100 East Linton Boulevard, Suite 302B
Delray Beach, Florida 33483
Over nearly 40 years George has completed hundreds of projects, published more than 100 articles, technical reports, websites, and a book, and given more than 100 presentations to both the general public and technical audiences. He has worked intensively on native plants and rare plant conservation in Florida and the Caribbean, from large-scale floristic efforts in South Florida, Puerto Rico and Everglades National Park to intensive small-scale projects at residential sites and in botanical gardens. He has done significant organizational and conservation policy work globally for The Institute for Regional Conservation and the Society for Ecological Restoration and botanical field work in more than a dozen Latin American and Caribbean countries. He believes in using traditional conservation tools, such as the establishment and management of protected areas, as well as more modern approaches including ecological restoration, rare species reintroduction and augmentation, and utilizing regional matrices of protected and restored areas to conserve native plants and animals. His use of floristic plant data to drive conservation strategies has been ground-breaking. He has extensive experience in directing and managing non-profit conservation organizations, and is as comfortable in the field as he is in a board room. He is widely traveled and has worked professionally in the United States, the West Indies, Latin America, Europe and Asia.
B.A. with Distinction in International Affairs and Environmental Conservation. University of Colorado, Boulder. 1984.
Study Abroad Student. University of Costa Rica, San Jose. Spring-summer, 1983.
Current Professional Positions
Acting Director, The Institute for Regional Conservation. 2017-present. Interim chief executive responsible for all organizational operations during executive transition period.
Chief Conservation Strategist, The Institute for Regional Conservation. Delray Beach, Florida. 2013-present. Responsible for managing IRC's core Regional Conservation Models program, including regional species assessments, floristic and faunistic databases, and online resources covering South Florida and the Caribbean. Develop and participate in local and global conservation initiatives with numerous collaborators including the Society for Ecological Restoration, NatureServe, U.S. National Park Service and the City of Delray Beach. See also publications below.
President and Principal Owner, Ecohorizons, Inc.From 1986-1995, estimated, managed, and successfully completed more than 250 ecological restoration and biodiversity conservation projects in coastal, freshwater wetland, and upland systems, primarily in South Florida, including 7.5 miles of the Miami Beach dune restoration project. Participated as a technical consultant on large multi-agency projects such as the post-Hurricane Andrew sub-tropical forest restoration and the restoration of Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park, both in Miami-Dade County, as well as on international conservation teams in the West Indies and Central America. Conducted biological inventories of, and contributed to management plans for several protected areas in Florida, including the Disney Wilderness Preserve for The Nature Conservancy. Trained government employees and volunteers in restoration and natural areas management planning and techniques. Since 1996 provide botanical consulting services to select private and public clients including the Town of Palm Beach (FL), Gemini Botanical Garden, Raymond Jungles, Inc., AquaTerra Design Group and Arquitectonica Geo.
Past Professional Positions
Director, Gemini Botanical Garden. Palm Beach County, Florida. 2010-2017. Director of 15-acre private botanical garden with major collections of Caribbean palms, cycads and other plants.
Executive Director, The Institute for Regional Conservation. Miami, Florida. 1995-2013. Responsible for managing non-profit conservation organization that promotes the development of cutting edge regional biodiversity conservation and ecological restoration programs, especially for plants. Responsible for designing and implementing large-scale plant inventory programs in South Florida and the West Indies, developing and conducting conservation research and implementation projects, providing technical support to government agencies and non-profit conservation organizations, and developing local and global conservation policy initiatives. Successfully completed more than 120 individual projects between 1995 and 2013.
Researcher. Gann's Tropical Greenery and Natives. Miami, Florida. 1985. Researched distributions of native and exotic plant taxa in Florida to develop baseline plant lists for use in designing ecological restoration and revegetation projects. The primary goal was to correlate generalized plant distributions to specific plant communities and physiographic regions. This research resulted in the development of a computer database which contained information on over 3,500 plant names. This database was later given to The Institute for Regional Conservation, and became the prototype for both the Floristic Inventory of South Florida Database and Natives For Your Neighborhood.
Park Aide and Park Technician. U.S. National Park Service. Everglades National Park. Homestead, Florida. Summers, 1980-1982. Participated in revegetation efforts in an abandoned agricultural area inside Everglades National Park. Participated in 10+ prescribed burns totaling 8,000 acres as crew member, firing crew member, equipment operator and fire behavior officer assistant. Assisted in aerial vegetation and wildlife surveys, fire mapping, planning and demarcation of nature trails, equipment maintenance, and collection of weather data.
Horticulturist and Manager. Gann's Tropical Greenery and Natives. Miami, Florida. Part time, 1975-1979; 1984. While still in grade school, learned basic propagation, cultivation, and fertilization of nursery plants, followed by management of native plant division, supervision of employees, sales, and initiation of new species into production. Also, responsible for removal of invasive plant species from sub-tropical forest restoration site.
Plant Collector. Donald and Joyce Gann. 1972-1978. Beginning at the age of eleven, participated in four expeditions to Latin America emphasizing collections of epiphytes (Ecuador, Bolivia, Paraguay, Guatemala). Responsible for collections of plants, identification of specimens, cleaning and preparation of specimens for legal importation into the United States, and clearing USDA inspection.
Sample IRC Projects
- Lead Principal Investigator, Floristic Inventory of South Florida. The Institute for Regional Conservation. 1994-present.
- Lead Principal Investigator, Plants of the Island of Puerto Rico. The Institute for Regional Conservation. 2001-present.
- Lead Principal Investigator, Rare Plant Monitoring and Restoration on Long Pine Key, Everglades National Park. The Institute for Regional Conservation in collaboration with the National Park Service and funded by the Critical Ecosystems Study Initiative (CESI). 2003-2008.
