Shelly Lakly Named Nature Conservancy’s Florida Director

Lakly relishes great opportunities for conservation in Florida.


The Nature Conservancy is pleased to announce that Dr. Shelly Lakly is the new Florida state director. Currently director of The Nature Conservancy in Georgia and lead state director of the Southeast, Lakly was selected from a wide pool of candidates for the wealth of knowledge and experience she will bring to Florida.

Lakly holds a bachelor’s degree in biology, a master’s degree in conservation ecology and sustainable development, and a doctorate in ecology. She excelled in a variety of roles at Zoo Atlanta before joining The Nature Conservancy in 2007. She led educational and conservation initiatives for Zoo Atlanta, including establishing China’s first conservation education training program focused on panda conservation. She traveled extensively to China in that role.

“Florida is rich with natural beauty and biodiversity, and the ability to protect critical conservation lands and water systems is still very real. I look forward to moving my family to Florida and rolling up my sleeves and getting to work,” Lakly said.

Lakly will focus on the Conservancy’s major conservation initiatives in Florida—protecting the Northern Everglades, saving rare longleaf pine forests, restoring coastlines and strengthening habitats in the Gulf of Mexico.

Lakly led efforts to focus the Conservancy’s work in Georgia, emphasizing freshwater research, coastal restoration and forest land protection. The “Georgia for Generations” fundraising campaign, which began under Lakly’s leadership, is on target to raise $75 million for conservation across the state. Lakly will bring her strong grounding in ecology and practical business sense to bear in Florida, finding new ways to leverage the Conservancy’s work.

Lakly grew up and has lived in Georgia her entire life, but was born in Florida. She is an active outdoors woman and certified scuba diver. She and her husband, Dan, are raising identical twin boys, Jack and Connor, 8. She officially begins as Florida state director July 1 and will begin working from the Conservancy’s Florida office, located in Altamonte Springs, on Aug. 22.

The Nature Conservancy is a leading conservation organization working around the world to protect ecologically important lands and waters for nature and people. The Conservancy and its more than 1 million members have protected nearly 120 million acres worldwide. Visit The Nature Conservancy on the Web at

Contact information

Jill Austin
The Nature Conservancy in Florida

(407) 389-4825

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