Each year, Alachua Conservation Trust honors individuals in our community who are influential in a wide variety of ways - the arts, historic preservation, and particularly, in protecting our wildlife and natural resources. Please join us at Prairie Creek Lodge on Saturday, March 17th as we acknowledge the 2018 Conservation Stewards, Michael Drummond and the late John Hankinson, Jr. (see their bios below).


Prairie Creek Lodge
7204 SE County Road 234
Gainesville, FL 32641

(see map)


Saturday, March 17th
Event begins at 5:30pm

Alachua Conservation Trust turns 30!

This year, we are celebrating three decades of conservation success – with your support, we’re bringing about a healthier and more sustainable future for our community. Since its incorporation in 1988, Alachua Conservation Trust has helped preserve more than 50,000 acres of land in north central Florida, directly participating in the purchase of 19,000 of those acres.

The Conservation Stewards Awards is one of the largest gatherings of community leaders and conservationists in the region, and features a cocktail hour, dinner, awards ceremony and live music. You don’t want to miss Florida’s biggest conservation event of the year!

The festivities kick-off with a social hour beginning at 5:30PM.  It will be followed by a “local foods” dinner and the awards ceremony. We will wrap up the evening with a live performance by McWeeds O’ Eden. Buy your tickets early and get a $20 discount, cost is $75 per person but increases to $95 at the door (children under 12 are free).

Get your tickets online here.

Interested in being a Corporate Sponsor for the event?

Check out our corporate sponsor packet for info, CLICK HERE.

If you would like to become a sponsor or have any questions, please contact Alachua Conservation Trust by phone: (352) 373-1078 or email: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

2018 Honorees


The late John Hankinson, Jr. was one of Florida’s greatest conservationists and a talented blues harmonica player with several bands including “Johnny Matanzas and the Hombres” and “The Non-Essentials.” John’s professional career revolved around the inter-relationship of land and water resources, protecting watersheds to assure there would be clean and abundant water in the future. Early in his career John was an analyst in the legislature with the House Committee on Regulatory Reform. His Chairman, Representative Bill Sadowski, a man of the highest integrity, was an important mentor to John. After seeing, from the inside, how laws were made, and the appalling influence special interests had in the relative vacuum of independent science being considered, John was persuaded by Marjorie Carr, to be the Director of the Environmental Service Center. The purpose of the organization was to bring to the House and Senate committees, qualified subject matter experts that could make presentations and answer questions regarding the legislation being considered. Marjorie believed if the Legislators knew better, they would do better, we just needed to provide them accurate information. Marjorie Carr was a person of incredible determination and perseverance. She was an inspiration to John all his life. During this time, one of John’s greatest honors was to be selected by Governor Bob Graham to serve on the ELMS II committee to assist in developing the State Comprehensive Plan, which led to the passage of Chapter 163, the Local Government Comprehensive Planning and Land Development Act of 1985. Shortly thereafter, he served as the Director of Planning and Acquisition at the St Johns River Water Management District where he focused on the acquisition of critical watersheds, such as the Upper St. Johns River Basin, Lake Apopka and the Ocklawaha River Basin. John often remarked that this was the best job he ever had, buying and protecting Florida’s environmentally sensitive land. Working with public and private partners he participated in the acquisition of over 200,000 acres of environmentally important lands in Florida. In 1994 John was appointed by President Clinton as Regional Administrator of EPA’s office in Atlanta, overseeing federal wetland regulation and state implementation of delegated Clean Water Act programs in eight southern states. John promoted comprehensive watershed and coastal aquatic ecosystem management including the Florida Everglades, National Estuary Programs, and efforts to establish a compact for the Apalachicola/Chattahoochee/Flint (ACF) river system. Following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010, he was appointed by President Obama to serve as the executive director of the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Task Force where he worked with 11 federal agencies and five states to develop a strategy for restoration of the Gulf of Mexico. In his retirement, he refocused on Marjorie Carr and his shared goal to restore the Ocklawaha River to be a free-flowing system. John was a larger than life character whose generous spirit and infectious laughter will be sorely missed.


Michael is well known around Alachua County (and beyond) for his impressive knowledge of flora and fauna, his passion for nature and the outdoors, and his lifelong dedication to protecting our local environment. A graduate of UF, Michael started working at the Alachua County Environmental Protection Department in 1990, and is one of the longest standing employees to date, providing invaluable mentorship to fellow staff. In 1992, Michael wrote the first wetland protection ordinance and was instrumental in ensuring its adoption, thus setting Alachua County as a leader in environmental protection across the state. He also singlehandedly introduced protection policies for archeological resources in our community and was recognized by the Florida Archaeological Council with a Heritage Preservation Award. Over the years, Michael has contributed to countless Comprehensive Plan and Land Development Code updates, most notably amongst them being the 2005 Comprehensive Plan, which expanded wetland buffer requirements and added protections for upland communities such as significant habitat, listed species habitat, and strategic ecosystems. In his current role as a senior environmental planner, he reviews land use, zoning and development applications for compliance with the county’s protection requirements, as well as supports the land conservation program in evaluating properties for conservation value. When Michael’s interest in a topic is piqued, he will immerse himself until mastery is complete, which is largely how he has become the local expert in archeological resources, botany, birding, and local natural history, amongst many topics. He is also an accomplished nature photographer and an incredible cook!



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