Staff & Board

Meet the local, hardworking citizens at the helm of Florida Bay Forever.

Meet The Team

JEFF BAUMGARTNER – EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

Jeff Baumgartner joins Florida Bay Forever as Executive Director to continue the Florida Keys not-for-profit’s efforts to protect and preserve Florida Bay through education and advocacy. Like so many Florida Keys residents and visitors, Jeff says “I’ve been drawn to the water since childhood. I am thrilled to join Florida Bay Forever working alongside passionate volunteers and board members to make sure Florida Keys residents voices are heard as we fight to protect Florida Bay – there is only one.” Jeff has 20 years’ experience leading and partnering with non-profits, working in various positions focused on health and safety, sustainability, business development, International Humanitarian Law, and disaster planning and response, including Executive Director roles with American Red Cross in California and the Florida Keys over the last decade. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from St. John’s University, Minnesota and a master’s degree in Government and International Affairs from the University of South Florida. He lives in Key Largo with his wife and son.

GABRIELA TEJEDA – MARKETING DIRECTOR

Gabriela has always had a passion for conserving and preserving the natural world. Her global approach to conservation stems from her studies and work in Central America and Australia— experiences that inspired her to become a steward for accessible conservation education. After she graduated from Boston College, a marine conservation opportunity with REEF Environment Education Foundation landed her in the Florida Keys, where she soon fell in love with the uniquely diverse ecology of the Everglades and Florida Bay. She recently completed a marine conservation storytelling program with National Geographic and The Nature Conservancy, and is currently in a film mentorship program with Jackson Wild to take the next steps in growing her Everglades conservation story of fire and water. She is thrilled to serve these ecosystems as part of the FBF team by establishing meaningful partnerships with diverse stakeholders and creatively engaging the community to deliver accessible information about our beautiful Florida Bay.

Board of Directors

VIVIAN MORRISON – CHAIR

Vivian Morrison is an Islamorada resident and nonprofit consultant with extensive experience in community engagement and fundraising. She has previously served as Director of Outreach for the Everglades Foundation and the Director of Community Relations for the University of Miami. Vivian has served on a wide range nonprofit boards and special event committees working with local, regional and national organizations. She lived in Puerto Rico for 15 years and speaks Spanish fluently.

JON TAINOW – TREASURER

Born and raised in Northern New Jersey, Jon is a railroad transportation professional with more than 38 years of experience. He is also a life long fishing enthusiast and advocate who has has volunteered and advised with the American Littoral Society, NY/NJ Baykeeper and the Waterkeeper Alliance. After retiring from Amtrak in 2011, Jon moved to Islamorada and has dedicated his time and effort to preserving the beauty of Florida Bay.

CAROLYN WIGHTMAN

Carolyn Wightman joined the board of directors in June 2022. She has been a resident and homeowner in the Florida Keys since the 1970’s. Carolyn connected with the tropical waters of the Atlantic Ocean after graduating from Stanford University in California and then living in the South Pacific islands of Tonga while with the Peace Corps. Married to legendary backcountry guide Captain Eddie Wightman, the waters of Florida Bay are part of the family. She says there’s hardly a blade of seagrass in Florida Bay that Eddie doesn’t know intimately, and their son Topher, also a captain, has grown up with salt water in his veins. As an entrepreneur and business owner, she’s an active educator and supporter of protecting our fragile environment. She has been a Take Stock in Children Mentor since 2010 and is a supporter of Friends of the Pool, the Fighting Manatees swim group, and the Saving Alligator Lighthouse Project. For several years she has served as Chairperson of the Parks & Recreation Committee for the Village of Islamorada.