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Meet the Team

Brittany Argall  belize - 1 (5)
Eighth Grade Science Teacher
Centennial Campus Magnet Middle School
Wake County
Hobbies: Weightlifting, being creative in the kitchen, theater, kayaking
What I am looking forward to: Seeing a sloth, experiencing the rainforest and a coral reef and bringing my experiences back to my students



Kelly Batts

Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instructionbelize - 1 (4)
Clinton City Schools Central Office
Clinton City SchoolsSampson County
Hobbies: relaxing on the beach, reading magazines, listening to podcasts and reading books
What I am looking forward to: I am looking forward to seeing how Belize has changed since I was there in 2008. I also can’t wait to go snorkeling and cave exploring since I did not get a chance to do those last time I visited. Most of all I hope to bring back a network of ideas and connections that I can share with our students, teachers and staff about a region beyond Clinton, Nc since our school system is “Going Global” in 2017-18.




Cathy Belairbelize - 1 (1)

Teacher, 7th Grade Math and Social Studies
Valley Springs Middle School

Buncombe County
Hobbies: yoga, hiking, kayaking, exploring with my granddaughter
What I am looking forward to:I am looking forward to discovering new parts of the world and learning new ways to integrate nature into my lessons, so my students can share my adventures and I can inspire them to love to learn!



Beth CampbellIMG_3953

Mount Vernon School
Wake County
Hobbies: Spending time with my family, cooking,hiking, camping, photography and having adventures
What I am looking forward to: Exploring a new culture and environment, making discoveries in the jungle, underwater, and within myself, meeting new people and developing ways to bring it all back to enhance the experiences of my students


Taylar FlytheIMG_3969

Science Teacher
Ligon GT Magnet Middle School
Wake County
Hobbies: Trying new restaurants, Working out, cooking
What I am looking forward to: I am looking forward to exploring a new country and gaining knowledge that can be shared with my students.



Noelle MelendrezNoelle

Teacher – Grade 5
Garden City Primary School
Belmopan, Belize
Hobbies: coming soon
What I am looking forward to: I am also excited and looking forward to having a wonderful experience with my new friends from North Carolina. Learning more about your culture and  also extending information on our culture



Betty Jo Moorebelize - 1 (6)

6th Grade Teacher- Science , ELA
Wiley Magnet Middle School

Forsyth  County

Hobbies: Travel, scrapbooking, hiking, gardening and reading
What I am looking forward to: I am looking forward to hiking through a rainforest, experiencing this ecosystem firsthand so that I can enhance my lessons and the learning of my students. In addition, I am excited about the opportunity to experience the culture and visit a school


Michelle Moseleybelize - 1 (3)

Third Grade Teacher
Long Mill Elementary School
Franklin County
Hobbies: Kayaking, relaxing outdoors, and spending time with friends and family
What I am looking forward to:Visiting the school at Monkey River, snorkeling on the reef and seeing Belize from teh top of a Mayan Ruin!




Ken Nagelbelize - 1 (8)

Apex High School
Wake County
Hobbies: Home Renovation, Scuba Diving, Photography, My Dogs
What I am looking forward to: Cave exploration, Photographing as many species as possible, seeing the Belize Zoo and meeting Sharon Matola, snorkeling Mangroves, experiencing the culture and bringing these experiences back to the classroom, encouraging students to travel and explore their world



Brandi RobinsonIMG_3976

Science and Social Studies Teacher
Southwest Middle School
Onslow County
Hobbies: gardening, fishing, crafting and cooking
What I am looking forward to: exploring the jungle, and all the wildlife that I will get to encounter.




Melanie TorresMelanie

 Teacher, Standards 3&$ (grades 4 &5)
Our Lady of Guadalupe RC School
Chan Pine Ridge Village

Orange Walk District, Belize
Hobbies: coming soon
What I am looking forward to:  I’m super excited about this trip for many reasons. As a born Belizean I want to explore my country more and learn about our rich resources Mother Nature gave us. In addition, I want to place in practice the five E’s in the science field: engage, explore, evaluate, explain and elaborate and make science more fun. Thirdly, to gain more knowledge to take back to my classroom and teach my students about our country’s beauties and ways to take care of it. In a conclusion, to learn and have fun. That’s what science is about!



