At the 1994 Native Plant Conference in Cullowhee, NC, Jim Harrington and Jackie Fitts discussed the possibility of a native plant society in Georgia.  Jackie already had a list of interested Master Gardeners.  Jim posted an “if interested” notice on the bulletin board and thus began the effort to establish the Georgia Native Plant Society, the purpose of which was to advocate the use and preservation of Georgia’s native plants.  Barbara Allen helped with the planning.  Jackie called each person on the lists and spoke on the radio with Kathy Henderson and Walter Reeves.  The first meeting was held September 14, 1994, at the North Fulton Government Annex with forty people in attendance.


The first officers were:
President: Jim Harrington
Vice President: Jackie Fitts
Publicity: Marilyn Porter
Corresponding Secretary: Stan Fulghum
Recording Secretary: Brenda Odom
Treasurer: Barbara Allen
Georgia Botanical Society Liason: Vivian Emerson
Programs: Susan Giles Cruz and Stan Fulghum
Newsletter Editor: Harriet Walls
Publisher: Bobbie Boschan


By the December board meeting, the membership had grown to 250 members.  The original membership cost was $15.00/year.


Generous gifts from an anonymous native plant enthusiast and from Southern Living magazine enabled GNPS to begin publishing the newsletter, Nativescape, and to present the First Annual Native Plant Symposium.  Sally and Andy Wasowski, authors of Gardening with Native Plants of the South, waived their normal speaker’s fee, as did Kathy Henderson and George Sanko, in order to promote the first symposium.  George obtained an auditorium at DeKalb College and the symposium was held April 10, 1995.


By October 1995, with the help of Jeane Reeves, plant rescues had grown in attendance.  Jim Harrington compiled a Plant Rescue Facilitator program and conducted a workshop.  The plants rescued, with permission from the developer, could be distributed to schools, libraries, and native gardens.


By the end of the first year, the growth of the Society was reflected in the expanded board. The new board in December 6, 1995 was composed of:


President: Jackie Fitts
Vice President (programs): Marilyn Porter
Treasurer: Germaine Baxter
Corresponding Secretary: Laurie Elder
Recording Secretary: Ken Hunt
Membership: Shirley Kennedy
Public Relations: Bobbie Boschan
Newsletter Editor: Harriet Walls
Hospitality: Linda Fraser
Georgia Botanical Society Liason: Paula Refi
Plant Rescue Coordinator: Jeane Reeves
Symposium: Sue Latham
Past President: Jim Harrington


Meetings had been held the second Wednesday of  the month at The Atlanta Botanical Garden.  But in 1996 they were changed to the second Tuesday of the month and held at the Northwest Unitarian Congregational Church.  Bobbie Boschan established an advertising section in the newsletter.  Jim Whitehurst tackled the I.R.S. to obtain Non-profit status for the fledgling club.  The logo, a drawing of Hydrangea quercifolia, was designed by an artist of native plants, Linda Fraser.  T-shirts and raffle tickets for plants were sold at meetings. We were off and running!

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