Board Members

OFFICERS

President: D. A. Aldridge

After her water pipes froze the second time while living near Chicago, D. A. stopped writing Environmental Impact Statements and moved to Jupiter, Florida.  Fifteen years later it was Hurricane Andrew that “blew” her future husband Al to the Keys and into her life.  They decided to call Tavernier their home and own a solar assisted home there.

Al’s job made them world travelers, moving from Saudi Arabia, England, Germany, China, Finland, and back to England.  They also had the opportunity to live and work around the U.S.

It was her 2½ years as a member of VISTA (Volunteer In Service to America), when she first graduated from college, that D. A. experienced the impact a few people could do to change their community.  Now retired, D. A. continues her involvement by being an officer of the Island of Key Largo Federation of Homeowners Association, her homeowners’ group, and the Upper Keys League of Women Voters.

Vice-President:  Available as of May 2021

We are electing a new Vice-President as our long-standing board member, Bill Hunter has retired.

Treasurer:  Mark Songer

Inspired by moving to Key West in 2004, Mark Songer is a born again environmentalist who has trouble saying no to an impossible task.  He is graduate of Leadership Monroe County and currently serves as Treasurer for the League of Women Voters of Florida.  Mark also has a keen interest in restoring the Everglades and is Last Stand’s designated representative to the Everglades Coalition, a group of over 60 diverse not-for-profits who constantly cajole anyone who will listen to provide funding for projects.  In his spare time, he is an avid bird watcher, walks his dog and prepares favorite recipes from Indian Home Cooking.

 

Secretary:  Joyce Newman

Joyce Newman has called Big Pine Key home since 1975.  Now retired, she taught first grade at Sugarloaf and in Marathon, advocated for Keys water quality and Florida Bay issues under the mantle of Clean Water Action, and organized and directed the Keys-wide lecture series, Florida Keys Discovery.  Through the years, Joyce has always held the accomplishments of Last Stand in high esteem.

A transplant from San Diego, her role as a community activist began in the late 70’s by participating in a successful grassroots effort opposing a huge condominium project planned for pristine barrier dunes on the southeast coast of Big Pine.  That early experience led to a growing interest in how enforcement of zoning and land use laws affects environmental protection.

Joyce believes good governmental decisions are usually the result of close attention and hard work by citizens.  She likes to think she brings institutional memory, varied experience and persistence to the Last Stand board.


DIRECTORS

Don DeMaria

Don DeMaria is originally from Jacksonville, Florida.  He has lived in the Lower Keys since 1977 and has worked mainly in the commercial fishing industry.  Don has also served on various Federal and State fisheries’ advisory panels and served one term on the Sanctuary Advisory Panel.  Don resides on Summerland Key with his wife Karen and they have one child, Dora DeMaria, who lives in Key West and works for Reef Relief.

 

 

Dora DeMaria 

Dora DeMaria was born and raised in the Florida Keys and the chain of islands have always held a special place in her heart.  Dora attended Florida State University and completed her Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science with a focus on Oceanography.  She also completed several environmental internships, most notably an internship where she designed educational programs about sea turtles for an after school group located in the Florida panhandle. She also joined the Netflix original movie Chasing Coral at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival aboard the traveling ocean bus where she worked with the underwater virtual reality headsets. Dora then interned for Reef Relief as the Stormwater Education Intern, Education Intern and then volunteered during Reef Relief’s summer Coral Camp. Since working for Reef Relief, she has taught over 16,000 students in classroom settings and helped successfully launch a virtual platform that has reached over 200,000 people around the world. Recently, Dora was promoted to Education Director at Reef Relief. She is incredibly excited to fight for environmental protections and engage our community as a board member for Last Stand.

 

Dottie Moses

Dottie Moses and her husband moved to Key Largo in 1982 from Miami. She is a 3rd generation South Floridian. After retiring from AT&T in 2002, Dottie spent time traveling and began volunteering. Today, in addition to her work for Last Stand, Dottie helps raise native plants for Dagny Johnson Botanical State Park, the hardwood hammock that was saved from development and was the catalyst for the Florida Keys to be designated an Area of Critical State Concern. She is also a volunteer for Crocodile Lake National Wildlife Refuge where she helps maintain the butterfly garden, builds nests for the endangered woodrat and plants torchwood trees for the endangered Schaus Swallowtail Butterfly. During sea turtle nesting season, Dottie volunteers to survey nests on Sea Oats beach.

Dottie began her community activism after a development agreement threatened her neighborhood. She is now the President of the Island of Key Largo Federation of Homeowner Associations, Treasurer for Save A Turtle, and Secretary for the Florida Keys Scenic Corridor Alliance. Dottie pays close attention to activities both on land and at sea that could have an impact on her community and has had some success at keeping impacts at bay.

 

Ann Olsen

After decades in educational technology sales and training and 15 years of business ownership, Ann and her husband Rich moved to the FL Keys in 2005.  They observed the negative quality-of-life impacts that increasing population and heavier traffic created and heard persistent concerns that “affordable housing” was not actually affordable.

In 2015, Ann got involved with Save Summerland Native Areas when a developer proposed a high-density affordable housing complex on a nearby undeveloped property, without designating any units for low-income housing.  After much grass-roots coalition-building, this plan was denied by the County as being in the wrong location, having the wrong zoning, and being seriously over-scale for the community.

Post Hurricane Irma, land use changes were again at the forefront when various committees sought to change the Livable CommuniKeys Plans developed in partnership between the County and residents in 2012.  Troubled by density changes to the plans, Ann and other concerned residents formed Friends of the Lower Keys (FOLKs) to resist those changes.  These measures were defeated, but the land-use and affordable housing issues remain.

Ann is inspired by Last Stand’s accomplishments over the years and hopes to bring a business background to the environmental and land-use issues facing the Keys.

 

Ann Helmers

A South Florida resident for over 40 years, Ann retired from a career as an educational administrator (Go ‘Canes) and with her husband relocated to live full time in the beautiful Florida Keys. On the water she enjoys diving and boating to explore underwater treasures both natural and manmade such as historical shipwrecks, and on land has discovered the incredible community of concerned residents working to preserve the beauty of the Florida Keys.

As a Keys resident who treasures the unique beauty of the area, Ann is honored to be part of Last Stand and to help in its’ mission of ensuring that local environmental and development concerns are monitored and addressed. She also currently serves on the boards of the Friends of John Pennekamp Coral Reef Park, the Upper Keys League of Women Voters, the Island of Key Largo Federation of Homeowners’ Association, and the Rock Harbor Estates Homeowners’ Association.

 

Andrea Strawn

Andrea came to live in Key Haven, Florida with her husband Steve in 2015 after they “followed their noses” one day driving down US 1.  Ever since, there isn’t a day that goes by that Andrea doesn’t enjoy the water, fish and wildlife that inhabit her backyard.

Having lived in Canada, Australia, Europe and the United States, Andrea has worked as a Television News Reporter and Writer and been involved in organizations such as The National Museum for Women in The Arts, The Phillips Modern Art Museum, and N Street Village for Homeless Women in Washington, DC.

During her time in these countries, Andrea traveled extensively witnessing first-hand the fragile grandeur of places such as the Great Barrier Reef, Uluru (Ayers Rock), The Austrian Alps, The Grand Canyon and the importance of protecting them.

Andrea is excited to be working with Last Stand, helping protect and preserve the quality of life on the waters we all enjoy every day.

 

Alternate Director:

Denise Werling (more info to come)