“Conservation is humanity caring for the future.”
Nancy Newhall

Our Board of Directors is community-based and represent agricultural, urban, business and environmental concerns in the five county region of Hillsborough, Pasco, Pinellas, Polk and Manatee counties. Our board members have more than 100 years of cumulative experience in conserving lands and water resources in the Tampa Bay region.

Board meetings are held every other month and an annual meeting is held in November each year. Please visit our News & Events page for exact dates.  All community members are welcome to participate in meetings.  Please contact us at for location and times.

Board of Directors


Heidi McCree, President   

Heidi McCree of Tampa is an attorney who has been involved in water and land conservation policy throughout her career.  Heidi is a member of Leadership Florida, Class XXV.  She is the honored recipient of the 2009 Audubon of Florida, Women in Conservation, Special Places Award.

She is a founding Board member and President of the Tampa Bay Conservancy.   In 2008, she served as President of Preserve Hillsborough, the successful campaign to renew Hillsborough County's Environmental Lands Acquisition and Protection Program (ELAPP).  

Heidi served on the Southwest Florida Water Management District Governing Board from 2000 through 2008.  In 2005, she was unanimously elected the first female Chairperson of the Governing Board.  She served as liaison to the Florida Greenways and Trails Council and to the Tampa Bay Estuary Program.  Additionally, McCree was Chair ex officio of the Hillsborough River Basin Board. 

McCree served as Executive Director of the Hillsborough River Greenways Task Force from 1996 to 2000. She is a member of the Alliance of Florida Land Trusts, was a delegate to the Florida Water Congress and member of the Tampa Bay Partnership Vision 21 and One Bay efforts.  She was Chair of the Cone Ranch Advisory Committee.  Other involvement has included the Hillsborough County Bar Association, Hillsborough Association of Women Lawyers, Hillsborough County League of Women Voters and the Water Issues Coalition. 

Heidi is on the boards of Audubon Florida,  the Florida Greenways and Trails Foundation, the Children's Campaign and the William A. Gregory Scholarship Foundation.  She has also served the Hillsborough Education Foundation, supporting Nature's Classroom and the Foundation's fundraising efforts.  She is a Junior League member and has served on various Boards and committees for her children's schools and church activities.

 McCree received a Bachelor of Arts in political science from Vanderbilt University in 1986 and a juris doctor from George Mason University School of Law in 1992.   She received certification from the Florida Conflict Resolution Consortium in 1996 for negotiating and resolving public disputes.  Prior to serving as Executive Director of the Greenways Task Force, she worked for the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.  Prior to moving to Florida in 1995, she worked for two governors of Maryland in their Chesapeake Bay and Save Our Streams programs.  Prior to law school, Heidi was Director of Membership Services for the T. Boone Pickens United Shareholders Association in Washington D.C.

Ann Paul, Vice President          

Ann Paul has worked for Audubon’s Florida Coastal Islands Sanctuaries (FCIS) since 1991 and is the Tampa Bay Regional Coordinator. She received a Bachelor of Science degree in biology from Cornell University in New York and Master of Science degree in biology from Trinity University in Texas. She worked for the Texas Nature Conservancy as Assistant Land Steward and Hillsborough County Parks, Recreation and Conservation managing conservation lands. Ms. Paul is an expert in waterbird populations and management of coastal habitats for wildlife, and an active participant in the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Reddish Egret, American Oystercatcher, and Wood Stork Working Groups. She currently serves on the board of the Tampa Bay Conservancy and is past president of the Tampa Audubon Society.

Mike Kelley, Secretary                

Jan Smith, Treasurer  

Jan Smith was born in Williamsport, PA.  Her father's business took her family to Michigan for a couple years and then they moved to Melbourne Beach, Florida.  She came to Tampa to attend the University of South Florida and earned a BA in Business with a major in Accounting.  Jan met her husband Earl at Tampa General where she worked as an accountant and Earl was an intern.  They moved to Philadelphia where Earl was a pediatric resident at St. Christopher's Hospital for Children.  The US Navy called and they were assigned to Whiting Field in Milton, Florida for two years. At the end of his tour in the Navy, they returned to Philadelphia to complete his residency and then moved to Tampa. 

 For more than 35 years, Jan managed Earl's pediatric practice.  During that time, she was a member of the Lutz Civic Association, serving as Treasurer and President.  The BOCC appointed her to The Planning Commission and she served in various capacities, including Chair for three terms.  Following that Jan was appointed to HART and was chair for two years.  Jan has served on the General Committee of The Jan K. Platt Environmental Land Acquisition and Protection Program and she is the current Chair.  Currently, Jan is the Treasurer of Saddleback Lake Association, The Ybor City Saturday Market and The Tampa Bay Conservancy. 

