Staff and Board
The Board of Directors
David Pais: President of the Board. David was educated at Rollins College and University of Florida, where he studied environmental ethics. He is active in the Florida Native Plant Society and was a founding member and president of the Gainesville Chapter and Past President of the State FNPS 1996-98. He is certified as an Arborist, a Landscape Designer, and Landscape Contractor and operates a design and consulting business that specializes in Ecological Restoration, Native Landscapes, and Habitat Enhancements throughout Florida & the Caribbean. He is also a Licensed Real Estate Broker specializing in preserving & protecting the Native Landscape of Florida.
Ed Montgomery: Vice President of the Board. Ed joined Rayonier Inc. in 1979 after graduation from the University of Florida with a BS in Forest Resources and Conservation. Ed has held various positions with Rayonier and is currently Director, Real Estate Sales and Marketing for TerraPointe Services. A native of north Florida, Ed enjoys boating on Florida’s beautiful waterways with his wife Jennifer, playing folk music and serving on praise music and prison ministry teams.
Stephen A. Nesbitt: Secretary of the Board. Steve is sandhill crane and eagle expert. He is an Ornithologist and retired Biological Administrator for the Florida Wildlife Commission and member of the Whooping Crane Recovery Team.
Nancy J. Peterson: Treasurer of the Board. Nancy is the Executive Director, Conserved Forest Ecosystems Outreach & Research School of Forest Resources and Conservation. Nancy’s background is in natural resource management and environmental education. She has a long history of working with non-profit organizations, serving for 10 years as the executive director and two years as environmental education coordinator for Green Earth, Inc., a land trust organization located in Carbondale, Illinois. In addition, she was the first director of The Science Center, a regional hands-on children’s museum also located in Illinois. She and her sister have managed their family farm in Illinois for over 30 years.
K. Marlene Conaway: Member at Large. Marlene served as the Chief of Comprehensive Planning for the Department of Community Affairs, Florida State Government from 2005 to 2006. She served as the Deputy Director, Department of Planning and Development for Carroll County, Maryland and as a program administrator for a Maryland county, she worked with farmers to help them understand the benefits of selling agricultural land preservation easements to the State. A major accomplishment was designing the “Critical Farms” program to prevent agricultural lands from being converted to development when a farmer retires. Easement funding is provided by the County, as bridge financing, to help individuals who want to farm purchase the land. The program has preserved fifty farms in the last twenty years and received a national award in 2005.
Barry Rutenberg: Member at Large. 2011 Chairman of the Board of the National Association of Home Builders and President of Barry Rutenberg and Associates, Inc. In 2007, Barry joined his father, Arthur Rutenberg as an inductee in the Florida Housing Hall of Fame. He also serves on the Board of the Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce and on the Issues Advisory Board of Florida Defenders of the Environment. Barry is also the 2011 First Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors of the National Association of Home Builders.
Celeste Shitama: Member at Large. Celeste is a long time supporter of land conservation in Florida. Her work with Sandhill Cranes at the Florida Wildlife Commission led to graduate studies at the University of Florida in Wildlife Ecology and Conservation, as well as work on the Northwest Florida Permanent Exhibit at the Florida Museum of Natural History. She is the former owner of the first property in Costa Rica protected with a conservation easement, and current owner of restored springs property along the Suwannee River. She has five grown children and 7 grandchildren that keep her life interesting and the stakes high for the future.
Michael Webster: Member at Large. Mike grew up in south Florida as a conservation ethic emerged from issues surrounding the Jetport, Big Cypress National Preserve, and Everglades System restoration. A northeast Florida resident since the late 1970s, Mike served on the Board of the Florida Wildlife Federation and witnessed the creation of Jennings State Forest and the related Ravines, Talbot Island State Park, Guana WMA/State Park, Northeast Florida Timberlands Reserve, and Osceola National Forest Pinhook addition. Mike has been involved with diverse local government growth management proceedings, and is the recipient of the City of Jacksonville Mimi and Lee Adams Environmental Award. A licensed Yacht Broker, he is an avid outdoorsman who enjoys and uses Florida's public lands and waterways, and is a member of a hunting club.
