STAFF & BOARD

Meet Our Team

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Barbara Schlitt Ford

Executive Director

Barb@DiscoverELC.org

(772) 589-5050 ext. 105

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.

Marcy Harrison

Finance/HR/Operations Manager

 

Marcy@DiscoverELC.org

(772) 589-5050 ext. 103

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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Ray Weatherdon

Facilities Manager

Ray@DiscoverELC.org

​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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Amy Shea

Education Coordinator

Amy@DiscoverELC.org

(772) 589-5050 ext. 106

Amy Shea joined the ELC in spring of 2019.  She has a B.A. in psychology from the University of Arkansas and an M.Ed. in elementary education from Vanderbilt University.  She has also completed graduate work in free-choice learning and fisheries management at Oregon State University.  She moved to Florida in 2011 to pursue the field of environmental education and has previously worked at SeaWorld and the Palm Beach Zoo and Conservation Society.  Outside of her work at the ELC, Amy enjoys SCUBA diving, playing the fiddle, traveling, and spending time with her rescue dogs.

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Sara Piotter

Senior Environmental Educator

SaraP@DiscoverELC.org

(772) 589-5050 ext. 111

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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Nancy Puglio

Volunteer & Guest Services Coordinator

Nancy@DiscoverELC.org

(772) 589-5050 ext. 107

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! 

Kenny Kinchen

Membership and Systems Manager

Kenny@DiscoverELC.org

(772) 589-5050 ext. 109

Kenny joined our team as the Development Data Manager in November of 2018. He was born and raised in Vero Beach and visited our campus on school field trips numerous times. Kenny grew up boating and fishing in the Indian River with his family. He has spent the last 14 years working in Spreadsheet and Database Management as well as Statistics and Reporting and he is very excited to join the team and help make a difference in the community and environment.

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Phil Chieco

Boat Captain & Facilities Assistant

 

Phil@DiscoverELC.org

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.

Sue Harr

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!

Britney Melchiori

Marketing Manager

britney@DiscoverELC.org

(772) 589-5050

Britney has called Indian River County home since 1994. She graduated from Keiser University in 2006 with an A.S. in Graphic Design & Multimedia. With a passion for her local community, she has spent the last 12 years in the nonprofit world working with Sebastian River Area Chamber of Commerce promoting our destination, our eco-tourism, and our local businesses. She, her husband, Nick, son, Roan, and daughter, Emilia, reside in Sebastian where you'll (more often than not) find them at one of the many community parks or playgrounds enjoying the river breezes and warm Florida sunshine.  

Lindsay Bauer

Guest Services Specialist

Lindsay@DiscoverELC.org

(772) 589-5050

Lindsay joined our ELC staff in May of 2021. She is a Florida native, born in Melbourne, and grew up in the area. She came to the Environmental Learning Center after receiving her BS in Psychology at the University of Central Florida. Before graduating, she worked in the education field, primarily with grant-funded S.T.E.A.M programs. She has a passion for educating others on important causes and that is exactly what brought her to the ELC. Throughout college, she studied areas such as environmental science, the impact of solid waste on our environment, and our ecological footprint. She knows educating the community is the first step towards making critical changes and is excited to help share and support our mission here at the Environmental Learning Center. 

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Sarah Christopherson

Environmental Educator

SarahC@DiscoverELC.org

(772) 589-5050

Christopherson joined the ELC team in early 2016. Prior to moving to Vero Beach, she resided in Atlanta and surrounding areas for nearly 10 years, where she graduated from Kennesaw State University in 2011 with a double major B.A. in Philosophy and Spanish. During that time, she worked in education at summer day camps and schools, and advocacy as the VP of her university's environmental organization. Sarah also studied natural sciences as a post-bacc student at Georgia State University. She is a Certified Interpretive Guide through the National Association for Interpretation and served as the Vice President on the Board of Directors for the non-profit, Plastic Free Florida.

ELC Board of Directors

Chairperson
DONALD E. BARR

Vice Chairperson

JOHN L. DANIELS


Secretary
J. ROBERT TENCH

Treasurer
JIM SOURBEER​ 

Members

Tim Buhl

David Griffis

Jill Liddell 

Tyler G. Puttick

Jeffrey L. Susi

Exec. Dir. Barbara Schlitt Ford

ELC Foundation Board

Chairperson
TODD FENNELL

Vice Chairperson

ALICE COLE

 

Secretary

JIM SOURBEER


Treasurer
JOHN L. DANIELS


Members
DONALD E. BARR
TIMOTHY R. BUHL
ALICE COLE
HAYDN COLE
JOHN D. LOWENBERG, SR.
JIM SOURBEER

INVESTMENT COMMITTEE
Chairperson
JOHN D. LOWENBERG, SR.


Members
ALICE COLE
HAYDN COLE
TODD FENNELL

ROBERT PRINDIVILLE