Volunteers - Gainesville Florida

Janice Hindson – Volunteer Coordinator

janice@paddleflorida.org

Janice was born and raised near Manchester, England. Her love of the water began while volunteering with her mother for the Royal National Lifeboats. After moving to the states at age eleven, she eventually served in the U.S. Coast Guard, doing search and rescue missions, mostly in the Great Lakes region. Janice started paddling in the midwest in the 90's. Since moving to Florida (and loving the great weather) in 2011, she has enjoyed exploring many of our springs, rivers and coastal areas. She looks forward to assisting with volunteers during Paddle Florida events.

Jan Corcoran

jan@paddleflorida.org

Jan Corcoran is the co-founder of Paddle Florida and has been an integral part of every event since we started doing trips in March, 2008. She has made rest stops on the water one of the most fun parts of every trip. She has helped in scouting all of our trips and worked with our food service providers to make sure meals are up to our standards. In short, without Jan there would be no Paddle Florida.

Doug Alderson

doug@paddleflorida.org

"I am happiest when sharing an outdoor experience with good friends and family," says outdoor writer and photographer Doug Alderson. He is the author of numerous magazine articles and several books, including Waters Less Traveled: Exploring Florida's Big Bend Coast (2005), New Dawn for the Kissimmee River: Orlando to Okeechobee by Kayak (2009), Encounters with Florida's Endangered Wildlife (2010), Wild Florida Waters: Exploring the Sunshine State by Kayak and Canoe ( 2011), The Great Florida Seminole Trail (2013), and Wild Florida Adventures: Exploring the Sunshine State by Land and Water (2014). Alderson also works as assistant bureau chief for the Florida Office of Greenways and Trails, and he writes an outdoor and nature blog for Visit Tallahassee. For more information, log onto www.dougalderson.net

Brack Barker

brack@paddleflorida.org

Brack Barker has been the owner/guide of Wild Florida Adventure since December of 2002 leading kayak and nature tours in over 10 North Central Florida counties. He also instructs community education classes at Santa Fe College in Gainesville. He was born and raised in Melbourne, Florida and is a U.S. Navy Veteran. His educational background includes an AS degree in Zookeeping from Santa Fe College, and BA degree in Anthropology from the University of Florida, both in Gainesville. Other course work includes the Florida Master Naturalist Program via UF/IFAS, is currently certified L2 coastal kayak instructor via the American Canoe Association, and numerous Leave No Trace training courses. He has also received training as an outings leader with the National Sierra Club and the Florida Trail Association. In addition to kayak and nature tours, Brack volunteers as a Docent Naturalist at the Florida Museum of Natural History on the UF campus, since 2002. He conducts nature and museum programs for school groups and interpretive programs and tours of the traveling and permanent exhibits.

Guerry Bradley

guerry@paddleflorida.org

Guerry Bradley, whose day job is as a firefighter/EMT in St. Augustine, has been a part of the Paddle Florida family since our first trip in March, 2008. On that first trip, he did everything in his power to save the life of dying beaver on the Suwannee River, but alas, all his efforts were for naught as we lost the poor animal. He is also known as a key player around the campfire each night, as his jokes entertain the rest of the group. We are fortunate to have someone with his myriad skills as a Paddle Florida volunteer.

Beth Courtright

beth@paddleflorida.org

Beth grew up in Massachusetts and moved to Florida after completing a BA in Psychology and an AD in Nursing. She opted to retire at the same time as her husband, so that they could spend time together. A love of the outdoors started when she was a Girl Scout. Always ready for camping, kayaking, & exploring, it was recommended by a kayaking friend that she take a PaddleFlorida trip. Since her first trip on the Ochlocknee river she was hooked. Along with her husband, she volunteers for many worthy environmental organizations, including: Panther Wildlife Refuge, CREW Land and Water Trust, and Florida Paddling Trails Association.

John Courtright

john@paddleflorida.org

John grew up in Miami. A great place to ignite his love of the water, he spent lots of time surfing the coast. November 2009 he retired from Miami Dade Fire Rescue after serving 30 years as a paramedic/firefighter. Retirement gave John the ability to pursue many outdoor passions. Living on the gulf coast in Naples, kayaking became a must do activity. He can be found paddling with local clubs, camping in the 10,000 islands or exploring northern rivers. In addition to paddling, John has become involved in several environmentally focused organizations: South Florida Panther Wildlife Refuge, CREW Land and Water Trust, and most recently Florida Paddling Trails Association as a trail angel.

Gigi Frye

gigi@paddleflorida.org

Gigi Frye is a native North Carolinian living in Charleston, SC who loves the Paddle Florida organization and paddling the beautiful waters of Florida. Her paddling experience includes class I-III whitewater, coastal touring, kayak camping expeditions and stand up paddle boarding. She was certified as an ACA Coastal Kayak Tour Guide and has plans to pursue certification as a coastal kayak instructor. Gigi has been actively dedicated to clean water issues including leading the organization of a 40 person volunteer river sweep in North Carolina, completion of Lakekeeper training with the Catawba Riverkeepers and volunteering with the SC Coastal Conservation League on litter sweeps and issue campaigns. She is a graduate of Montreat College with B.A in Business. After 14 years employed as a software support engineer for a major software company, she changed fields in 2012 and is now a licensed massage therapist with certification in neuromuscular therapy.

Debbie Gelderblom

debbie@paddleflorida.org

Debbie was born and raised in Michigan, the "Water Wonderland". She grew up hiking, camping and exploring with her family yet had never been in a kayak until about 5 years ago. Debbie remembers when she first got into a kayak. The plan was to learn as much as she could during the summer in Michigan, with the goal of overnight camping in the Florida Everglades on a chickee that winter. As she paddled past a floating log, she thought, "I'll be eye to eye with the alligators!" Well that first trip to Florida, she never saw any (while paddling) but was eager to explore more of Florida waterways.

