Gale Butler is currently Executive Director of the Friends of Birch State Park, Inc. responsible for garnering financial and in-kind support to help preserve, conserve, enhance and promote Hugh Taylor Birch State Park—the 180-acre parcel of land gifted to the state of Florida from Hugh Taylor Birch in 1942. While it is a state park, it is our state park and the last nature preserve on the east side of Fort Lauderdale. The goal is to “Bring Birch Back” after decades of neglect, to the well-attended attraction for tourists and residents alike. In the past, the park had almost one million visitors a year. Currently, it numbers about 300,000.
“Our plan is to renovate playgrounds, picnic pavilions and all facilities while reopening Terramar—Hugh Taylor Birch’s home—as a Visitors’ Center,” said Butler. “We’re also looking at reopening the café’ on A1A and upgrading other concessions for visitors to enjoy.”
Prior to joining the Friends of Birch State Park in October, Butler served as a fundraiser for Racing for Cancer, the charity Ryan Hunter-Reay—the 2014 Indianapolis 500 winner, formed after his mother passed away from cancer.
Butler’s corporate career began in 1983 with Landmark Bank which eventually became Bank of America, where she served for 8 years as Vice President of Corporate Communications for both the state of Florida as well as Georgia and North Carolina. She joined Blockbuster Entertainment, Inc. in 1992, serving as Vice President of Community Affairs and Internal Communications. After Blockbuster was sold to Viacom, Inc., Butler joined AutoNation as Vice President of Corporate Affairs where she served for 17 years.
Over the years, her honors have included awards for Mentor of the Year from Take Stock in Children, A Woman of Style and Substance from the Philarmonic Orchestra Foundation, a Woman of Distinction from the March of Dimes, Downtowner of the Year from the Downtown Council of the Fort Lauderdale Chamber of Commerce, the James J. Blosser Community Trustee Award from the Broward Partnership for the Homeless, the Margaret Roach Community Award from the Urban League of Broward County, the Starfish Lifetime Achievement Award from Women in Distress, the Magnolia Lifetime Achievement Award from the United Way of Broward County, and the Melissa Aiello Good Character Award from Junior Achievement of Broward. Currently, Butler serves as a mentor in the Women of Tomorrow program and is an alumnus of the Leadership Broward, Leadership Florida and Leadership America programs.
A native of Fort Lauderdale, Butler attended Moravian College in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, and graduated from the University of Miami with a B.A. in English and a minor in History. She has one son, Todd, who recently earned his MBA from George Washington University, and lives in Washington, D.C. where he serves as Senior Director of Digital Technology Marketing for The Bozzuto Group. She enjoys skiing, golf, tennis, reading, and walking on the beach.