David Dearth – Park Manager
David has been with the Florida Park Service for 19 years, working his way through the system first as a volunteer, operations, park attendant, park ranger, wildlife ranger, maintenance mechanic, Assistant Park Manager, and Park Manager. He has served in the following parks: Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park, Gasparilla Island, Cayo Costa Island, Don Pedro State Park and Stump Pass Beach State Park, John D. Macarthur Beach State Park. He brings with him a strong background in park building, maintenance and management that bodes well for Hugh Taylor Birch State Park and its staff. David’s passion for the Florida Park Service includes his focus on improving the visitor experience as well as enhancing the Park’s physical attributes. His goal is to increase both attendance to and enjoyment of the Park for both visitors and residents alike.
Jennifer Roberts – Park Manager
Jennifer grew up in La Crosse, Wisconsin and began her career after high school when she joined the military. She served 15 years in the US Army and Army National Guard as both an enlisted member and an officer, including a tour in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Desert Storm. Jennifer went on to become a Biologist Assistant with Miami Dade County Department of Environmental Resources Management where she conducted coastal resource management and permitting. Jennifer then worked as an Environmental Specialist for Hillsborough County’s Parks, Recreation and Conservation. She supervised an invasive species work crew, headed a multi-agency Invasive Species Task Force and transcribed and managed several large-scale grants. Jennifer began her Florida Park Service Career in 2011 as an OPS Park Ranger at Oleta River State Park. She was quickly promoted to Park Services Specialist where she served as Volunteer Coordinator, AmeriCorps Site Supervisor and Special Event Coordinator. Jennifer holds an Associate’s degree in both Environmental Science and German. Jennifer served as the Assistant Park Manager at Hugh Taylor Birch State Park prior to being promoted to Park Manager.
Mark Foley – Park Service Specialist
Mark Foley is a Florida native, born and raised in rural DeSoto County along the banks of the Peace River in Arcadia, Florida. He began his journey in the State Park Service as a park volunteer and, in no time, rose to Park Service Ranger. In 2010, he was promoted to Park Service Specialist and serves as our park naturalist with a focus on education and volunteerism. Through training opportunities in other state parks such as Jonathan Dickinson and Mikala, Specialist Foley, with his background in graphic design, gained tools to enhance park programs and special events. Mark has also worked as a wildlife rescue volunteer for over seven years and as an on-call volunteer for the South Florida Wildlife Center where he responds, as needed, to ailing wildlife. It is a pleasure having someone so devoted to wildlife and education in our park.
Brian Pressler – Park Ranger
Brian Pressler is a Park Ranger at Hugh Taylor Birch State Park. His love of nature and desire to give back to the environment brought him to the Florida Park Service in 2007. Brian has a lifelong interest in the environment, especially birds, trees, and butterflies. In his free time, Brian enjoys fishing, diving, and spending time outdoors.
Keith Poirier – Park Ranger
A South Florida native, Keith is passionate about the environment and the litigation of exotic species. His bilingual interpreting skills generates visitor interaction with the Park’s flora and fauna, which he regularly photo documents. He honed these skills during the four years he served at the Barnacle Historic State Park where he provided historic and natural interpretive tours, assisted with artifact collection projects and led volunteer landscaping, carpentry, plumbing, electrical, painting, and structural maintenance. In 2012 he transferred to Hugh Taylor Birch State Park and was appointed Park Safety Coordinator. Excellence in customer service and courteous visitor interaction while enforcing Park rules and regulations are Keith’s goals of supporting the Florida Park Service. Keith enjoys the administrative and accountability aspects of the Ranger role, both on and off duty. If you ask Keith to describe Hugh Taylor Birch State Park, he will answer: “it is paradise in the middle of a concrete jungle.”
Jenni Leve – Park Ranger
Jenni worked for a grocery store chain for 23 years before moving on to greener pastures and beginning her career with the Florida Park Service as a volunteer photographer. Jenni became a seasonal employee during the recovery of Hurricane Wilma, and continued on her Florida Park Service career path as an Administrative Assistant before making a move to expand her working knowledge as a Park Ranger. She enjoys interacting with a diversity of Park visitors through interpretive programs and informal contacts, and the frequent local visitors who call this “Little Piece of Paradise” their backyard. She is very thankful that Hugh Taylor Birch had the foresight to entrust the property to the State of Florida for future generations to enjoy.
Ronny Glisson – Park Ranger
Ronny Gilsson is a native Floridian born and raised in Satellite Beach, Florida. Ronny has been with the Florida Park Service for more than 28 years and has worked all over the state of Florida. Prior to becoming a Park Ranger for Hugh Taylor Birch State Park, Ronny worked at Sebastian Inlet State Park, Lover’s Key State Park, and John Pennekamp State Park. Ronny is an avid surfer and loves all water sports.
Jeanette Amadeo-Hyder- Administrative Assistant
Jeanette has worked at Hugh Taylor Birch State Park for a number of years, under three Park Managers. Her passion for the environment and love for the great outdoors brought her to Sunny South Florida from New York. Her duties at the Park consist of administrative and secretarial duties such as payment for the expenditures at the Park, submitting Revenue and Park Visitation Reports to Tallahassee, budgeting and balancing accounts for the Park, and handling phone inquiries while also greeting walk-ins at the Administrative Office.
Gary Busch- Maintenance
Gary started working for Hugh Taylor Birch State Park part time before being promoted to maintenance. He has worked in construction his entire career in one form or another, from building homes, to plumbing, driving cranes, to operating fork lifts and trailers. Gary loves the outdoors and being hands on with nature. Many of his photographs have gone national and international, including the cover of a magazine in New Zealand and with the Center for North American Herpetology.
Marc Caruhel – OPS Park Ranger
Marc, gives live animal presentations on Fridays and Saturdays at the Park’s beach gate breezeway. He is responsible for creating, maintaining, and extending the Park’s program animal collection and its integration into the environmental and biological resources available to visitors. At eight years old, Marc was a Camp Live Oak camper at Birch State Park before becoming a counselor in training and junior counselor. He attended Florida Atlantic University where he served as an animal and environmental advocate and educator. Marc completed his undergraduate and graduate internships at Birch State Park. In addition to his weekend duties, Marc serves as Zookeeper/Educator at the Museum of Discovery and Science in Fort Lauderdale. His pride and joy are the threatened and rare Eastern Indigo Snakes at both the Park an Museum, which he was instrumental in obtaining. He conducts environmental and animal presentations with his extensive personal collection. He is completing a Masters in Environmental Education/Program Management and preparing for a doctoral degree.