Clay Henderson

Clay Henderson, Executive Director

Clay Henderson fell in love with the St. Johns River and Florida’s springs as a freshman at Stetson in the 1970s, and over a long career as an environmental lawyer has been a zealous defender of Florida’s special places. Now, as the Executive Director of Stetson Institute for Water and Environmental Resilience, he continues to be one of Florida’s leading voices in environmental policy. His work at the Institute focuses on land and water conservation and restoration research and policy development.

He sponsored or co-authored most of the natural resource protection provisions in the Florida Constitution, including Amendment  - the largest voter-approved conservation funding initiative in our nation’s history - and the creation of the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. He led the development of nationally-recognized land conservation programs, including Volusia Forever (1986 and 2000), Florida Communities Trust (1990), Preservation 2000 (1991) and Florida Forever (1999), and has negotiated more than 300,000 acres of lands now part of national and state parks, forests, and wildlife refuges.

He was elected to two terms and served as Chair of the Volusia County Council. He has served as President of Florida Audubon Society and Florida Trust for Historic Preservation.  Stetson has recognized his body of work with a Distinguished Alumni Award, and the George and Mary Hood Award for his commitment to Stetson University’s core values.  Other awards include the William Sadowski Public Service Award from The Florida Bar and the national public service award from The Nature Conservancy.


  • J.D. Cumberland School of Law Samford University
  • B.A. political science/history Stetson University


Environmental Law and Policy
Environmental Planning
Water Policy
Environmental Activism


» Appleton, P., Henderson, C., Murphy, J, Doris Leeper Legacy of a Visionary. Cocoa: Florida Historical Society Press, 2017.

» Curtin, L., Henderson, C., Sellers, L., Sims, R., May, S., “2015 Florida Legislative Update,” The Environmental and Land Use Section Reporter, (September 2015). Print.

» Henderson, C., "V Federal Agency Conservation Obligations and Consultation Under Sec. 7 of the ESA." Endangered Species Desk Book. Washington: Environmental Law Institute, 2003, 2nd Ed. 2010.

» Henderson, C., "Chapter 4 Natural Resources.” Green Building and Sustainable Development Practical Legal Guide,. Chicago: ABA, 2009.

» Henderson, C., Adams I., The Floridas. San Francisco, CA: BrownTrout, 2005.

» Henderson, C., ed. "President's Message." Audubon Florida Naturalist Magazine 1995-2000 Print.

» Henderson, C., "The Conservation Amendment." University of Florida Law Review 52.285 (2000).

» Henderson, C., Ben-David, D.. "Revision 5: Protecting Natural Resources." Florida Bar Journal (1988). Print.