”The Friends“ advocate for and promote an appreciation of the natural history, environment, and wildlife habitat of the Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge, as well as the singular Everglades ecosystem as a whole.
The Board’s Mission
Meet the BoardFriends of Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge
Ron Seifer is a semi-retired psychologist who practiced full-time in Brevard County. His volunteer activities at the Refuge include serving on the Everglades Days Committee, keeping trails and embankments free of invasive plants, and writing a regular column about the Refuge that is often published by several local newspapers, including the Sun Sentinel. As President of the Friends, he contributes to the work of all committees.
After a long indoor career, in which his outdoor experiences were mostly limited to family vacations, Sierra Club and Audubon magazines, raising cats, and pulling weeds in the yard, Ron is pleased that his outdoor work with Refuge biologists and volunteers is enhancing the growth of our native plants and wildlife, as well as visitors' enjoyment!
Ron was born in upstate New York in the Catskills and raised on a chicken farm where he naturally developed a love of the outdoors. He holds degrees from Queens College, Northeastern University, and a Ph.D. from the University of Maine.
Josh Weller, AIF® is a financial advisor and Accredited Investment Fiduciary®. He works primarily with environmentally- and socially-conscious people who are planning for, approaching, or already in retirement. One of his specializations is Sustainable Investing (ESG - Environmental, Social, Governance), helping clients to positively impact the planet through the responsible use of assets, within the context of lifetime financial and retirement planning.
Raised in the New York metro area, Josh initially discovered his love of the ocean and wetlands on family vacations to the beach towns on the Atlantic side of Cape Cod. As an adult, he lived for many years on the New England coast in Portsmouth, NH and Boston, MA.
Josh is active in environmental and sustainability circles in Palm Beach County, and is an ardent advocate for clean water and oceans, Everglades restoration, and wildlife conservation. He lives in West Palm Beach with his partner Julie after achieving a lifelong goal to reside in a tropical climate.
A graduate of Princeton, he contributes to the Friends as VP, chair of the Marketing Committee, and member of the Membership and Fundraising committees.
Susan Rowe is a retired registered nurse who enjoyed a career in health care and education while being an employee organizer and labor advocate in Massachusetts and Maine for 30 years.
Sue earned her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the University of Maine and Master's in Labor Relations from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.
She is a long-time environmental advocate and member of Audubon Society and the Lakes Environmental Association in Maine.
Sue's hobbies include trail walking, genealogy, and knitting for non-profits. She and her husband of more than 20 years, Carl Guignard, are volunteers at The Refuge and she serves as our enthusiastic Secretary on the Friends board.
David Lurie operated a real estate company that built, sold, rented, and managed commercial and residential properties in Great Neck, NY for 33 years. He was twice elected Commissioner of the Great Neck Water Pollution Control District, a town sewerage disposal plant. Prior to that, he was elected and served two terms as a Trustee of the Village of Great Neck, and served six terms as the President of the Great Neck NY Chamber of Commerce.
David and his wife Arlene have resided in Delray Beach since 2006. They have two married children, five grandchildren, and one great grandchild.
He has been a volunteer in The Nature Store gift shop in the Visitor Center since 2007, and is currently the Treasurer of the Friends board.
Cathy Patterson was born and raised in Western New York State and spent her youth hiking through the woods with her siblings and dogs. It was there that she learned the importance of appreciating and protecting the beauty of the natural Earth.
Being part of a military family, she relocated to Vicenza, Italy for two years, then on to Lawton, OK, Boynton Beach, Colorado Springs and then back to Boynton where she and her husband raised two daughters. Although not born in Florida, her mother's roots in South Florida extend back three generations. During her youth and throughout adulthood, she and her family enjoyed camping, hiking and boating. Cathy's love of the Refuge developed during the early 70's and she has watched it develop into the gem it is today.
Cathy and her husband Jim owned Natural Forest Patio in Boynton for 38 years where they sold new outdoor furniture in addition to doing repairs and refinishing prior to retiring. She has recently taught typing and Rosetta Stone to speakers of other languages at the Women's Circle in Boynton for several years.
As a volunteer at The Refuge, Cathy is a wealth of knowledge and helps in the Nature Store, works the Visitor Center desk, assists with school groups, works on the photo contest, and is on the store committee.
Cathy is past president of the Friends and the chair of the Everglades Days Committee.
Steve Schwartz has been a volunteer at the Visitor Center information desk and the Nature Store since 2014. He is formerly of Canton, Ohio, and a resident of Delray Beach since 2010.
Steve enjoyed a career as an attorney with a background in Broadcast Journalism prior to retiring. Today, he is an avid photographer, jazz enthusiast, a fan of vintage comedies, and a calm voice of reason on the Friends board. He counts photographing wildlife at The Refuge among his favorite activities, having been awarded an Honorable Mention in the 2017 Photography Contest.
Steve and his wife Marci have two sons, Jeff and Brad, who reside in Canton, OH. He is a past vice president of the Friends, was instrumental in directing a rewrite of our bylaws in 2021, and is a member of the Marketing Committee.
Michelle Handricks was born and raised in Sioux City Iowa. She and her husband Jim have been married for 44 years, have three grown children, and two granddaughters.
Michelle retired in 2016 after serving almost 20 years as the director of student health services for three universities. She served for 30 years in the Air Force Reserve, retiring in 2010 at the rank of Colonel.
Michelle's hobbies include gardening (a Florida Master Gardener), sewing, and choral singing. She and Jim travel extensively and enjoy sports and theater. They have lived in South Florida since 2014 and love it.
