Natural Resources Leadership Institute

NRLI Alumni

Participants from past classes

The program has trained 296 individuals from 110 organizations and all parts of the state. Fellows represent the following sectors:

  • Federal government, including the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the U.S. Forest Service, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
  • State government, including the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, the Department of Agricultural and Consumer Services, and Water Management Districts
  • Local government
  • Non-governmental organizations
  • Community organizations
  • Agriculture
  • Engineering, law, and consulting
  • Academia
  • Extension

Explore alumni lists, archived practicum projects, and session reports from previous classes via the links on the right.

View a list of alumni organized by organization/sector type

Alumni Spotlight


  • Libby Carnahan, NRLI Class XII

    Libby Carnahan is a UF/IFAS Extension, Florida Sea Grant Agent in Pinellas County. Libby is a proud graduate of NRLI class XII. In her position, she provides marine education and outreach to the community, government, and marine industries. Libby has 15 years experience teaching and researching marine science in Florida. Libby has a BS in Biology from Truman State University (1998) and a MS in Marine Science from University of South Florida, College of Marine Science (2005).

  • Rainer Schael, NRLI Class VII

    Rainer Schael is the founder and president of RS Environmental Consulting, Inc., an environmental consulting firm with a focus on wetland permitting and mitigation projects in Dade County. Mr. Schael serves as project manager for high profile projects and clients as well as ensuring that all submittals prepared by staff meet company philosophy. He also oversees the day to day operations of the company, including financials, proposals and client relations.

    Mr. Schael received a B.A. in Environmental Studies from Rollins College in 1999. In addition to business operations, Mr. Schael is also a volunteer for Dade County Science Fair and a variety of environmental education programs, including classroom lectures and field trips. Mr. Schael and his wife recently oversaw an annual fundraiser for Everglades National Park, “Rainer & Noel’s Excellent Camping Adventure.” This fundraiser raised $8,000 for Everglades National Park, and brought 220 people into the park.

    He is also an alumnus of the University of Florida’s Natural Resources Leadership Institute, the Chairman of the Village of Palmetto Bay’s Building & Permitting Advisory Committee, a Board Member on the Herman Lucerne Memorial Fishing Tournament, and a Trustee with the South Florida National Parks Trust.

  • Leslie Sturmer, NRLI Class V

    Leslie provides extension support concerning aquaculture to the molluscan shellfish industry sectors in Florida. Audience groups include marine shellfish culturists, commercial shellfishers, state/federal marine resource regulators, shellfish dealers, and interested general public. Leslie conducts applied research projects in all phases of production management including genetic improvement, management strategies, and evaluation of alternative molluscan shellfish species for culture; species include hard clams, oysters, and potential aquaculture species, such as ark and sunray venus clams.

    Leslie provides educational programs for shellfish farmers highlighting growout production technology, seed production, product quality, water quality, health monitoring, species diversification, and organizational development. She also develops programs for new growers to foster economic development in rural coastal communities, as well as programs on water quality related to molluscan shellfish, such as monitoring, restoration, and citizen stewardship.

    Leslie has a Master of Science in Aquaculture and Fisheries from Auburn University and a Bachelor of Science in Zoology and Fisheries from North Carolina State University.

  • Holly Edmond, NRLI Class XIII

    Holly Edmond is an Environmental Consultant with the Office of Agricultural Water Policy, Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services in Tallahassee. The Office of Agricultural Water Policy (OAWP) was established in 1995 by the Florida Legislature to facilitate communications among federal, state, and local agencies and the agricultural industry on water quantity and water quality issues involving agriculture. In this effort, the OAWP is actively involved in the development of Best Management Practices (BMPs) addressing both water quality and water conservation on a site-specific, regional, and watershed basis. As a significant part of this effort, the office is directly involved with statewide programs to implement the Federal Clean Water Act's Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) requirements for agriculture. The OAWP works cooperatively with agricultural producers and industry groups, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, the university system, the Water Management Districts, and other interested parties to develop and implement BMP programs.

    Holly primarily works with the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and other stakeholders on the TMDL and Basin Management Action Plan (BMAP) water quality restoration programs. This requires close coordination with OAWP field staff who are primarily responsible for assisting agricultural producers with enrolling in and implementing BMPs, agricultural commodity/advocacy organizations, other agency staff, and occasionally local governments and other stakeholders. Holly also assists with the creation of outreach materials, geared toward helping agricultural producers and outside interests understand the BMP program and agriculture’s responsibilities.

    Holly has a master’s degree in Marine Affairs and Policy from the University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science and a bachelor’s degree in Marine Science Affairs from the University of Miami.

  • Holly Abeels, NRLI Class XI

    Since starting her career with the University of Florida/IFAS Brevard County Extension, Holly Abeels has been successful in developing an extensive extension program to address timely and relevant coastal issues in Brevard. These program areas include adult and youth environmental education, boating and waterways, seafood sustainability and management, and ecotourism education.