Drew WareIMG_3960

Estes Hills Elementary School
Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools
Hobbies: Plying guitar, jogging, watching science shows with my son, playing tennis with my wife and I love UNC basketball and football
What I am looking forward to: I am currently close to finishing the doctoral program at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and am responsible for a wonderful elementary school of around 500 students. I hope this trip to Belize will help me make connections with both my classwork and my job as an educator that I might not have made before. I hope that this experience will foster a reciprocal relationship with the museum that will positively impact the students and staff at my school. Finally I hope that I will return with a broader perspective around education and the world in general.




Jennifer Williamsbelize - 1 (7)

Sixth Grade Science Teacher

A.C. Reynolds Middle School

Buncombe County
Hobbies: Exploring nature, hiking, biking, gardening
What I am looking forward to: I am looking forward to learning about a new culture. Also bringing back the experiences of the rainforest, animals, ecology, and culture of Belize, and exposing these new experiences to my students at ACRMS.


Melissa Wise-Harrisbelize - 1 (2)

Science Supervisor
Brunswick County Schools
Brunswick County
Hobbies: coming soon
What I am looking forward to: coming soon



Liz Baird (Institute Leader)
Chief, School and Lifelong Education
NC Museum of Natural Sciences
Wake County
Hobbies: Kayaking, hiking, reading, fostering golden retrievers
What I am looking forward to: Seeing Nathan, our guide and the beautiful places in Belize. I look forward to snorkeling on the reef, finding Red-Eyed Tree Frogs, and visiting Monkey River Village where we have worked for many years. I cannot wait to share this with such an outstanding group!

Jason Cryan (Institute Leader)Jason
Deputy Museum Director of Research and Collections
NC Museum of Natural Sciences
Wake County
Hobbies: kayaking, martial arts, cooking (& eating) yummy food!
What I am looking forward to: Sharing my love of nature and experience in tropical biology with educators from NC and Belize, and learning from everyone in return!

Nathan Forbes
Tour guide
Nathan has been guiding the Museum’s annual Tropical Ecology Institute for more than 15 years. He came to a Museum workshop (Summer Field Institute) in June 2002.

29 Comments leave one →
  1. Meg's Class permalink
    July 20, 2012 12:30 pm

    Kevin- Can you tell us what waterfalling and herping are? Tracie- What is adventure racing?Jennifer- What kind of dancing do you like?
    Thanks, Meg’s Second Grade class

    • July 22, 2012 4:47 am

      Well young ladies & gentlemen adventure racing is any race that includes things like rock climbing, war canoeing (lots of people in one canoe), zip lining, white water rafting, javelin throwing, rope climbing, … as well as the usual biking, running, & swimming. It is a lot of fun!!! I have competed in two such races one in Charlotte, N.C. & the other in Ga. it is a great way to get your exercise & relieve stress:0) What do each of you do to get your exercise???

    • Jennifer permalink
      July 22, 2012 3:40 pm

      I love all kinds of dance but have the most experience with ballet and jazz. I have even performed at DPAC (maybe near where you live) in A Christmas Carol several times!

  2. Gavindra Bharrat permalink
    July 24, 2012 3:58 pm

    Hoping to hear of everyone’s adventures in Belize 🙂

  3. July 25, 2012 1:32 pm

    Hi team! I have some questions from some very excitable summer campers here at the North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher.

    1. Where is Belize and how big is it? Are there a lot of people there?
    2. Is their ecosystem very different from ours? Is it cleaner?
    3. Can we have a howler monkey for the Aquarium? (okay, that’s from Meghan to Jennifer, not from the campers 🙂 ).
    4. Will you get to see any sea turtles?

    Thanks guys!!

    • July 26, 2012 9:37 pm

      Hello Campers!

      Belize is located in the middle of Central America with the ocean on the east side and Guatemala on the west and south. Mexico is to the North. There sore 300,000 people in Belize so it is a small country about the size of Massachusetts. The ecosystem is definitely more tropical but we do have some of the sample plants and animals. It is very beautiful with huge palm trees and flowers. A monkey at the aquarium would be great. We will hvave to ask the aquarists. Seeing a howler monkey was amazing and hearing them make their calls was awesome! We will get to see turtles at the beach, but we haven’t seen any yet.

