After a six-month extensive nationwide search, the largest environmental education organization on the Treasure Coast, the Environmental Learning Center (ELC), has appointed Vero native and non-profit professional, Barbara Schlitt Ford, as their permanent Executive Director effective immediately. Ms. Schlitt Ford served as Interim Executive Director since April of 2019 and is only the third Executive Director in the history of the 31-year-old organization.
“We spent a great deal of time and effort making sure we selected the best person for this pivotal position. We were specifically looking for our next Executive Director to be a highly-respected and skilled leader that will take the ELC to the next level, and with this appointment, the Board is confident we have reached our goal. Barbara Schlitt Ford brings years of experience as a trusted non-profit and educational leader, along with her deep passion for the environment to the position. We are truly pleased to have such an important and iconic Vero Beach institution in such solid and experienced hands,” stated Don Barr, ELC Board Chair.
With deep roots in the community and as a life-long advocate for the environment, Ms. Schlitt Ford values the important role that ELC plays in Indian River County and the surrounding region. “ELC is a landmark in this area, known for its educational and innovative community programs and for its long history of advocating for the environment, I’m thrilled to help our entire community come together to build a bright future for our most treasured natural asset, our environment,” stated Ms. Schlitt Ford.
Barbara Schlitt Ford received her J.D. from Florida State University, her Master’s Degree in Education from the University of South Florida and her B.S. in Marketing Management from Florida State University. Prior to joining ELC as the Interim Executive Director, Ms. Schlitt Ford served as the Chief Operations Officer, In-House Legal Counsel and Human Resources Director for the largest real estate firm on the Space and Treasure Coast, Coldwell Banker Paradise. As Executive Director of Youth Guidance, Ms. Schlitt Ford expanded both their public programming and increased revenue as well as overhauled their volunteer program. A seasoned professional, she has served as In-House Legal Counsel, as a private attorney as well as a teacher for the School District of Indian River and Pasco Counties.
One of Ms. Schlitt Ford’s first duties as Executive Director will be to map out an annual strategic plan of action to position ELC as an even stronger regional destination. “ELC will be aiming high in the next few years, we have the capacity, institutional will, and the right people in place to claim our place as a leader in world-class environmental education, and as a top-ranked center for discovery, learning, wellness, and science,” added Ms. Schlitt Ford.
About the ELC
Located in idyllic Vero Beach, on a stunning 64-acre island in the middle of the Indian River Lagoon, ELC is the largest and leading environmental education organization on the Treasure Coast. For over 30 years, the ELC has served as the conduit between scientists and the general public to provide essential conservation information in a user-friendly way, educating, inspiring and empowering people, young and old, to be active stewards of our precious resources.