People

“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 info@tampabayconservancy.org for location and times.

Board of Directors

Officers*

Jeff Steinsnyder, President 

Jeffrey Steinsnyder has served as the County Attorney for Pasco County, Florida since 2008 and is a Board Certified City, County and Local Government Law Attorney.  Previously Jeff spent two years as Attorney for the Florida Department of Community Affairs; fifteen years in the Office of the County Attorney for Manatee County leaving as the Chief Assistant County Attorney and three years as shareholder with the firm of Kirk Pinkerton, PA.  He graduated with a B.A. degree from the University of Miami, School of Arts & Sciences in 1983 and received his Juris Doctor degree from the University of Miami, College of Law in 1986. Jeff is a member of the U.S. District Court of Florida, Middle District; U.S. Court of Appeals, 11th Circuit and the U.S. Supreme Court. He is currently on the Board of Directors for the Florida Association of County Attorneys and is on the Advisory Board for Mote Marine Laboratory. Jeff has been a Board member of Tampa Bay Conservancy since 2005.

Heidi McCree, Vice 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.

 

 

Steve Blashka, Secretary

Steve is a native of Maitland, Florida, and has called the Tampa Bay area home since 1989.  He is married and has two sons.  Steve is a graduate of Florida State university where he completed his B.S. in Political Science.  Steve holds a Florida license as a State Certified General Appraiser RZ0001411 and is declared to be an Appraisal Expert as a Court Witness in Hillsborough, Polk and Desoto County, Florida. Steve is a former President of the Florida Chapter of the American Society of Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers,

 Steve has been employed by the Southwest Florida Water Management District for more than 15 years as the Real Estate Services Manager.  His other public employment includes 5 years as the Real Estate Appraiser to the Board of County Commissioners of Imperial Polk County, Florida and as a Real Estate Coordinator for the City of St. Petersburg, Florida.  Steve’s first employment out of college was as a staff then as a Senior Appraiser with the appraisal firm of Pardue, Heid, Church, Smith & Waller in both their Orlando and Tampa offices (1986 to 1994).

 

 

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.

 

 

Sally Thompson, At Large Member   

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.

 

 

Other Board Members

 

                       

Ann Paul                              

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.

Dan Savercool, CSE

Mr. Savercool is an ecologist with over 34 years’ experience working in habitats ranging from the open ocean to xeric uplands.  Areas of specialty include marine and estuarine benthic invertebrates and fish, wetland vegetation (estuarine to freshwater), and habitat level ecology.  Mr. Savercool possesses unique expertise in the ecology, restoration and creation of freshwater and estuarine marshes, mangrove forests, seagrass meadows, coral and worm rock reefs, streams, rivers, and adjacent upland habitats throughout the Pacific Rim, from the Hawai`ian Islands to the Eastern Caroline Islands, CNMI, Guam, Japan, and American Samoa.  In the West Indies, Mr. Savercool has also worked throughout the Gulf of Mexico, from the Florida Keys to Ciudad del Carmen in the southern Gulf of Mexico, including many Caribbean islands.  His research experience includes the study of plant and animal colonization of recently restored or impacted coastal habitats, experimental revegetation of wetlands utilizing both marine and freshwater species, and management techniques for the control of undesirable exotic vegetation.

 Mr. Savercool’s experience with unique coastal and island natural resources is applied to managing the interaction between human perturbations and the desire to preserve these resources.  Expertise includes fish, benthic, mangrove, and saltmarsh surveys; benthic surveys in submarine borrow material and beach renourishment sites; sea grass surveys and impact damage assessment; mangrove and saltmarsh ecology; and coral reef surveys.  Following the surveys, Mr. Savercool uses his habitat management and restoration experience to develop cost-effective habitat creation, restoration, and enhancement solutions, design and construction of successful habitat management actions, and post-construction monitoring and maintenance.  Applying his experience in landscape-level ecology to DOD, Mr. Savercool has revised 35 INRMPs for Air Force, Army, Navy, and Defense Logistics Agency installations throughout North America and the Pacific Rim.

 Mr. Savercool possesses over 32 years’ experience with NEPA, for 22 federal agencies, including all branches of the military, EPA, FAA, FEMA, FERC, FCC, NPS, and a private industry EIS.  Mr. Savercool has extensive experience in the process of permitting various impacts to significant habitats and employs innovative and successful methods to offset the impacts.  Due to the protection given to these habitats, obtaining the required environmental permits for restoration and creation activities is a major portion of the overall project and includes the interaction with federal, state, regional and local regulatory agencies.

 In March 2004, Mr. Savercool was recognized by I Liheslaturan Guahan for “his work in protecting Guam’s Environment and Ecology…after completing several projects on Guam to include land planning and management, impact analysis and monitoring, commercial and residential development, roadway and utility projects, and habitat design keeping Guam’s ecology and environment balanced as it strives for continued economic growth and prosperity”.  Mr. Savercool has successfully completed numerous natural resources surveys, impact analyses, and natural resources management plans on Guam, and most recently, led the team who completed the most comprehensive vegetation survey and map undertaken on the northern portion of the island – collecting quantitative and qualitative data on over 3,000 sampling plots on Andersen AFB and the Guam National Wildlife Refuge.  This recognition is a testament to the excellent relationships we have with the local regulatory community while supporting and sustaining the natural resources of Guam.  Mr. Savercool is a Certified Senior Ecologist with the Ecological Society of America and a Senior Certified Military Natural Resources Professional with the National Military Fish and Wildlife Association.

 

Laura Starkey                      

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.

 

 

 

Staff Members

        Helen Scott, Admin Assistant

Advisory Committee

Dick Eckenrod

Pamela Jo Hatley

Rob Heath

Mike Kelley

Fritz Musselmann

Dave Sumpter

Legal

Carlton Fields Jorden Burt
Pro-Bono Law Firm

 

*Officers also serve on the Board of Directors