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Manley Fuller Farewell

Dear FWF Members, Supporters and Friends,

It has been a privilege and a great joy to serve the Florida Wildlife Federation membership and volunteer board these past 32 years as your President and CEO. I am honored to have worked with you, the FWF membership, including many outstanding volunteer Board Members and Chairs, wonderful colleagues, dedicated FWF staff members and an outstanding group of conservationists and outdoor enthusiasts who are my dearest friends. I am grateful to have had a job that I truly loved practically every day, from the beginning to the end of my tenure. You have been my mentors in conservation and we have together accomplished a great deal in fulfilling our mission of “Keeping the Wild in Florida.” There will be much more to do as you carry on facing this great state’s conservation challenges.

I have decided to leave my position with FWF, opening up new leadership opportunities for the organization. While my last day of FWF employment will be February 1, 2019, I will continue to actively support the organization as a volunteer member of the FWF family. I will be returning to my native North Carolina to help lead the North Carolina Wildlife Federation’s conservation initiatives as their Vice President of Conservation Policy. I will be assuming my duties there as soon as I complete my transition with FWF. Preston Robertson, who has served FWF as a leader for years, will become Acting President and CEO upon my departure. Preston and the FWF Board of Directors will determine future staff leadership together. FWF has a talented and dedicated staff, contractors and volunteer board and thousands of members like you who will effectively continue to do the hard work of conservation because we share a passion for the lasting health of Florida’s natural resources.

During my 32 years serving FWF, it has been my primary responsibility to advance the often-challenging task of conservation, management and protection of Florida’s fish and wildlife and their beautiful vibrant myriad habitats. To further conserve our natural heritage on both land and water, FWF has built a lasting conservation legacy focusing on the protection and sound management of fish and wildlife as public resources, we have formed numerous partnerships to protect habitat on private and public lands, found common ground with diverse groups interested in a healthy environment, promoted common sense conservation, and when necessary, have taken strategic legal actions to protect Florida’s, wetlands, forests and waters in this rapidly growing state. It has been gratifying to have represented an organization that has often played a key leadership role in advancing many critical conservation causes including but not limited to our work to strengthen conservation within the State’s Constitution as follows:

  • prohibiting coastal oil and gas drilling (2018);
  • providing for a major 20-year state conservation lands acquisition funding (2014);
  • providing for tax relief for landowners placing their properties under permanent conservation easements (2008);
  • supporting the unification of the State’s fish and wildlife agencies into the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (1998);
  • providing more stringent conditions for surplusing State conservation lands (1998);
  • providing for “polluter pays” standards in the Florida Everglades (1996);
  • and providing limitations on entangling nets in State waters (1994).

Together, we helped expand and link many outstanding conservation and recreational properties statewide including the Big Cypress National Preserve, Osceola National Forest, St. Mark’s National Wildlife Refuge, Wakulla and other iconic springs across the state, North Key Largo and Topsail Hill State Parks, Tate’s Hell and Point Washington State Forests, and a number of State Wildlife Management Areas. FWF has been a consistent defender of public conservation properties when threatened by developmental political pressures. We have successfully protected many wetlands across the state by supporting regulatory programs and by modification of projects to eliminate or diminish destructive impacts. FWF has also been a strong advocate for the Coastal Barrier Resources system, which helps protect over 750,000 acres of Florida’s coast by removing federal subsidies from low-lying flood and storm water- vulnerable habitat.

We have for decades strongly and consistently supported strategic conservation lands acquisition and ecological restoration efforts statewide for the Florida Everglades, the Ocklawaha and Apalachicola Rivers, and Wakulla Springs and our other iconic springs and waterways across Florida from Pensacola to Key West. FWF also spearheaded efforts to build landscape-scale linkages of public and private conservation lands across Florida, including the placement of wildlife crossings where they can be most effective. And together, we championed conservation of marine forage fish and protection of reef fish spawning aggregations, protection of threatened and endangered species, as well as the ban on importation of deer and other cervids to reduce the serious threat posed by the expanding Chronic Wasting Disease to Florida’s wild deer populations.

