Paula Russo - Past President
Paula's family moved to Florida from Long Island, New York in 1956. "Before the age of air-conditioning and when it wasn't uncommon for a moccasin or rattlesnake to cross your path -- a much different Florida than most people know today,” she says. While she is not a native Floridian by birth she thinks of herself as one by choice and believes there is no better place to live, then, or now.
Most of her working life was spent employed by a growing veterinary practice in South Florida where she began as a ‘night attendant’ cleaning cages and mopping floors eventually becoming hospital administrator for her employer’s chain of five practices.
In 1989, Paula next went to work for the Center for Independent Living of Palm Beach County as Director of Advocacy and Community Education. She rallied local support for the successful passage of the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act. Then, conducted numerous presentations, training's, and surveys for local businesses and government entities to help them understand and comply with the new law.
Moving to Broward County in 2001 her most recent employment was with Broward County Parks and Recreation at the Anne Kolb Nature Center. She conducted environmental education programs for children and adults to teach the value of mangrove estuaries.
Now retired (but working as hard as ever), her home is in Archer, Florida, a rural community near Gainesville.
Paula has been involved with the Florida State Parks Foundation almost since its inception in 1993 and served many terms on the board of directors.
"I am passionate about protecting the environment. No matter where you live or travel in Florida there is a Florida State Park nearby. Lands set aside and managed for preservation and for the benefit and enjoyment of Florida's citizens and its many visitors. We must work to make sure this is always so."