  4. Beverly Crow permalink
    August 1, 2012 9:01 pm

    Hello explorers, what a great adventure. The photos are beautiful. Your students are going to have an amazing year as you share your summer experiences this school year. Bev Crow Holly Ridge Elementary

  5. Hal Denton permalink
    July 22, 2013 1:06 pm

    Will you get a chance to get out on the reef again this year? It will be interesting to hear your observations of the lion fish as it makes its way down the continent. In just a few short years, I was able to notice the shift in life on the reef in the bahamas and I have heard that Belize has started a all out campaign to protect their reefs. Hal

    • lizbaird permalink
      July 22, 2013 9:54 pm

      We will be out on the reef towards the end of the trip. We can’t wait to see the corals! WE have already seen lionfish 9i guess for about the past three years). they are predators and it will be interesting to see if there are fewer fish. Last year there was a lionfish that hung out around our dock. We understand that they can be tasty to eat and hope that a fishery develops around them!

  6. jenniel fullerton permalink
    July 23, 2013 7:08 am

    Through my research I noticed that the Rio Frio Caves are covered with lime stones. Are places like these protected from mining of the lime stones? Or do they have special areas that they are allowed to do mining of lime stones?

  7. Kusal permalink
    July 23, 2013 9:35 pm

    That’s my teacher (Mrs. Cochrane) 🙂

    • lizbaird permalink
      July 25, 2013 11:33 pm

      She’s having a fabulous time – did you see the picture of her at the top of the temple?

  8. Julie Urban permalink
    July 24, 2013 5:16 am

    Hi Team! Any cool bugs yet?
    Enjoying the awesome blog, and I wish you all a great adventure!

    • lizbaird permalink
      July 24, 2013 11:11 pm

      Yes, we have seen lots of cool bugs. Many were mentioned in our latest blog entry. more to come!

  9. Cheri Pederson permalink
    July 26, 2013 7:55 am

    I like Kusal’s message! That’s my friend, Laura Cochrane. I hope you are having a great time in Belize. Can you post pictures of your adventures?

  10. Judy Baldwin permalink
    July 28, 2013 8:46 am

    We know you are enjoying and experiencing new adventures! Can’t wait to hear about them….question: what is the most exillerating event that has occurred on your trip so far??
    Mom ‘Judy
    Enjoyed having Zachary!!! stay with us!

  11. DaleM permalink
    July 27, 2014 2:40 pm

    Is anyone doing any mapping during this adventure? It would be great to see some online maps of where you have been. As a GIS professional (digital mapping) I’m always interested in seeing the spatial relationships of natural/ environmental features. Pretty good mapping of biodiversity in Belize at this site: The maps at this site may be useful for your classrooms.

  12. Kendall permalink
    July 31, 2014 12:20 pm

    Hello! I am a middle schooler very interested in the work this team has been doing! Traveling has always been a passion of mine but I feel as if I’ve been missing out on something. When I go on trips around the world I do not want to just be a tourist, but be an actual traveler. I want to learn about the place I’m visiting explore it’s history and maybe uncover it’s hidden secrets. To me that is what this group is doing and I aspire to start (or even join) a group like this!
    That is my question. Can you please start a young travelers group? I will be the first to sign up!

  13. Ashley permalink
    September 1, 2015 7:29 pm

    Hi! I saw my middle school teacher Ms. Moser am I was so happy that she was one of the teachers that get the chance to go to Belize. I know she is a big traveler and would love to explore Belize.

  14. asia permalink
    June 3, 2016 8:45 am

    how long is it to get to belize

  15. June 3, 2016 8:48 am

    Hello. I hope you will great there. bye

  16. Hailey King permalink
    June 3, 2016 8:50 am

    Hey everybody my teacher Ms. Stanley is going on the trip with yall and i hope you all have fun and keep safe on your trip to Belize!!!!

  17. Bobby permalink
    June 3, 2016 8:50 am

    The schedule is cool

  18. June 3, 2016 8:51 am

    Belize sounds great

  19. Bobby permalink
    June 3, 2016 8:52 am


  20. June 3, 2016 9:42 am

    This is an AWESOME website 🙂

  21. Hailey permalink
    June 6, 2016 2:29 pm

    hello mrs stanley my teacher is going on the trip to Belize this year and i just hope that y’all
    have a great time there!

  22. Lynn Ray permalink
    July 26, 2017 8:11 am

    Have fun @Kelly Batts!


  1. Bethel Middle School Teacher Attends Tropical Ecology Institute in Belize

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