Mr. Stubbs was born in Decatur Co., Georgia in a small wooden frame home, in a rural community known to the locals as “Ten Mile Still”. Cleo is the third oldest of 12 siblings. He graduated from Fort Valley State University in Georgia with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Agronomy and Soils. Cleo served in Vietnam with the 9th Infantry Division, and is very proud of his service to our country. He has enjoyed a 22-year career with the NRCS (Natural Resources Conservation Services) as a Project Soil Survey Leader in several areas of Alabama. Cleo also worked for Champion International Corporation for more than 12 years as a field operation soil scientist in the research and development department for forest production. Currently, he continues his working experience as an environmental scientist specializing in soil/site evaluations including wetland delineations.
“I have been active in the community for many years. A main focus of my endeavors is providing educational assistance to students, especially in the areas of math and natural science. It is a privilege to serve on the WELP board with many highly qualified members. Working together, WELP will continue to provide hands-on field experience for many interested students long into the future.”
Mr. Zachary grew up in Winfield, Alabama and went to college at Jackson State Community College and Ouachita Baptist University where he played four (4) years of baseball and got a Bachelor’s Degree in Physics. He got his first job in 2008 at a civil engineering consulting firm in Jasper, Alabama and returned to school at the University of Alabama. While working at the firm, he developed a passion for civil engineering and the outdoors. He received a second Bachelor’s Degree and a Master’s Degree in civil engineering with a specialization in environmental and water resources from UA. In 2014, Zachary received his Professional Engineering (PE) license and established his own firm, Wilbanks Engineering & Environmental Solutions, LLC where he still practices today. He enjoys outdoor activities such as deer hunting, fishing, scuba diving and golf.
“My profession is founded upon my passion for stream and ecological restoration projects. When WELP invited me to be a board member, it was a perfect fit with aligned goal and objectives. I have a heart for instilling environmental values in today’s youth and playing a role in developing better communities for the future.”
Mrs. Bartkovich grew up on the coast of Georgia on St. Simons Island. She received a B.S. in Forest Resources from the University of Georgia, and an M.S. from Alabama A&M University where she studied the breeding origins and stopover patterns of migratory songbirds. Mercedes has work throughout the U.S. and internationally, from the swamps of Louisiana and the tundras of Alaska, to the Great Wall of China and the cloud forests of Costa Rica. She is currently working with Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources as a Nongame Wildlife Biologist. In her spare time, Mercedes enjoys travelling and exploring different ecosystems and cultures, all while adding new birds and herps to her life list.
“All my life I have loved environmental research, but in reality, research can only get you so far. If you aren’t able to get the public, specifically the next generation, excited about what you’re doing, then your research and discoveries will end with you. The great thing about WELP is that we are creating opportunities for the public to get excited about the importance of our environment and all that lives within it. Our programs meet people where they are, and challenge our visitors of all ages to deepen their relationship with nature, self, and community.”
Mr. Friar was born in Florida and was raised up and down eastern United States. After graduating from Auburn University, Randy worked for GTE, General Dynamics, and Intergraph Corporation. After a corporate downsizing in 1995, he turned his hobby into a business and has been a remodeling contractor and real estate investor. Randy has made his home in Hartselle since 1992. He became involved with WELP through his twenty-year association with Cleo Stubbs.
“I believe that environmental change can begin on a small scale and spread through educating by example. Our children can change the world.”
Mrs. Fowler grew up in a military family and spent most of her life near Ft. Campbell, Kentucky. In 2012, she received her Masters of Science in Biology from Austin Peay State University with a concentration in freshwater biology, primarily studying macroinvertebrate ecology and taxonomy. For the past 5 years she has been employed as a consulting biologist and has worked on numerous projects incorporating wetland and stream assessments, biological monitoring, 401/404 permitting, threatened and endangered species surveys, as well as mitigation site development and monitoring. Angel is also co-founder of Earthwhile Collective, an establishment focused on stimulating resourceful creative potential and promoting environmental awareness through the transformation of found objects and discarded materials into functional creations. In her spare time, Angel enjoys exploring the outdoors, gardening, and treasure hunting.
“My curiosity for our natural world developed at an early age and I understand the importance of encouraging this in our youth as they will ultimately dictate the future of our environment. WELP provides an avenue that peaks the interest of students and strengthens their bond with nature. I am very fortunate to be a part of an organization dedicated to environmental awareness and preservation.”
Mr. Gilbert grew up in Winfield, Alabama, and is avid hunter and fisherman. Tim devoted over 30 years to the Tennessee Valley Authority reservoir as a land manager, where his duties included permitting, resource management, recreation development, policy development, public relations, government relations, and resource protection. He retired in 2007 and his current activities include land use consulting and wetland/stream mitigation banking. Tim is the current chairman of Guntersville Waterfront Development Advisory Board, and is skilled carpenter/wood worker.
“WELP provides an opportunity to perk the interest of young people in the environment by getting them outdoors where they can have a hands-on experience with the natural environment. This triggers their curiosity and opens doors to their education.”