Alumnus Leads “Greens with Guns” to Save Florida Wildlife

July 22, 2010
By Chris Richter

This is Manley Fuller ’81 MS, president of the Florida Wildlife Federation (FWF), discussing oil drilling in Florida waters. According to Derb Carter, director of the Carolinas office of the Southern Environmental Law Center, he’s “the only person I know who can walk into a swamp and grab an alligator, and walk into a corporate boardroom and convince them to save the swamp.” Oxford American magazine recently featured Fuller and the FWF, calling the organization “polluters’ worst nightmare: greens with guns.”

They hunt, but always eat what they kill. They work within the system, and they’re not afraid to go to court. They punch above their weight in government circles, operating on a budget smaller than your average lobbyist’s bar tab. And despite Florida’s best efforts to drain, pave, and overpopulate itself to death, they are hell-bent on saving it.

The Florida Wildlife Federation is the most effective environmental outfit in the South, maybe in the country. Over the past decade, this eclectic posse of deer hunters and bunny-huggers, backyard Darwins and bird-watchers, dedicated anglers and nouveau Thoreauvians, has become a force to be reckoned with. “We’re agile and we’re lean,” says Manley Kearns Fuller III, president of FWF. “If you’re not selective with what you emphasize, you can get bogged down. You need a plan, win or lose. When you get whipped, you’ve got to have a masterful retreat, like Robert E. Lee after Gettysburg.”

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