Eve Samples
Eve SamplesExecutive Director
After two decades as a journalist, Eve Samples joined Friends of the Everglades in early 2020, recognizing an opportunity to meld her passion for environmental reporting with Friends’ legacy of grassroots advocacy and education. Eve previously worked as opinion editor for the USA TODAY Network-Florida, as a columnist and editor for TCPalm and Treasure Coast Newspapers, and as a reporter for The Palm Beach Post and Pittsburgh-Post Gazette. She is a native of Miami and a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Gil Smart
Gil SmartPolicy Director
With more than three decades of experience as a high-profile newspaper columnist and investigative reporter, Gil Smart is adept at taking a deep dive on complex issues in search of solutions. A Pennsylvania native, father of three, sometimes musician and long-time champion of environmental causes, Gil fell in love with wild Florida and can conceive of no greater moral cause than fighting for better water quality and protecting the “River of Grass.”

Scott Brown
Scott BrownDevelopment Director
Growing up in Virginia, Scott spent a significant amount of time around water while visiting his grandparents at their home on the Chesapeake Bay. It was after they moved to Naples, Florida in the 1970s that he was introduced to the majesty of the Everglades.

Scott’s first nonprofit experience came as a museum intern during his senior year of college at James Madison University. He began his 30-year nonprofit career at a property of the National Trust for Historic Preservation in 1992. He has since served in executive director or fundraising roles in museums, universities, healthcare, human services and conservation. His involvement with conservation and environmental education includes time as a director of major gifts with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation and as a board member of the Chesapeake Bay Governor’s School for Marine and Environmental Sciences Foundation.

Allie Hartmann
Allie HartmannCommunications Director
Native ties and deep-rooted appreciation go a long way towards inspiring action. After graduating from St. Augustine’s Flagler College, Allie Hartmann returned to find her home waters of Stuart, FL in disrepair. Working as Director of Communications alongside a small team of like-minded, impassioned individuals, Allie has aided content development, research and digital channel engagement that has generated an upwelling of grassroots involvement and statewide recognition for the mismanagement of South Florida’s water resources and the preservation efforts of the greater Everglades ecosystem.

Leah Voss
Leah VossMultimedia Producer
Exploring nature preserves in Ohio full of lush green forests, rushing waterfalls and weathered gorges are among Leah’s first memories. When she moved to Stuart, FL in 2015 to be a photojournalist at TCPalm and Treasure Coast Newspapers, she was able to make a career using her lifelong love for photography and a strong desire for justice. After meeting some of Florida’s iconic environmentalists like Maggy Hurchalla and Nathaniel Reed and interviewing many other local naturalists, Leah knew she wanted to join their efforts in impacting Florida for the better. Becoming a Friend of the Everglades provides that opportunity every single day.

Amanda Purnell
Amanda PurnellEducation and Outreach Director
Amanda has spent nearly 20 years engaging children in authentic science experiences and leading her classes to become informed change-makers in their communities. Her mission is to have a broader impact on future generations of advocates and conservationists by empowering educators to do this essential work with their students. Inspired by the work of Marjory Stoneman Douglas, Amanda is thrilled to partner with the Young Friends of the Everglades as we inspire teachers and students to preserve, protect, and restore the only Everglades in the world!

Miki Blumenthal
Miki BlumenthalOffice Manager/Bookkeeper
With a BBA in Marketing and Computer Science from the University of Texas, more than 40 years of customer service and administrative experience, excellent organizational skills, and an eye for detail, Miki provides multi-faceted support to the staff including bookkeeping, human resources, CRM management, information technology, and outreach. She has also innovated several successful projects/systems to improve office support. A Stuart resident for 30 years, Miki cares deeply about cleaning up and protecting Florida waterways. When not in the office, she enjoys paddleboarding, biking, reading, and crafting.


Thomas Van Lent
Thomas Van LentSenior Scientist
Dr. Thomas Van Lent is one of the leading experts on water management in the Everglades, with more than 40 years of experience in Everglades restoration. He has worked for the state of Florida, the Department of the Interior, in academics, and for the Everglades Foundation. He holds a doctorate in engineering from Stanford University.

Diane Kimes
Diane KimesSenior Development Advisor
Diane is a life-long resident of South Florida, with more than 40 years of non-profit community engagement. Her expertise includes communications, as well as multi-dimensional fund development.
Educated at Florida Atlantic University, she served as a mentor and presenter in her profession and is a longtime member of the Junior League and its state public affairs committee. She currently serves on the Town of Sewall’s Point Board of Zoning Adjustment.
Diane took her first airboat ride in the Everglades at the age of 13, and has played in nature ever since. A longtime runner, swimmer, and now a Master Gardener, she resides in Sewall’s Point with husband, Tim (her best volunteer) and Scottish terrier, Hamilton. They have a son, Alex.