Michael A. Gilkey, Jr. Joins Florida Wildflower Foundation

Sarasota, FL (April 29, 2010) – Landscape Architect Michael A. Gilkey, Jr. of the Sarasota studio Michael A. Gilkey, Inc. has accepted a two-year position on the Board of Directors for the Florida Wildflower Foundation.  Gilkey’s appointment will represent the Florida Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects on the eleven-member board. Among the other agencies represented are the Florida Department of Transportation, University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, and the Florida Native Plant Society.

Michael A. Gilkey, Jr. brings to the Florida Wildflower Foundation a depth of knowledge in appropriate design applications for wildflowers and native flowering plants. “I look forward to learning more about Florida’s wildflowers, and helping to suggest ways they might be used more prolifically,” said Gilkey. “Most of us are familiar with the Foundation’s highway beautification efforts, but there are many ways we can use wildflowers and other natives in everyday projects that will benefit Florida’s residents, visitors, wildlife and ecosystems.”

Florida’s native wildflowers have struggled to co-exist with the pressures of progress. As the state’s natural landscape has been increasingly threatened by development, some species have vanished altogether. Still others have been classified as endangered or threatened. The Florida Wildflower Foundation’s mission is to enrich lives with Florida’s native wildflowers. Through the sale of the State Wildflower license tag, the organization increases the visibility and availability of native wildflowers and grasses by funding research, education and planting projects statewide.

Since 2000, the Foundation has used the $15 donation from each State Wildflower license plate sale to:

• Provide more than $2 million for native wildflower education, research and planting projects.
• Spur the development of the wildflower seed industry by supporting the Florida Wildflower Seed and Plant Growers Association.
• Support Florida’s native nursery industry by increasing demand for flowering native species.
• Build awareness and knowledge of native wildflowers and plants.
• Support highway beautification through widespread wildflower seeding and planting projects.
• Promote wildflower tourism and its enormous economic benefits.
• Partner with like-minded agencies and organizations to support programs such as the Florida Forever land preservation effort.

Ultimately, the Foundation seeks to build a center for wildflower research and education that conveys to visitors and residents alike the beauty of wildflowers and their roles in Florida’s diverse habitats. To support its research effort, the Foundation in 2007 established the Gary Henry Research Endowment Fund at the University of Florida. The endowment is in honor of the contributions made by the organization’s first executive director.