Her hobbies are gardening, playing the piano, reading, tracking the stock market, and spending time with her husband, children and grandchildren.

Pamela Jo Hatley, At Large Member  

Pamela Jo Hatley was born and raised in rural north Alabama, where she grew up on the family farm. Pamela has been a resident of Hillsborough County, Florida since 1982. She holds a bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary studies (2000) and a Ph.D. in geography and environmental science and policy (2013) from the University of South Florida, and a law degree and certificate in environmental and land use law (2003) from the University of Florida. Pamela practices law in Tampa, and focuses her work on real estate, land use, and environmental law. She has a particular interest in sustainable water and land use policies, collaborative policy making, and citizen participation in local and state governmental processes. Pamela has served in local leadership roles including citizens’ committees focused on environmental and land use policy, Sierra Club TampaBay Group, Florida State University Coastal and Marine Laboratory Board of Trustees, and the New Tampa Rotary Club. Pamela is also an accomplished musician and singer. She plays the banjo, guitar, and ukulele, and has performed at coffee houses and festivals in the Tampa Bay area, as well as the Florida Folk Festival in White Springs. She lives in Tampa with her husband, son, and their four dogs.

Laura Starkey, Past President    

Laura Starkey is a third-generation Floridian, born to a cattle ranching family in Odessa, north of Tampa. She holds a B.A. in music from Maryville College in Tennessee, an M.A. in Applied Linguistics from USF Tampa, and various professional certifications, from grassroots community organizer to Adult ESL teacher to Certified Prescribed Burn Manager. Since 2006, she has been Director of Conservation Lands for Starkey Ranch, managing roughly 1000 acres of woods. Laura is the founder of Heartwood Preserve Conservation Cemetery, blending her love for natural Florida and for people into the region’s first natural cemetery and nature preserve, expected to open in late 2015.

 Other Board Members

Becky Clayton  

Eileen Hart                                      

Eileen Hart was born in Miami and raised in South Georgia. She worked as a medical technologist for 30 years and is retired from GlaxoSmithKline Pharmaceuticals. Eileen is currently in her 35th year as a Master Gardner for Hillsborough County. She is a member of the Keystone United Church and Choir and on the 4-H Foundation. Eileen is also a past member of the SWFWMD Environmental Advisory Commission and the Citizens Advisory for the EPC. She is a recipient of the Hillsborough Courage Award.

Eileen has 3 children and 5 grandchildren.

Robert G. Heath                           

Rob Heath, a native of New Orleans, LA, received his MS in Environmental Biology from Tulane University in 1977, and moved to Florida in 1978. From 1978-81, he worked as a park ranger for the Florida Park Service, before being hired by Hillsborough County to develop environmental education displays and programs for new regional parks. Rob served as the County Naturalist for the Parks and Recreation Department throughout the 80’s, training park rangers to give guided walks and nature programs, developing natural history interpretive literature and displays, and operating an award winning summer nature program for school-aged children. From 1988 through early 2002, he played an important role in the Hillsborough County Environmental Lands Acquisition and Protection Program (ELAPP), a voter approved local land preservation program. Duties included environmental site assessments, and supervision of County staff responsible for management of the natural lands acquired through ELAPP. In February of 2002, Rob retired from Hillsborough County in order to start the Wildlife Fellowship, Inc., a non-profit organization dedicated to environmental stewardship, with the mission of providing support for the protection and management of publicly-owned natural preservation lands through public education, volunteer coordination, environmental activism, and fundraising. Most recently, he has worked as a Seasonal Warden and Bird Monitor for Audubon Florida’s Coastal Islands Sanctuaries and as a Senior Ecologist for Wildlands Conservation, Inc.

Jeff Steinsnyder

Sally Thompson                          

Sally Thompson has lived in Florida since she was nine years old. She received her B.A. in English from Hollins University in Virginia and her Master of Public Administration (MPA) from USF Tampa. She is retired from the City of Tampa, and has taught Environmental Resource Management as an Adjunct Professor at USF.

Sally served on the Governing Board of the Southwest Florida Water Management District for over ten years. She chairs the City of Tampa Greenways & Trails Citizens Advisory Committee and is a member emeritus of the Florida Greenways & Trails Foundation, She also serves on Jan K Platt Environmental Lands Acquisition and Protection (ELAPP) Selection and General Committees, the Florida Aquarium’s Board of Trustees, Keep Tampa Bay Beautiful Board of Directors, and is one of the founding members of the Tampa Bay Conservancy.

Staff Members

  • Rene Wiesner Brown, Program Director
  • Helen Scott, Admin Assistant

Advisory Committee

Dick Eckenrod

Fritz Musselmann

Dave Sumpter


Carlton Fields Jorden Burt
Pro-Bono Law Firm


*Officers also serve on the Board of Directors