Busy Shires Byerly: Assistant Executive Director, received a B.A. in Geography from the University of Florida in 1997. From 1991 to 1992, she attended Oglethorpe University in Atlanta, Georgia. A graduate of the Florida Natural Resources Leadership Institute in 2002, she has worked on projects for The Wildlands Project and the National Gap Analysis Program. She is a former newspaper reporter for the Alachua Post (2001 - 2003). She worked as a groom and rider for horse farms until her first professional job in 1998. She was a member of the Town of Micanopy's Planning and Historic Preservation Board (2004 - 2010). She is a native of Alachua County and grew up on a horse farm and still rides dressage. Her family owns and operates Gold Leaf Farm, the host farm during the 1970s for the Canadian Event Team. Her family held the first horse trials in Florida and held horse trials, clinics, and dressage shows at the farm until 1990. Busy was the Executive Director of CTF for over seven years before becoming the Development Director in October 2010 and the Assistant Executive Director in December 2011. She works for CTF because she believes that she understands the issues that farm owners face as they consider long-term land conservation goals for their families and their farms.
Kristianna J. Lindgren: Land Conservation Director. Kristianna is a graduate of the University of Florida, Levin College of Law in Gainesville, FL. She graduated in December 2010 with a Juris Doctor and a Certificate in Land-Use and Environmental Law. She is seeking a Master of Science in Interdisciplinary Ecology. Her thesis topic is Interspecific Plant Competition Across a Salinity Gradient in the Savannah National Wildlife Refuge. She has participated in wetland research projects documenting plant communities throughout the state of Florida, including the Everglades and the Kissimmee Chain of Lakes. Prior to beginning her Master's research, she assisted with data collection and analysis for a recreational visitor study in Rookery Bay, Florida and coauthored the resulting publication. Before starting with CTF, Kristianna was a legal extern for two semesters with the Alachua County Environmental Protection Department, for the Alachua County Forever Program, the county's land conservation program.
Dr. Thomas Scott Hoctor: Research Scientist and Greenways Coordinator. Tom is a Research Associate at the GeoPlan Center in the Department of Urban and Regional Planning and Department of Landscape Architecture at the University of Florida. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Florida in Wildlife Ecology and Conservation. He has M.S. from the University of Florida in Forest Resource and Conservation specializing in conservation biology and policy. His undergraduate studies were in History and Science from Harvard University where he received a Harvard College Scholarship and a John Winthrop Scholarship for academic achievement. He has worked on numerous research projects including, the following: A joint Army Corps of Engineers/U. S. Department of Defense project to identify listed species and identify natural resource conservation opportunities on lands surrounding eleven military bases in the Piedmont ecoregion of Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina; A project to develop recommendations and tools to facilitate regional ecological assessments in all U.S. EPA regions; a project with Region 4 EPA and the EPA OPEI to survey existing regional assessment efforts and develop guidelines that can be used to conduct regional assessments of areas critical for conserving biodiversity and ecosystem services; identification of reserve options for protecting federally listed species in South Florida, 2002-. Working with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Dr. Karen Root of Applied Biomathematics and Bowling Green University, and Frank Mazzotti et al. from the University of Florida to update habitat models for listed species and develop reserve options and priorities for conserving all federally listed species while maximizing benefits to the region’s overall biodiversity. email@example.com
Fay Baird: Fay is a hydrologist with the St. Johns River Water Management District and she is one of the founders of Micanopy's charter elementary school, and former member of the Micanopy Town Commission. She is not a bad banjo player, either.
Kevin Brown: Kevin has been with Farm Credit since 1986. He is a Chief Appraiser, working in Alachua. He is a central Florida native, and his degree is in plant and soil science from UF, and his interests are real estate, geography and land management. Kevin's hobbies include gardening, landscaping and maintaining his small timber farm.
David Carr: David is Past President and Founder of the Conservation Trust for Florida, Inc. (CTF). He is also a former Executive Director of the Caribbean Conservation Corporation, noted conservationist, owner of the Pearl Country Store, landowner, and native Floridian. David is a member of Scenic Highway 441 Corridor Management Council.
Margaret (Peggy) Carr: Peggy is an Associate professor in the University of Florida's Department of Landscape Architecture. She serves as the principal investigator for the Florida Statewide Greenways Planning Project and for an EPA funded project to identify major ecological systems and areas of importance to biological diversity in the eight southeastern states.
William Ellis:Will is an electrical engineer and computer programmer. He holds a BSEE from the University of Florida with experience in digital video and computer graphics. Currently he operates his own consulting business.
Lisa Molitor Gearen: Lisa is an Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioner at the ACORN Clinic in Brooker, Florida. She is a lifelong resident of Florida and active in various community efforts, especially related to land conservation. She is a member of the Friends Group for Kanapaha Prairie.
Erik Lewis: Eric is a GIS mapping expert and urban planner at the University of Florida.
