So, we are officially established and organized - now it is time to grow. Currently, we are expanding our educational offerings of The Fairchild Challenge this year to five local schools and are planning a schedule of symposia to be hosted by the Gardens. I am also finishing up work on a second tour of the Gardens focusing on "plant senses" for those who have already taken the first tour, as well as expanding online content on the Gardens' mobile website. In addition, we have several neat projects we would love to undertake, including a vertical garden and an exhibition hall to host fascinating ethnobotanical exhibits for visitors to experience. To support the ambitious growth we have planned in these and other areas, an additional staff member for the Gardens will be of great help.
|Presenting a couple weeks ago in Ms. Nicky Laak's class at Treasure Village Montessori School in Islamorada about Ethnobotany in southern Florida in the 1800s.|
We have already accomplished so much in a year and a half and it is certainly exciting to think of all the things the Gardens can do in the future as an asset to both the local Florida Keys community and the wider world. Given that the Gardens does not have an endowment, having me here is already a financial investment for Kona Kai and its owners, who put quite literally everything they had into Kona Kai to make it what it is today. While the owners have no children and so hope the Gardens will be their legacy in Key Largo, they cannot endow the Gardens with the many millions that have helped so many other gardens grow to prominence from small beginnings, so we need to be able to find ways to fund the day-to-day activities of the Gardens and more importantly build an endowment to ensure its future sustainability. Looking back through pictures the owners have kept, I can see how far Kona Kai has come in 21 years and I know that with the right funding, in 2033 the Gardens will be able to look back and see 2012 much as the Resort sees 1991 today!
|Kona Kai - 1991|
|Kona Kai - 1991|
|Kona Kai - 2012|
|Part of our plant nursery.|
|Oh, the memories! From Otis Spunkmeyer's online fundraising catalog.|
Even if you can't make a financial contribution at all, you can still help out by talking about the greatness of our little Gardens and who knows? With enough people talking and six degrees of separation, maybe the word about us will get around to Bill Gates or Warren Buffett! All your support is greatly appreciated by all of us here at the Gardens!
|Here's to many more tours to come!|
Associate Director and Toy Story Fan