Janice Hindson – Volunteer Coordinator
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.
"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 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, 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 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 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.
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 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.
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.