Our Team... The Executive Board
Elizabeth Pickett Gray
David C. Lewis, Ph.D. Secretary
Andy Mele - Suncoast Waterkeeper. Andy has a master’s degree in environmental science, concentrated in environmental economics and policy. He is author of Polluting for Pleasure, the book that led directly to the extinction of twelve million two-cycle outboard motors, and stopped the discharge equivalent to 5 Exxon Valdez oil spills each year into American waterways. He was Executive Director of Clearwater, the Hudson River environmental group formed by folk singer Pete Seeger in 1966, and won the 30-year battle with General Electric over its massive PCB spill in the Hudson. He is currently Suncoast Waterkeeper, working for protection of coastal ecosystems, to halt phosphate strip mining and untrammeled development in Florida, and to bring red tide back to pre-development levels.
Jamie Hooks - Jamie Hooks Outdoors, I’m a 4th generation Sarasota county native. I grew up on the water and have spent the last 45 years exploring the water sources of our state and achieved my goal of paddling every river and tributary in it over that period of time. I’ve paddled our coast lines on both east and west coast and major lakes. For the past 20 years I have been a full time fishing and kayak adventure guide covering trips in the Everglades to river trips on the upper Suwannee out of Georgia down thru north Florida. My life is our water.
Tim Rummage - Ringling College of Art and Design is the Coordinator/Developer of Environmental Studies where he teaches courses on water, environmental science, sustainability, creating ecological cities, applied environmental design, food, biodiversity and environmental ethics. He is also a Coordinator for Sustainability in Design Education for CUMULUS (a global association of colleges of art, media and design) and a frequent lecturer at other colleges and for community organizations.
As a trained field biologist, Tim has done research on Marine Mammals, Pelagic Birds, Bats, Habitat Restoration and Land Planning. He has been involved in a variety of interdisciplinary projects in the U.S. and Africa involving habitat restoration and protection, green infrastructure, local food production and sustainability.
Taylor Howell - Naturopathic Medicine. Taylor grew up as an outdoorswoman on the Gulf coast of Florida. She earned a Bachelor’s of Science degree from the University of Central Florida, specializing in Biomedical Studies, Environmental Science, and Entrepreneurship. As a member of the Student Sustainability Alliance at UCF, she spearheaded sustainability efforts campus and community-wide. She earned a doctorate degree in Naturopathic Medicine from the National University of Natural Medicine in Portland, Oregon. In 2016, during the Standing Rock water crisis, Taylor joined the movement in Cannonball, North Dakota.
Creating an organic farm in Venice, Florida is her most current project. Through the FEFF, she hopes Floridians will be inspired to care for our natural resources.
Michael St. Hilaire - Cinematographer
Retired Cinematographer in the motion picture and television industry. Over 50 years shooting major motion pictures and television. Member of the International Cinematographers Guild, Local 600 of the IATSE. Has served on the National Executive Board of the ICG for over 40 years; as a national officer from 2007-2016. I am a native of Los Angeles, California, moving to Longboat Key, Florida in 2005. Interested in sharing education and seeking solutions to our many environmental challenges.
John T. Krotec -US Army Veteran, community organizer, Podcast Host
Has a Bachelor's Degree in Hospitality Management from Florida State University. A small business owner, US Army Veteran, community organizer, Podcast Host, Visionary; I understand how important water quality is to maintain for Floridians and for our visitors.
I grew up in Sarasota, and have seen both commercial and residential growth taking place place in my community for the past 50 years. I understand how fragile AND how important water is to the Florida Eco-system. Without quality water, we run the risk of compromising our public health. A healthy community is a sustainable community...simply stated, without maintaining high-quality drinking water, we cannot survive. I advocate finding solutions (not creating conflict) to the challenges of land development and its impact on water.
Jennifer Smith - B.S. in Health Sciences. With completion of the Pre Med program, a Masters in Metabolism, four years in the Pharmaceutical Industry and certified as a Functional Medicine Educator. A local business owner of 12 years and a native Floridian, Jennifer has surfed on every surfable coast and passionately loves the ocean for its ability to heal, calm, and nurture. With her business located a block from one of the most popular destinations in the world, Siesta Key Beach, her livelihood depends upon the health of the ocean. By becoming an active committee member with the FEFF, Jennifer intends on raising social awareness and stewardship. The declining health of our oceans and the delicate intercoastal waterways locally are at stake and need focused, diligent attention. When the latest environmental disaster is fresh in everyone’s minds, there is a momentum for change which is often quickly overshadowed by time.