Board & Staff

In service to a connected, protected, and restored Corridor

Our Board of Directors

Sue Williams

Sue Williams | President

Sue has spent almost 50 years as a community volunteer, sharing her expertise in governance, fund-raising, networking and marketing with more than 60 organizations. An Ohio native, she and her husband transplanted to Clearwater Beach in 2002. Locally she served on the Board of the Clearwater Marine Aquarium for 5 years, and currently is on the Board of the Community Foundation of Tampa Bay, chairs the Legacy Society for Church of Ascension, and is the President of Carlouel Homeowners Association.

Prior to becoming a Floridian, Sue demonstrated her passions for green spaces, the arts, education, and community through service on governing boards across all sectors in Ohio. To name a few, these include The Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Gardens, Garden Club of America, Dayton Opera, Hanover College, Leadership Dayton, and United Way. Read her full resume here. Sue is a graduate of Hanover College and The New York Institute of Finance.
Amanda Moore

Amanda Moore | Vice President

Amanda Moore is the Deputy Director for the National Wildlife Federation’s Mississippi River Delta Restoration Program. Amanda joined NWF in 2009 after years of work on Florida conservation issues. She works with government officials, community leaders, and coastal science experts to raise awareness about coastal land loss and build support to move large-scale, comprehensive restoration projects forward. Amanda was part of the on-the-ground response to the 2010 BP oil disaster and has worked to pass and implement legislation to restore the Gulf in the years since. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from the University of Mary Washington and a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from the University of South Florida. Amanda resides in St. Petersburg with her husband and two children.

Oscar Anderson | Treasurer

Oscar is a 3rd generation Floridian born into the citrus industry in Polk County. He has a deep understanding of government, serving at the highest capacities in the legislative and executive branches on the local, state, and federal levels. He has served as the chief lobbyist for Orange County Chairman Mel Martinez, managing the Congressional office in Washington DC and later promoted to Deputy Chief of Staff. Oscar specialized in the appropriations process and negotiated the passage of $75 million for the Administration’s American Dream Downpayment Initiative. He returned to Florida in 2003 as Chief of Staff and Assistant Secretary at the Department of Community Affairs (DCA) where he directed passage of the landmark Wekiva Parkway and Protection Act legislation and had a key role in the passage of the first overhaul to the state’s growth management laws in 20 years.

For almost a decade, Oscar has represented hundreds of businesses at the local and state level, specializing in government budgets/appropriations, affordable housing, environmental and land use matters as a lobbyist with The Southern Group. He serves on the Orange County Environmental Protection Commission and on the Board of the East Winter Garden Community Transformation Initiative. Oscar lives in Orlando with his wife Carin and their three children.

Chad Rischar | Secretary

Chad Allen Rischar serves as an Senior Environmental Scientist for DRMP, Inc in their Gainesville office. He’s a classically trained soil scientist and Professional Wetland Scientist. Chad’s a passionate sportsman and dynamic voice in conservation. He also serves as the Natural Resource Conservation Chair and Treasurer for the Keystone Heights Airport, a 2500-acre property within the Osceola-Ocala Critical Linkage. Chad also serves as Vice-Chair for the Southeast Chapter of Backcountry Hunters and Anglers, a North American NGO focused on public lands and access issues. Chad received a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science minor in Soil and Water Science from the University of Florida and a fellowship from the Natural Resource Leadership Institute from the University of Florida. He resides in Keystone Heights, FL with his wife and three young children. In his discretionary time, you’ll find him chasing outdoor pursuits and land stewardship initiatives.

Matthew Blackshear

Matthew Blachshear

Matthew Blackshear is a real estate attorney in the Tampa office of Shutts and Bowen LLP, a full-service law firm with offices throughout Florida and a deep connection to Florida’s history. Matt received his B.S.B.A. from the University of Florida and his J.D. and M.B.A. from Florida State University. He and his wife were raised in Tampa, and they spend much of their time on the water with their three daughters. They are active volunteers with many habitat preservation and restoration organizations in the Tampa Bay area, and are encouraged by, and appreciate, the positive impact those organizations have had on our community and waterways. His latest volunteer efforts include identifying potential habitat restoration projects in the west central coast of Florida. Matt brings legal and real estate expertise to the Board.

