On Friday, January 20, Calusa Garden Club held a tree planting ceremony in Leigh Plummer Park where the Club planted a gumbo limbo tree. The Club has celebrated Florida Arbor Day, which was January 20, for the past 6 years by planting a native Florida tree in Leigh Plummer Park. This park was chosen by the Club because the park was originally founded by Collier County in 1984 with the assistance of Calusa Garden Club of Marco Island as a bird sanctuary and site for nature education featuring native Florida plants. Over the years, first Collier County, and now the city of Marco Island, planted many native trees and shrubs in the park. The park is a living memorial to Leigh Plummer, a Marco Island resident who was instrumental in the work of Marco Island Civic Association. His wife was a member of Calusa Garden Club and she and Leigh Plummer enjoyed tending to the plantings in the park.

The Florida Arbor Day event was chaired by Club member Nanette Baumgardner. The gumbo limbo tree planting ceremony was attended by Marco Island Assistant City Manager Casey Lucius, and Jill Cartaya, Dawn Snyder, Martha Montgomery and Heather Reed of the Department of Parks and Recreation, along with about twenty members of Calusa Garden Club in addition to Erik Jadaszewski and the tree planting crew from Everglades Native Designs. Calusa Garden Club President Susan Neustadt welcomed the city officials and Calusa Garden Club members and thanked Erik Jadaszewski, owner of Everglades Native Designs, for donating his company’s tree planting services. Then Neustadt reviewed the history of Leigh Plummer Park and told those present that Calusa Garden Club plans to continue its donations to the park through tree planting on Florida Arbor Day and also by maintaining the new garden the Club has established at the entrance to the park.

City Manager Michael McNees and City Council Member Darren Palumbo also attended the event, and are pictured with other attendees near the newly planted gumbo limbo tree.