Dennis J. Giardina, Chair|
Everglades Regional Biologist
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
Rookery Bay NERR
For 22 years Dennis has focused on endangered species recovery and invasive species control. He worked for the U.S. Forest Service at the Caribbean and Apalachicola National Forests from 1989 to 1991, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service at St. Marks and Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuges from 1992 to 2005. He was the Park Manager of Fakahatchee Strand Preserve from 2005 to 2008 and, since January 2008, he has held the position of Everglades Regional Biologist with the Invasive Plant Management Section of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. He has also been the co-chair of the Everglades CISMA since January 2008. He served on the FLEPPC board of directors from 2000 to 2002 and was the Bylaws Committee Chair from 2000 to 2005.
Dianne Owen, Treasurer|
Florida Atlantic University
Dianne Owen is the Treasurer. She received her PhD in biochemistry from the University of Lausanne in Switzerland in 1983. She now works as a Research Associate in Biological Sciences at Florida Atlantic University.
|Hillary Cooley, Secretary|
Everglades National Park
Hillary Cooley graduated form Paul Smith's College with an Associate of Applied Science in Ecology and Environmental Technology(1990), A Bachelor's Degree from Kent State University in Conservation (1994) and a Master of Science in Environmental Studies from Florida International University(2004). Her Master's Thesis was "Palm Fuel Dynamics in Fire-Sustained Pine Forests in the Florida Keys".
Hillary has worked doing vegetation surveys, and prescribed fire in south Florida and in Arizona. Hillary is currently the Botanist managing the Exotic Vegetation Management Program for Everglades and Dry Tortugas National Parks.
Karen Brown, Editor|
University of Florida
Telephone: 352/273/3667 / Fax: 352/392-3462
Karen Brown is the editor for Wildland Weeds magazine. She has a Master's degree in Library and Information science from the University of South Florida. She works at the University of Florida's IFAS Center for Aquatic and Invasive Plants.
James N. Burch, Past Chair|
Big Cypress National Preserve
James N. Burch has provided stewardship of natural systems in southern Florida for the National Audubon Society, Collier County Natural Resources Department, Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve, the US Geologic Survey Biological Resources Division, and Florida Gulf Coast University. He is a member of the Florida Academy of Sciences, Society of Wetland Scientists, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He is currently employed by the National Park Service as a Resources Management Supervisory Botanist at Big Cypress National Preserve and oversees the exotic plant management program.
Board of Directors
Aimee Cooper is a Biological Scientist with the Center for Aquatic and Invasive Plants at the University of Florida. She holds a B.A. in Biology from Otterbein College. She leads the investigation of non-native plants for the IFAS Assessment of Non-Native Plants in Florida’s Natural Areas. Prior to this work she spent time in the field combating various noxious weeds and participating in research in remote areas of South Florida.
Christen Mason is an Invasive Species Biologist for U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, stationed at Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge. She graduated from Palm Beach Atlantic University with a degree in Biology, focusing on botany. She was responsible for overseeing exotic plant removal contracts across 60,000 acres as an Invasive Species Biologist for Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. Her current duties include vegetation monitoring, coordinating and overseeing invasive plant removal contracts and supporting invasive species research projects. Christen has been an active member of the Treasure Coast CISMA since 2008 and has recently joined the Everglades CISMA.
Michael Meisenburg |
A founding partner of Kestrel Ecological Services, a private firm since 2007 that specializes in invasive plant control, native plant restoration, tree surveys and hazard tree evaluations, wetland determination and delineation, and biological inventories. Michael is licensed by the State of Florida as a commercial pesticide applicator with natural area, rights-of-way, aquatic, and landscaped certifications. He has a Master’s degree in Agronomy from the University of Florida after studying avian-assisted seed dispersal of Ardisia crenata, and a Bachelor’s degree in Wildlife Ecology & Conservation, also from UF. He is past president of the Alachua County chapter of the Florida Audubon Society.
|William Snyder |
William Snyder is a biologist for the National Park Service. He manages the exotic plant control program at Big Cypress National Preserve. Bill earned his bachelor’s degree in American History from Black Hills State University in 1993. He is a past board member of FLEPPC. Bill resides in Everglades City with his wife and two young sons.