Anne MacKay: Mrs. MacKay is a native Floridian, and she helped create the State Wildflower license tag in 2000, through which thousands of Floridians annually make donations to support Florida's wildflowers. She also is a founding member of the Foundation, representing the Florida League of Cities. She also mentors a child in the state's Guardian ad Litem program. Anne is also a Master Gardener and an elder in the Presbyterian Church. She lives in Lake Weir and North Carolina with her husband, former Florida Gov. Buddy Mackay. The couple has four children and eight grandchildren.
Gov. Buddy MacKay: Gov. MacKay built a 27-year record of service based on finding common-sense solutions to the problems facing Florida’s families. As a result, his leadership earned him the reputation of Florida's most influential lieutenant governor in history. As a state representative and senator, a Congressman and as Lt. Governor, MacKay focused on the issues that matter most to the families of Florida. He and his wife Anne were both born and raised in Ocala. Buddy earned his bachelor's and law degrees from the University of Florida, while Anne graduated from the University of North Carolina.
Gary K. Meffe: Gary was the CTF Executive Director from March 2002 to May 2003. He is also a textbook author and Editor-in-Chief of the international scientific journal Conservation Biology.
Bob Simons: Bob is a professional forester and private consultant who conducts ecological inventories and writes forest management plans and scientific papers. Bob has taught courses at Santa Fe College and the University of Florida. He is the manager and part owner of private forest land in Suwannee and Alachua Counties. Bob currently serves on the Florida Silviculture Best Management Practices Technical Advisory Committee, the Suwannee River Water Management District Land Management Review Team, Florida Defenders of the Environment, and the Alachua County Land Conservation Board.
Jennifer B. Springfield: Jennifer is a practicing Gainesville attorney with 20 years experience, primarily in environmental/land use law and she is a certified mediator.
Hans G. Tanzler, III: Hans is an attorney with a legal master’s degree in taxation. He is also a CPA, financial executive and valuation analyst with broad based experience over the last ten years in various industries including manufacturing, real estate, and computer technology. He is currently managing Cypress Grove Farm, a container nursery of Florida native trees and scrubs located in Waldo, Florida. He formerly practiced fifteen years as an attorney/CPA tax attorney in Jacksonville and five years with the IRS and Department of Justice in Miami. He is a current member of the Governing Board of the St. Johns River Water Management District, the University of Florida Foundation Board of Governors, and former Chairman of the Jacksonville Zoological Society.
Carlton Ward, Jr.: Carlton is an environmental photojournalist from Clearwater, Florida. Through his photographs, he promotes conservation of natural environments and cultural legacies. Carlton’s passion for nature was born from the Florida landscape, where eight generations of family history ground his perspective. As a leading proponent of conservation photography, Carlton founded the Legacy Institute for Nature & Culture (LINC). LINC’s mission is to raise awareness for natural environments and cultural legacies, educate about important connections between human societies and natural ecosystems, and promote conservation of natural heritage.
Richard White: Richard holds a B.A. from the University of Florida '72, a J.D. from Florida State University '75, LL.M. (Estate Planning) and the University of Miami '77. He is a Board Certified Wills, Trusts & Estates Attorney Member and serves on the Professional Advisory Board, the Dade Community Foundation Member, and he is on the Board of Directors of the Gainesville Community Foundation.
Kathleen S. Williams: A native Floridian, Kathleen conducted her Master’s Degree research at the University of Florida on wildlife corridors. She has researched sandhill cranes, gopher tortoises, and fox squirrels in Florida and sea turtles in Australia. As an administrator for the Wildlife Conservation Society, she has overseen conservation projects in Central America. Kathleen is also a writer, photographer, and videographer, and past president of the CTF.
Freddie Wood: Freddie is a fifth generation farmer in Evinston. He owns the historic Wood & Swink General Store, which was built in 1882 and includes the town's post office. Freddie would like to see as much farmland saved in Alachua County as possible.
Terry L. Zinn: Terry is a retired environmental attorney with the Florida Department of Transportation, District 2 in Lake City, Florida, and who operates a wildflower seed business in Alachua County. Terry served on CTF’s Board of Directors for six years and was President for three of the six years.
Learn how help farmers and landowners protect the character of their property and plan for its future.
View this inspiring and informative video by Former Florida Governor Buddy MacKay, who is also a member of CTF's Advisory Board. He talks about the importance of protecting wildlife corridors and protecting land for conservation. Video is by the University of Florida, IFAS as part of the Springs Protection Workshop in May 2012 (11 minutes).