The Florida Wildflower Foundation is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization whose mission is to enrich lives with Florida’s native wildflowers. With donations made with the sale of each State Wildflower license plate, the Foundation funds research, education and planting projects statewide. Since 2000, more than $2.4 million in tag donations have supported projects that build awareness and knowledge of native wildflowers and plants and their roles in Florida’s ecosystems.
To accomplish its goals, the Foundation teams with like-minded organizations, including the Florida Native Plant Society, Florida Association of Native Nurseries, Florida Federation of Garden Clubs and Florida Master Gardeners – all of which are represented on its board. It is a founding member of the Florida Native Plant Partnership and a member of the Florida Forever Coalition.
Since 2000, the Foundation has collected more than $2.5 million in donations made through the sale of the State Wildflower license tag.
To support its research efforts, the organization in 2007 established the Gary Henry Research Endowment Fund at the University of Florida, named for its first executive director. The endowment soon will support a graduate student working full-time on native wildflower research projects.
The Foundation seeks to one day establish a wildflower center that features educational exhibits and classrooms, research facilities and native wildflower and plant demonstration gardens.
Each $15 donation:
The Florida Wildflower Foundation board of directors consists of up to 15 representatives from environmental organizations and entities statewide. The board conducts business meetings four times per year, with monthly phone conferences in between.
Terry has represented the Florida Wildflower Seed and Plant Growers Association on the Foundation's board since 2007. He formerly chaired the Foundation's research committee.
He has practiced environmental law since 1984 and holds a bachelor's degree in biology and a master's degree in wildlife ecology. Prior to entering law, Terry was a biologist in governmental and private consulting firms. He served as a senior attorney for the Florida Department of Transportation's District 2 from 1992 to 2007, and spent 10 years on the Executive Council of Environmental and Land Use Law Section of the Florida Bar Association.
In 2003, he became a founding member of the Florida Wildflower Seed and Plant Growers Association. Wildflowers of Florida Inc., his Alachua County farm, produces 30 species of native wildflower seed. Terry also conducts research at the farm while maintaining a part-time environmental law practice and serving as an adjunct law professor at the University of Florida.
Lisa Roberts became the Florida Wildflower Foundation’s executive director in 2008. Under her direction, the Foundation has established the annual Florida Wildflower Symposium and the popular Seeds for Schools and La Florida Community Plantings grant programs; launched a new Website and online wildflower research literature database; developed multiple publications, including a Panhandle brochure that outlines wildflower viewing routes, and much more. Before joining the Foundation, Lisa worked at the Orlando Sentinel for many years as an editor and writer, during which she often wrote about Florida's outdoors. She is a certified Florida Master Naturalist and a member of the Florida Wildflower Foundation and Florida Native Plant Society.
Born and nurtured in the Garden State, Jeff is celebrating 33 years of good fortune to live in La Florida, the land of flowers. In addition to being State Transportation Landscape Architect for the Florida Department of Transportation, he served 10 years as an adjunct assistant professor at Florida A&M University School of Architecture.
Jeff is a founding member of the Florida Wildflower Foundation with particular interest in conservation and management of natural resources and scenic beauty. With his wife Mimi, Jeff shares an optimistic outlook on the future and its new opportunities, challenges, and rewards.
Carolyn Schaag helped found the organization and establish the State Wildflower license tag. She represents the Florida Federation of Garden Clubs on the Foundation board. She is also a member of the Foundation's Finance and Education committees.
She has served as treasurer of non-profit organizations for 38 years and on FFGC's board for 27 years. She was the group's president from 1999-2001 and served 14 years on its Executive Board and four years as treasurer.
Carolyn holds FFGC's certification as a Master Flower Show Judge, Environmental Consultant, Landscape Consultant and Gardening Consultant. She enjoys counted cross-stitch, jigsaw puzzles and travel.
Gary graduated from the University of Florida in 1971 with a Landscape Architecture degree and immediately joined the Florida Department of Transportation. During the next 30 years, he was responsible for a variety of agronomic and horticultural programs. In 1972, he began developing the department's Wildflower Program.
In 1996, he began working with the Florida Federation of Garden Clubs to establish the State Wildflower license plate, which went on sale in May 2000. Soon afterward, he became a founding member of the Foundation.
Gary, a member at large on the board, retired from FDOT in 2001 and served as the Foundation's Executive Director until January 2008. He enjoys woodworking and quilting.
Vince Lamb is a Florida native, a nature photographer and a certified Florida Master Naturalist. After a career in computer software engineering, he now spends much of his time as a volunteer for environmental organizations. Vince frequently leads field trips and organizes environmental education events. He is an active member of the Florida Native Plant Society. For more than two years, he has led efforts to maintain the native plant garden at Viera Regional Park in Brevard County. With fellow photographer Charlie Corbeil, Vince led a photography workshop at the 2011 FWF Wildflower Symposium. Vince also serves on an advisory committee for the Brevard County Environmentally Endangered Lands Program and as treasurer of the Friends of the Carr Refuge, a support organization for the Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge. His wife, daughter and grandson are often involved with Vince in outdoor activities including wildflower gardening.
