OSFR is proud and happy to announce the addition of two new and outstanding members to our advisory board. Both are very exceptional people in different ways. Tom has accomplished a tremendous amount in his young life and is a true leader for our environment. Merrillee is talented in so very many ways, but since about 2007 has labored tirelessly to expose and correct the problems associated with the environment in general, and with her immediate area of the Santa Fe River especially.
Following is the information about them on the Advisors’ Page.
Merrillee calls home the banks of the Santa Fe River in North Central Florida. Married with two children, she and her husband created Rum 138, a family-run business which has become known as a landmark destination. Their business is a fine art gallery with regional artists depicting the springs and rivers in North Florida, a Florida-based tourism in canoe/kayak rental, and will soon offer a local food restaurant. Recently, National Sierra Club – Florida employed Merrillee as a campaign organizer working with citizens to become part of the process to be a voice for our natural resources. She has worked directly on stopping Sabal Trail natural gas transmission pipeline, fertilizer and septic issues that impact our waterways, and banning fracking in our state. Merrillee’s peace of mind is found in artistic expression and movements through direct action, taking great care of area cultural values along the way. She earned an A.A. ’85, at USF in Tampa and a B.F.A. ’91, at Ringling College of Art in Sarasota.
Merrillee was just featured a few days ago in an earlier post on our website.
Tom Kay was named the Executive Director of Alachua Conservation Trust in June of 2013. He holds a bachelor’s of science degree in Environmental Policy & Behavior from the University of Michigan’s School of Natural Resources and Environment and a Juris Doctor from Florida State University’s College of Law. A licensed Florida attorney, Tom has worked as a staff attorney for a large not-for-profit health care organization and a public housing authority. For seven years, he worked as a litigator in civil, criminal, and real estate matters. He has volunteered on local and national political campaigns and interned in U.S. Senator Bill Nelson’s Tallahassee office during law school. Tom’s wife, Christine, is a vitreoretinal surgeon at Vitreo Retinal Associates, P.A. They have three daughters and live on a farm in McIntosh. He currently serves as the President of the Alliance of Florida Land Trusts, the umbrella organization for state’s 22 land trusts. He serves on the board of directors for Friends of Paynes Prairie, is a founding member of Protect Paynes Prairie Coalition, and serves on the Executive Committee of the Partnership for Gulf Coast Land Conservation, a coalition of local, regional, state and national land conservation organizations. Tom chaired the Wild Spaces and Public Places ballot initiative in Alachua County that successfully passed by over 60%. This local half cent sales tax over 8 years is expected to generate over $130 million for the acquisition of new conservation lands and upgrades at recreational parks and facilities throughout Alachua County and its 10 cities. When he is not serving on multiple boards, Tom is an avid kayaker, runner and mountain biker.