Real Plants Florida
Growing, planting and promoting
Florida native plants for sustainable landscapes.
Gardeners & Homeowners
Visit PlantRealFlorida.org

FANN Announces 2021 Board of Directors

FANN is pleased to announce our 2021 Board of Directors elected by FANN members during an election that concluded on December 4th.

Thank you again to our awesome Nominating Committee chaired by Eddie McKeithen.

TurleyBruce-Headshot-2018-2x2

Bruce Turley, Past President
Owner of Wilcox Nursery & Landscape
FANN Board member since 2009
40+ years of experience in the horticulture and landscape industry

Bruce has been with Wilcox Nursery and Landscape since October 15, 1977, working in all phases of retail nursery management, production and sales as well as landscape consultation, design, and installation. He began as an employee and later bought out the company. Bruce provides significant community outreach service on native plants and landscaping. He has designed and supported numerous community sustainability projects including small wetland, upland, and coastal dune restorations, park and school projects, municipality work, residential (multi and single family), small commercial, and LEED projects among others.

Bruce has previously served as a commissioner on the City Beautiful Commission for the City of St. Petersburg including chairing the city beautification and environmental awards program, served on the advisory council for the Pinellas County Co-operative Extension Commercial Horticulture program, and the board of the Pinellas Chapter of the Florida Native Plant Society. Bruce’s projects have variously been awarded multiple water management district waterwise awards as well as City of St. Petersburg landscape awards.

Bruce is the founder and president of the Native Plant Horticulture Foundation.

Bruce has degrees from Florida State University and the University of South Florida (Tampa). Areas of study included business, visual arts and liberal arts.

EvansJenny-Headshot-2020-2x2

Jenny Evans, President
Native Landscapes & Adult Education Director, Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation
FANN Board member since 2009
15 + years of experience in native plant horticulture and landscape 17+ years in environmental education and nonprofits

Jenny’s love of nature and plants began during her childhood in the foothills and farmlands of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia. Carrying that fondness forward, she earned a B.S. in Biology with a double major in Theatre from Mary Washington College and a graduate degree in Public Garden Management from Cornell University.
As the Native Landscapes and Adult Education Director, she has had an opportunity to blend many of her passions, including conservation, horticulture, and education.  Prior to joining SCCF in 2005, Jenny had experience in a variety of non-profits, ranging from botanical gardens in Washington state and Washington D.C., as well as environmental education organizations in Florida and the Bahamas.
Jenny is a member of the Coccoloba chapter of the Florida Native Plant Society and serves on the Lee County Roadway Landscape Advisory Committee & the Lee County Extension Service Horticultural Advisory Board. In her spare time, Jenny enjoys seeing live music with her husband Jeff and son Cassidy.

McKeithenEddie-Headshot-2019-2x2

Eddie McKeithen, President-Elect
Owner, McKeithen Growers
FANN Board member since 2010
35 years in horticulture, landscape, environmental restoration

Eddie McKeithen founded McKeithen Growers in 1995, and has experience in horticulture, landscaping, wetland & habitat restoration, and growing native trees. Eddie is a native Floridian and has become an expert in the landscape and horticulture industry. His prior professional experience included co-owning Sun Bay Nursery, working as a manager at Treehouse Nursery, a project estimator at Horticultural Systems, and owning ELM Environmental (which later consolidated into McKeithen Growers).
Eddie is a member of FNGLA.
Eddie has a B.S. in Forestry and Geology, University of the South (Sewanee).

GriffithJanine-Headshot-2017-2x2

Janine Griffiths, Vice President
Owner, Green Thumb
FANN Board member since 2016
20 years in horticulture and landscape

A fourth-generation gardener and landscape designer, Janine purchased Green Thumb Inc., an interior plant maintenance and fine gardening service specializing in rose gardens, in 2006. Janine’s experience spans from working for the family’s Homestead nursery since childhood to working with high-end interior plantscape companies in New York City to local native and specialty nurseries in Broward County. Green Thumb seeks to use natural, environmentally safe and non-impactful methods of garden management and pest control protocols. Janine uses both native and “Florida-friendly” plants to satisfy client landscape goals.