- Principal Author, Natives For Your Neighborhood, a web-based resource on native plant gardening and ecological restoration at www.regionalconservation.org. Launched by The Institute for Regional Conservation, September, 2005.
- Lead Workshop Leader, Rare Plants of South Florida: Their History, Conservation, and Restoration, a series of six workshops held for 100 land managers from federal, state, local and private agencies. 2002.
- Principal Author, Rare Plants of South Florida: Their History, Conservation, and Restoration. Miami: The Institute for Regional Conservation. 1056 pages. 2002.
- Principal Author, Floristic Inventory of South Florida Database Online at www.regionalconservation.org. Launched May, 2001.
- President & Board Chair, The Institute for Regional Conservation (2004-present).
- Board Member, The Institute for Regional Conservation (1984-present).
- Advisory Board Member, Tropical Audubon Society (2008-present).
- Chair of the Board, Society for Ecological Restoration (2007-2009, 1997-1999).
- Board Member, Society for Ecological Restoration (1993-2010).
- Board Member, Tropical Audubon Society (1997-2008).
- Vice President, Florida Native Plant Society (1996-1997).
- Board Member, Florida Native Plant Society (1987-1997).
International Policy and Outreach
- Global Restoration Ambassador, Society for Ecological Restoration, 2016-present.
- Member, Society for Ecological Restoration Science and Policy Committee, 2016-present.
- Delegate, Society for Ecological Restoration, at the 13th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity, Cancun, Mexico. 2016.
- Delegate, Society for Ecological Restoration, at the 6th World Conservation Congress, Hawaii, USA. 2016.
- Chair, Society for Ecological Restoration International Science and Policy Working Group, 2009-2010.
- Head of Delegation, Society for Ecological Restoration International, special invited meeting, Convention on Biological Diversity Secretariat, Montreal, Canada. 2008.
- Head of Delegation, Society for Ecological Restoration International, at the 4th World Conservation Congress, Barcelona, Spain. 2008.
- Head of Delegation, Society for Ecological Restoration International, at the 9th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity, Bonn, Germany. 2008.
- Chair, Society for Ecological Restoration International - IUCN (World Conservation Union) Commission on Ecosystem Management joint working group on ecological restoration. 2004-2007.
- Head of Delegation, Society for Ecological Restoration International, at the 3rd World Conservation Congress, Bangkok, Thailand. 2004.
Select Invited Expertise
- Member, North America Plant Red List Authority, IUCN Species Survival Commission. 2017-present.
- Assessor, Conservation Assessment Program, Heritage Preservation. 2006-2014. Conducted living collection CAP assessments at St. George Village Botanical Garden in the U.S. Virgin Islands (2006), Hilltop Arboretum at Louisiana State University (2010), and Key West Tropical Forest and Botanical Garden (2014).
- Plenary speaker, Great Lakes Urban Habitat Restoration Symposium: Partnering to Restore Great Lakes Urban Nearshore and Riverine Areas. Special invitation by the United States Environmental Protection Agency. Chicago, Illinois. 2009.
- Judge, International Panel to select master plan for 100-hectare Gangbuk Park, Seoul Metropolitan Government, Republic of Korea. 2008.
- Delegate, International Symposium on the Restoration of the DMZ. Korean Society of Environmental Restoration and Revegetation Technology. Seoul, Republic of Korea. 2003.
- Member, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service’s South Florida Multi-Species/Ecosystem Recovery Implementation Team (MERIT), 2001-2002; member, South Florida Multi-Species Recovery Team, 1998-1999.
- Guest Lecturer, Yale University School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, 1994, 1998, 2000.
- Keynote Lecturer. Ecological Restoration Symposium, The World Bank, East Asia Environment and Social Development Unit. Washington, D.C. 1999.
- $370,000 from the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Critical Ecosystem Studies Initiative (CESI) for rare plant monitoring and restoration in Everglades National Park (2003-2008).
- $30,000 from the U.S. Forest Service’s International Institute of Tropical Forestry to develop the Floristic Assessment of Puerto Rico Database (2002-2004).
- $7,500 from the Florida Native Plant Society to develop the Natives For Your Neighborhood website (2003)
- $10,000 from Elizabeth Ordway Dunn Foundation to develop the Natives For Your Neighborhood website (2002)
- $12,500 from the Elizabeth Ordway Dunn Foundation to hold the Rare Plants of South Florida workshops (2001).
- $20,000 from the Elizabeth Ordway Dunn Foundation and $17,500 from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation to develop a rare plant conservation program for South Florida.
- Commemoration for 18 years as Executive Director, The Institute for Regional Conservation. 2013.
- Chair Emeritus, Society for Ecological Restoration. 2011.
- Board Appreciation Award. Tropical Audubon Society. 2007.
- Golden Trowel Award for special service to the Chair of the Board of Directors. Society for Ecological Restoration. 2005.
- John Rieger Award for Service. Society for Ecological Restoration. 2003.
- Excellence in Leadership Award. Society for Ecological Restoration. 1999.
- Restoration Guru Award. American Littoral Society, Cape Florida Project. 1997.
- Conservation Colleague Award. The Nature Conservancy, Florida Chapter. 1994.
- Outstanding Citizen Award. Council of Garden Club Presidents of Dade County. 1989.
- Phi Beta Kappa. 1984.
- Dean's List or Chancellor's Honor Roll. University of Colorado, Boulder. Fall, 1980 – Fall, 1984.
- Eagle Scout. 1979.
- Best Director, Dade County Model United Nations. 1979.
- National Honor Society. 1979.
Updated: October 6, 2017