Tiffany Busby

Tiffany Busby is a certified group facilitator and has supported committees and meetings related to natural resource-related plans throughout Florida. Prior to starting Wildwood Consulting in 2000, Tiffany was the Director of the Charlotte Harbor National Estuary Program where she directed the creation of the original Charlotte Harbor Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan (CCMP). As the Manager of the Georgia Coastal Management Program in Brunswick, Georgia from 1996-1998, she drafted the state’s Coastal Zone Management Plan. For the past 20 years with Wildwood Consulting, Tiffany has supported numerous planning efforts involving local governments including more than 30 basin management action plans (BMAPs), which implement water quality standards for various Florida watersheds and springsheds.

Tiffany is the past president (2016-2018) of the Florida Stormwater Association (FSA) and the past chair of the FSA Legislative and Agency Relations Committee. She is also an officer of the Pedro Menendez High School International Baccalaureate Programme Boosters. Tiffany has served on the Duke University Alumni Admissions Advisory Committee since 2008. Tiffany has a master’s degree in environmental management from the Duke University–Nicholas School of the Environment and a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Texas at Austin.

Gage Couch

Gage Couch

Gage Couch is one of the founding Principals of Cadence, a Landscape Architecture firm based in Fort Lauderdale, where he leads design and construction efforts for a wide variety of project types throughout the state of Florida and the southeast region. He couples this with a progressive problem-solving skill set, respect for nature and a strong attention to creating places which are mindful of their culture and climate. In his spare time, Gage finds respite in exploring wild Florida, is an avid native plant enthusiast and a FAA-Certified Remote Pilot. Gage has lived in South Florida since 2005 and holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Landscape Architecture from Clemson University.

Mallory Dimmitt

Mallory Dimmitt

Mallory Lykes Dimmitt served as Executive Director for the Florida Wildlife Corridor for 2013 – 2016, and participated in the 2012, 2015, 2018, and 2019 expeditions.

Mallory now serves as VP of Strategic Development at Lykes Bros, Inc., working at the critical intersection of sustainable agriculture and conservation for a multi-generation family agribusiness that owns and manages land holdings within the Florida Wildlife Corridor.

A seventh generation Floridian, Mallory pursued her passion for the outdoors by receiving her B.S. in Natural Resources from the University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee. She was also awarded a Doris Duke Conservation Fellowship at Duke University’s Nicholas School of Environment where she earned a Master’s of Environmental Management.

In addition to her work with the Florida Wildlife Corridor, Mallory’s projects include protecting river corridors and large landscapes in Colorado with The Nature Conservancy, research in Sri Lanka for the International Water Management Institute and strategic planning and organizational development with Legacy Institute for Nature & Culture (LINC).

PJ Marinelli

PJ Marinelli

Paul “PJ” Marinelli was born in Tampa and grew up in Naples. At an early age he found himself enthralled in the outdoors whether playing in the woods behind his house or spending time with his family enjoying the area’s beautiful beaches. PJ went on to spend time camping and exploring natural South Florida and taking weekend dive trips to the Keys.

After heading off to college and several years working in the New York City area, PJ returned to Naples. In an effort to help preserve the wild Florida that he loves he joined the board of Audubon of the Western Everglades (formerly Collier County Audubon) serving as President of the chapter for several years. He also spent many years as a volunteer guide on behalf of the Friends of Fakahatchee Strand and Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary leading tours “off the boardwalk” to get visitors into the swamps of Southwest Florida.

During the week, PJ is the Founder and President of RiverGlades Family Offices, a boutique wealth management firm catering to the needs of affluent families. Having spent his working career in various facets of the investment and asset management business both in Florida and New York, he is happy to be back in Naples with his wife and two sons.

Bert Martin

Bert Martin

Bert is the Chief Executive Officer of Martin Capital Management – an investment management firm with a family strategic focus. Previously, he has held positions with Suncoast Equity Management and the Sanibel Captiva Trust Company. Prior to Sanibel Captiva Bert was a partner at Caerus Ventures – a West Palm Beach, FL based venture capital firm. Bert received a Bachelor of Science in Economics from Rollins College where he played on the Men’s Tennis 2001 NCAA Division II National Championship Team. Bert enjoys traveling, hiking, and boating with his wife Mallory and their dog, Duck. He also serves on the board of directors of The St. Petersburg Free Clinic which provides for neighbors in need.