Janine has been serving as FANN’s Education Committee Chair and has launched a Certification Team to address credentialing of native plant professionals. She is a committed volunteer Broward County Master Gardener (2003) and became a certified Master Naturalist by the University of Florida in 2012. Other professional certifications include:  FNGLA Certified Horticulture Technician in 2015; ISA Certified Arborist in 2016; and FNGLA Certified Landscape Designer in 2017.  Janine is a member of the Florida Native Plant Society, Coontie Chapter (Broward County).

Janine has a master’s degree in sociology from the Florida Atlantic University.

 

Jason Mize Photography | www.jasonmizephotography.com

Chris Holly, Treasurer 
Chief Operating Officer, Sandhill
FANN Board member since 2015
10+ years of experience in horticulture and environmental restoration

Chris is the COO at Sandhill Native Growers and oversees the daily operations of the Sandhill group of companies. Chris has past work experience in a retail garden center and most recently working for the past 12 years at Sandhill. Alongside serving as the treasurer for FANN, he also serves on FNGLA Landscape Show Committee.
Chris maintains an ISA certified arborist license.
Chris, along with his wife and three children, enjoy traveling and getting outside as much as possible. He is slowly but surely turning his entire family into mini farmers and native plant enthusiasts

Chris has a B.S. in Ornamental Horticulture from the University of Cincinnati.

 

SpringerTroy-Headshot-2019-2x2

Troy Springer, Secretary
Founder and Owner, Springer Environmental Services
FANN board member since 2015
28 years of experience in landscape design, installation & maintenance

Troy began rural farm and ranch mowing and tractor work at a young age and continued in the green industry until founding Springer Environmental Services in 2005, with an emphasis on eco-friendly landscape practices. Most projects use 100% native plants, with combined native plant use of over 95% on all projects. Troy is particularly known for building high end wildflower meadows and has developed his own techniques for building and maintaining them. A high percentage of annual sales are maintaining high end landscapes in both residential and commercial properties. Maintenance projects range from urban landscapes, to restoring natural areas for private landowners. Springer Environmental Services’ design build projects range from small installations under $5000.00 to projects over $100,000. Some of the most notable projects have no irrigation systems installed. Troy has been active in the Florida Native Plant Society for over fifteen years, including both his local Suncoast Chapter and serving on the society’s state board, chaired the FNPS 2012 annual conference in Plant City, and received a Green Palmetto Award from FNPS for service.

CaballeroPatty-Headshot-2019-2x2

Patty Caballero, Director at Large 
Cultivation Supervisor, Grow Healthy
FANN board member since 2019
6 years of experience in horticulture production

Patty has followed a not-uncommon irregular path to her career in native plant horticulture. After a decade-long stint selling residential real estate in Lake County, Florida, through the 2008 recession, and disheartened by the over-building of developments and rapid urban sprawl encroaching natural areas surrounding greater Orlando, Patty made a career change in 2014. She started as volunteer, and later as preserve management intern, at the Disney Wilderness Preserve for The Nature Conservancy. Patty assisted with surveying, mapping, treating invasive plants, as well as prescribed fire. She learned several aspects of the preservation and restoration of natural habitats in the Central Florida area. In 2015, Patty maintained the Florida native gardens installed at Bok Tower Gardens by The Natives. Her curiosity and enthusiasm for native plants solidified as she cared for wetland, wetland prairie, flatwood, and sandhill species maturing in that patch of the gardens. This led to her working as Nursery Manager for FANN founding member The Natives in Davenport. Patty is now employed at Grow Healthy, a medical cannabis company.

A native of Peru, Patty came to the U.S. a teen. An energetic trail runner and mountain bicyclist, she spends most of her spare time chasing single track trails through Central Florida’s state parks, preserves, and wilderness management areas. Patty spent a couple of years hiking and backpacking through parts of Central America, Western Europe, and Southeast Asia; mainly to see how the other half lives and manages their natural lands. She brings a broad range of experiences and an all-inclusive frame of reference. Patty knows that we must eagerly invite and welcome a diverse audience to become our colleagues, leaders and employees.
Patty received a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Maryland Institute College of Art, with a minor in Ancient Art History in 2000.

