“I’m 68,” Eric Draper recently told The Florida Phoenix’s Craig Pittman.
“I’ve got a couple of years left to take an active role in things, and I missed advocacy.” Draper said.
Draper is perhaps Florida’s top environmental conservation advocate, having most recently left as Director of Florida’s Parks.
While he’s retired from full-time work, Draper’s presence on the Florida Conservation Board is a significant asset for the group, which seeks to save Florida’s natural and agricultural landscapes for future generations.
Draper has gained a reputation as being an inoffensive and effective advocate for Florida’s natural environment, with an ability to liaison with the Republican lawmakers and State Agencies, despite conservation being typically framed as a lofty liberal goal adverse to business. In a state dominated by Republican business interests, Draper puts Florida Conservation in a position to secure significant relationships and land acquisitions.
“Eric Draper joins us as a respected leader in the field of conservation and provides top-notch, effective counsel on conservation leadership, finance, policy, and strategy. I have no doubt his experience will strengthen our mission and influence our approach to protecting Florida’s water, wildlife, wild places, and wildlife corridor,” said Traci Deen, President of Conservation Florida in a release.
Draper comes with three decades of experience shaping the process of protecting land, water, and wildlife policy in Florida. During his 30-year conservation career, Draper was a leading advocate for water and land conservation and Everglades restoration. He is known for being able to work with both business and agency leaders. He is credited with helping secure billions in new conservation and restoration spending and influencing many major Florida environmental policy decisions. With experience leading campaigns to get voter approval for land conservation fronts statewide, Draper was able to see the results of volunteers working in a professionally funded campaign, and the opportunity to make an impact.
“Conservation Florida is making a real boots-on-the-ground difference in preserving land within critically important wildlife corridors and watersheds,” said Draper. “The remarkable staff and volunteers, and their commitment to doing what it takes to get things done, make serving on the Board of Directors and supporting the organization the best investment of my time and money.”
Recently, Draper completed service as Director of the Florida Park Service. Draper is recognized for raising park ranger pay, updating training, increasing revenue and budgets, expanding park acreage, advancing water restoration projects, promoting trails, and encouraging park volunteers and philanthropy.
Before being asked to lead the Florida Park Service, Draper was Executive Director of Audubon Florida. Draper’s experience ranges from the Florida Park Service, Audubon Florida, the Florida House of Representatives, the Nature Conservancy and Clean Water Action.
“Like anyone who has met the voices of Conservation Florida, I’m very impressed with Traci and her staff,” Draper added.
“It’s an organization that works because of the people that are involved, and the unwavering passion to pursue the protection of Florida.”
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