Nancy Bissett is a horticulturist, restoration ecologist and botanist with The Natives Inc., a Davenport, Fla., firm offering services in consulting, ecological restoration, landscape architecture, and a native nursery. As the developer of The Natives nursery, Nancy has experimented with the propagation and growth of many natives plants, including grasses, wildflowers and rare species. She has developed techniques for restoring many upland communities, including scrub, sandhill and flatwoods, from site preparation and planting to direct-seeding native groundcovers and weed control. Nancy also has developed and enacted direct-seeding projects for state agencies, water management districts, mitigation banks, mined lands, developers and corporations. As a botanist, she has assisted with monitoring research projects for The Nature Conservancy, Florida Fish and Wildlife and others. She has performed various rare plant and vegetation surveys, and also helped federal, state and local authorities find and evaluate rare plant communities.
Michael represents the Florida Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects on the Foundation's board. He is a second-generation landscape architect specializing in design/build residential projects at Michael A. Gilkey Inc., founded by his father.
Michael received his Landscape Architecture degree from the University of Florida in 1999, and was licensed and registered in Florida in 2004. He oversees the firm's operations, including design, contracting and maintenance divisions. Most of his residential projects are certified as Florida Friendly through the University of Florida's Florida Yards and Neighborhoods program. Almost all contain butterfly gardens along with some edibles and areas for compost.
His designs have earned him the Florida Chapter ASLA's Award of Honor, the SRQ Magazine Home of the Year Award, and the Roy Rood Award from the Florida Nursery Growers and Landscape Association. A native Floridian, he lives in Sarasota with his wife, Laura, and two sons.
Anne, a native Floridian, helped create the State Wildflower license tag in 2000, through which thousands of Floridians annually make donations to support Florida's wildflowers. She also is a founding member of the Foundation, representing the Florida League of Cities. She also mentors a child in the state's Guardian ad Litem program.
Anne chaired the board from 2004 to 2009. During her tenure, the Foundation established grant programs that annually provided more than $100,000 for native wildflower research, planting and education projects statewide.
Anne is also a Master Gardener and an elder in the Presbyterian church. Her hobbies include watercolor painting, gardening and reading. She lives in Lake Weir and North Carolina with her husband, former Florida Gov. Buddy Mackay. The couple has four children and eight grandchildren.
Walter has represented the Florida Native Plant Society on the Foundation's board since 2008. A native of Kentucky, he has lived in Central Florida since joining the University of Central Florida's biology department in 1969, where he served for 35 years. In 2004, UCF named Taylor a Professor Emeritus.
He is author of The Field Guide to Florida Wildflowers (1992, Taylor Publishing Co., Dallas), Wildflowers in Their Natural Communities (1998, UPF, Gainesville), Andre Michaux in Florida, An 18th-Century Botanical Journey (2002, UPF), and A Guide to Florida Grasses (2009, UPF). His recognitions include UCF's 1999 University for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching award and the Florida Native Plant Society's 2006 Mentor Award.
Walter's hobbies include gardening, photography and playing piano and organ. He and his wife, Karin, live in Winter Park. They have one daughter, Dr. Anna Ree Taylor, Washington, DC.
Chad Washburn is the Director of Conservation and Education at the Naples Botanical Garden, where he oversees all native areas of the formal gardens and preserves, including the native wildflower meadow in the Scott Florida Garden and 90 acres of restored upland and wetland habitat. He is also responsible for the direction of the garden’s educational programming, ranging from summer camps and school gardens to adult educational courses. During the Garden's development, Chad worked closely with landscape architects to ensure incorporation of native plants throughout the design.
Chad holds a bachelor’s degree in biology from Hanover College and a Master’s degree in applied ecology from Indiana University. He is the past president and current vice president of the Naples Chapter of the Florida Native Plant Society and a 2012 recipient of the Chanticleer Scholarship for Professional Development. He spends his free-time tending his own native and edible garden with his wife and son.
Dena Wild’s career as city planner/urban designer spanned 35 years. She worked in cities throughout the country maintaining through design the character of traditional neighborhoods and commercial districts that were being affected by redevelopment. During her tenure with the City of Orlando, she was Chief Planner for Urban Design, which included overseeing the public art and historic preservation programs. She also taught urban design as a University of Central Florida adjunct professor.
Upon retirement, Dena’s focus shifted from urban design to urban horticulture. She is actively involved in educating people about all aspects of home horticulture through the Orange County Master Gardening program, speaking engagements, classes, and writing for Florida Gardening. Her civic involvement also includes being a docent for the Orlando Museum of Art, member of City of Orlando’s Historic Preservation Board, and education chair for the Central Florida Herb Society.
Dena holds a master’s degree in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of Oregon. Her urban horticulture education includes “hands-in-the-dirt” experience, post-graduate studies in landscape architecture at the University of Colorado, the Boulder and Orange County Master Gardener programs, and the University of Florida’s Best Management Practices for the Green Industry. Dena’s free time is spent in her lawn-free yard, traveling and reading.