Meet our board of directors
Chris Spontak, President
Chris is a lifelong resident of Marion County and remembers what Silver Springs was like when he was a child and would swim in its crystal clear waters with shiny (silver) sand bottom, bright green eel grass, and abundant fish. Educated at the University of Florida with a B.S. degree in mechanical engineering, he worked in the consulting business (P.E. registered) in Orlando and Gainesville. Most of his later work was in a family hardware business, from which he is retired. Chris is also vice-president of a local kayak club, the Marion County Aquaholics Paddlers Group, and has seen most of the springs and rivers in Central Florida and witnessed their deterioration. He recognizes the need to save them for present and future generations.
John Dunn, Vice President
John M. Dunn is a writer and high school social studies teacher. He has authored many young adult non-fiction books, numerous articles, scripts for audio-visual productions, and a children’s play. Several of his books have received national recognition. He lives with his wife Susan in Ocala. His first involvement in environmental activism took place in the 1970s in Dallas, Georgia, when he joined a grassroots organization that successfully campaigned to reform local government and thwart the city of Atlanta’s controversial effort to build the world’s biggest airport in an environmentally sensitive area forty miles outside the city limits. He and Susan were founding members of the Smart Coalition of North Central Florida, which was a key player in bringing about the third largest state purchase of land for conservation purposes in Florida history. This property today is part of the Silver Springs watershed.
Alice Gardner, Secretary/Treasurer
Alice has always had an interest in science and majored in biology in college. Because her uncle and cousins lived here, she started visiting Ocala and Silver Springs, from New York, at the age of 4. As a matter of fact, she learned to swim at Silver Springs at the age of six. She remembers the time when the bottom of the springs was covered with silver-white sand and there were multitudes of fish. As a permanent resident of Silver Springs Shores, Alice is a participant in twice monthly water testing at Silver Springs and the Silver River. She finds the changes in them alarming and is dedicated to their preservation and restoration. A lecture given by Bob Knight convinced her that Silver Springs Alliance would be the best venue to achieve that goal.
Karen Chadwick, Board Member
Bio coming soon!
Mo Driggers, Board Member
Martha "Mo" Driggers is a lifelong resident of Marion County. She was a forewoman for a construction company in Central Florida, but was raised and has lived on the Ocklawaha River for 47 years. Mo's father owned a fish camp on the river and she spent many days on the river swimming, boating, and fishing. She has seen the river in its most beautiful state and would love to see it return to that state again. She wants our children and grandchildren to have what she had on the river. We have been given a precious gift of the river and springs and they deserve the respect of being preserved for current and future generations.
Susan Dunn, Board Member
Susan Dunn has been an outdoor advocate for many years and finds opportunities to enjoy nature as often as possible, from working in her flower gardens at home to hiking throughout the USA, Canada, and Europe. She is a veteran public school teacher and elementary school librarian and spends her professional and private time educating children and adults. As a lifelong member of The Sierra Club, a founding member of The Smart Growth Coalition, and now a board member of The Silver Springs Alliance, she hopes that others will see the value in our natural surroundings and the importance of protecting and conserving areas of great beauty and importance to our mental and emotional health. According to Susan, "Our Florida setting is too beautiful and critical to lose by being short sighted and uncaring. It takes too much of our precious energy to have to fight for the preservation of our Florida environment, but I am willing to be one of the ground troops."
Whitey Markle, Board Member
Whitey is the Conservation Chair for the Suwannee/St. Johns Sierra Club so he is endowed with experience and issues in 16 North Central Florida counties.Whitey has a Master's Degree in Urban Planning from University of Florida. "My forte, I believe, is public presentation." He is also a terrific musician!
Sandra Fernandez, board member
Bio coming soon.
Douglas Shearer, board member
Bio coming soon.
Michelle Shearer, board member
Bio coming soon