Manatee News


Executive Director

Patrick Rose
is Save the Manatee Club’s (SMC) Executive Director. Pat has over 40 years’ experience working with manatees and is an Aquatic Biologist and Certified Public Manager. He is considered to be one of the world’s leading experts on the Florida manatee. From 1996 to 2006, Pat was SMC’s Director of Government Relations in Tallahassee, Florida. In the state’s capitol, Pat advocated on the manatee’s behalf before the Florida Legislature and Governor and Cabinet. Before joining SMC’s staff, he was the first federal Manatee Recovery Activities Coordinator and Florida’s first Manatee and Marine Mammal Coordinator. He also provided overall policy guidance and direction for statewide recovery efforts for endangered and protected marine species. Pat has served as a member of every federal Manatee Recovery Team, presently serving on the Team’s Steering Committee, and is a former member of the I.U.C.N. World Conservation Union/Sirenia Specialist Group. His many professional awards include the prestigious “National Conservation Achievement Award” from the National Wildlife Federation and the “Award of Recognition” presented to him at the First International Manatee and Dugong Research Conference. Pat was also nominated for the esteemed Indianapolis Prize, which honors the world’s leading animal conservationists. Pat has a Master’s degree in aquatic biology from the University of Missouri at Kansas City. He is also an avid boater, pilot, and is a certified scuba instructor.

Staff

Connie Graham is SMC’s Director of Operations and has been with Save the Manatee Club since 1993. Before joining SMC, Connie worked for 14 years in the customer service field at Southern Bell. She heads SMC’s Membership Department, is in charge of maintaining its membership database, and helps to provide oversight for SMC’s administration and management. A graduate of the University of Central Florida, she has a B.S. in zoology. In her spare time, Connie was president of the nonprofit group, CARE Feline Rescue, for many years. CARE has spayed or neutered over 15,000 homeless cats in Orange County, Florida.

Wayne Hartley became a staff member in early 2010. Before joining us, he was a Park Ranger and then a Park Service Specialist with the Florida Park Service. For over three decades, he served as Principal Investigator for manatee research conducted at Blue Spring State Park. This has resulted in a very extensive body of knowledge on the manatee’s life history and one of the longest running databases in existence on manatees. Wayne’s expertise and personal knowledge of individual manatees has been the basis of Save the Manatee Club’s Adopt-A-Manatee program. Through the adoption program, Wayne’s scientific data has been very instrumental in helping the public understand the manatee’s needs, the threats to the manatee’s long-term survival, and what actions members of the public can take to help. Through the years, Wayne has been interviewed countless times by television and print media and has received many honors from his peers. He has a degree in history from the University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee. Between school and the Park Service, Wayne spent almost six years in the United States Army Infantry earning the Ranger Tab and being awarded the Combat Infantry Badge.

Kelsey Jennings is the Staff Biologist for Save the Manatee Club. She was born and raised in the Chicagoland area. She attended The Ohio State University, graduating in May 2013 with a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Policy and Management and a minor in Psychology. Throughout her childhood, Kelsey visited her great-grandparents in Florida, and that's where her interest in manatees began. Kelsey is grateful for the opportunity to work at SMC in order to help protect her favorite animal. Outside of work she enjoys reading, working out, traveling, and spending time outdoors.

Melody Lang worked for the Club in 2007 and rejoined our staff in March 2011 as our Gift Catalog Manager. She now also manages the Club's mailroom. Melody was raised in a small town in New Hampshire, but she traveled the world with her Air Force parents and traveled throughout America racing Standardbred horses. Her love for animals and working to help Florida’s manatees are second-nature to her. Melody moved to Central Florida in 1974 with her family. She met her husband while working in Orlando at a local radio station. They have two sons, and two rescued dogs and one cat, and have just become grandparents. For fun, Melody enjoys spending time with her family — most of all her granddaughter; visiting family in New Hampshire; and traveling to Portland, Maine and spending time with her friends.

