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About Us

North Florida Land Trust was founded in 1999 and is a local land conservation 501(c)3 organization focused on preserving and enhancing our quality of life by protecting North Florida’s irreplaceable natural environment. We have a core service area of 7 counties in Northeast Florida and work on an as-needed basis throughout the state.

 

Vision

North Floridians feel more connected to and have a stronger appreciation for our unique native environment. The North Florida Land Trust implements collaborative approaches for long-term solutions commensurate with rapid growth. By protecting more of North Florida’s farms, forests, and natural areas, we maintain traditions, enhance lives, and sustain our expanding communities.

 

Values

We believe…

• We all bring our greatest strengths, and together they add power.

• Our dedication to innovation and new ideas gets results.

• Our dependability and accuracy earn trust.

• Consistently being transparent and honest brings us together.

• Our passion and connection to protecting our natural environment make a difference.

 

 

 

 

 

Preserved Lands

Explore this map to discover the lands that have been protected by North Florida Land Trust. This map highlights land owned by NFLT, as well as conservation easements and lands we helped facilitate for conservation with other agencies. Check out our Connect Page for upcoming events and service projects on our lands.

Due to the sensitive nature of some of our preserves, public access is currently only available at Bogey Creek Preserve. Bogey Creek Preserve is open year-round from sunrise to sunset and is located at Cedar Point Road, Jacksonville.

If you have an interest in finding out more about any of our preserved properties, please contact us at info@nflt.org.

 

Benefits of Conservation

Our entire quality of life is affected by our environment. Protecting it is to protect ourselves. We depend on clean air to breathe and clean water to drink. We need places to exercise our minds and bodies. We need food to eat whether fish, fowl, meat or vegetable. And we need to protect our military installations from encroachment and our communities from noise and danger. Our environment provides all of these ecosystem benefits.

In addition, Florida’s economy is based on tourism and farming. Wildlife viewing alone is a $4 billion a year business. Visitors come to visit our rivers, lakes, and beaches. Bio tourism is a growing industry in north Florida and the proximity of places to recover and rehabilitate is critical to its success.

Our population continues to grow rapidly. Overwhelmingly, they relocate because of our environment. With that growth comes the challenge to protect why many of us came here and why so many stay.

In short, everything we do and need comes from our environment. It provides an incredible number of benefits.

Board of Directors

Chair

John Delaney, Fiorentino Group Rogers Towers Law Firm

Vice Chair

Matt Rapp, PGA TOUR

Secretary

David Barton, Bank of America

Treasurer

Patrick Carney, Business Owner

Members At Large

Mike Barker, Terra Capital Holdings, Inc.

Lisa Barton, Lisa Barton Team Ponte Vedra Beach

Trey Chauncey, Brigadier General, US Army, Retired

Megan Coughlin, Jackson Lewis P.C

Rick Hoffman, Orion Solutions LLC

Carlton Jones, The Renaissance Group

Scott Keith, Truist

Jennifer Lasserre, Lasserre Real Estate, Inc.

Melissa Long, City of Jacksonville

Connie McDaniel, Coca-Cola Retired

Ted McGowan, Clay County Port, Inc.

Shawna Yazzie, The NDN Companies Inc.

Shane Williams, Renasant Mortgage Lending

Meet Our Interim President and COO

The Rev. Cn. Allison DeFoor, Interim President

Allison DeFoor is a seventh-generation Floridian who serves as interim North Florida Land Trust President.  Dr. DeFoor has been actively engaged in conservation as a trustee of the Florida Audubon Society, the Florida Land Trust Association, and 1000 Friends of Florida. In addition, he was Florida’s Everglades Czar, and in 2014, he co-chaired the passage of Amendment 1, which passed with 70% of the vote in Florida and authorized the most significant land protection efforts in world history.

DeFoor is also an Episcopal priest who has served as Canon to the Ordinary to the Bishop of the Diocese of Florida. Dr. DeFoor, who has degrees in law, criminology, and theology, previously served parishes in four prisons around Tallahassee and was an assistant at Grace Mission, an inner-city mission.

His background in criminal justice includes having been a prosecutor, public defender, judge, and the elected Sheriff of Monroe County.

In addition, Dr. DeFoor served as a law professor at the University of Miami, a member of the Board of Governors of the Florida Bar, and a trustee of numerous boards, including the Florida Chamber Foundation, Florida Historical Society, Associated Industries of Florida, and Florida Tax Watch. In 1990, Dr. DeFoor ran for Lieutenant Governor of Florida as Governor Bob Martinez’s running mate. Upon moving to Jacksonville in 2015, he was invited twice to become a member of the Florida Times-Union newspaper editorial board. In Jacksonville, he has served on the boards of Operation New Hope, the Jacksonville Historical Society, Memorial Park Associations, and the FSCJ Foundation.

