FRIENDS OF LAKE LOUISA STATE PARK
Christy brought her experience in Conservation and her deep love of the outdoors to the Follsp in 2003. Christy has remained a driving force for innovation on the board ever since. A Floridian by birth, she brings a hands on background as animal keeper, bird abatement handler, and veterinary care technician to the Friends. Christy drove the development of the Friends public outreach/fundraising events by combining these skills with her expertise in event planning, public speaking, and conservation interpretation. Nature Fest, held in March annually, attracts great community interaction with both local exhibitors and event participants of all ages.
Christy's deep commitment to conservation shows in her Bird Abatement, a skill that took her to Botswana. Falconry based bird abatement's objective is not the killing of nuisance birds, but the "scaring them off the premises" to protect farmer's crops and livelihood. The use of hawks and falcons is quiet, discrete, organic, eco-friendly and very sustainable.
Christy loves hanging with her dogs (and spouse), hiking, kayaking, paddle boarding, bird abatement, learning new things, horseback riding, traveling, meeting new people, helping other human beings, making people smile and then scaring the heck out of them during the FLLSP annual Haunted Hike.
Amy, the organizer of Follsp's popular Poochapalooza. Amy was born in Long Beach, CA and was a military brat that moved roughly every two years throughout her childhood. Amy received her Bachelors of Business Administration from the College of William and Mary in Virginia. While pursuing her MBA, Amy decided to "drop out" to follow her "dream of making far less money, working weekends and holidays, and getting dirty at work". Amy promptly moved to southern CA to attend the Exotic Animal Training and Management program at Moorpark College, where she earned an Associate of Science degree. With multiple degrees in hand, Amy spent a couple of years working with animals in the film industry. In 1998 Amy drove from California to Orlando, Florida to work at a new Disney Park, Animal Kingdom. Amy has been caring for Disney animals there ever since.
"The natural world, conservation, community involvement, and volunteerism are passions of mine and becoming involved with the Friends of Lake Louisa State Park just seemed like a natural fit when I moved to the Clermont area. I have been volunteering with the park since 2004 and have been a board member since 2012. I would love to see our organization continue to expand its reach into the community and provide experiences and opportunities to connect people of all ages with our amazing Florida ecosystem and inspire others to conserve and protect it, hopefully as an active Friend of Lake Louisa State Park!"
LAURA BORK, DVM
Born and raised in Buffalo, NY., Laura moved to Orlando mostly to get away from the cold and snow. Even more importantly, she could play at Disney World and Universal Studios as much as she wanted. Laura's full time profession is as small animal vet practicing at Clermont Animal Hospital.
Laura's commitment to community service includes providing volunteer veterinary services for a local Clermont Dog Rescue. In 2018, Laura took on the Treasurer responsibilities for the Follsp. Laura is determined to help promote Lake Louisa State Park. She observes that as Clermont grows, there is less & less green space in a world with declining natural ecosystems. LLSP preserves nature right in Clermont's backyard. This is something that we all should cherish, promote and protect.Laura brings a strong organizational skill, with a conscientious civilians perspective on the park.
Laura believes that The Friends need to raise awareness about the park and the resources it offers to everyone in our community. my hope is that we can do more PR, specifically to attract younger people to the park and to our organization.
In addition to loving Disney and Universal, Laura is an an avid New Orleans Saints Fan! WHO DAT?!?
Board Members 2019
Debbie came to Florida to pursue an internship at Disney and stayed on serving in the Animal Nutrition Center. Illinois was her birthplace but Debbie grew up in Massachusetts and attended school in New York.
Debbie has been on the Board of Follsp since 2016 (and aren't we lucky ducks!). Debbie brought her outstanding knack for organization and her interest in helping the Follsp reach its goals by involving the community and connection children and families to nature.
Debbie says "I am passionate about nature and conservation so the Friends of Lake Louisa State Park is a great fit! I enjoy inspiring others to learn more about wild life and wild places. I want to inspire them take action to help protect and preserve them for future generations. Having grown up in the beautiful woods of Massachusetts, I have not only enjoyed my nature time, but now I have also realized how much I need it. Living in Clermont, I am thrilled to have Lake Louisa State Park practically in my backyard. I have already seen growth in the number of events hosted by The Friends of Lake Louisa as well as growth in the attendance at events. I look forward to continued growth!
Debbie and her husband live on a snug little farm near Lake Louisa State Park where they get grow outstanding organic vegetables that she shares with her fellow board members.
BOARD MEMBER EMERITUS
Dr. Tom Ballesteros (11/15/1950--7/10/2019)
Tom was a pillar of the Follsp for 20 years. During his tenure he served as President, Vice President and was an active Board Member always. A respected business member (Ballesteros Dental) of the Clermont Area, he was a very active presence in multiple Community Service organizations, Tom used his savvy business connections to build a presence for Follsp in the community. We depended on Tom's unstinting support of all our fundraising events as well as his astute advice to Follsp on all financial and political matters. He is missed.
Chuck was born in Denver, Co but has lived in far flung places like Vietnam, and many of the states of the Union like; Massachusetts, Minnesota Michigan, Georgia, Ohio, Illinois, North Carolina, Connecticut, Tennessee, winding up in Jacksonville, Fl before moving to Clermont. When Chuck retired as Part Owner and General Manager of a packaging company he knew he would continue his hobby of hiking and park recreation.
Chuck recalls, "When I retired I hiked the Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine in six months--2175 miles. In 2001 the new park had no entrance on 27 or cabins or trails, only lakes and trees. The first task for the (very few) park volunteers was to start to establish a seven mile hiking trail. Since that was my hobby I decided that it was a good volunteer job for me. I have been an active volunteer since 2001 and an have been active at Follsp board members since they started the group. Ten years ago we had few volunteers (most of them were older and retired). The Park was upgrading and needed more volunteers. We went to the Clermont Chamber of Commerce, Businesses and Schools to attract volunteers. The volunteers that worked at Disney attracted more volunteers from Disney. So Follsp grew more active with fundraising events that in turn provided financial assistance for projects. The latest project was the ADA Compliant Playground on the Beach. I want the Friends to continue with the multi activities like Nature Fest and Poochapalooza to continue to attract people to the park and raise awareness of the valuable community asset that is Lake Louisa State Park."