Kimberly Davis Reyer

Kimberly Davis Reyer

Kimberly Davis Reyher serves as the Executive Director of the Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana, a nonprofit that drives science-based action to rebuild the Mississippi River Delta. Kim joined CRCL in 2014 after 13 years with the World Wildlife Fund, where she promoted fisheries sustainability through engagement with the seafood industry and fisheries around the world. Kim co-led the development of a $29 million tuna management project with the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, led the International Smart Gear Competition and supervised projects in 20+ countries.

Kim also spent 6 years at the Ocean Conservancy, first in Florida, and then in Washington, D.C. A fourth generation Floridian, Kim received a bachelor’s degree in Geography from Dartmouth College, and a master’s degree in Natural Resource Economics and Policy from Duke University. Kim now resides in New Orleans, Louisiana.

maurice pearson

Maurice Pearson

Maurice “Mo” Pearson serves as Manager of Ecological and Natural Resources for MSE Group, a company of Montrose Environmental Group. He is a 2nd generation Central Floridian and a graduate of the University of Central Florida, where he earned his bachelor’s degree in Biology with a concentration in Conservation.  Mo has served on the Orange County Environmental Protection Commission, Urban Design Commission, and the Environmental Streamlining Taskforce. Most recently, he served on the FDEP Acquisition and Restoration Council. Mo, his wife, and daughter reside in Orlando, FL and spend as much of their free time as possible at the beach.

Lynn Cherry

Lynn Cherry

After a successful career in higher education and with a “seize the day” spirit, Lynn created a small business, Carpe Diem Community Solutions, to continue her quest in helping communities. Her extensive community-based experience in training, moderating and facilitating group discussion encompasses focus groups, board retreats, strategic long-range planning, visioning, and community forums. She creates public engagement and awareness strategies that focus on and garner community approval. Lynn has received numerous awards from local and state organizations for her leadership in community-based programs. What began as a girl scout, Lynn now has a passion for Florida’s outdoors. In 1995, she led the state acquisition process to acquire and support the development of Camp Helen State Park in Panama City Beach.

These efforts lead to the first in the nation partnership between a state park and a community college. Lynn is the recipient of The Nature Conversancy Florida Chapter Grassroots Leader, Bay County Audubon Society Conservationist of the Year, Florida State Parks Citizen Support Organization of the Year, and the Florida State Parks Best in the District awards. Additionally, Lynn has served in a leadership capacity, including president, of the Friends of Camp Helen State Park for 25 years. She presently serves on the Florida State Parks Foundation Board of Directors and has joined the Florida Wildlife Corridor as one of its new board members.

Lynn also pioneered and created the first partnership between the Kettering Foundation and a community college. Subsequently, she served as director of the Kettering Foundation’s Public Policy Institute. Lynn created and directed the Kellogg Foundation’s national award winning Citizen Leadership Institute, a statewide citizen-based leadership training program. She is certified by the National Charrette Institute as a charrette facilitator. Lynn has a Master’s Degree from Florida State University and a Bachelor’s Degree from Auburn University.

Our Founder

Carlton Ward

Carlton Ward

Carlton Ward Jr is a conservation photographer and National Geographic Explorer whose passion for nature was born from the Florida landscape. His mission is to inspire appreciation and protection of Florida’s original nature and culture – the endangered wildness that is often hidden in plain sight but very much needs our attention to be saved.

Carlton began his career working with the Smithsonian Institution in Central Africa, leading to his first book, The Edge of Africa, and a photography exhibit with the United Nations. In 2004, he retrained his focus on his native Florida, motivated by eight generations of family heritage and a drive to bring new attention and protection to the state’s under-appreciated wild heart. Carlton published Florida Cowboys in 2009 and founded the Florida Wildlife Corridor project in 2010. With fellow explorers Mallory Dimmitt and Joe Guthrie, he has since trekked more than 2,000 miles through the Corridor, during two National Geographic supported expeditions, which both produced award-winning books, PBS films and widespread outreach for the statewide vision to keep Florida wild.