With a focus on learning skills and safety, she has attended symposiums in Michigan (Great Lakes Sea Kayak and WMCKA) and Florida (Sweetwater). This year she completed the Foundation, Safety and Rescue Training course provided by the PaddleSports North America (PNA).

She is part of Little Traverse Paddlers, a Meetup paddling group (of age 55+)in Michigan during the summer and her first Paddle Florida trip was the Keys Challenge in 2014, followed by the Withlacoochee in 2015 and was glad to be able to support the Keys Challenge and the Great Calusa Blueway in 2016.

Paul Gelderblom

paul@paddleflorida.org

Paul is from Michigan where he spent most of his time around, in, on and under water. Camping, canoeing, sailing, fishing and scuba diving led to a long stint with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources allowing him to work all around the state. He started out as a Park Ranger, then Assistant Park Manager, shifted to a Water Quality Specialist and finally landed at Charlevoix Great Lakes Fisheries Station where he wound up plying the Great Lakes on the SV Steelhead doing fisheries research.

With a growing family he decided to stay closer to home and took all of his experiences into the classroom, teaching science and coaching Cross Country and Track. A chance introduction to kayaks allowed him to spend more time with Debbie (his wife) and be on the water as the kids grew up and left the farm. Paul wasn't really sure if he would like being so far from the farm but that all changed when he went on the PaddleFlorida Keys Challenge. He said "it was incredible and very different than the Great Lakes. Listening to the stories and experiences of the other paddlers was great too!" He now looks forward to exploring all the nooks and crannies Florida has to offer.

If you are looking for Paul on one of the trips just follow the hammered dulcimer music drifting on the breeze.

Scott Jantz

scott@paddleflorida.org

Winner of the 'Most Fearless Award' from NOC's whitewater class (fearless doesn't necessary mean SKILLED), Scott Jantz has been paddling southeastern rivers since the '80s. A graduate of UF's engineering school, Scott has logged hundreds of Paddle Florida miles, founded the PF Ochlockonee oyster roast, and has led the group in numerous cleanups of Florida waterways.

Don McCumber

don@paddleflorida.org

"Woodkayaker" McCumber is a Florida Master Naturalist and author who has been kayaking in southwest Florida for over 25 years. He was the Captain of Diana Nyad's kayak team, protecting Diana from sharks (non-lethal methods only) during her swim from Cuba to Florida. He is a passionate nature lover with a broad-based knowledge of the local ecosystems. McCumber has been involved with Paddle Florida as a guide and presenter on several trips. He has many stories about his adventures and encounters with the wildlife of the Everglades...and beyond. As a member of several southwest Florida kayak clubs, McCumber has led many trips. He organized "Kayak Camping 101" for Paradise Coast Paddler's Club to help introduce new kayak campers to wilderness camping in the 10,000 Islands. McCumber brings his knowledge and experience to Everglades Area Tours as their kayak camping guide, leading multiple-night kayak camping trips and kayaking day experiences into Everglades National Park and the 10,000 Islands National Wildlife Refuge.

Al Ogden

al@paddleflorida.org

After deciding to mix things up a bit in life, Al Ogden took up paddling in 2009. His first lengthy excursion was the Paddle Florida's Suwannee trip from Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park to Manatee Springs. Since then he has enjoyed other trips with Paddle Florida as he has been able to squeeze them into a busy schedule. Most weekends will find him on local lakes tempting indigenous fishes with baited hook. Ogden has been an avid naturalist most of his life. Having spent portions of his youth living and working in beautiful places like Montana, Wyoming, South Dakota, Colorado, Michigan and Washington, he grew, early in life, to appreciate all that Mother Nature provides. After a military career that included experience in natural wonders of Viet Nam, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Germany, Greece and Crete, he settled down with a degree in Field Ecology then Agronomy and Plant Genetics. He has lived in North Central Florida since the very early '80s and has enjoyed the wonderful diversity of that area. Aside from paddling (or, in his case, peddling) he dabbles in photography, pros, cycling (both motorized and human powered), camping, hiking and fishing. he dances at least twice a week and is always interested in new moves. Future plans are to start singing again and learning to play the flute. He currently works as an engineer at a University of Florida research facility.

Liz Sparks

liz@paddleflorida.org

Liz Sparks has been paddling, hiking, biking, fishing, and exploring the incredible natural world of Florida for the past 30 years. She worked as a Recreation Planner with FWC's Office of Recreation Services for almost 12 years developing multiple types of trails, including five National Recreation Paddling Trails. She recently joined the Office of Greenways & Trails as state Paddling Trail Coordinator, and looks forward to working with partners around the state to recruit the next generation of paddlers and further develop Florida's excellent waterway opportunities. 

Kevin Veach

kevin@paddleflorida.org

I began paddling canoes in the northern lakes of Minnesota, but have only been paddling kayaks since 1998. I immediately fell in love with the springs, salt marshes and coastal paddling in our spectacular water environment! When I met my wife, Whitney, I encountered the thrills and spills of whitewater kayaking. Nowadays we especially enjoy combining sea kayaking and rough water kayaking by coastal surfing and camping in our sea kayaks. I am keeping my desire to build a cedar-strip kayak in check for the moment, but enjoyed building a 21st Century Kayak with Bill (thanks so much Don!). Whit and I helped scout the Keys trip and hope to join PF on at least that trip this season. Newest obsession - fixing up and sailing our new 18 - foot Sanibel and planning trips sailing with our kayaks in tow!