Florida Exotic Pest Plant Council

Meet the FLEPPC Officers and Board of Directors


jimmylange Jimmy Lange, Chair
Field Botanist
Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden
Office: 305.667.1651, x 3515
Cell: 954.254.1020
Email: jlange@fairchildgarden.org

Jimmy Lange is a botanist with several years of experience working with South Florida plants and ecosystems. Graduating with honors from the University of Florida with a Bachelors of Science in Environmental Science, Jimmy began his research career studying effects of time-since-fire on foliar nutrients of scrub palmettos under the guidance of the Mack Ecosystem Ecology Lab. He went on to join the Plant Ecology Lab at Archbold Biological Station where he assisted on a number of research projects on several rare plant populations and scrub habitat. He then worked at the Michigan Tech Research Institute where he conducted ground-truthing surveys of Great Lakes wetland plant communities and worked on mapping the invasive Phragmites australis¬. Jimmy is currently completing a master's degree at Florida Atlantic University where he has been studying impacts of Melaleuca quinquenervia and management practices on plant communities in the northern Everglades under Dr. Brian Benscoter. Jimmy joined the Institute for Regional Conservation (IRC) in January 2014 working on several projects relating to rare plant research and habitat management, and is a current research associate. During this time he also was a botanist with Keith & Schnars, conducting plant surveys of several mitigation sites. He currently is a field botanist with the South Florida Conservation Team at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden where he continues to work with south Florida plants and ecosystems, primarily focusing on mapping and monitoring of rare species, as well as helping guide management activities that promote native plant diversity.

Deah Lieurance Deah Lieurance, Chair-Elect
Extension Scientist

Dr. Deah Lieurance is an Extension Scientist with the University of Florida and since January 2013, she has been the coordinator of the UF/IFAS Assessment of Non-native Plants in Florida's Natural Areas. The Assessment aims to prevent the introduction of invasive nonnative plants to the state before arrival and also works to identify invaders as early as possible through regular assessments. Deah received her Ph.D. from Wright State University in 2012 studying plant-herbivore interactions and the chemical ecology of native and non-native honeysuckle species. She also spent 3 years in Ft. Lauderdale at the USDA Invasive Plant Research Laboratory participating in research on the biocontrol of Melaleuca, Brazillian pepper, and earleaf acacia. Deah has served as the Legislative Chair for FLEPPC since 2013, is a member of the Plant List Committee, and is the current Program Committee Chair. She spends her spare time with her partner relaxing on the beach on St. George Island, is an avid homebrewer, and is absolutely in love with her Boston terrier Clancy.

cody-marie Cody-Marie Miller, Treasurer
The Nature Conservancy
E-mail: cody-marie.miller@tnc.org

Cody Miller is the Central Florida invasive species coordinator for The Nature Conservancy. She holds a B.S. in conservation biology from the University of Toledo. Cody started her career as a Student Conservation Association (SCA) intern at Yellowstone National Park and beyond that has worked as a park ranger for Idaho Parks and Recreation and was the Florida Keys Invasive Species Coordinator for the Institute for Regional Conservation. While in the Keys, Cody was an active member of the Florida Keys Invasive Exotic Task Force and since moving to central Florida has taken on the task of co-chairing the Osceola CISMA.

aimeecooper Aimee Cooper, Secretary
St. Lucie County, Environmental Resources Department
E-mail: coopera@stlucieco.org

Aimee Cooper completed her BA in 2005 in Life Science with a concentration in Biology at Otterbein University in Westerville, OH. She was employed with the University of Florida between 2005-2016, first with the Center for Aquatic and Invasive Plants providing research assistance for numerous invasive plant species throughout Florida, then became coordinator of the IFAS Assessment of Non-Native Plants in Florida's Natural Areas (IFAS Assessment), and lastly with Florida Medical Entomology Laboratory (FMEL) examining the efficacy biocontrol organisms for mosquito populations and investigating how exotic bromeliads provide an ideal breeding habitat for mosquitoes. Currently, Aimee is an Environmental Planner for St. Lucie County's Environmental Resources Department. She assists in protecting the County's valuable natural resources, sensitive habitats, and wildlife, and also implements the County's environmental regulations pertaining to vegetation removal, tree mitigation, dune vegetation trimming, wetlands and buffers, coastal zones & shorelines, listed species protection, and landscaping.

personicon Sherry Williams, Liaison

Sherry Williams is the Natural Resources Program Coordinator for the Seminole County Natural Lands Program in Seminole County, Florida. She oversees the invasives species management program, prescribed fire program and survey/monitoring program on 6,600 acres of county owned lands. She is the current Vice President of the National Association of Invasive Plant Councils, current co-chair of the Florida Invasive Species Partnership, current co-chair and founder of the Central Florida Cooperative Invasive Species Management Area and past chair of the Florida Exotic Pest Plant Council (2014-2016). She earned her Bachelors of Science at Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada and has been working as a biologist in Florida since 1991.

