Rachel Mandell, Class of 2020

URP Alum Sarah Gledhill named CEO and President of Florida Wildlife Federation

Sarah Gledhill, Class of 2003, recently became the new President and CEO of the Florida Wildlife Federation

March 7th, 2023

Sarah Gledhill is a passionate outdoors enthusiast, living in St. Augustine, Florida, who has found a way to make a difference by bringing her love for the environment to her work as the new President and CEO of the Florida Wildlife Federation. Her passion for the environment and her dedication to protecting it began during her time as a student in the Master of Urban and Regional Planning (MURP) program at the University of Florida.

In her role at the Florida Wildlife Federation, Sarah is focused on conserving Florida’s wildlife, habitats, and natural resources through education, advocacy, and science-based stewardship. She emphasizes the importance of “water resources, habitat protection, and growth management,” which she calls a “three-legged stool” supporting a healthy environment for Florida’s wildlife and people.

University of Florida ©University of Florida/ Hannah Pietrick, UF Photo Gallery

Sarah’s responsibilities include managing internal operations, attending meetings with local government or agencies, and meeting with concerned citizens about proposed projects that may impact the environment.

“There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t take a moment to reflect on how fortunate I am to have a career that allows me to protect not only what I love, but protect it for future generations to love too.”

During her time in the Master of Urban and Regional Planning (MURP) program at the University of Florida from 2001-2003, Sarah shared that the education she received and the guest speakers who attended classes or social events sponsored by the department had a significant impact on her career trajectory. Guest speakers, such as Charles Pattison, previous President of 1,000 Friends of Florida, had an impact on her career, following up by saying “I knew right away that my career path would lead me towards advocacy.”

© University of Florida / Eric Zamora, UF Photo Gallery

Sarah also participated in the annual Witters competition. As she remembers it, “Participating in the annual Witters challenge was a fantastic experience. It helped me step outside of my personal space and learn to collaborate with individuals who approach projects with different mindsets.” She also found that the program’s balanced approach to policy, administrative, and technical aspects of planning, along with the ability to take classes in other disciplines, such as landscape architecture and construction, helped enhance her academic and practical experience.

Sarah credits the MURP program with providing her with valuable skills and principles that have helped her in her career. She says, “I have so much appreciation for MURP for providing me with the foundation to launch my career.” She specifically mentions Dr. Ruth Steiner, whose classes were the most challenging but also had the most significant impact, and former URP Profess Dr. Linda Crider, who developed her passion for cycling and bicycle safety.

Looking back at her time in the program, Sarah encourages those considering planning careers to be “open-minded, adaptable, and true to your principles.” She emphasizes the importance of being flexible and staying true to one’s principles, regardless of life’s changes.

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