Ribault Garden Club celebrates 80 years

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About 90 members and guests of The Ribault Garden Club in Jacksonville Beach, Florida, met to celebrate the club's 80th anniversary Thursday, Sept. 19. The celebration, with cake and champagne, took place at the Ribault club house at 705 Second Avenue North.

Ellen Glasser, Mayor of Atlantic Beach, presented and read a proclamation honoring the club's 80 years of promoting interest in horticulture, knowledge in floral arts, beautification of our community, support of conservation, protection of ecology and education of youth in all aspects of garden work. Other specially invited guests from the community included Chris Hoffman from the Beaches Historical Society, Penny Kennedy from Ocean Palms Elementary, and Keith Fuller, a retired horticulturist from St. Johns County.

In 1938, The Ribault Circle from the Garden Club of Jacksonville left to organize The Ribault Garden Club for the beaches and nearby areas. The club became federated in 1939, 80 years ago, with the Florida Federation of Garden Clubs. In 1949 the Jacksonville Beach building was purchased as the meeting hall. The Ribault Garden Club has four circles: Atlantic Beach Circle, Della Robbia Circle, Magnolia Circle and Yucca Circle. Current membership is 106.

Preceding the anniversary celebration, Brandon Speeg, Director of Conservation at White Oak Plantation, presented a program on Endangered Wildlife and Habitats. This is a good example of the kind of educational programs presented monthly. Many meetings also include a flower show, where members can exhibit cuttings and plants and prepare for the annual standard flower show judged by Florida Federated Flower Show Judges. This flower show is always free and open to the public. Other ticketed events open to the public include an annual Holiday Tea and Design Program, complete with fine china and silver and holiday design ideas, and Fun with Flowers, held on second Wednesdays from October through April.

The club's annual fundraiser is a Trash to Treasure Sale with a “Wine and Hors d’oeuvres” early shopping event the evening before.

Community service projects of Ribault Garden Club include a National Monarch Way Station on the grounds; helping fund the Sea Oats Program at Fletcher High School; limited college scholarships to Fletcher students majoring in environmental and/or horticulture studies; and support for Penny Pines, a project to replenish the Florida Pine trees lost due to forest fires in the Ocala National Forest and The Coral Reef Program, a program started in the Keys to regrow and plant new coral to replenish the reefs of Florida.

For more information, visit www.ribaultgardenclub.org.

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