    Holly has been very active working with community partners, such as the Brevard Zoo, the Brevard County Natural Resources Management Department, and local citizen scientists on water quality issues in the Indian River Lagoon. Some of the education/outreach programs include oyster gardening, diamondback terrapin monitoring, and reduction of terrapin captures in crab traps.

    Another program area for Holly has been environmental sustainability. She has been a co-organizer and moderator for the Southeast Florida Regional Boating and Waterways Workshop and Northeast Florida Regional Boating and Waterways Workshop and co-chair of Stem to Stern II Conference with the Department of Environmental Protection and Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) staff.

    She was also the Co-PI of Florida Seafood at Your Fingertips Extension Program Enhancement Grant with goals to provide extension agents statewide with updated, easy-to-access information regarding Florida seafood resulting in increased consumer awareness and consumption.

    In addition to developing and maintaining a solid extension program, Holly has enhanced her leadership and professional development skills by participating and graduating from the Florida Natural Resource Leadership Institute and the National Sea Grant Academy.

  • Jane Provancha, NRLI Class VIII

    Ms. Provancha has over three decades of experience working on environmental projects and programs in the conduct and design of environmental and ecological surveys and monitoring. For the NASA Kennedy Space Center (KSC) ecological program, she supported NEPA compliance during the Shuttle era and initiated several of the KSC and MINWR long term monitoring programs (manatee surveys, sea turtle nesting, in-water sea turtles, air quality, surface water quality, seagrass, and many other long term projects). She mentored students and staff in programs that have continued for over 30 years. She is a 2008 Fellow of the Natural Resources Leadership Institute (University of Florida/IFAS). She was a visiting scientist and partner for the World Wildlife Fund in Mozambique Africa (2008 and 2009) in capacity building, developing protocols, and training field teams to conduct aerial surveys of dugongs in the Bazaruto Archipelago National Marine Park.

    Her technical NASA-KSC efforts include a liaison position with federal and state regulatory agencies and a collaborative position with ecological researchers from various organizations (USGS, FWRI, USFWS, NOAA, etc.). Since 1984, she has been a principal investigator and permit holder for NASA-KSC on several long term projects related to manatees, juvenile sea turtles, and small mammals. She coordinated the local NMFS sea turtle and marine mammal stranding networks from 1981 to 1998.

    Currently, Ms. Provancha is the Environmental Projects Manager on the NASA Medical and Environmental Services Contract for Inomedic Health Applications, LLC. This includes direct technical work (fauna and flora), as well as developing teams, preparing level of effort estimates, and managing projects (historical, cultural, archeological, threatened and endangered species, water sampling, fisheries, etc.).

  • Steve Allen, NRLI Class VIII

    Steve Allen was a NRLI fellow in class VIII and was sponsored by a local non-profit, Carrabelle CARES. He thoroughly enjoyed this experience and attributes his success on local, state, and national initiatives to the concepts he learned and the experiences he had as a NRLI Fellow.

    Steve is a charter member of the Board of Carrabelle CARES and play important roles in the community including: President of the Board of the Crooked River Lighthouse, Coordinator of the Carrabelle Riverfront “Pirates of the Carrabellan” Festival which each year draws thousands of visitors to Carrabelle to experience local seafood and enjoy the hijinks of the invading Pirates. He has also served as a member of the Carrabelle Planning and Zoning Commission since 2004. As a member of the Carrabelle CARES board, Steve has participated in emerging community issues which include: development of a management plan for McKissick Beach and Jordan Bayou, environment and historic preservation issues, and ongoing initiatives to protect public access.

    Professionally, Steve serves as the National Services Coordinator of PolicyWorks, a national non-profit targeted to helping young people with disabilities connect to jobs and careers. He is also an architectural designer working with Hexaport, a Florida-based company specializing in the design and manufacture of environmentally-friendly, high quality modular homes in Northwest Florida.

  • Stacie Greco, NRLI Class XII

    Stacie received a B.S. in the Environmental Sciences from Warren Wilson College in Asheville, NC prior to obtaining her M.S. in Environmental Engineering Sciences from the University of Florida. Stacie has been with the Alachua County Environmental Protection Department for over eleven years and is currently utilizing her NRLI skills as the County’s Water Conservation Coordinator. When not discussing water issues and solutions with stakeholders, Stacie spends her spare time exploring Florida’s natural areas by kayak, foot, and bike.

  • Allen Scheffer, NRLI Class XIV

    Allen Scheffer is the District Field Supervisor for Florida Farm Bureau. He supervises the field representatives in the Northern Region, including Districts I, II, III, and IV, as well as serves as the representative in his district which includes Bay, Calhoun, Escambia, Gulf, Holmes, Jackson, Okaloosa, Santa Rosa, Walton, and Washington counties. With a background in sales and marketing, Allen is a lifelong resident of Jackson County. He received his AA from Chipola College and a bachelor's degree in marketing and business management from Troy University.

    Allen is also owner/operator of Smiley B Farms LLC in Graceville where his wife Julie and son Jamison and he produce registered Angus and commercial cattle and perennial peanut hay and run a commercial apiary/honey bee operation.