Leslie Lassitter Gahagan, a native of Elberta, AL, grew up on the waterways that she cherishes today. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of South Alabama with a major in marine biology. She began her career with the Alabama Department of Environmental Management as a stormwater inspector. In 2006, she began employment with the City of Foley. Leslie is the Environmental Manager for the City of Foley where she manages the Environmental and Nature Parks Departments. Her duties include monitoring various environmental issues, code compliance, and ordinance development as well as managing Graham Creek Nature Preserve. She is a Certified Professional in Erosion and Sediment Control. Leslie is active with many organizations including serving as the President of Wolf Bay Watershed Watch, leader in the Alabama Chapter of the Soil and Water Conservation Society, co-chair of the Community Action Committee and member of the Executive Committee with the Mobile Bay National Estuary Program. Leslie and her husband, Shawn, reside in Miflin with their daughter Sadie. They have eight children and six grandchildren. Her hobbies include designing the haunted forest at Graham Creek and fishing.
David Eckmanwas born and raised on a small family farm in Elberta, Alabama. His family grew a little bit of everything, including seasonal produce and various livestock, and is very active in outdoor recreation . . . always enjoyed hunting, fishing, and various sports. Some of David’s accomplishments include obtaining the rank of Eagle Scout and an education from Auburn University in Landscape Horticulture. A wide array of job opportunities in an outdoor setting such as golf course turf maintenance, farming, landscaping, and small business management and ownership have further afforded him the chance to develop a solid work ethic and leadership over the years. “I believe that conservation and preservation is the key to enjoying the beautiful place I’ve called home, for many years to come. I look forward to extending this mind set in any way that I can within the City of Foley’s nature parks.”
Jackie grew up climbing trees and getting sunburned on the waters of Wolf Bay and fishing in the Gulf of Mexico. She earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Biology with a minor in Psychology from the University of Montevallo and her Master’s Degree in Biology from Miami University. She is a Certified Professional in Erosion and Sediment Control through Envirocert International and maintains her certification as a Wilderness First Responder through SOLO Southeast. She began teaching environmental education curriculum at Graham Creek Nature Preserve and within Baldwin County schools in 2013, and conducts stormwater and environmental ordinance inspections as an Environmental Inspector for the City of Foley’s Environmental Department. She is an active volunteer with the Alabama Cooperative Extension Office as a Master Environmental Educator, a water quality and bacteriological monitoring trainer with Alabama Water Watch, and serves on the board of directors for Wolf Bay Watershed Watch and the Friends of Bon Secour Wildlife Refuge. In her free time she enjoys traveling, teaching and practicing yoga, studying how to live more sustainably, and nature photography. She still climbs trees.
Angie Eckman is an Environmental Program Coordinator for the City of Foley Environmental Department. This position helps implement environmental education to the public through workshops, public outreach events, field trips, summer camps, play days and other events held at Graham Creek Nature Preserve. Given a natural aptitude for working with children and the desire to make a positive impact in the community, a career at Graham Creek was a logical choice. Angie has a BS in environmental science from the University of West Florida. She also has certificates in informal science education and environmental education. She volunteers as a Master Environmental Educator through the Alabama Cooperative Extension. When she is not working, Angie enjoys exploring state parks, riding bicycles and camping with her husband and three children.
Krystal Bodiford was raised in the west, but considers Memphis, TN her hometown. She was a Girl Scout up until her later teens and enjoyed being a Girl Scout camp counselor in the summers. Nature has been a huge part of who she is, and her happiness. Meeting Smokey the Bear in a small campsite in Sedona, Arizona and watching Captain Planet shaped her into the person she is today. She joined the United States Army at the age of 18, graduated from the US Army Academy of Health Sciences in 2003, and soon started working in a small hospital in Bay Minette as a radiologic technologist. Married in 2003, Krystal became a mother to 3 — two girls and a boy. She chose to stay home with the kids, which led to homeschooling them for 10 years. During that time, she taught at a local co-op for homeschoolers, discovering how much she loved to pass on knowledge and work with children of all ages. Krystal entered the employment world again and is thrilled to now be part of the team at Graham Creek Nature Preserve Interpretive Center, where she gets to help people, teach people and have meaning in her day.
David Childress has lived in the Baldwin and Mobile area all his life. At age thirteen, his father moved the family to Egypt and he developed a true love for history and culture. After High School, David received an Associate’s Degree in Science at Faulkner State. He has worked for the City of Foley for thirteen years in three different departments including Sanitation, Street, and Environmental. David helps run the everyday job of vector control and is currently working towards his Certification in Pesticides. His current job in vector control includes trapping and identifying various vectors and pests to the public. He also uses and helps maintain the proper use of levels of Adulticides and Larvicides. He is a member of NACCHO and The Alabama Vector Society. In his free time, David enjoys reading a book or article, watching sports live or on TV, traveling local or abroad, and just experimenting with life.
Allie Quinley grew up in Foley, Alabama close to the Magnolia River. Her dad was a crew boat captain and introduced Allie to boats and the water at an early age. Her family often spent summers out on one of the boats they built. In high school she took Ag classes and participated on the veterinary science, aquaculture and livestock teams for FFA. That vet science team even placed first in the state competition and Allie got to represent the state of Alabama at the national competition. Her love for the water and agriculture led Allie to study marine biology formally. Allie currently attends Coastal Alabama Community College and plans to transfer to the University of South Alabama to finish her bachelor’s degree in marine biology. As the Environmental Intern for Graham Creek, Allie help take care of the animals and assists with numerous environmental projects.