Apalachicola Riverkeeper recently hired Georgia Ackerman to succeed Riverkeeper, Dan Tonsmeire, who is retiring in early 2018. She will work as our Riverkeeper-Executive Director. Dan and Georgia will be working together over the next few months to ensure a seamless transition. Georgia has been involved with Apalachicola Riverkeeper for over a decade as a business sponsor, a program volunteer, and fundraising committee chair for the board of directors. Most recently, she served as board president.
Georgia is an avid kayaker and outdoor enthusiast. She ran a north Florida ecotourism company for nearly a decade where she spent time learning about the Apalachicola River system and began volunteering with Apalachicola Riverkeeper. After selling her business in 2013, she was recruited to lead a regional conservation awareness initiative at Tall Timbers. Georgia has also worked with the Red Hills Small Farm Alliance to help promote local, sustainable farming.
Georgia believes outside play and wild places are fundamental to both the health of humans and the planet. She says, “People will protect what they love. Also, people depend on this river system for their livelihoods. I’m constantly reminded by people’s actions that so many people deeply care about the Apalachicola River and Bay and the Bay that it nourishes. I’m eager to get to work on their behalf.”
Georgia and her husband, Rick Zelznak, have two children, Karly, age 16 and Cole, 21. Their favorite free time activity is a family camping trip complete with bikes, board games and s’mores around an evening campfire.
Diane Hines, Deputy Director
Diane Hines joined the Apalachicola Riverkeeper team on December 7. Prior to joining the staff of Apalachicola Riverkeeper, Diane served for 26 years as operations manager and Vice President of Administration for the Florida Wildlife Federation (FWF). This gave her the opportunity to visit and learn about many parts of Florida, including numerous state parks and conservation areas. Diane managed the day to day office operations including fundraising efforts for the organization. She especially enjoyed planning board meetings and specialty field trips. FWF and Apalachicola Riverkeeper are collaborative partners on many important issues and will continue this strong partnership going forward.
Having vacationed at St. George Island and Apalachicola many times, Diane developed a love for the Apalachicola River and Bay and Florida’s Forgotten Coast. Visiting all of Florida’s lighthouses is a goal for Diane. She enjoys hiking with friends at local and state parks, taking care of her plants and garden and makes fairy dish gardens as a hobby. Diane also enjoys walking, Tai Chi and boxing. Diane has a 29 year-old daughter, Alicia, who resides in Austin, Texas.
Diane Hines is excited to become part of Apalachicola Riverkeeper’s team of conservation advocates. And so are we! She will help us increase the organization’s membership and continue our outreach efforts so vital for conserving the Apalachicola River and Bay.
Read recent Tallahassee Democrat article on new leadership at Apalachicola Riverkeeper