 

Roney Gutierrez, Chief Operating Officer

Roney joined NFLT in 2022 and serves as Chief Operating Officer. Roney works closely with the Directors of Conservation Acquisitions, Land Stewardship, and Philanthropic Services and oversees day-to-day operations and administrative functions to allow the NFLT team to deliver impactful conservation work.

Roney managed multiple land conservation programs with a combined budget of over $1 Billion for the USDA, Natural Resources Conservation Service in multiple States including North Carolina, California, Hawaii, and Florida. He also worked in Latin America for seven years as Chief of Party of the AGUA Consortium: Five International & National non-governmental organizations that successfully advanced integrated watershed management and land conservation.

Roney graduated from Cornell University with a bachelor’s degree in Agronomy and from North Carolina State University with a master’s degree in Soil Science. He and his wife have three children – each born in a different country of the world.

Meet Our team

Conservation Acquisitions

Ramesh Buch

Director of Conservation Acquisitions
rbuch@nflt.org

Ramesh joined NFLT in 2021 and serves as the Director of Conservation Acquisitions.

Ramesh has been a full-time real estate professional in the Gainesville area since relocating here with his wife and twins in 2001. He has had a 25-year career in real estate, focused almost entirely on the acquisition of environmentally sensitive lands in Florida. He stood up and ran the Alachua County Forever land conservation program for 16 years. Most recently, he was the Real Estate Services Director for the St. Johns River Water Management District. He has completed almost 50,000 acres of property transactions worth over $152 million.

Upon his retirement from the public sector, Ramesh joined NFLT to continue his passion for conservation land deals. His strengths are problem-solving and negotiating deals and enjoys the collaborative approach to transactions. He believes the best solutions are those that make environmental and economic sense.

Ramesh is a Marine Science graduate of the University of Miami, attended Texas A&M for graduate work in Marine Fisheries, was a diver, an open-water yachtsman, and has played a variety of sports before settling on Pickleball. He likes to hike, travel, cook and eat interesting foods, and read spy novels in his spare time. He and his wife currently have two adopted cats, two adopted dogs, and one fish (purchased).

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Heather Nagy

Conservation Acquisitions Coordinator
hnagy@nflt.org

Heather Nagy has joined NFLT in 2020 and serves as the Conservation Acquisitions Coordinator. Nagy works with the director of real estate and community conservation to coordinate land transactions, manage the real estate database and research potential real estate projects.

Nagy comes to NFLT after working for three years at Peninsula Open Space Trust in California where she managed the conservation easement program and helped facilitate acquisition projects. She also worked with Tar River Land Conservancy in North Carolina. There she helped develop a strategic conservation plan for the Upper Tar River Basin.

Nagy earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Florida, her masters of environmental management from Duke University and has received a graduate certificate in geographic information systems (GIS). For her master’s project, Nagy researched lemur habitat in a national park in Madagascar and developed a GIS-based model of forest loss to help guide future conservation projects in the area.

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Kim Hall

Conservation Transactions Manager
khall@nflt.org

Kimberly (Kim) Hall joined NFLT in 2021 and serves as the Conservation Transactions Manager. Kim began her journey in real estate in 2001, in residential real estate appraisal. Her experience in the appraisal field led to a 15-year career with the St. Johns River Water Management District. During her tenure there, she participated in or facilitated the acquisition of nearly 132,000 acres, at a cost of just over $464.5 million. While at the District, she managed a close partnership with North Florida Land Trust building valuable lasting relationships. This led to several acquisitions in the Camp Blanding Buffer area and Partnership in the O2O.

During her time at the District, she earned her Bachelor’s in Legal Services bolstering her negotiating, research, and contracting skills. While on a 3-year hiatus from Conservation acquisitions, Kim further sharpened her skills in product development, product launch, and vendor management with FPL Energy Services, managing and launching statewide projects. Eager to return to her first passion and armed with her 20 years of real estate and contracts knowledge, she is no stranger to NFLT’s mission as she makes her return to Conservation Acquisition.

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Heather Barnes

Real Estate Coordinator
hbarnes@nflt.org

Heather Barnes joined NFLT in 2022, serving currently as a Real Estate Coordinator. She began as a volunteer with a desire to expand her knowledge in conservation and sustainable living. This curiosity quickly led to a part-time Administrative Assistant position, supporting through periods of change. Barnes comes to us with a background of 3 years in Real Estate and Property Management, as well as 7 years in Home Health/Hospice Operations and Implementations. She was a part of a team that assisted agencies countrywide, teaching on the use of electronic medical record software and transitional processes. Although she experienced a variety of landscapes during her travels, it was a paddle on the Santa Fe River that sparked her passion for the environment. The healing powers of water experienced first-hand. Since then, she acquired a bit of knowledge in the field of Conservation, assisting Putnam Land Conservancy with several of their donation transactions. It was during this time she realized how crucial conserving land is to the health of our environment. Over the years, she has come to appreciate growing up a native Floridian, in the Lake Region of Keystone Heights. Present day, she resides in the coastal town of St. Augustine. In her spare time, you can find Barnes exploring with her partner outside, fishing, and enjoying the necessities natural Florida has to offer. She aspires to hone her craft in land acquisition, as well as educate others on the opportunities involved with protecting our natural world.