Meet Our Staff and Volunteers

Jason Lauritsen

Jason Lauritsen | Executive Director

Email Jason

Jason Lauritsen is the Executive Director of the Florida Wildlife Corridor where he implements the vision and mission of the organization to connect, protect and restore essential conservation habitat statewide.

Lauritsen’s expertise includes environmental conservation and restoration, land management science, wetland protection, and Wood Stork recovery in the Western Everglades. He is an experienced speaker, educator, and writer who has authored numerous papers, publications, and presentations throughout his more than 20-year career in conservation and natural resources management.

Lauritsen has served on the Estero Bay Agency for Bay Management, SWFL Watershed Council, Wood Stork Monitoring and Recovery Group and the Lee County Density Reduction/Groundwater Resource Advisory Committee. At the crossroads of science and policy, Jason developed tools and refined regulatory approaches to improve impact assessment and mitigation for wetlands and listed species for State and Federal agencies. He has provided consultation to agencies and private land owners on preserve design and configuration to maximize local and landscape level benefits to wildlife. In 2016, he served as a delegate to China on a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) exchange program to share expertise in wetland restoration and mitigation.

Lauritsen has a Master’s in Science Education from the University of Iowa and a Bachelor’s in Animal Ecology from Iowa State University. He worked as a rainforest guide in Ecuador in 1992. In 2001, he joined Audubon at the Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary as the Natural Resources Manager and prescribed burn boss. Continuing his career with Audubon he became the Big Cypress Ecosystem Science Coordinator in 2005 before being promoted to Assistant Sanctuary Director in 2007 and Sanctuary Director in 2012 where he led the crown jewel of Audubon’s Sanctuary network until Dec of 2018.

Lauritsen is committed to landscape level conservation and long planning horizons to achieve sustainability. He advocates the pursuit of a deep science-based understanding of our complex and often fragile ecosystem that undergirds the quality of life for both people and wildlife. If future generations are to enjoy the beauty and diversity of a healthy natural world, Jason believes it will require broad stakeholder support and partnerships that are central to effective land stewardship.

Nicole Brand | Communications Director

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Nicole previously served as the organization’s Program Manager and enjoyed creating new outreach initiatives. She now serves as their Communications Director. She received a B.S. in Communications from the University of Georgia, an M.S. in Food Systems and Society from Oregon Health and Science University, and she received a full scholarship and attended the New York School of Ecological Justice’s Eco Practicum.

Nicole is a founder of the Pinellas County Schools Food Systems Center, developed with startup operations funds as a founding member of a cooperatively owned youth farm initiative – the first of its kind in the state – and facilitated community convenings for more than 30 organizations to plan the initiative. She now sits on the St. Petersburg Food Policy Council. Nicole has a passion for helping others see the numerous connections between Florida’s food system and environmental conservation. In her spare time, Nicole loves to journey on her own civilian-led expeditions with friends through the swamps of wild Florida.

Maureen Vicaria

Maureen Vicaria | Development Coordinator

Maureen is a homegrown Floridian with graduate degrees from both the University of Florida and the University of Miami. Through her extensive work with humanitarian, international, domestic health and other organizations, Maureen gained a passion for advancing the purpose driven missions of nonprofits with her extensive fundraising skills. She now brings these experiences to the Florida Wildlife Corridor to help connect the state’s fragile wild places. Beyond the workplace, Maureen is passionate about wildlife rehabilitation and has served as a volunteer for multiple animal rescue and rehabilitation organizations.

Are you interested in interning with us? Check our current opportunities and get in touch.

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grant-bemis

Grant Bemis: Environmental Expedition Planning Consultant

Grant Bemis is an accomplished photographer, media specialist, conservation advocate, and expedition planner. His MA in Exploration Science and work as a conservationist, field logistics manager, and photographer continue to bring him to unique and critically important ecosystems. Grant’s work and passion for ecology has brought him all over the world, from the mountains of Zambezia in Northern Mozambique to extended sailing voyages throughout the Caribbean. His approach to expedition planning is narrative-driven, with a strong focus on translating the importance of scientific research to the general population. Grant is a team player, has strong people skills, and is most at peace when pursuing his passions in the field.