Jack and Anne Rudloe
Gulf Specimen Marine Lab
Panacea, Florida

For almost 50 years, Jack and Anne Rudloe have operated an education center from their lab, the Gulf Specimen Marine Lab. The nationally recognized, non-profit center provides members of the public with a hands-on experience in learning about the wetlands and coastline of North Florida, from touch tanks – where visitors can touch living specimens and learn about their role in the local ecosystem – to long field trips trekking through swamps. More than 15,000 people pass through the center’s doors each year. More recently, the Rudloes have taken their education center on the road, launching a mobile unit that has reached 175,000 people so far. The Rudloes have also published extensively on marine life, writing a dozen books, over 30 magazine articles, and almost 90 newspaper columns. Aside from these education and outreach activities, the Rudloes have provided labs from across the country with marine specimens, allowing wetlands and marine life to be studied in more detail. The Rudloes have also been actively involved in preserving the wetlands of North Florida. This includes leading the push for legislative protections of wetlands in the state and contributing to the conservation of more than 35,000 acres of wetlands habitat. While Anne sadly passed away in 2012, Jack continues to work to further their conservation legacy.