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UPDATE AS OF JANUARY 25, 2018: In July of 2015, Joe and Ronnie Harris sold Kona Kai Resort to an investment group which took over ownership and daily operation of Kona Kai Resort. The Botanic Gardens at Kona Kai, operated by the independent 501c3 AEFFK, Inc. with Joe and Veronica Harris as President and Executive Director, which had operated on the grounds of Kona Kai Resort, withdrew from the resort operation. In 2018 it changed its' name to Plants Matter and thus continues to operate as a virtual garden, independent of Kona Kai Resort. At this time we have no real estate or physical gardens. We oversaw our TYUP™ botanist guided tour on the grounds of Kona Kai Resort until February 1, 2016 when the program was discontinued temporarily. Currently the physical status of The Garden is undetermined. Please direct any questions to Garden Executive Director, Joe Harris at:
What is presented below is historical in nature, covering the period from 2009 through 2016 when the botanic gardens operated on the grounds of Kona Kai in Key Largo, Florida.
Currently the AEFFK has no affiliation with any other entity and no association with Kona Kai in Key Largo. We remain a 501c3 not-for-profit.

The Botanic Gardens at Kona Kai was opened to the public on March 21, 2011 with the idea of encouraging our visitors to discover "Why Plants Matter." KKBG's mission - Education, Restoration and Transformation - seeks to encourage visitors to overcome their "plant blindness" by discovering the under-appreciated nature and complexity of plants, as well as their importance to our lives and our survival here on earth. We have done this through our unique TYUP "Transforming Your Understanding of Plants," tour; our Upper Keys Fairchild Challenge [UKFC] in-school education program; and, through this website. 

We can't do it alone, though. Please partner with us by making a donation supporting our efforts.
 There are many ways you can donate, but the easiest is also the most painless - as you won't feel it in your pocketbook!

You can easily donate each time you shop with Amazon by going to and selecting our parent 501c3 non-profit: The Artists Environmental Foundation of the Florida Keys, Inc., EIN #65-0887806, aka AEFFK, Inc.. Then, each time you type in before you shop, Amazon will donate .005% of your purchase value to The Botanic Gardens at Kona Kai. This costs you absolutely nothing, but provides us with enough funds to keep this website up for all to enjoy. You'll see something like these screen shots once you have chosen us through Amazon.

It might take you a while to get used to doing this, but whenever you think of AMAZON for your shopping needs, don't begin by typing "Ama.." into your browser, but instead type in "" Your browser will soon recognize where you want to go with the first few letters - so, just think "smile" and you will be supporting once you make that choice on Amazon .
Thanks for supporting us through Amazon!

Of course, you can also make a tax-deductible donation directly to us:
Your tax-deductible contribution is greatly appreciated.
While you can donate using a credit card, we'd much appreciate your check, payable to AEFFK-KKBG.ORG 
and mailed to:

Plants Matter
attn: Executive Director Joe Harris
1017 Rose Street
Key Largo, Florida 33037

(Our parent 501c3 non-profit is The Artists Environmental Foundation of the Florida Keys, Inc., EIN #65-0887806, aka AEFFK, Inc.)

Your check will serve as proof of your contribution and we'll receive 100% of your donation. 
We're  pleased to send you a "thank you receipt," so please make sure to include a return e-mail and/or postal mailing address.

To Use your Credit Card, click below:
You'll be invited to use any credit card or your PayPal account:

You can also choose to offer your services. During each school year we are always looking for folks to serve as judges with our UKFC program - a one-time, 3 hour, commitment on your part. Donating your professional services, such as legal, web, design, non-profit, etc., is also welcomed. If you feel you have something to offer, please contact us.

Send a letter to the address below, or use e-mail to quickly contact our Executive Director, Joe Harris at:

Plants Matter
attn: Executive Director, Joe Harris
1017 Rose Street
Key Largo, Florida 33037

Finally, Thanks to all those who have supported us....
Your donations help us continue our mission. We thank you in advance for your continued support.

Corporations and Organizations
(listed alphabetically)
Barefoot Marketing Group
Caribbean Watersports
Community Bank of Florida
Dolphin Research Center
Financial Strategies Group
First State Bank of the Florida Keys
Florida Keys Quilters
Historical Preservation Society of The Upper Keys
Keys Tennis
Rotary Club of Key Largo
Upper Keys Rotary Foundation

Nancy & Michael Amorosi
Noreen Baris
Herbert & Gloria Berger
Eric Berk
John & Mary Breen
Irwin Cantor
Xavier Cortada
John Covington
Michelle Cullinan
Karen & Dan Decker
Keith & Sarajane Falkner
Jane Garvin
Steve & Stephanie Gupton
Joe & Veronica Harris
Pat Knowles
Diane Kordich
Artie & Kay Liles
Russ Magnaghi
Tom & Susan Martin
Evelyn McGlone
Christopher & Kathleen McMahon
Rene & Veronika Milar
Ann & Hollis Petersen
Cpt. Jeremy Pfaffendorf
Susan Poncelet
Marion & William Powers
Rep. Holly Raschein
Maggie Rouxel
Jim & Jean Skasick
Dirk & Francoise Verdoorn
Paul & Laura Wagner
Dr. Thomas M. Walsh II, D.D.S. PA
Tracey Weaver
Claire Weitz
and all those who contributed with their TYUP™ Tour