by Elise Cassie, FL PLT Assistant Coordinator
Nancy Peterson, Florida Project Learning Tree State Coordinator, has led Florida PLT for the past eleven years. Nancy steadily and successfully grew the program to where it is today: “A model program,” per National PLT’s Jackie Stallard. As many of you know, Nancy will retire in late September.
Nancy came to Gainesville over 20 years ago with her husband and their two children. She began her UF career as the Education Program Coordinator for the state 4-H program. Over the years, she served as Program Coordinator for the Center for Natural Resources, the Associate Director for Research and Outreach/Extension, and finally, as the Associate Director for Education and Training. In this role, she was both the PLT State Coordinator and the Executive Director of the Conserved Forest Resources: Outreach and Research Cooperative.
For over a decade, the PLT community in Florida, nationally, and internationally has benefitted from Nancy’s vision and dedication. Nancy inspired the PLT Steering Committee, volunteers, current staff, and many student assistants over the years. With minimal state funding and through Nancy’s cultivation of generous support from industry, individuals, and grants, FL PLT continues to grow. Despite the immense financial challenge, and with only one half-time staff, Nancy’s efforts have ensured that FL PLT can help youth and adults discover their outside world and the forests nearby.
Nancy is a life-long learner and plans to thoroughly enjoy her retirement by traveling, enjoying family and friends, and of course, spending lots of time outdoors. Nancy will be missed; it has been a pleasure working with her.