April 7, 2016

April 7, 2016 Minutes
Submitted by Tommy Fulton, Contributing Editor
Call to Order: The meeting was called to order by President Robby McClure. Don Foose gave the invocation, followed by Larry Sindel, who led us in song, accompanied by Bill Oppenheimer at the piano. Tommy Blankenship introduced our guests along with visiting Rotarians.
Student Guest: Saty Putcha presented our student guest, Courtney Reed, from Faith Academy.
Announcements: Bry Shields, III gave an update on the Kyser Miree Fishing Tournament, which will be held on Saturday, June 4th. The main weigh-station has been moved to The Wharf in Orange Beach.
Program: Garrett Williamson introduced our speaker, Andrew Saunders, the Executive Director of the Mobile Botanical Gardens. Donna Camp, who has been associated with Mobile Botanical Gardens for many years, also contributed to the presentation.
The Gardens were incorporated in 1976. It consists of 100 acres, which originally was a longleaf pine forest, which has restored in a major portion of the grounds. In addition to the longleaf pine forests, the Gardens feature a large variety of “Collection” gardens. These include paved garden paths, Azaleas in the Rhododendron Gardens, Camellias in the WinterGarden, a Pollinator Garden, an Herb Garden and many others.
The Gardens are 100% maintained by volunteers and donations. The city provides no funds. The goal is to provide a total ecosystem for the enjoyment of its patrons, but also to instill passion for nature, and promote interest in gardening, conservation and outdoor activities. Mr. Saunders stated that participation leads to education, which ultimately leads to preservation.
One of the more successful programs instituted around 14-15 years ago is the annual burning of the longleaf pine forest. This clears away the underbrush and allows for healthier growth. MBG boasts the largest “city-limit” longleaf forest managed by fire in the country.
Mrs. Camp stressed the beauty of the floral aspects of the gardens. Both speakers answered questions from the audience.
The meeting was adjourned at 1:00 pm.