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Land Stewardship

Rianna Elliott

Director of Land Stewardship
relliott@nflt.org

Rianna joined NFLT in 2021 and serves as the Director of Land Stewardship. Rianna will oversee the stewardship department and will be responsible for the management, restoration and maintenance of NFLT’s preserves and conservation easements. Her duties include a supervisory role of the stewardship department and the direct implementation of certain program areas. She will also serve on the leadership team and contribute to the nonprofit's organizational development and strategic decision-making.

Rianna comes to NFLT with over a decade of experience with the Florida Park Service. As a Park Services Specialist, she focused most of her energy on resource management and prescribed fire. Over time, she achieved her certified prescribed burn manager status as well as other certifications to enable her to better preserve the lands she was charged with restoring and protecting. She has also assisted multiple agencies with prescribed fire through trainings and knowledge exchanges over the years. Prior to her work with Florida Park Service, Rianna spent several years with a non-profit organization working with at-risk youth.

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Mark Manning

Land Manager
mmanning@nflt.org

Mark joined NFLT in 2022 and serves as the Land Manager. He joined the Florida Park Service, where he spent 7 years honing his skills in resource management and learning more about the incredible habitats and species that make our home so special. Since 2015 he has had the opportunity to burn most of Florida's pyric ecosystems as well as learning from some of the best prescription burners in the southeast.

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Philanthropic Services

Lee Anderson Louy, EdD

Director of Philanthropic Services
landersonlouy@nflt.org

Lee Anderson Louy joined NFLT in 2021 and serves as the Director of Philanthropic Services. Lee helps individuals and organizations develop and achieve their philanthropic goals. Bringing over a decade of nonprofit leadership and donor experience, Lee is passionate about advancing the NFLT mission for Jacksonville and beyond.

Before working for NFLT, Lee worked as the Director of Development with the University of North Florida, focusing on developing and nurturing long-term relationships on behalf of the University. She was with the University for nearly nine years, and prior, Lee served as the Director of the Bennie Furlong Senior Center with the City of Jacksonville. Lee graduated from the University of North Florida with a Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership, holds a master’s degree in Public Administration, and earned her bachelor’s degree in Recreation and Leisure Services Administration from Florida State University.

Lee is a Jacksonville native with a deep admiration for the Northeast Florida region and is invested in creating a lasting impact in our community.

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Sarah Hande

Development Officer
shande@nflt.org

Sarah Hande joined NFLT in 2021 and serves as the Development Officer. In her role Sarah helps NFLT achieve its mission by engaging constituents and community members across the seven counties NFLT serves. Sarah’s career has spanned continents and cultures, from working as a flight attendant with a South African airline right after apartheid ended, to managing three consumer magazine titles and their portfolio of events in London. She brings with her more than twenty years of experience in project management and community engagement. In 2003, she moved to Jacksonville and worked with the City of Jacksonville before transitioning into a community engagement role at Florida Blue in their Corporate Social Responsibility area. Sarah moved into the nonprofit sector in 2015 and has served as the Associate Director of Development at MOCA Jacksonville (a cultural institute of the University of North Florida) and most recently served as the Director of Development at the Cathedral Arts Project. Sarah is passionate about connecting individuals with the NFLT mission and in turn working to preserve North Florida’s natural resources and environment. Sarah grew up near the water in Virginia Beach and enjoys doing anything outside.

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Allison Cologne

Creative Manager
acologne@nflt.org

Allison Cologne joined NFLT as a Graphic Design intern and was invited back as a full-time staff member in 2018. She now serves as the Creative Manager and brings seven years of design and marketing experience. She graduated from the University of North Florida with a Bachelor's Degree in Fine Arts with a concentration in Graphic Design. Prior to working for NFLT, Allison was a Graphic Designer for a public relations firm in Washington DC. She is responsible for creating and designing marketing materials, website maintenance, photography, and social media coverage. Allison is a Jacksonville native who loves being a part of the mission of preserving the landscapes she so fondly remembers as a child.

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Abby Carden

Data Entry Assistant
acarden@nflt.org

Abby Carden joined NFLT in 2022 and serves as the Data Entry Assistant. In her role, Abby provides support to the development team with data analysis and gift entry management.

Before joining the NFLT team, Abby worked at the Make-A-Wish Foundation of East Tennessee for 8 years. She began her journey there as an intern in programs, dabbled in database management, and ultimately developed into the Director of Program Services role. Abby graduated from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga with a bachelor’s degree in Business Management. Most recently, she taught Kindergarten at a local private school.

Abby moved to Jacksonville from Chattanooga, TN, in 2019. She and her husband have two little humans at home, and the family loves weekend beach trips. They spend lots of time at neighborhood playgrounds and in their backyard looking for frogs and lizards and enjoying the lush FL landscape.

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