Cast Your Vote for the Georgia Native Plant Society

A year ago, GNPS members approved revised bylaws that created a new society structure with a state Board of Directors. You can review that strategic planning initiative by clicking here. Although 2020 did not unfold as planned, we have positioned GNPS for greater accomplishments in the years ahead.

Toward that end, we are pleased to present Kevin Burke, Carling Kirk, and Mary Lillian Walker for election to the Georgia Native Plant Society Board of Directors. Each of them brings tremendous knowledge and passion for native plants to the board. They will serve a three-year term beginning on January 1, 2021. Until we can all meet them in person, please read below to get acquainted with Kevin, Carling, and Mary Lillian.

Returning board members include Michele Buchanan, Tom Collins, Lori Conway, Amy Heidt, Ellen Honeycutt, and Ron Smith.

We also wish a fond farewell to Leslie Edwards, Marc LaFountain, and Henning von Schmeling, who concluded their board terms this year. We thank each of you, so much, for your service to GNPS.

Please cast your electronic vote at the voting page linked here or in the button below.
One vote per membership, please.



Kevin Burke

Kevin Burke

Kevin is the Director of Design for Atlanta BeltLine Inc. and has thirty-eight years of experience on a plethora of institutional, roadway, college/university, residential, multi-use trail, and park projects. He coordinates design and construction efforts for all public open spaces and serves as the chair of the ABI Design Review Committee. He implemented the requirement that all ABI projects initiated since 2018 will be SITES certified and was the organizer of ABI’s Organic Land Care Symposium which informed the public about more sustainable ways of maintaining our public spaces. Mr. Burke has a Bachelor of Landscape Architecture degree from Utah State University and in 2019 became a Fellow of the American Society of Landscape Architects.


Carling Kirk

Carling Kirk is a software developer currently building non-profit SaaS software at Blackbaud. In her spare time, she is also building an app called Emergence that aids plant enthusiasts in tracking propagation activities and research.

Carling was raised in Jonesboro and has spent over 30 years living in metro Atlanta. She also spent a few years in Portland, Oregon, where she got the passion for native plants after learning about the local Audubon Society’s backyard certification program. While in Portland, she volunteered as a neighborhood coordinator for Friends of Trees, an organization dedicated to increasing the city’s tree canopy.

After coming back home to Georgia in 2018, Carling joined the Georgia Native Plant Society. She currently serves on the membership committee as a liaison for the forming North Metro chapter. She is also making progress toward the Native Plant Certificate from the UGA State Botanical Garden.

Carling lives in Roswell with her husband John and two cats.


Mary Lillian Walker

Mary Lillian Walker grew up in Opelika, Alabama and was blessed with two grandmothers who loved gardening and a childhood that left many hours for wandering through the woodlands of the Piedmont. Today she is a partner at the law firm Hudson Lambert Parrott Walker, LLC specializing in commercial litigation with a focus on officer and director defense. Mary Lillian started her career with a big downtown law firm, but after being tasked with representing a group of timber purchasers fighting to clear cut the habitat of the endangered red cockaded woodpecker, she decided that enough was enough. Today Mary Lillian is enjoying downsizing her lawn and transitioning to all native plants. She is married to Sean Smith and has one adult son who is a doctor in Providence, Rhode Island. Mary Lillian is pictured here with Ruthie, who is trying to learn the difference between native perennials, which must be respected, and the few remaining exotics that can be chewed.




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