated plants.  The total was $76.

Martha opened the business meeting and asked Kara Tyler-Julian for the treasurer report. She reported $10,380.83 in the bank account.

Martha presented the slate of candidates for the board positions and asked for a motion to accept the slate:

  • Martha Grattan, President
  • Marlene Rodak, Vice President
  • Kara Tyler-Julian, Treasurer
  • Barbara Forster, Secretary
  • Jim Rodwell, Director
  • Ben Johnson, Council of Chapters Representative
  • Isabella Peedle-Newsletter Editor
  • Dick Workman, Advisor

A motion was made to accept the slate by Lucy Breitung and seconded by James Javaruski and was passed unanimously.

Martha then announced her intention to resign from her position at the end of March allowing time for a replacement candidate to be found.

Martha asked Marlene Rodak, Vice President for reports on the current projects.

She discussed that the plant sales/education at the farmers market continue doing well.

She also discussed that planting began at the Cutting Horse project in Bonita Springs.  

Koreshan plants will be available to Isabella and James for the FGCU Native Plant Club farmers market sale on February 28.

She reported that the Deana of the Food and Thought establishment is interested in selling native plants obtained through our organization at her place in the future.

Marlene also discussed that new funding is not needed at this time so Ben has not researched sources.

Marlene asked for volunteers to check the planting site at Fort Myers Middle Academy.  Barbara and Ana Clavero will arrange a day to visit.

Ben asked all members to turn in any volunteer hours that have not been recorded on the Koreshan log.

Isabella Peedle reported the next FGCU native plant society meeting will be Feb. 22.

Marlene reported a request for a yard visit from Graham Scott and the society is looking at March 4 to provide it. She will participate along with Ben, Lucy, Gregg, Kara and Barb.  

Marlene discussed upcoming events:

  • FNPS retreat that Ben will attend.

  • Next WETPLAN class will be March 16, 1-3 at the Holton Eco Preserve site

  • Visions of the Past on Fort Myers Beach Feb 25, 9-1- Ben and Barb

  • Butterflies and Blooms at the Butterly Estate on Sat/Sun Feb 25-26 from 8-5- Kara

  • Northwest Library-Martha

  • We have been asked to participate in the Senior Day event at the Lee county Senior Center on March 1.

Marlene discussed the purchase of the Edison Farms by Lee County for the 20/20 conservation program. The members voted unanimously to endorse a resolution of support.

Martha asked for any new business:

Lucy asked for a site visit to the Lakes Library to identify the native plants there so that the library can place permanent identifying markers for them. Ben agreed to coordinate it with her.   

There being no other new business Martha asked for a motion to adjourn the meeting.  Mark Miller made the motion, Kara seconded it and it was unanimously voted to adjourn.

The Coccoloba Chapter of the Florida Native Plant Society Board Meeting Minutes

March 9, 2017
Board:  Martha Grattan, Kara Tyler-Julian, Barb Forster, Ben Johnson, Jim Rodwell, Isabella Peedle, Dick Workman (adviser), and Marlene Rodak. Jim, Isabella, Kara and Dick were absent.

Agenda Items:

Treasurer’s Report: (Kara) Marlene gave a report on the processes. They are good now with two sets of eyes on the finances. Marlene makes the deposits and pays many bills. Kara is entering it into Quickbooks and paying the sales tax. Kara also files regulatory forms.
Board Positions: Who will replace Martha? We may need to continue without a President until we find the right person.
Site Visits:
Annette Baynard? A week from Saturday at 10 am March 18. Marlene will sent a note to her.
Graham Scott? Lisa Kreiger put him in touch with the proper county person. 
Koreshan Status: (Marlene, Barb)
Business is good. Milkweed and lupine monitoring is going well.
Katie Schulman is the new Tillandsia Princess. One crate is there. The other is on its way. Marlene will take her shopping for the remaining material for the cage. Marlene submitted the permit application for monitoring.
We should add a Rainbird at some time to provide varying irrigation zones. With the current battery-powered one, we have limited capabilities.
Newsletter: should come out by the 7th of each month. Then we should send meeting reminder the Sunday prior to the meeting.
Cutting Horse Planting: We have a golf cart there and the ditch planting went well. The golf cart is charged with solar energy.  And, we have a bathroom. Marlene is working up the invoice for the plants and will get the payment from Dave Liccardi.
FNPS Connections Conference: (Marlene, Ben) Do we want to sponsor this event? Do we want to participate in the native plant sale? Let’s take a chapter vote.
FGCU Native Plant Club: (Belle) The next meeting is Wednesday March 21 from 7-8 pm. Rick Argo is the speaker.
FGCU Farmers Market:  (Belle) Next sale dates are Mar 14 and 28, 10 am to 2 pm. Board supported. Belle and James are pursuing. Martha has the plants and the plant-sale-in-a-box for it.
Food and Thought/Deana: They are working on growing plants and selling them. 
Funding:  Scott’s? Cutting Horse? Holton? Bill Petrarca at Holton has asked for assistance with grant funding.
Fort Myers Middle Academy Workday:  We are working at setting a date for a workday. The project looks pretty good, but the far section looks like it needs some flowering plants. Barbara and Ana are working on setting a date for a workday.
Volunteer Hours: (Ben) Please provide if you haven’t. The spreadsheet is available as a Google document.
“Passion for Public Lands: Empowering Stewardship” (Ben) will be presented by the Education and Outreach Committee at the Conference. The PowerPoint presentation can be downloaded from the forum, and tailored for individual regions if anyone wants to use it.
Past events:
Plant Sales
Graham Scott yard visit: (Ben)
Picnic: Koreshan activity: bee boxes
Upcoming Events:
WETPLAN Class, Thursday, March 16, 1-3
FWF votes FNPS Organization of the Year
Northwest Library display (Martha
Wings of Hope, March 31 at 2 pm
Other events??
Rotary Park Workday with IFAS
Saturday, April 22nd Plant sale at Riverside Park in Bonita Springs -- volunteers
Plant of the month for March: Lyonia lucida (fetterbush) April: chain fern
See you next month at 6 pm. Since KJs has gotten so noisy with the band playing, we are going to meet at Crispers near Daniels and US-41.
Respectfully submitted by Marlene Rodak
To see the newsletter visit www.
Comments about the newsletter?  Not displaying correctly? Wrong email address?  Please let Isabella Peedle (newsletter editor) know at:
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Florida Native Plant Society, Coccoloba Chapter · P.O. Box 61432 · Fort Myers, FL 33906-1432 · USA

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