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STAFF & BOARD

Meet Our Team

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Barbara Schlitt Ford

 

Executive Director

Barb@DiscoverELC.org

(772) 589-5050

Barbara Schlitt Ford is a 2nd generation Vero native, an accomplished attorney, educator and organization leader. She grew up appreciating this area as a true paradise. Barbara is a lifelong nature lover. An ideal day might include a swim in the ocean, a boat trip on the lagoon, or a mountain hike to a waterfall. She cares about environmental stewardship and is passionate about living in union with our Earth systems, nature preservation and on finding solutions to our water quality issues in the area.  She joined the ELC as Executive Director on April 1, 2019. She strives to maintain a mission-focused, collaborative and uplifting leadership style. She appreciates synergistic commitment and teamwork from staff, board members, volunteers and community partners. She is an optimist who believes that individually we can each make a positive impact, but working together, we can truly create a better future.

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Marcy Harrison

 

Finance and HR

 

Marcy@DiscoverELC.org

(772) 589-5050

Marcy is a Florida native, born in Tampa.  She grew up in Chattanooga, Tennessee where she loved camping, fishing and other outdoor activities.  She graduated State University of West Georgia in Carrollton, Georgia with a BBA in Accounting. After working in Atlanta for 20 years, she moved back to Florida, making Vero Beach her home.  Not for profits are one of her passions, as she managed accounting for Vero’s Habitat for Humanity and Indian River Medical Center.

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Linda Bentlin

 

Operations Manager

Linda@DiscoverELC.org

(772) 589-5050

Linda joined the ELC staff in November 2021 after relocating from the Northern Virginia area. She spent her years in Fairfax, Virginia working for a local government agency which focused on children’s school readiness and ongoing success. Her work there in the areas of grants management, contracts, strategic planning and educational programming led her to her position as Operations Manager at ELC. As an Ohio native, Linda appreciates the warm Florida climate as well as the many outdoor offerings and opportunities in her new hometown of Vero Beach.

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Sherri Law

 

Donor Relations Officer

Sherri@DiscoverELC.org

(772) 589-5050

Sherri Law, CFRE, is originally from the shores of the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland, where she grew up boating, kayaking, oyster gardening and learning all she could about nature and the environment. Sherri is a passionate conservationist with more than 25 years of experience in nonprofit fundraising. She holds a BS in Social Science from the University of Maryland and a Certificate in Fundraising Management from the Lilly School of Philanthropy at Indiana University-Purdue University Indiana. Sherri is a Certified Fundraising Executive (CFRE) and has been a member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) since 2004. Joining the ELC in December of 2022, Sherri comes to us from the Association of Zoos & Aquariums accredited Brevard Zoo, and has previously held positions with Habitat for Humanity, Aging Matters in Brevard, Advent Health and Hospice of the Chesapeake. During her off hours, Sherri spends as much time as possible enjoying the outdoors appreciating the abundant natural beauty that surrounds us.  

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Janie Hoover

 

Marketing & Communications Specialist

Janie@DiscoverELC.org

(772) 589-5050

Janie is a Vero Beach native, and her family has been in Indian River County since the 1920’s. As Marketing and Communications Specialist here at the ELC, she has the opportunity to support two causes she is enthusiastic about: the environment and education. Janie’s experience includes 20 years with Fortune 500 media companies as an Account Executive and Sales Trainer. She has also worked for a local advertising agency in client services, producing videos and TV shows and event planning. Janie is a graduate of University of Florida School of Journalism with a Bachelor of Science in Advertising. In her leisure time, she enjoys cooking, hiking, and volunteering with Team Fox.  

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Sue Harr Rhinehart

 

Relationship and Experiences Specialist

 

Sue@DiscoverELC.org

(772) 589-5050

Sue, originally from Pittsburgh, PA is a graduate of Indiana University of PA with a BS in Interior Design. Her career relocated her to Western Maryland which became “home” for many years. Her passion for the outdoors, Arabian horses and alpacas was the beginning of her easy transition to extensive involvement with a variety of nonprofit organizations. Her experiences includes agricultural fair management, marketing, public relations, grant writing and fundraising. Most recently, Sue was the Director of Development for the Arc of Washington County before saying good bye to snow and following her dream, relocating to Vero Beach in August 2020. Sue was excited to “sign on” joining the staff of the ELC in March of 2021. In her free time, Sue enjoys learning everything “Florida and Treasure Coast,” from lazy days at the beach, water activities, exploring local theatre, museums and scenery, as well as spending time with family and friends that “come down” to visit!

