Thursday, October 21, 2021

Calusa Garden Club Hosts District Meeting

The Calusa Garden Club of Marco Island recently hosted the 2019 Florida Federation of Garden Clubs (FFGC) District IX Spring Meeting at the Marco Island Yacht Club (MIYC).

The “Island Charm” themed meeting was attended by officers and members from locations such as Arcadia, Bartow, Bouquet, Calusa, Camellia, Cape Coral, Estero Island, Fort Meade, Founders, Gardenia, Gardens of the World, Gulf Coast, Hibiscus, Jasmine, Lake Placid, Lakeland, Naples, Periwinkle, Poinciana, Port Charlotte, Punta Gorda, Royal Palm, Sebring, Wauchula and Winter Haven.

The mission of FFGC is to “promote the love of gardening, floral and landscape design, and civic and environmental responsibility by providing education, resources and networking opportunities for our members, youth and the community.”

The spring meeting was conducted by the FFGC’s new Director of District IX, Leslie Montwid.

Calusa Garden Club member Dale DeFeo, who has served on the FFGC District IX Board for eight years, was chairperson for the “Island Charm” event.

Calusa Garden Club First Vice President, Susan LaGrotta welcomed everybody, noting, “Calusa Garden Club is privileged and excited to have this meeting here in Marco Island. The last time CGC hosted a District IX meeting was in 2011. In the last eight years, the island has grown and CGC also has grown to 55 members and associates with a waiting list. As host, we will endeavor to make this meeting enjoyable for all.”

Vice Chairman of the MIYC, Robert DeFeo welcomed the guests “to our beautiful Paradise.” He also pointed out that Marco Island has 75 restaurants, with talented chefs from around the world, serving this small island. Bob urged our visitors to visit the Calusa Garden Club’s Butterfly Garden and the Marco Island Historical Museum to see the Key Marco Cat.

Alli Smith, Project and Research Manager for the Owl Watch Program managed by the Audubon of the Western Everglades, was guest presenter on “Attracting Owls to Your Yards.”

Alli Smith informed the guests that the burrowing owls found in Florida are native to Florida, and do not leave the state. Their western cousins, however, are migratory. Burrowing owls are a state threatened species and the biggest threat is loss of habitat.

Marco’s Owl Watch Program has introduced the concept of “starter burrows” to attract burrowing owls in people’s yards. This has been well received with over 60 residents enrolled in the program. It is very encouraging to have eight pairs of owls using the starter burrows to nest and raise their chicks.

A big thank you to all the members of the Calusa Garden Club who made “Island Charm” a successful and welcoming meeting for all the District IX attendees.

The Calusa Garden Club meets the second Monday of each month (October – April) at Wesley United Methodist Church Fellowship Hall, 350 S. Barfield Drive, Marco Island. For more information visit


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