The Florida Wildlife Federation named Paul Gray, PhD, their “Environmental Steward of the Year” for 2021. Because COVID-19 canceled their annual awards banquet this year, FWF Director George Jones met Dr. Gray at the Okeechobee Fishing Pier to give him the award.
According to Dr. Gray, “It is a humbling honor to receive this recognition from an organization that has unselfishly worked at my side for decades in the protection of Florida’s resources. Florida Wildlife Federation’s focus on advocacy for Lake Okeechobee has directly benefited Audubon’s and my work.”
Audubon Florida works with partners to manage Lake Okeechobee in a way that balances the needs of consumptive users and the environment and reduces the pollutants flowing south from Lake Okeechobee and the Everglades Agricultural Area. The goal is to restore flows through the Water Conservation Areas that connect Lake Okeechobee and Everglades National Park using the Snail Kite, Roseate Spoonbill, and other wading birds as indicator species.
As Everglades Science Coordinator, Gray provides science support for Audubon policy teams on issues ranging from water quality, water management, agricultural best management practices, and ecosystem and bird conservation issues. Gray conducted his University of Florida graduate school research with ranches and dairy farms in Okeechobee before working for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and then Audubon Florida. He began his career with Audubon Florida as manager of the 7,300-acre Kissimmee Prairie Sanctuary.