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FANN Nominates 2022 Board of Directors

FANN’s Nominating Committee, chaired by Past President Bruce Turley, of Wilcox Nursery & Landscape, has nominated 13 candidates to serve on the 2022 Board of Directors, including five women and eight men in a range of ages and geographical locations. A full list of individual candidates and their qualifications appears below.

FANN members vote to approve candidates via an online voting process that starts November 19 and ends midnight, December 1, 2021. FANN expects to announce election results at our Annual Membership Meeting at 12:30pm Noon, Thursday, December 9 at Sebastian River Farms in Vero Beach.

Leaving the board but not FANN hearts is Alyssa Lavoro, of Alexander Landscaping, and Patty Caballero. Alyssa served on the board for 5 years and Patty served for 3 years.

2022 Board of Directors — Slate of Nominees
Past President – Bruce Turley, Wilcox Nursery & Landscape
President – Jenny Evans, SCCF Native Landscapes & Garden Center
President-elect – Eddie McKeithen, McKeithen Growers
Vice President – Janine Griffiths, Green Thumb
Treasurer – Chris Holly, Sandhill
Secretary – Troy Springer, Springer Environmental

Directors at Large
Marc Godts, Green Isle Gardens Nursery
Brendan “Skip” Healy, Change of Greenery
Eryk Jadaszewski, Everglades Native Designs (NEW to board)
Liz Lark-Riley, Rockledge Gardens
Jessica Lummus, Sebastian River Farms
Joe Reams, Southern Habitats (NEW to board)
Kirsten Sharp-Ortega, My Dragonfly Gardens

The board expresses its thanks to Bruce Turley for a job exceedingly well done as Nominating Committee Chair. FANN rocks!

About Our Incoming Board

Bruce Turley
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.

Jenny Evans
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.

Eddie McKeithen
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).

Janine Griffiths
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.

Chris Holly
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.

Troy Springer
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.

Marc Godts
Owner, Green Isle Gardens Nursery
30+ years of experience in horticulture

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.

Skip Healy
Owner, Change of Greenery
10 years in horticulture and landscape

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.

Eric Jadaszewski
Owner, Everglades Native Designs
NEW to FANN board in 2022

Eric is a native Floridian, horticulturist and professional nurseryman with over 35 years of experience. Eric has owned and operated large wholesale and retail nurseries offering landscape design and installation in South Florida, North Florida and New Hampshire, always with a focus on native plants and sound ecological landscape management.

Liz Lark-Riley
Managing Director at Rockledge Gardens
7 years in horticulture and landscape

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.

Jessica “Jess” Lummus
Sales Manager, Sebastian River Farms
20 years in horticulture and landscape

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.

Joe Reams, III
Owner, Southern Habitats
17 years experience in native plants/seeds,
35 years experience farming and forest management.
NEW to FANN board in 2022

Joe Reams is a 6th generation native of the Big Bend area of north Florida and grew up working on his father’s farm and quail hunting business. He left college and started his own farming operation on leased land in 1994, then purchased a farm in 1998 raising tobacco, cattle, watermelons and hay.

In 2004 Joe accepted a position offered to him by native seedsman Calvin Ernst of Pennsylvania to help select and propagate Southeastern native plants for seed production. Joe continued with Ernst through 2009 until their Florida operations ceased.

Seeing the need for assistance with the establishment of natives in the landscape he founded Southern Habitats in 2006. Since then Joe has led the Southern Habitats team in conducting over 100 native groundcover restoration projects ranging in size from 5 to over 500 acres. Southern Habitats nursery, which is 100% native, now grows over one million southeastern perennial herbaceous native containerized plants annually as well as field seed production with some 60 native species in row cultivation. Joe’s primary focus is on fire-adapted native grasses and forbs.

Joe lives near the Aucilla River in Madison County and enjoys managing his land, fishing, hunting and spending time with his family. He has been married since 1993 to Kathy, who handles bookkeeping and administrative duties for Southern Habitats. They have three daughters, a son-in-law and a new grandson, Jack.

Kirsten Sharp-Ortega
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.