Home of the Space Coast Birding and Wildlife Festival
Board of Directors
Judge, Brevard County District 1
Mgmt. Section Svsr./Brevard County NRMO
The Nature Conservancy
University of Central Florida
Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott
Geomar Environmental Consultants, Inc.
Titusville City Council
Titusville City Council
Tucker Alarm Systems
Immed Past Chair
Effective May 1, 2016, Barb became responsible for all operational activities of the Alliance, with the number one event being the Space Coast Birding and Wildlife Festival (SCBWF). She brings a background of over 35 years in tourism, non-profit management and national event planning. Barb Eager's previous affiliation was with the North American Association for Environmental Education as Deputy Director of Administration, Conference and Core Services. She brings years of non-profit experience to the BNA with a strong emphasis on organizational, financial and time management skills. Barb was instrumental in helping the Anglers for Conservation receive their 501(c) (3) accreditation, and has volunteered in various other endeavors in Brevard County. After a very successful 20th SCBWF in January 2017, Barb and the festival planning team are hard at working planning the 2018 SCBWF. Barb will travel extensively nationwide promoting the festival and will be participating in a marketing summit at the American Birding Expo, doing a presentation at the San Diego Birding Festival, and leading field trips at the Rio Grande Valley Birding Festival. Barb is also working closely with the BNA Board of Directors to nurture future growth of the BNA in line with the BNA's mission.
Festival Chair and Founder
Fifth generation Floridian Laurilee Thompson is co-owner of the popular Dixie Crossroads Seafood Restaurant. Her love of nature and the sea started when she fished the Indian River Lagoon as a child. The only southeastern lady longline skipper at the time, she was a pioneer in the Gulf of Mexico longline bottom-fishing industry during the early 1980s. After leaving the ocean in 1987, first-hand experience in stressed Gulf fisheries led Laurilee to take part in preservation efforts closer to home, including establishing a management plan for the rock shrimp fishery. The family continues as leaders in sustainable fisheries. In 1997, Laurilee rallied some friends to create an event to highlight Brevard County's extraordinary natural resources, demonstrating their value to the community's economy and quality of life. That event is the Space Coast Birding and Wildlife Festival which now attracts participants from all over the world. Through her business, as well as her personal life, Laurilee is an influential advocate for the promotion, protection, and use of our natural resources in a responsible manner.
Neta Harris's impressive past and long term relationships with the SCBWF event and its people make her the perfect choice to concentrate on funding strategies, securing sponsors and donors, writing grant proposals and building sustainable new relationships. Neta's pivotal experience includes securing event funding, multi-level media & marketing initiatives plus environmental and nature-based tourism advocacy.
Outreach & Development Coordinator
Danica is a professional archeologist with six years of experience working for the National Park Service as a Cultural Resources Program Director at two different parks in the West. During her tenure, she was also responsible for community outreach among local cultural groups and developed many meaningful relationships with local community organizations and native communities. She also designed and implemented several different cultural festivals, workshops, and trainings that showcased local history, architecture, and archeology. She brings her wealth of experience, passion for local culture, history, and environment, and contagious enthusiasm to the Brevard Nature Alliance and the Space Coast.
Ruthie Cook was a Software Quality Engineer after graduating from Florida State University with a B.S. in Computer Science. After earning the Governors Excellence Award for creating the first Quality Assurance Department for an Informative Technology Software company, a passion developed in Ruthie to increase the level of quality in the software industry. She was the driving force in creating a Quality Assurance Department to the Department of Health. Since retiring, she brings this same passion for quality and excellence to Brevard Nature Alliance. As part of the "Festival Planning Team", Ruthie works closely with the Festival Chair to provide support in the planning and implementation of the field trips, presentations and photography events. She also provides phone support and is willing to assist with any need. Ruthie's personal passion for the Space Coast, trees, birds and wildlife bring enthusiasm and energy to each Festival.
After being associated with the festival for 10 years as a field trip leader, Jim is now also responsible for social media for the Space Coast Birding & Wildlife Festival (SCBWF) as well as the Brevard Nature Alliance (BNA). In addition to the SCBWF Jim is also a field trip leader for the Everglades Birding Festival, Florida Birding & Nature Festival, Rio Grande Valley Birding Festival, tour leader for Florida Nature Tours as well as guiding in the Central Florida area with his own company Obsessive Compulsive Birding. Jim is a newly appointed board member of the Florida Ornithological Society (FOS) as well as Associate Editor (for bird distribution), FOS "Florida Field Naturalist". He is a past board member of the Space Coast Audubon Society and served as their Vice President-Program/Publicity Chair and Social Media Coordinator for two years.