By Jessica Creagan
WABASSO -- A national search is underway for a new Environmental Learning Center leader as co-founder and executive director Holly Dill has announced her decision to retire later this year.
She will continue to hold her position until someone else can be found to take over the position, but the shoes she leaves are going to be very big to fill, said Carl Miller, chairman of the nonprofit's communication committee.
"I have worked with Holly for the past 25 years; she is the backbone of the Environmental Learning Center. We are absolutely going to miss her, but she has definitely earned her retirement status," Mr. Miller said.
Ms. Dill has held the position of executive director since the environmental education nature center was created 25 years ago, playing a major role in bringing the nonprofit organization to life on its 64-acre campus on Wabasso Island, a press release said.
Under her leadership, the learning center has provided hands-on, environmental education experiences to more than 400,000 people, including 60,000 first, third, and fourth grade students, as part of the Indian River County School District curriculum, the release said.
During those 25 years, some of the challenges she faced were fairly substantial, Mr. Miller said.
"Aside from getting the center started, the 2004 hurricanes caused a lot of damage to the facility. But the biggest hurdle was probably when they lost a major building to a lightning strike in 2008," Mr. Miller said.
"They had to rebuild from there, and what they have now is excellent," he said.
In a press release, Ms. Dill said she will be staying close to home during retirement.
"I'm looking forward to having more personal time to explore the environment I've been working to protect for year," Ms. Dill said.
"A relaxing ride on the St. Sebastian River in my jon boat, a walk in a nearby park, or a stroll on the ELC's boardwalks. It will be a pleasure to play in nature," she said.
For more information about the Environmental Learning Center, call (772) 589-5050 or visit www.discoverelc.com.