Vic Ramey​

Managers and educators around the world recently lost a strong ally in their efforts to understand and control aquatic and invasive plants. Vic Ramey died from a stroke on Thanksgiving Day, November 24, 2005 – less than halfway through his 58th year. No one reached more people in the field of aquatic plant management than Vic Ramey. He not only had vision, but more importantly, the passion and persistence to bring information to the public at all levels. He did this with little permanent staff, few recurring funds, and borrowed or donated equipment. While we struggled to find better ways to control new plant problems, Vic assembled a team and produced the largest worldwide online library with more than 60,000 articles on aquatic plants and their management. While we searched for ways to communicate with the public, Vic cobbled together other teams and funding from government, private, and public sources to develop lesson plans, guides, photo-murals, and a 600-page web site covering all aspects of aquatic plants in Florida. Some educators stand confidently before their audiences to tell them what they think they ought to know. Vic circulated among stakeholders and asked what they want to learn. Some leaders resolutely exhort their subjects to press forward, doing their best with what they have. Vic worked behind the scenes, with the grass roots, to provide managers with the technologies they need. This quiet leadership led to a web site accessed by more than 55,000 visitors scoring more than 1.6 million hits per month. His latest and perhaps most passionate and ambitious project was, with the assistance of teachers at all grade levels, to develop lesson plans and learning activities using the materials he had created over the past 25 years. While meeting Florida classroom standards and benchmarks, his goal was to introduce aquatic and invasive plant issues into the environmental conscience of all Floridians, starting with our young people. In developing instructional messages, Vic was adamant that we should not only point out the problems and dangers of invasive plants, but we should provide alternatives as well. Show people how beautiful native plants are in their natural surroundings in southeastern wetlands, lakes, and rivers. So while we naturally mourn the tragic loss of this wonderful man with the quirky smile, let us also be thankful for and reflect upon our time shared with Vic Ramey and the gifts that he has left for us. When great leaders and innovators are lost, we often are inspired to create monuments or memorials to honor their achievements. Vic has already done this for us with the website (http:// and his many instructional tools. Perhaps the best way to honor Vic is to preserve what he has already accomplished and continue moving forward- up the path that he has laid out for us. Vic Ramey- a leader- an innovator- our friend.