TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The Florida State Parks Foundation today is pleased to welcome Don Philpott of Altamonte Springs and Kate Wilson of Orlando to its Board of Directors.

Philpott, a former Foundation board president and longtime Florida State Parks volunteer, is returning to the board after two years as an emeritus member.

Wilson is the senior vice president of Community Relations for Wells Fargo in Florida.

With these two additions, the Foundation’s volunteer Board of Directors has 21 members serving across the state of Florida.

“We are thrilled to add these new board members to help support our amazing state parks,” Foundation board president Kathleen Brennan said. “Don is a true treasure of state parks experience and expertise, and Kate will bring a fresh, exciting perspective to our board as we move forward.”

Philpott has over 50 years of experience as an award-winning writer, journalist, consultant, public relations practitioner and passionate campaigner for conservation and the environment. For 20 years, he worked for the Press Association-Reuters, the international wire service, traveling the world as a senior correspondent covering major events and news stories.

 In 1988, he founded Mediawise Communications, an international media and PR company based in London, and in 1994 he relocated to the U.S. as President of Mediawise Communication U.S., managing an international client list.

He has written more than 250 books on a wide range of subjects. When not writing, Don is a volunteer at the Wekiwa River Basin State Parks. He is a Florida Master Naturalist, Florida Master Gardener and a Certified Interpretive Guide. He is the president of the Wekiva Wilderness Trust, a citizen support organization that supports Wekiwa Springs State Park, Lower Wekiva River Preserve State Park and Rock Springs Run State Reserve, and vice chair of the National Association of State Park Foundations.

Philpott in 2022 was named the Florida State Parks Adult Volunteer of the Year for Resource Management. In 2023, he received the Florida State Parks gold medal award in recognition for his more than 30,000 hours of volunteer service.

Wilson is the senior vice president of Community Relations for Wells Fargo in Florida. She directs the company’s social impact initiatives, strategic philanthropy and employee engagement, working closely with other market leaders to influence positive outcomes and solutions for communities.

Prior to Wells Fargo, Wilson served as senior director of Community Relations for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts and assistant director of Internal Communications at Harvard Business School.

Wilson serves as a trustee of the Florida Chamber of Commerce Foundation, a member of the Prospera USA board of directors and on the Leadership Council of the Central Florida Commission on Homelessness. She is a member of Leadership Florida’s Cornerstone Class XXXVII and Leadership Orlando’s Class 85.  In Boston, Kate had leadership, governance or advisory roles in many nonprofit organizations including Boston Children’s Chorus, Metropolitan Boston Housing Partnership and the Yawkey Boys and Girls Club of Roxbury.  She is a member of Lead Boston ’05 and Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce’s Boston’s Future Leaders ’05.

“Our board is full of passionate, dedicated people who donate their time, talents and energy to Florida’s award-winning state parks,” Foundation CEO Julia Gill Woodward said. “We are so happy to have Don back in the mix as a full-time board member, and we can’t wait to see how Kate’s insights and skill sets help to shape our future.”

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The Florida State Parks Foundation, founded in 1993 as Friends of Florida State Parks and renamed in 2018, is a 501(c)3 nonprofit corporation whose mission is to support and help sustain the Florida Park Service, its 175 award-winning parks and trails, local Friends groups and more than 20,000 park volunteers.

It does this through programs that preserve and protect state parks, educate visitors about the value of state parks, encourage community engagement and active use of state parks, and advocacy. The volunteer Board of Directors represents private and public sectors as well as local and statewide interests.

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