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Ginny Wieder

 

Guest Services and Membership Coordinator

Ginny@DiscoverELC.org

(772) 589-5050

Ginny joined the ELC in January of 2023. A native of Louisiana, she’s resided in Florida for about 25 years and considers Vero Beach her forever home.

On a whim, she joined the U.S. Navy Seabees as a Builder –for the adventure, funds for college and to travel the world. Following her Navy career, she and her family moved to Sebastian. She obtained her degree in Graphic Design Technology and joined a local non-profit as the Children’s Activities Coordinator. As with many non-profit organizations, this position would immerse her in a multitude of experiences from pairing mentors with children for outdoor activities such as kayaking, air boat rides, fishing and beach clean-ups, to designing and producing flyers, monthly newsletters, event photography, and joining fundraising committees. Although she has spent the past 10 years working as a Licensed Title Insurance Agent (Real Estate), the opportunity of a lifetime came along to join the team at the ELC, a dream she’s had since moving to the area. She and her husband enjoy spending time beach walking, reading and exploring the outdoors with family and friends.

Marc Spiess

Marc Spiess

 

Guest Services Specialist

Marc@DiscoverELC.org

(772) 589-5050

Marc has been a member of the ELC since 2018 and joined the team in 2021. He studied philosophy at the University of Stuttgart, Germany, where he also worked in customer service and administration at the Stuttgart Ballet for seven years. From a very young age he was active with various environmental organizations and their efforts to protect and preserve wild spaces. Upon moving to Florida he developed an avid interest in Florida native plants and landscaping for wildlife, which led to him working in native plant cultivation, landscape design, and habitat restoration.

Whenever Marc is not at the ELC campus, you can most likely find him hiking through conservation areas with his family and climbing trees with his son.

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Ray Weatherdon

 

Facilities Manager

Ray@DiscoverELC.org

(772) 589-5050

​Ray is originally from South Africa where he was an apprentice with Wankie Colliery Company Limited in Rhodesia (Zimbabwe today).  During Ray’s five year apprenticeship he received “Apprentice of the Year.”
After a stint in the Rhodesian Army where he attained the rank of full Corporal, Ray held various positions as a Maintenance and Construction Electrician, and then as a Production Supervisor and Facilities Manager overseeing a staff. Never one to stay still, Ray started his own very successful home improvement company and also renovated his 80 year old house in Newark, Delaware and built all the furniture. As with many new Floridians, a visit to warmer Florida spurred him to relocate and that was a lucky thing for us! Now we keep Ray very busy maintaining our 64-Acre Lagoon Island property and facilities and we’re so grateful to have such a talent! For fun (as if he weren’t busy enough) Ray’s bucket list includes traveling to all 50 states (he’s done about half so far) and renovating his Florida house (and probably making all new furniture!) 

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Phil Chieco

 

Boat Captain & Facilities Assistant

 

Phil@DiscoverELC.org

(772) 589-5050

Phil joined the ELC in September of 2018.  Phil was born and raised in New York City. He left the northeast for Florida in 1989 when his snow shovel broke.  Phil is a life long fisherman and boater. He holds a U.S. Coast Guard 100 Ton Master License. In his previous career, he was a 41 year veteran of the auto repair industry and felt it was time for a change that would bring him closer to nature and the water. When not at the ELC, he likes spending time with family, fishing, boating, traveling and building custom fishing rods.

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Nancy Puglio

 

Volunteer Coordinator

Nancy@DiscoverELC.org

(772) 589-5050

Nancy became part of the ELC staff in 2006 has been instrumental in growing the ELC volunteer group to over 260 happy volunteers of all ages! She and her family moved to Florida from New Jersey in 2003.  She  was very active in St. Edwards Parent Association before joining ELC in 2006.  Nancy worked in the finance/lease end of the auto industry before her three boys arrived and she has been busy ever since! 

