Ross Hinkle: The Superman of Environmental Conservation

Hinkle SupermanEconomic development advances throughout the world at an alarming rate, putting formerly vast, open lands on the “endangered” list. Through the conservation efforts of UCF Conservation Biologist Ross Hinkle and the Selection and Management Committee, endangered land in Central Florida is receiving protection vital to its continued survival

The Selection and Management Committee, along with the Brevard County voter-approved EELs program, works to protect endangered land by searching for areas in immediate need of  purchasing and security in order to be preserved . EELs has such strong support that residents voted to up-tax to $55 million, as well as voting for an additional fund allotment referendum for the program in 2004.

Ross Hinkle’s dedication and involvement in the Selection and Management Committee and EELs sweeps through all aspects of his career. Hinkle’s proactive attitude catapults him into the center of preservation advocacy. He maintains a presence in many of the areas he’s dedicated to preserving. Hinkle reports to, “You can do research and publish about conservation, but if you can participate in a way that helps preserve those natural areas, that’s really something.”

Hinkle’s extensive experience in the field of conservation reaches further than the Selection and Management Committee. When he’s not striving to save the environment as vice chair of the committee, Hinkle spends his time as vice provost and dean of the college of graduate studies, mentoring students in the focus of conservation biology, while stressing the importance of comprehensive academic education involving in-field experience. He considers in-field experience important because of the knowledge he gained doing his own hands-on work.

“I think UCF and specifically the biology program help deliver the message that you can’t do research in a vacuum,” Hinkle relays to “You have to apply it and often that application has more meaning if it helps your community. I feel lucky to be able to do that for UCF and for Brevard County. There’s nothing more satisfying.”

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