Photo by John Hayes

Brian Block - The Nature Conservancy

Bachelor of Science, 1996
Major: Wildlife Ecology and Conservation

Work: (352) 264-6809
Work e-mail:

I started out at UF as a pre-vet student because veterinary medicine had been my long-term career ambition. WEC offered the most courses that addressed my interests in both veterinary medicine and ecology, and had the most diverse curriculum and interesting professors and students. In addition, WEC's student organizations provided a venue for getting involved with environmental issues. I consider WEC the place to be if you are a student who is serious about pursuing a career that involves working to protect the environment with wildlife in mind.

While at UF I focused my career goals and after getting my Bachelors Degree, I went directly onto Law School at Southern Illinois University (and also Vermont Law School and the University of Baltimore as a visiting student) knowing that this would make me a better environmental and animal advocate. While this was an important decision and one I feel was a critical move for me personally, I still feel more enriched by the knowledge I gained as a WEC student than by my legal education. While in Law School, I canvassed for Florida PIRG (Public Interest Research Group) and the Sierra Club, and interned at the Animal Legal Defense Fund in Maryland as well as at boutique law firm in Washington, D.C. specializing in endangered species, animal welfare, and open government law.

I am now an active member of the Florida Bar and an employee of The Nature Conservancy in Gainesville. Specifically, The Nature Conservancy was hired by Alachua County to help implement the Alachua County Forever program and I was relocated to Gainesville to negotiate on behalf of the County for the acquisition of conservation land and conservation easements. Everyday I go to work knowing that my organization, my colleagues, and my own efforts are making significant progress towards preserving highly valuable ecosystems. My WEC education has enabled me to make informed decisions regarding the conservation of ecologically significant land in Florida. The education I obtained as a WEC student enabled me to return to the Gainesville area as a force for positive change, and I will never forget it. I would not be nearly as effective as I am at protecting lands and waters without my ecology background, and my employer and client are keenly aware of this fact.