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Storm Smith

 

Guest Services Specialist

Storm@DiscoverELC.org

(772) 589-5050

Storm began with the ELC in 2022. She is from Vero Beach, Florida. She studied Information Technology and Graphic and Interactive Design. Storm is passionate about telling story through video and enjoys doing marketing through social media. She has a great love of the Florida nature and its wildlife and is thrilled to be a part of the ELC team.

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Sara Piotter

 

Senior Environmental Educator

SaraP@DiscoverELC.org

(772) 589-5050

Sara’s relationship with the ELC goes back almost a decade. From 2006-2008 Sara helped teach our school programs as a part-time naturalist. In the spring of 2008 she left the ELC to work as a field biologist. She’s worked for The Nature Conservancy, The North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, and the United States Geological Survey on research projects related to restoration ecology, water quality, and foraging and reproduction studies of passerines and waterbirds. Sara grew up exploring green spaces around Indian River County, as she was raised right here in Vero Beach. Although Sara connected with the natural world from a very early age, her passion for conservation and natural resource management was ignited during her studies at the University of Florida. In 2004, she earned her B.S. degree in Wildlife Ecology and Conservation from UF. Additionally, Sara’s received training from the National Geographic Society in Watershed Education. Sara originally joined the education team as a full-time Naturalist. She’s thrilled to expand her relationship with the communities ELC serves and strives to promote a life-long, positive, mutually-rewarding relationship with nature. In her free time she enjoys all things nature, cooking, traveling, live music, crafting natural products, aromatherapy, and spending time with her family. 

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Meghan Carpenter

 

Environmental Educator

Meghan@DiscoverELC.org

(772) 589-5050

Meghan is an Indiana native and a recent transplant to Florida.  She grew up with a deep love of nature and as a child she aspired to grow up to be a Marine Biologist.  She graduated from Wittenberg University in 2018 with a B.A. in Biology and a Minor in Marine Science.  Since graduating Meghan has worked in environmental education in positions with UGA Marine Extension and Georgia Sea Grant, Smithsonian Marine Ecosystem Exhibit and most recently Pelican Island Audubon Society.  In these positions Meghan has had the joy of combining her passion for the natural world with her love of teaching and encouraging others to explore the amazing habitats in their own back yard.  Meghan is thrilled to be joining the ELC education team where she can continue connecting others to the wonder of our natural world. 

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Shelby Chester

 

Environmental Educator

Shelby@DiscoverELC.org

(772) 589-5050

Shelby is originally from Texas and after graduating from Texas State University with a B.S. in Wildlife Biology, she moved out to Florida to be closer to family and start her career. Throughout her time in college, Shelby worked as an environmental interpreter at a non-profit nature center operating at the university. There, she educated the public on the local natural history, the importance of water conservation, and environmental stewardship. While attending school, she also had the opportunity to work on a number of different research projects that included the study of Mosquitofish, Gulf Coast toads, and Green Herons. Shelby has a deep love for learning about the complex dynamics of ecosystems and is passionate about advocating to protect natural spaces. She is looking forward to sharing her enthusiasm for nature with students of all ages at the ELC!

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Jen Satterly

 

Environmental Educator

 

Jen@DiscoverELC.org

(772) 589-5050

Jennifer is originally from New York and moved to Vero Beach from Colorado 2016. She started at ELC as a volunteer and joined the staff as part time educator in March of 2017.  Jen has been a summer camp Girl Scout Leader, a Mad Scientist, and her favorite role is homeschooling her son. Combining homeschooling and her passion for protecting the environment, she started Homeschool Adventure Club in 2020. They to hike, kayak, and climb trees and play.  This connects the participating homeschool families with the environment in the hope that they fall in love with the natural world and want to take care of it. Jen also co-leads a program called Wellness in the Wild designed to get women into nature and help them slow down and connect. She and her husband own a kayak rental and guiding business. Her most recent accomplishment is becoming a certified Florida Master Naturalist and she is enthused to share her knowledge here at the ELC. 