Michelle contributes to the Friends in her crucial role as Chair of the Membership Committee.
Julia Murphy is the Chief Development Officer for Compass Community Center in Lake Worth, FL and possesses more than 11 years experience in nonprofit management, community organizing, advocacy, program development, and fundraising in public health & education related to social justice. She received her Bachelor's Degree in Social Work from Florida Atlantic University and a Master's in Social Work from Barry University.
A trailblazer, community leader and advocate, Julia has led the way in cultivating a stronger young professionals community in Palm Beach County through her leadership and engagement as the President of the Young Professionals of the Palm Beaches, Board Member of Palm Beach Young Professionals, Advisory Board Chair for New Leaders Council Palm Beach, and a member of The Junior League of the Palm Beaches, Forum Club of the Palm Beaches, Palm Beach County Historical Society's Steering Committee, and the National Association of Social Workers.
She is chair of the Fundraising Committee for the Friends.
Hannah Campbell is an environmental education professional specializing in marine science and conservation education and leadership. She is the Director of Education at Loggerhead Marinelife Center (LMC), the sea turtle research, rehabilitation and conservation organization in Juno Beach, FL. Annually, LMC’s education team serves over 72,000 students with a focus on traditionally under-served communities. Her team strives to empower individuals with knowledge, tools and resources to take responsible action for marine and coastal environments.
Hannah also serves as the Southeast Regional Director for the Florida Marine Science Educators Association (FMSEA). She is also a facilitator and trainer for the Aquatic Species Collection Workshop, a 3-year certification for educators issued by the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), and assists with the coordination of the annual FMSEA conference. She is a lead instructor on the University of Florida's/IFAS Florida Master Naturalist Program's Palm Beach County teaching team and has been an invited instructor for the Audubon Society of the Everglades' Conservation Stewardship course since 2016.
Hannah is a graduate of Florida Atlantic University's (FAU) Charles E. Schmidt College of Science and a candidate at the FAU Graduate College, pursuing a M.Ed in Adult and Community Education Leadership. She is a member of the Leadership Palm Beach County Class of 2020. She is the 2017 Emerald Award honoree by the Girl Scouts of Southeast Florida and was named Outstanding Educator of the Year by the Florida Chapter of The Wildlife Society in 2020.
Hannah serves as Education Chair for the Friends. In her free time, she enjoys hiking through natural Florida, SCUBA diving, and discovering pet-friendly activities with her rescued pup, Layla.
Allyse Carter, born and raised in West Palm Beach, is a Certified Public Accountant with PWC. She is a graduate of Florida State University and holds a Master's in Accounting from Florida Atlantic University. A CPA since 2013, she was Chairperson of the Palm Beach Chapter of the Florida Institute of Certified Public Accountants (FICPA) in 2020.
Allyse enjoys helping people, and is happy to have been able to help individuals, small businesses, and non-profits reach their financial goals through her tax and accounting advice, which she also contributes to the Friends board of directors.
A few of her hobbies include going to the beach and pursuing standup comedy (that's right, the rare breed of CPA comic).
Rob Long is a public servant, entrepreneur, and engineer with a passion for the environment and civic duty. A resident of Delray Beach for the past 12 years, he grew up in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, "The Weather Capital of the World."
Rob is Chair of the Palm Beach Soil & Water Conservation District, where he has served since 2016. This is a countywide elected position that oversees best management practices for water conservation and educates growers and PBC high school students.
He is founder and operator of Door 2 Door Strategies, a community engagement firm that primarily partners with land planners and nonprofits in Palm Beach and Broward Counties to help facilitate productive dialogue with the impacted public.
Rob is also Vice Chair of the City of Delray Beach Planning & Zoning Board, and previously served on the Delray Beach Site Plan Review & Appearance Board (SPRAB) and the Green Implementation Advancement Board. He worked as a Civil Engineer in roadway/bridge construction and the disaster mitigation fields for 10 years.
A proud graduate of the Leadership Palm Beach County class of 2020, Rob holds an M.B.A. from the University of Florida's Warrington College of Business and a B.S. in Civil Engineering from Pennsylvania State University. In his free time, he enjoys exploring the outdoors, biking, running, painting, and writing. He serves on the Advocacy and Marketing committees with the Friends.
Brad Bousquet currently serves as Chair of the Board’s Grants and Advocacy Committees. In recent years, he has worked with a number of international NGO’s on issues at the intersection of land governance and climate change policy, with a focus on deforestation abatement initiatives and sustainable finance. Prior to this, he had spent more than twenty-years working in the global finance sector.
A Yale College graduate, Brad is currently completing a thesis for a UNITAR/Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (UOC) M.A. degree in Conflict, Peace & Security. His thesis is focused on Indigenous land rights and collective titling initiatives in the context of IP tenure security and the attendant intra-state conflict risks within the tropics. He is also part of the University of Edinburgh’s M.Sc. Programme in Carbon Management, as well as the Yale School of the Environment’s Tropical Forest Landscapes (TFL) Program.
Brad has spent over a decade splitting his time between NYC and Delray Beach, where he enjoys shore fishing and frequent camping trips to the Middle Keys. He is committed to Florida conservation, with a particular focus on carbon sequestration, biodiversity, and ecosystem services.
Gordon Divine is currently the Head of Information Technology and Digital Transformation for Parabel Nutrition, a vertically integrated plant-based ingredient company in South Florida that creates a safe, secure, and sustainable food supply in the USA.
An avid surfer and environmentalist, Gordon serves on the Marketing and Membership committees with the Friends.