Who We Are

ESHP (The Everglades Society for Historic Preservation) was founded in 2004. Our territory of interest includes Everglades City, Plantation Island, Chokoloskee, Ochopee, Copeland & Lee Cypress, and Jerome.

For more information about the Everglades, scroll down the page to play the video.

Our vision is to rehabilitate the Collier-era Bank of Everglades Building and provide a new and vital Visitor Center which is currently housed across from the Bank Building and operated by ESHP, primarily with volunteers, as an expression of its community outreach and education goals.

 

Meet Our Team

Our governing board includes the following officers and directors who are elected by board members every three years. Members are responsible for participating in our various projects.

Patricia Huff

President

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Patricia Huff

Patricia Huff, a retired Financial Advisor with Raymond James & Associates, was a founding member of ESHP which was established to help save the first Collier County Courthouse (now Everglades City Hall). She and her husband purchased their historic 1920s home in 1994. In 2001, Patty founded the City’s local newsletter, "The Mullet Rapper," and continued as publisher/editor until 2016. Patty is past president of the Friends of the Museum of the Everglades and served as “Historian” on the Collier County Historical & Archaeological Preservation Board from 2005 to 2017. She continues to be invited by county and state organizations to give presentations about the local history of the area. As President, Patty leads the organization in strategic planning, oversight of organizational finances, vision, mission, and long-term goal setting. More specifically, over the next several years, she is tasked to oversee all aspects of the reconstruction of the Bank Building.

Hydie Friend

Vice-President

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Hydie Friend

Hydie Friend is a retired certified city planner and comes to the ESHP Board with more than forty years of experience using historic preservation for economic development. She has been recognized by her home state of West Virginia and her hometown of Wheeling for her dedication and commitment to community-led preservation and development efforts. Hydie was an early leader in the National Park Service's National Heritage Area movement. Now a Florida resident, she is applying her energy in supporting the efforts of the Everglades Society for Historic Preservation. With her extensive experience, Hydie has been appointed ESHP’s Grants Coordinator. She manages ESHP’s efforts in obtaining grants and funding from various organizations, including state/federal agencies and local private foundations (Collier Community Foundation). Additionally, she is responsible for communicating and working together with the consultant grant writer.

Marya Repko

Secretary

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Marya Repko

Marya Repko moved in 2000 to Everglades City after she discovered the little planned town in the middle of the swamp and wanted to learn more. She used her background in computers to research the history of the area and has written over a dozen "Brief History" books on the area (website: www.ecity-publishing.com). Marya was a founding member of ESHP and is also on the Board of the Friends of the Museum of the Everglades. She has received widespread recognition as the “authority” on the history of Everglades City and surrounding areas. She is widely respected for her depth of knowledge and is frequently asked to give her popular and well-documented presentations to community organizations throughout the county and beyond. Marya coordinates the ESHP meetings of the organization, writing the agenda and taking minutes. She also serves as the membership chairperson, coordinating all aspects of ESHP’s fundraising projects, sending out acknowledgements to members and donors. 

Elaine Middelstaedt

Treasurer

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Elaine Middelstaedt

Elaine Middelstaedt, with a law degree and a member of the NJ and FL bars, started her own pension administration business in 1996. She has been interested in historic preservation since she purchased the former two-room schoolhouse in Lordville, NY, in 1973. Since moving to Everglades City in 2001, Elaine has been an active participant and a board member in several community organizations, including ESHP, the Everglades Lions Club, ReachOut Everglades & C.O.P.S. Association, Inc., and the Everglades Community Food Pantry. She served as an Everglades City Council member for 12 years as well as four years on the Collier County Metropolitan Planning Organization (Chairperson for two years). She is currently Chair of the Citizens Advisory Council of the Collier MPO. As Treasurer, Elaine oversees the organization's finances, creating the budget, generating financial reports, and advises the board on financial strategy. She also coordinates with the accountant and the auditor to review finances.

Helen Bryan

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Helen Bryan

Helen Bryan was a founding member of the Friends of the Museum of the Everglades in the 1990s and has been active in every aspect of the Everglades City / Chokoloskee community. With her acquired skills and good eye, Helen was appointed photojournalist of the local newspaper The Mullet Rapper in 2014 and continues serving in that capacity. Her ability to capture the history of the Everglades community over the past 30+ years is remarkable. She is everywhere, all the time, behind the scenes at events, chronicling the lives of the people and places of the swamp. Helen is the historian for ESHP, and her photographs are documented on the Gallery page of our website.

Donald Kim

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Donald Kim

Donald (Don) Kim joined the ESHP Board in 2022 as it broadens its membership to include more business owners and professionals on the Board. He is a recent full-time addition to the Everglades City community, having moved here from Boca Raton. As a passionate fisherman, Don had been a frequent visitor to the Everglades City/Chokoloskee area over the last twenty years. His current career in the software development field affords him the opportunity to live in Everglades City and work full time remotely. Before getting into the software/computer field, Don spent many years in the hospitality industry and earned degrees in Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management at Johnson & Wales University. Early in his hospitality career, Don enlisted as a food service specialist in the United States Marine Corps. He served in various capacities for eight years, including Mess Hall management, Food Quality Inspection, Recruiting and Information Systems Database Management, ultimately attaining the rank of Staff Sergeant. As a professional in computer services, Don will be instrumental in assisting our Vice-President with marketing and in expanding our presence in the media.

Hannah Ineson

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Hannah Ineson

Hannah Ineson has been owner of a marketing business and a professional artist for more than 40 years. She and her husband divide their time between the Everglades and the Maine coast. Her artwork is focused on the environment of both these special places, and her interest in both history and ecology has led her to involvement in several organizations in both places. She has been an Artist in Residence in the Big Collier Preserve and has had solo exhibitions of her paintings in three of the five Collier County museums. She is currently an instructor at the Marco Island Center for the Arts in winter, and a member of the Pemaquid Gallery of Art in Bristol, Maine during the summer season. She has contributed her artwork and design skills to several organizations in Collier County as well as being involved in many aspects of life in the Everglades. The Bank of Everglades project of ESHP has been of particular interest, and recently joined the Board (March, 2023). Her work may be seen at www.hannahineson.com.

Tony Pernas

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Tony Pernas

Tony Pernas, a 1988 graduate of Environmental Studies at Florida International University in Miami, served most recently as the Chief of Resource Management at Big Cypress National Preserve until his retirement in early 2022. Tony was responsible for managing all park science and resource management operations. From 2015 to 2019, he was a botanist at Big Cypress, managing and supervising one of the largest invasive plant management programs in the National Park Service and was responsible for writing grant proposals that resulted in approximately $700,000 in grants annually for invasive plant management and ecological restoration from outside funding sources. He also developed partnerships for threatened and Endangered (Federal/state) Plant Monitoring with Fairchild Tropical Botanical Gardens, Naples Zoo, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and Atlanta Botanical Gardens as well as establishing and managing the Burmese python volunteer program (>100 snakes in 2017/2018). Tony currently serves on the Everglades City Council, the Collier County Metropolitan Planning Organization Board, the Collier County Local Planning Board, Chair of the Institute for Regional Conservation, the Communities of Everglades Disaster Recovery Committee Chair, Disaster Ready Collier County Board of Directors, and Past President of the Lion's Club of Everglades. Tony was elected to the ESHP Board at its 2024 annual meeting

We are advocates for the preservation of the historic Everglades City area and its environment. We believe this goal complements and enhances the preservation of the Everglades ecosystem and a thriving local economy based on fishing and tourism. The Everglades environment is a crucial element in the history of the area and is fundamental to the existence and mission of ESHP.