Florida Wildlife Federation’s conservation reach extends far beyond Florida through our active participation in many National conservation and environmental issues. FWF is a founding and active member of the Everglades Coalition. FWF and the National Wildlife Federation (NWF) have been closely linked since the founding of both organizations in 1936. The FWF-NWF partnership is strong and multifaceted. FWF also maintains a close relationship with our sister affiliates in the region and across the United States. I am proud that we have recently initiated a forest stewardship program with NWF to advance Long Leaf Pine forest restoration and management with willing private forest landowners in Peninsular and Panhandle Florida.

We are working with private landowners in southwest Florida to protect critical habitat linkages for panthers, bears and other wildlife there. In 2019, FWF is also embarking on a program to educate people about the importance of maintaining vital habitats such as the sea grass meadows of the Gulf Coast.

FWF has been and continues to be a forceful advocate for Florida’s natural environment and for peoples’ enjoyment of sustainable, nature-based outdoor recreation, including fishing and hunting with science-based regulations, nature observation, boating, hiking and other enjoyable outdoor activities. It is so important for people to have experiencing the natural world as a major part of their lives and FWF is a strong proponent of that. The future of conservation requires people who are both knowledgeable and who love nature. Personal experience in the outdoors is critical to being a passionate and effective conservation advocate. FWF has worked hard to educate decision-makers as to the tremendous values of Florida’s nature-based economy and the need to protect our waters as well as wildlife habitat through appropriate regulation and strong enforcement of our laws.

Together, we have accomplished a great deal. I love this organization and all that it stands for, and I will continue to actively support its critical conservation mission as a regular donor, volunteer and proud member. I have included FWF in my planned giving and urge all of you to also continue to support FWF as a sound investment in an organization that places at the top of its priority list, the lasting conservation of Florida’s natural heritage and places for people to continue to enjoy nature in this beautiful state that we all cherish.

Thank you for all you have done and continue to do for conservation in Florida and for your loyal support of Florida Wildlife Federation. It has been an honor to serve you.


Manley K. Fuller

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Showing 20 Comments


Eric Hughes, US EPA retired (37 yrs)    last year

Manley: You are the BEST! I think our paths 1st crossed back in the mid/late 80s. I was working wetlands regulatory for EPA -Atlanta, covering south FL. You & FWF were always in the corner of the career federal & state agency biologists, trying our best to protect FL's amazing environment, regardless of the Fed/state politics. You & FWF have made a fantastic difference in protecting FL's water & wetland resources. THANK YOU so much!

You will be missed here in FL, but it does my heart good to know that you will be in NC, near your family home, protecting that State's special natural resources. Bless you & I look forward to visiting with you up near Hickory/Marion, NC when my wife & I take our RV up there.

Suze Peace    last year

When I think of FWF, I think of Manley Fuller. Thank you so much for your commitment, down right hard work, and steadfast leadership at this difficult time in Florida's history.
I, too, am from North Carolina and I know you will apply your same convictions to help there.
Best wishes and Bless you!

David Jones    last year

Thank you for all the support for advocating for outdoor recreation inclusion and protection of our resources.
Please call on me if I can ever be of any help.
Good Luck
David Jones, FDOA

Jim Pettus    last year

Wishing you the best . Florida will miss you we all will miss you . I have enjoyed following you and all the great accomplishments with FWD . 👍

Douglas Davis    last year

Manley - you will be missed. My very best to you and your family in NC

Howard Kessler    last year

You will be greatly missed. You leave mighty big shoes to fill. All that know you, know how much you have done to protect and preserve Florida’s environment and habitat. You have involved yourself in issues in counties, both rural to urban, with a long term vision and clarity that always contained your strength of vision. From Tallahassee and formerly of Wakulla County, Anne and Howard

Claire Bannerman    last year

Manley Fuller, thank you for your dedicated service at many levels..Bravo for your time in.
I recently left Walton Co. moving to Bay....Rivercamps at Crooked Camp for my retirement/ enjoying Florida at its finest herein.