 

GodtsMarc-Headshot2-2020-2x2

Marc Godts, Director at Large
Owner, Green Isle Gardens Nursery
30+ years of experience in horticulture
NEW to FANN board in 2021

Marc is an experienced grower and designer, with experience managing landscape installation and maintenance. Before focusing strictly on native plants, he spent 20 years working as the general manager of a large landscape construction firm in Orlando. Marc’s favorite work is planting and maintaining natural areas for wildlife.  His favorite fun is enjoying natural areas and photographing wildlife, both in Florida and elsewhere.

Marc has been a member for 30+ years of the Florida Native Plant Society (FNPS), and volunteers on rare plant rescues and surveys.  He received FNPS “Green Palmetto” awards for public service in 2009 and 2015 and was awarded the 2016 FNPS Landscape Design Award for Excellence for his concept in residential landscape design for the Turnipseed home in The Villages.

 

HealySkip-Headshot-2020-2x2

Skip Healy, Director at Large
Owner, Change of Greenery
10 years in horticulture and landscape
NEW to FANN board in 2021

Skip began learning about horticulture from his grandfather and has long had a keen interested in sustainable native and edible landscapes. Before starting his own company, Skip did interiorscaping in Sarasota, worked as Assistant Grower and in landscapes at Rock City Nursery in Vero Beach, and worked in nursery roles at Maple Street Natives Nursery (longtime FANN member) and Rockledge Gardens (new FANN member). While at college, he worked at the Plant & Soil Sciences Buildings Greenhouse as Assistant Greenhouse manager and interned at Walt Disney World twice, once under the Horticulture Department, and once in Epcot’s The Land Hydroponic Greenhouses.

Skip has a B.S. in Agribusiness with a horticulture concentration from Mississippi State University.

 

Rockledge Gardens Headshots

Liz Lark-Riley, Director at Large
Managing Director at Rockledge Gardens
7 years in horticulture and landscape
NEW to FANN board in 2021

Liz has a background in the performing arts and worked as a theater director prior to graduate school when she moved into administration. Liz began her horticulture career as the Events and Marketing Director for Rockledge Gardens in 2013 and assumed her current role as Managing Director in July of 2019, where she strives to be a leader who creates the most supportive, challenging, and fun work environment possible for her team. Liz is an FNGLA Certified Horticulture Professional.
Liz has a BA in Drama/Communications and a Master’s in Performing Arts Administration.

 

LavoroAlyssa-Headshot-2019-2x2

Alyssa Lavoro, Director at Large
Alexander Landscaping
FANN board member since 2015

Alyssa is a South Florida native that had the privilege of growing up on her dad’s plant nursery in Davie, Alexander Landscaping and Plant Farm. She always enjoyed plants and the farm lifestyle with chickens, goats and horses growing up, but over the years has become focused on native plants and sustainability to live up to her father’s original motto: Growing for a Greener Planet. Alyssa started her career as a teacher and has taught at Pembroke Pines Charter FSU Elementary on and off for the past ten years.

Alyssa serves as Vice President and Treasurer for the Native Plant Horticulture Foundation.

 

LummusJess-Headshot-2020-2x2

Jessica “Jess” Lummus, Director at Large
Sales Manager, Sebastian River Farms
20 years in horticulture and landscape
NEW to FANN board in 2021

Jess has been landscaping since she was in high school. She spent years working for Rocky Mountain National Park before going to college to study the art and science of horticulture and design. She designed and managed installation of large landscapes for years in Washington and Colorado. Jess has spent the last four years in Florida, working to learn the nursery production side of our green industry.
Jess has a B.S. in Landscape Horticulture/Design from Colorado State.

 

Sharp-OrtegaKirsten-Headshot-2018-2x2

Kirsten Sharp-Ortega, Director at Large
Owner, My Dragonfly Gardens
FANN board member since 2018
5 years of experience in horticulture and landscape

Kirsten acquired a passion for plants at an early age, helping her parents tend their gardens in many countries including South Africa, England, Germany, the Caribbean and the United States. She has a global knowledge of the different climates and plants growing in different places. For several years, Kirsten has worked at Green Isle Garden as their Habitat Designer. Recently she and her husband Victor launched My Dragonfly Gardens, a native garden design, consulting and maintenance firm. Kirsten has chaired FANN’s Plant Promotion Committee for the past three years.

A.S. in Horticulture from Valencia college with a specialization in landscape design.