CTF hires new leadership, creates new staff position

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (Sept. 21, 2017) The Conservation Trust for Florida, a leader in statewide conservation, announced the addition of Traci Deen, as executive director and Butch Parks as director of conservation.

“I am honored to lead the Conservation Trust for Florida team during this exciting and challenging time for conservation,” Deen said. “Protecting Florida’s wild and working lands has never been more important, and CTF will play a key role in shaping Florida’s conservation future.”

Deen comes to CTF with a background in environmental law and policy, legislative analysis, and community outreach.. She also teaches as an adjunct professor at Barry University’s School of Law.


“Traci’s policy and advocacy work combined with her nonprofit leadership experience, love of Florida, and boundless energy is exactly what CTF and the conservation movement in Florida needs right now,” said Lisa Gearen, CTF’s president of the board.

After an exhaustive search that lasted four months, Deen emerged as the top candidate from a pool of over 100 applicants. A sixth generation Floridian, Deen is an environmental lawyer, member of the Florida bar, and actively engaged in her community by serving in numerous leadership roles. She serves as the Chair-Elect of the Junior Leagues of Florida Public Affairs Committee, and the legislative chair for both the Florida Association for Women Lawyers and the Central FL Women Lawyers Association. Additionally, she serves as a board member of AMIKids Orlando and the Salvation Army of Seminole County. She is also very involved in Florida’s environmental community, with a passion for protecting its landscapes for future generations.

The Conservation Trust for Florida is advancing a vision that creates a vast network of hubs and corridors to support wildlife populations, provide nature-based recreation and tourist activities, help maintain Florida’s cultural heritage and history, contribute to the availability of clean water and locally-grown food.

To help escalate the pace of land protection and achieve its ambitious vision, CTF added a new conservation director position, which has been filled by Butch Parks.

Parks comes to CTF from the Jackson Hole Land Trust (JHLT) in Wyoming, where he worked as regional lands director protecting crucial open space in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. Prior to working for JHLT, Parks served as the commercial property manager for Wyoming State Lands and then as the land administration supervisor for the Wyoming Game and Fish Department.

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Originally from Houston, Texas, Parks graduated from the University of Houston with a B.S. in electrical engineering technology. He has a diverse background in business ownership and management including ranching, aviation, veterinary medicine, construction, renewable energy, and real estate. Parks holds an Airline Transport Pilot Certificate, Flight Instructor Certificate, and is a licensed real estate broker. He also served honorably in the Marine Corps.

“I am excited to join CTF to conserve the wonders of Florida,” Parks said, “and I look forward to learning about Florida’s unique habitats and ecosystems and working with conservation partners throughout the state.”

I look forward to helping CTF conserve the wonders of Florida and working with conservation partners throughout the state.

CTF will use his knowledge of land acquisition, land management, conservation easements and government conservation programs to focus on landscape scale conservation projects, strategic partnerships, and new conservation programs throughout Florida.

“We are so fortunate to add Butch to our team. The depth and breadth of his knowledge of conservation is outstanding,” Gearen said. “With these new hires, CTF is growing to meet the demand for its services and address some of the critical conservation challenges we face as a state.”

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Gearen added that CTF’s search committee and board played a crucial role in the successful hiring of these two, key staff members who will join CTF’s assistant director, Cyndi Fernandez, and its conservation consultant, Keith Fountain, in carrying out the organization’s mission to work with landowners to save Florida’s wild and working landscapes for future generations.

I have always believed in the edits of CTF’s mission. I am fortunate to be part of it.
– Cyndi Fernandez

To-date, the Conservation Trust for Florida has protected more than 19,000 acres. And over the last year, it has been instrumental in protecting over 6,500 acres including the Pelaez and Sons Ranch and the Adams Ranch near the Everglades headwaters and the Silver Springs Sandhillproperty in Central Florida.

CTF is a nonprofit land conservation organization that is accredited by the Land Trust Accreditation Commission and has met national quality standards in areas of finance, ethics, governance, and stewardship.

“We are proud of what we’ve accomplished and the momentum we’re building,” Gearen said. “The future looks bright.”

Conservation Florida