|Keith Charles Morin |
Keith has been involved in resource management his entire career and is a "hands on" manager. He was raised in Massachusetts and was a camper and counselor at an Audubon Day camp for eight summers, where he developed a strong interest in the natural world. After graduating from Jacksonville University with a double major in Biology/ Environmental Science, he participated in Student Conservation Association national service positions in Maryland, Virginia and Georgia with the Department of Defense and the National Park Service. This led to work as a wildlife technician for the Department of the Air Force at Avon Park Bombing Range. In 2002, he entered the School of Wildlife Ecology and Conservation at UF and went on to complete a Masters program focusing on herpetofauna and prescribed fire. Upon completion he was hired as the Park Biologist at Crystal River Preserve State Park in 2005 and fast tracked his understanding of exotic plant treatment by obtaining a natural areas applicator license in the first year. Since then he has been very active in the Withlacoochee Regional Invasive Plant FWC working group and has scoped and managed seven exotic plant control projects on the Preserve from various funding sources. In addition to his other duties as head of the natural resource program, he manages cogon grass, Chinese tallow, air potato, Brazilian pepper, and skunk vine. He strongly believes in public outreach and community involvement in exotic plant control and has given presentations to local groups in and out of the park, developed an exotic plant brochure for the Preserve/ western Citrus County with IFAS, and organized a twice yearly major volunteer “Pepper Pull” workday complete with t-shirts and lunch provided. This program alone has removed over 80,000 pepper plants from 151 acres of the Preserve. He thinks a multi pronged effort over a landscape level, including having a strong CISMA, is vital to long term success in exotic plant management.
|Salvador Medina |
Salvador Medina, a native of Okeechobee County, has over 16 years experience with managing invasive plants in Florida’s natural areas. He started his career in 1995 as a crew member controlling invasive plants with Aquatic Vegetation Control, Inc. in his early twenties and has earned his way through Crew Leader to Regional Manager for the Upland Invasive Program at AVC. Projects under his supervision include invasive plant management projects for Palm Beach County ERM, SFWMD lands, Martin County Environmentally Sensitive Lands, USFWS, and many other public and private management projects. He also is an active participant in community improvement projects and professional organization within south Florida, including coordinating volunteer treatment programs within lands owned by the Boy Scouts, actively involved with the Treasure Coast CISMA, and serving on the FLEPPC Control and Evaluation Committee for the development, treatment, and monitoring of test plots used for FLEPPC field trips.
|Sherry Williams |
Sherry Williams is a Biologist/Park Ranger for the Seminole County Greenways and Natural Lands Division. She received her Bachelor’s of Science in Marine Biology from Dalhousie University, Nova Scotia, Canada. She has lived and worked in Florida as a biologist since 1990. Sherry’s experience in Florida began with studying Atlantic salt marsh snakes for Volusia County Mosquito Control District. Later, she worked for the Florida Park Service as a District Biologist writing management plans, was involved in all aspects of prescribed fire, was responsible for invasive species management at 5 parks and all other resource related issues. Prior to coming to Seminole County, she worked for St. Johns River Water Management District as a Resource Planner, writing management plans and conservation easements as well as assisting land managers with resource management activities. In her present position, she is responsible for the invasives program on 10,000 acres of natural lands, passive parks, paved trails and active parks. Sherry is also responsible for the fire, monitoring, and grants programs, and coordinates volunteers for Natural Lands Program. In addition, Sherry serves as the Steering Committee Chair for the Central Florida Cooperative Invasive Species Management Area (CISMA) and as Vice President for the Cuplet Fern Chapter of the Florida Native Plant Society.
|Jessica Spencer |
Jessica Spencer is a Florida native. She graduated from Emory University with a degree in Chemistry and Human & Natural Ecology. She has worked at Lake Mead National Recreation Area, Sequoia National Park, USGS, and University of Nevada, Las Vegas doing vegetation surveys and invasive species management. She currently works for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in the Invasive Species Management Branch. She has been an active member of FLEPPC since she moved back to Florida in 2008. She has organized the programs for the FLEPPC Symposia for the past 2 years.