Keller    last year

Our state is far better for the years of dedication you have given to protecting our land and waters. It has been a joy to know you and a pleasure to work with you. Enjoy NC. We'll be thinking of you.

Crystal Wakoa    last year

Hate to see you go Manley. You’ve rocked it for Florida’s wild places, flora and fauna for so long, I fear I’ve taken you for granted. Thank you for your tireless efforts and dedication - you’ve accomplished so much! NC will be lucky to have you. All the best to you!

Forest Redding, Jr.    last year

Your work on behalf of the Florida Wildlife Federation and all Floridians has made an enormous difference in the conservation, preservation, appreciation, and enjoyment of Florida's unique flora, fauna, and remaining natural lands, waterways, coastal shores, and wildlife areas. Although it now feels like your leadership is irreplaceable, we must all continue to build upon your FWF legacy of legislative, legal, and personal efforts and successes to help conserve Florida's natural heritage and unique wilderness environments. Many thanks for your vital conservation leadership here in Florida and continued success in your new role as Vice President of Conservation Policy for the NCWF.
Forest W. Redding, Jr.

Judy Mueller    last year

We have been WI snowbirds in FL for the past 10 yrs. W/Gov. Scott at the helm, we feared for conservancy of all that we loved.
However, reading your farewell letter was most heartening. You have made SO much progress in protecting the endangered places ,
mammals, fish, seacoast etc. and we thank you for all the work you put forth to achieve this. Still, battles are lost to developers, and we have a sterling example in our neighbohood. The fight for saving the mangroves as a nursery for sm. fish is ongoing, as far as I know. (It is the area where El Conquistador Blvd. ends and past the new McMansions that have already been built.) Until legislation is passed to hold FL's developers in line w/the safety and protection of the environment and wild places, I fear more and more natural habitat will be "eaten up". I'm hopeful that those who continue in FWF and the new ones to come, will continue to engage in this ongoing battle.

Keep up your good work in N. Carolina!

Judy Mueller

Bruce Bynum    last year

Manley Fuller ... ThankYou for Your Care & Commitment Serving - The Sunshine State - Wishing You and Yours ... All the Very Best Good Luck With Everything in the Future Ventures , Life and time ... going forward into the Future followed by a Florida job well done for 32 - Years serving the Land We Love ... ThankYou , Take Care and Be Well ... Sincerely , Bruce Bynum ...

Tony Marra    last year

Thanks !!

Bettina Moench    last year

What a legacy you have left! These are hard times for the environment and all the creatures who live on this beautiful earth. Thank you for the work you've done to keep Florida beautiful! Enjoy your new role in North Carolina...another beautiful state that will benefit from your efforts!

Doug Alderson    last year

Thank you so much for your service, Manley. You have blazed a good trail for others to follow and have left a positive environmental legacy. All the best to you on your new endeavor!

Dana C. Bryan    last year

Sorry to hear Florida is losing your daily fight to preserve its glorious resources. Thanks especially for what you have done for Wakulla Springs over the years! Best of luck in your new adventure!

ELEANOR A MCVEIGH    last year

Thank you for your many years of service to FWF and good luck to you in your future venture.

kathleen dempsey    last year

Dear Mr. Fuller, Thank you for your many years of service to my beloved state of Florida and your efforts to preserve its wildlife and habitat. I wish you the best in this next phase of your service in North Carolina. Sincerely, Kathleen

Ann Miller    last year

Thank you Manley for all you have done to protect out wild places for 32 years. You will certainly be missed, but North Carolina can certainly benefit from your expertise.
Ann Miller

Linda Balzan    last year

I am sorry to see you go. Ever since joining my support of Florida Wildlife Federation, your name had been synonymous with wildlife and environmental protection. "Manley Fuller" meant my dollars were going to a worthy and legitimate cause for preservation of Florida's wildlife treasures. North Carolina is very lucky! Thank you for your years of service, Mr. Manley
Sincerely, Linda Balzan