Board of Directors

2nd Year Board Members

andrewlawrence Andrew Lawrence

Andrew Lawrence is a Biologist for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission's Invasive Plant Management section. He received a bachelor's degree From the University of Central Florida in Environmental studies. After graduation he has worked in the private sector specializing in ecosystem restoration and volunteered with Seminole County Natural Lands and Back to Nature Wildlife refuge. Andy is currently focused on upland invasive plant management.

sarahmartin Sarah Martin

Growing up in Arizona and southern New Jersey, Sarah developed a conservation ethic and love for nature early. As a child she spent much of her time hiking, camping and exploring the vast desert landscapes of the Southwest and the coastal wilderness areas of the great Mid-Atlantic. Sarah completed undergraduate studies in Washington State at Seattle University, where she received her Bachelor's degree in Environmental Studies and French and completed independent studies abroad in Belize and France. After graduation, Sarah completed an internship and further graduate studies in Landscape Architecture and Regional Planning, working with the natural areas of the University of Pennsylvania's Morris Arboretum. Sarah came to Florida in 2008 to work with The Nature Conservancy as a restoration technician on the South Florida landscape. She then worked as a resource management intern with AmeriCorps for the Florida State Parks in South Florida. Sarah spent five years working in Miami, Florida as a biologist and coordinator for The Institute For Regional Conservation's (IRC) Pine Rockland Initiative program. Sarah continues to be involved with IRC as a Research Associate. She returned to The Nature Conservancy in 2014, where she now works as the South Florida Land Conservation Coordinator for the Florida Chapter's South Florida Program.

debstone Deb Stone

Deb Stone graduated from USF with a B.S. in Biology in 2004, then began working as the Rare Plant Intern at Bok Tower Gardens, where her passion for all things botanical began to blossom. She then moved to Hillsborough County's Environmental Lands program in 2006, working on invasive plant control, monitoring and prescribed fire. Deb started as the Restoration Steward for The Nature Conservancy at The Disney Wilderness Preserve in 2008, where she focused on invasive species prioritization, GIS technologies, working with local Cooperative Invasive Species Management Areas, ground cover restoration and vegetation monitoring. In 2014, Deb moved to St. John's River Water Management District as the Invasive Plant Program Supervisor, where she continues her focus on invasive species prioritization, restoration and GIS technologies. She recently finished her M.S. in Forest Resources and Conservation at the University of Florida and is pursuing her Ph.D. in the same program. Go Gators!

melissasmith Melissa Smith

Melissa Smith is a research ecologist with the Invasive Plant Research Laboratory at the USDA-ARS facility in Fort Lauderdale. Dr. Smith is a graduate of Willamette University in Salem, Oregon (Biology) and Washington State University in Pullman, Washington (Botany), where she completed her dissertation looking at ways to predict plant invasions through physiological responses. Melissa started her work with Florida ecosystems in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Wilma when she was an education and interpretation ranger in Everglades National Park. Returning to Florida to build a career looking for long term solutions to large-scale plant invasions is the culmination of many years of hard work and fortunate circumstances. Melissa joined the Invasive Plant Research Laboratory as a post-doctoral researcher in 2012 and she currently explores ways to integrate biological control into invasive plant management strategies with particular focus on Melaleuca quinquenervia, Rhodomyrtus tomentosa and Acacia auriculiformis. Melissa is a forming member of the Biology Graduate Student Association at Washington State University and served as a graduate senator for four years

1st Year Board Members

Allegra Buyer Allegra Buyer

Allegra Buyer is a biologist for the Florida Park Service. After graduating from New College of Florida with a degree in biology, she started her career working with exotics at Ravine Gardens State Park. From there she worked seasonal jobs in Alaska and Texas, and then came back to Florida for her current position as a biologist in Apopka. She assists with exotic removal at 33 parks and trails, and also works on restoration, prescribed fire and listed species management. She recently finished her MS in Ecological Restoration through UF.

Salvador Medina Salvador Medina

Salvador Medina is a lifelong resident of Okeechobee Florida; He is currently the Director of Operation at Aquatic Vegetation Control Inc. He started his work with AVC in 1998 supervising and managed crews for agencies such as Martin County, Palm Beach County ERM, USFW, FWC, SFWMD, and NPS. He is a certified Commercial Applicator with Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services for Aquatic Pest control and Natural Areas Weed Mgmt. He was previously a FLPPEC board member in 2011 and 2012.

Carey Minteer Carey Minteer

Dr. Carey Minteer is the Director of the Weed Lab at the University of Florida’s Hayslip Biological Control Research and Containment Laboratory in Fort Pierce. Dr. Minteer is a graduate of the University of Arkansas and specializes in invasion ecology and the biological control of invasive plants. She has worked in the field of invasion biology and biological control for over 10 years. Carey began her work in Florida in 2014 as a post-doctoral researcher at the USDA-ARS Invasive Plant Research Laboratory, where she investigated biological control of water hyacinth and water lettuce and the potential indirect effects of biological control of weeds. Carey accepted her current position at the University of Florida in 2016. At University of Florida, Dr. Minteer serves in both research and Extension capacities. Currently, she works with multiple weed species, including Brazilian peppertree, air potato, earleaf acacia, tropical soda apple, and water hyacinth.

Lynn Proenza Lynn Proenza

Lynn Proenza received her B.S. in Environmental Science from the University of South Florida in 2003. For the following eight years, she worked in the private sector including land management at White Oak Conservation Center and environmental consulting. Lynn then pursued and received her M.S. in Forest Resources and Conservation from the University of Florida in 2012. Upon graduating, she became a biologist with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission where she manages the invasive plant program for 36,000 acres at two Wildlife Management Areas in Central Florida. Lynn now has 16 years of experience in various environmental fields including land management, invasive plant management, prescribed fire, flora and fauna surveys, water quality, habitat assessment, among others.