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Kristiana Heath 

Environmental Educator

 

Kristiana@DiscoverELC.org

(772) 589-5050

Kristiana is a native to the Sunshine State. With the Florida Keys, numerous lakes, and scrub habitats serving as her childhood playgrounds, it’s no surprise that she developed a passion for Florida's wild spaces. Her fascination with the natural world led to her undergraduate studies in biology at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg. For the five years following, she served the students of Central Florida as a middle grades science educator. She returned to the classroom, this time as a student, to Florida Atlantic University where she earned a Master of Science in Biological Sciences. Her areas of study largely involved the seasonal sargassum influx, Gulf Stream zooplankton ecology, and coral reef ecology. She comes to the ELC from the Smithsonian Marine Ecosystems Exhibit, where she gained a deep appreciation for the Indian River Lagoon. Scuba diving, underwater photography, audiobooks, traveling, and long walks are among her favorite leisure activities. She loves working with learners of all ages and believes education presents unique opportunities to make the world a bit better and more beautiful!

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Gian Cetrulo

 

Environmental Educator

Gian@discoverelc.org 

(772) 589-5050

Gian (pronounced John) has lived in Vero Beach since 2006. He taught middle school science at Sebastian Charter Junior High and St. Helen Catholic School, as well as oceanography at Indian River State College. Prior to moving to Florida, Gian was first the education coordinator and then the director of a public aquarium called the SEA Lab located in Redondo Beach, California. He has a Masters degree in Marine Science from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill and two Bachelor degrees in Biology and Environmental Studies from the University of California, Santa Barbara. All of his favorite things to do involve water- whether it be fishing with his son in the Indian River Lagoon, fossil hunting with his daughter in Peace River, snorkeling with his wife in the Florida Keys and even running on the beach with his water-loving pooch. 

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Sharon Tyson

 

Environmental Educator​

Sharon@DiscoverELC.org

(772) 589-5050

Sharon moved to Brevard County, Florida in 1984 and earned a B.S. in Biology from UCF. She was employed by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Geological Survey, Florida Department of Environmental Protection and operated an environmental consulting business. Prior to retirement, she spent several years working for the Army Corps of Engineers in Planning and Policy on Everglades and Kissimmee River Restoration, Okeechobee Waterway recreation, manatee protection systems, sustainability and regulatory compliance. During her career, she was fortunate to conduct research on manatees, birds, horned lizards and turtles, on renewable energy development, sustainability, and as the Indian River Lagoon Aquatic Preserve Manager. Sharon joined the ELC staff in 2021. She is grateful for opportunities to engage the community in stewardship activities benefitting the Indian River Lagoon and its diverse wildlife. Sharon enjoys spending time on art projects with her husband, boating, watersports and just being outdoors in Indian River County.

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Haylie Garman

 

Aquarist

Haylie@DiscoverELC.org

(772) 589-5050

Hello! My name is Haylie Garman and I'm from Columbus, Ohio. I received my Marine Biology Degree from Bowling Green State University and now I am at at Florida Tech studying Ocean Engineering.  I'm passionate about deep sea biology and taking care of fish and reptiles. In the future my dreams are to build marine-bio modeled robots and technology for aquariums and use them for research and conservation.

Navigating in Woods

ELC Board of Directors

Chairperson
John L. Daniels

Vice Chairperson

Donald E. Barr


Secretary
Tyler G. Puttick

Treasurer
Tarik Kawi​ 

Members

Tim Buhl

David Griffis

Carol Lincoln

Shirley Nichols

Megan Osteen

Carly Barnes Witteck

Executive Director

Barbara Schlitt Ford

ELC Foundation Board

Chairperson
Todd Fennell

Vice Chairperson

Alice Cole

Secretary

Jim Sourbeer


Treasurer
John L. Daniels


Members
Donald E. Barr
Tim Buhl
Haydn Cole
John D. Lowenberg, Sr.

INVESTMENT COMMITTEE
Chairperson
John D. Lowenberg, Sr.


Members
Alice Cole
Haydn Cole
Todd Fennell

Robert Prindiville

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