Along with a myriad of skills, Pamela Ibáñez Smith brings an international flavor to our board, as she was born in Santiago Chile and moved to the US at age five. She recently retired after 17 years in commercial real estate where she specialized in office leasing.
In 2007, her husband, Lance (who grew up in Gainesville) retired and they decided to purchase their little piece of heaven on the Santa Fe River. In 2011, Pam and Lance built their dream house – the Lazy Turtle Lodge on the river.
Post retirement, Pam plans on spending a lot of time with her new granddaughter, Senna Valentina, who lives in Atlanta, working for the preservation Oof the springs in North Florida as well as marketing Turtle Heaven (a rustic chic trailer) and Turtle Palace (a cozy 28’ Cardinal RV) on her property as vacation rentals to nature lovers and river enthusiasts. Pam loves to cook, paddle, camp, travel and dance. Board member and president since 2015.
Terry Phelan knew what she wanted and where she wanted to live. She and husband Andy moved from the hustle and bustle of Orlando to the casual, friendly atmosphere of High Springs in 2002 in part because of the springs and the Santa Fe River. Many weekends and evenings you will find them in their kayaks on the Santa Fe. They are the founders and the gears and wheels behind Madness & Mayhem, and she is currently vice president of that non-profit organization.
Terry has an A. A. degree with honors from Valencia Community College and a Bachelor of Fine Arts from University of Central Florida, graduating Summa Cum Laude. This training enables Terry to bring to Our Santa Fe River her many skills in graphic design and photography, in which she majored in college.
Besides Madness & Mayhem, Terry has had experience working with the non-profit Lions Club in High Springs, and in 2013 she received the Lion of the Year Award. She has been very active in OSFR as a volunteer and has given many hours to our events and activities. Board member since 2016.
Michael Roth has been moving to increasingly smaller venues his whole life. Born in the Bronx in New York City where he went through the public school system and started at City College, he transferred to Binghamton, where he went to the State University gathering a Bachelor’s and then a Master’s degree in Accounting. After some years working in Binghamton, he moved to Fort Lauderdale which, in 1981, was still a relatively small city.
Having passed the CPA exam before leaving New York, he took a position as an accounting manager in a mid-sized local CPA firm, which led to a partnership a few years later, a position that he maintained for over twenty years. He specialized in small business accounting and taxation, and over the years developed an expertise and became credentialed in business valuation, where he served as an expert witness in many divorce and stockholder dispute matters.
While in South Florida, he became involved in the Fort Lauderdale Children’s theater, where he served on the Board of Directors for many years, including stints as Treasurer and President. He also became a barbershop singing aficionado and performer, serving as Treasurer and President for the local chapter of the Barbershop Harmony Society.
After marrying Cindy Noel in 2003, they decided to go into business together, and licensed and opened a diet ice cream store/diet grocery, D’Lites, in Gainesville, Florida, trying to get away from the overgrown South Florida scene. While in Gainesville, Michael also served as Treasurer, Secretary and President with the local barbershop chapter there. In 2009, they found and purchased a property on the Santa Fe River near Branford, which served as a weekend and vacation home until shortly after they sold D’Lites in May, 2016, and moved to the Santa Fe River location permanently.
Patty Street was born in Dayton Ohio into a military family so has lived in many different places, but came south to make her home near the springs and rivers of North Central Florida. She brings many skills to the OSFR Board, as she holds a Master’s in English and has been a teacher in Georgia and Florida and a professional librarian. In addition to her teaching and librarian experience, she has also done fund raising, grant writing and possesses organizational talents.
The Columbia Seed Lending Library was founded by Patty and has been a huge success. Running totally on donations from large seed companies, vegetable and flower seeds are checked out (distributed free) to library card holders. She has been manager of the Columbia County Fort White Branch Library for the past 25 years and is a member of Columbia County Friends of the Library.
Patty moved to Gainesville in 1968, attended UF and has lived near Fort White and the Santa Fe River since 1980. She has a strong conviction to protect the river and our springs and believes that is its own reward. She is married with two sons, and in her spare time enjoys reading, gardening and relaxing on the river. Board member since 2015.
A transplanted New Yorker, Pam Blasetti has now lived in Florida for 12 years after spending 11 years in the Virgin Islands. She had a long and successful career as a professional actress in New York, appearing in many Broadway shows as well as commercials and voice overs.
Pam is married with one daughter and has many rescue animals on her mini-farm. She enjoys being out on the water, be it ocean, gulf or our beautiful Santa Fe River. She is also a professionally trained chef who loves to sail and paint.
Now a Group Publisher who travels extensively, Pam’s areas of concentration are forestry, water management, and agriculture. She brings many skills to OSFR, among them public speaking, fundraising, and project management. Board member since 2014, vice president since 2015.
Born Sandra Johns in Lake City, Florida 1951, Sandy grew up in St. Augustine, and has lived in the Gainesville/High Springs area for the past 30 years.
Sandy has been a self-employed photo re-toucher all her life but has always spent as much time as possible hiking and paddling, since her forest ranger-father instilled in her a genuine love and respect for the outdoors.