Janice Nearing is SMC’s Director of Public Relations. She started volunteering for SMC in 1996 and continues to volunteer on weekends staffing education booths at events and festivals. Janice was nominated for the JC Penney Golden Rule award and received a letter of recognition from President Clinton. She worked in radio and television major market stations for twelve years. She received writing awards from the Radio Bureau of Canada Annual Soundcraft Awards, and was honored by the Canada Safety Council for excellence in broadcasting, winning first place for a public service message. She has a degree in communications and over 20 years experience in the field. As an SMC staff member since 2002, Janice is an informational source for the media, disseminating press releases, advisories, and public service announcements, assisting in areas of promotion, publicity, and education. She also coordinates the Club's volunteer department and its 1,500+ volunteers.

Sandra Rogers is an Administrative Assistant for Save the Manatee Club. Prior to that time, she was a Membership Services Representative for the Club for five years. Sandra was born and raised in Alabama, but moved to Florida immediately after graduation from Auburn University. Sandra completed graduate studies at University of Central Florida, and worked most of her career in the healthcare and education fields. Sandra’s interest in animal welfare began in 2003 when a colony of feral cats moved into her backyard and she became involved with CARE Feline TNR (Trap, Neuter, Return), where she has volunteered in many capacities and now serves as a board member. Working for Save the Manatee Club has been a natural extension of her interest in protecting our animal friends. For fun, Sandra enjoys watching college football, NBA basketball, visiting her adult son in Boston and brother in Portland, spending time with her friends (and cats!), and solving Sudoku and Kakuro puzzles.

Nancy Sadusky is SMC’s Director of Online Communications and has worked for Save the Manatee Club since 1991. She has been a communications specialist for nonprofit organizations for over 25 years and was previously SMC’s Communications and Outreach Director. She has served as education representative on the federal Manatee Recovery Team as well as on several state advisory groups. Nancy received a master’s degree in English/Technical Communication from the University of Central Florida where her focus was online communications. She created Save the Manatee Club’s first website and is currently webmaster for the Club. She edits Paddle Tales, SMC’s bi-monthly e-newsletter, and is in charge of all email communications for the Club. She also oversees SMC’s social media efforts.

Dr. Katie Tripp is SMC’s Director of Science and Conservation. She received her bachelor’s degree from Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, FL, where she majored in Marine Science and received minors in both Chemistry and Environmental Policy.  Katie received her Ph.D. in Veterinary Medical Sciences from the University of Florida, where she conducted research on manatee physiology. Dr. Tripp was a lecturer, laboratory instructor, and graduate research assistant at the university.  She has worked as a manatee consultant for one of the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Projects and also worked as a biologist with FWC’s Marine Mammal Pathobiology Lab where she assisted with manatee necropies, carcass salvage, marine mammal rescues, and various research projects. She has co-authored multiple abstracts and research papers on manatees. Among her many honors, she was chosen as the Florida League of Conservation Voters’ Betsy Wood Fellow and was a Ford Foundation and Morris K. Udall Scholar. She was chosen by the Board of Save the Manatee Club to be its first student member and became a full member in 2005. At the 2008 Marine Mammal Health Conference organized by the University of Florida, College of Veterinary Medicine and others, Dr. Tripp received the Reep-Bonde Florida Manatee Biology and Conservation Award for her research that furthered the basic knowledge of fundamental manatee biology. Curriculum Vitae

Carla Wilson worked for the Club in 1996 and rejoined our staff in 2009 as a Membership Services Representative. She is a native Floridian and was born in Orlando. She enjoys assisting people who love manatees, and thinks it is wonderful that so many people from all over the world are looking out for them. Carla’s other passion is animal rights. She and her husband are the Central Florida Coordinators for the Animal Rights Foundation of Florida and have received Outstanding Activists Awards from them, including one presented in 2009 by television personality Bob Barker. They have also received awards from People For The Ethical Treatment Of Animals and The Humane Society of the United States. She believes anyone who cares about animals has the ability to make change and prevent suffering because we have voices, but the animals do not. Carla also enjoys photography, historical advocacy, and classic cars.

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