During her time in the North Florida area, she has been very active in outdoor activities, and for 25 years served as a volunteer for the Florida Trail Association, serving as trail master, chapter chair, activities chair, and activity leader.
Another long-term activity of 15 years was heading up, with her husband, Gerry Trouba, the Silent Otters Paddle Club, in High Springs, which is an affiliate of Florida Paddle Trails Association, a large, state-wide active group.
Sandy also worked for the Forest Service with a team, flagging the path and building parts of the Florida National Scenic Trail.
Sandy’s past outdoor organizer experience makes her a hands-down choice for OSFR’s events director. Board member since 2016.
He has also served on the board of the Davidson Lands Conservancy and on various real estate round tables. Davidson Lands Conservancy is a nonprofit land trust that works with willing landowners to save land in the Davidson, North Carolina area in order to preserve a healthy, natural environment for future generations.
As graduate of the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, Bill was born and raised in that state. His goal of serving on the OSFR board is to help propel the organization to the forefront. One of his local claims to fame is keeping happy his significant other, Martha Strawn, a founding member of OSFR. Board member since 2015.
Rhonda Long was an inevitable natural for board membership in OSFR. She is what could be called a hardcore “Serial Volunteer,” since for the last 30 years she has been involved with many different organizations. Starting in high school, she has helped Future Business Leaders of America, Dance Alive!, Insurance Professionals of North Central Florida, Madness & Mayhem, Our Santa Fe River, and several other non-profits.
Rhonda has been helping out OSFR as a volunteer for some time, and brings to the board multiple skills including grant writing, creative marketing promotions, fund raising, graphics for posters, brochures and printed media, and on top of that she is a great organizer. Rhonda has a double pronged attitude which is “We’ll find a way to do it!” and “When do you want it?” Two qualities not to be taken lightly.
She loves nature and animals and considers herself fortunate to have spent the past 20 years on Rum Island Springs where she raised her son. Rhonda’s hope with OSFR is to join forces with like-minded individuals to bring together their combined efforts to maximize the awareness and education it will take to preserve our river, springs and aquifer, and also bring them back to their natural splendor. This sounds rather like OSFR’s mission. Board member since 2015.
Cynthia Noel has been involved in business management for over 25 years. Previously full-charge bookkeeper for several businesses, co-owner of C.J. Worldwide Export and D’Lites of Gainesville, Inc., now currently retired. Knowledgeable in accounting, inventory control for wholesale and retail establishments, human resources and payroll duties.
She is currently the treasurer and administrator for Grow Gainesville, a local food production network, a Master Gardener Volunteer with Alachua County Extension Office, Membership Chair for Our Santa Fe River, Inc., and active in the Stop Sabal Trail Movement, through accounting, fundraising and steering efforts.
Cynthia is a local riparian land owner on the Santa Fe River and is passionate about the issues that are affecting our waterways. An avid gardener, she practices permaculture techniques to use natural resources for soil building, uses no pesticides and practices water conservation with rain collection devices.
She is known to work efficiently and effectively with others, in group settings and individuals, with a strong work ethic and high moral character.
Jim Tatum was born and raised on a farm in rural Custer County Nebraska. He graduated from University of Nebraska, Kearney in 1960 and received M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from Tulane University in 1962 and 1968 and spent 38 years teaching at the University of South Florida in Tampa. He received a Fulbright Scholarship and a National Defense Education Act Title IV Scholarship for his graduate studies.
During his high school and college days, he played trumpet and sax in a dance orchestra. Past hobbies include Indian artifact collecting, classic car restoration, gunsmithing, bird watching, taxidermy, flying (single engine, land), fossil preparation and woodworking. He has been diving Florida’s rivers for fossils since 1977 and currently does fossil preparation and woodworking. He writes the posts for the OSFR newsletter. He is an avid reader.
Jim has taught university courses in the National University of Mexico and in Honduras, and has published two books and many articles. As a youth he spent summers working for the Forest Service in Idaho and the Fish & Wildlife Service on Kodiak Island. He has traveled extensively, including Europe, South America, Alaska and remote areas such as the Northwest Territories, Siberia, China and Mongolia.. He is married with two sons, three stepdaughters and nine grandchildren and currently resides in rural Florida on the banks of the Santa Fe River near High Springs. Board member from 2012-2013 and since 2016.
Dr. Anita Wright brings to OSFR a great deal of expertise and experience in the world of academia and more specifically with pathogenes and bacteria in water and in the Suwannee River. She has a very strong academic background, beginning with a B.S. degree from Florida State University and ending with a doctorate in molecular microbiology at the University of Maryland. She has many professional publications reflecting her strong interest in research.
Anita has received many awards for her work, just recently the prestigious Wall Street Journal Technology Innovation Award, and has also received the University of Florida Innovation Award. Additionally, she has received research awards and research fellowships and grants. Her current position is with the Food Science and Human Nutrition Department at the University of Gainesville. Current research interests include microbial ecology and the survival of bacterial pathogens in food and the environment; molecular basis of bacterial pathogenesis, and rapid detection methods for pathogens in seafood.
We welcome Anita to our board and the strong science background she brings to our organization. Board member since 2016.