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Meet the Team 2014

Stephanie Coggins       Coggins
Seventh Grade Science Teacher
Bailey Middle School
Hobbies: travel, music, animal and nature lover!
What I am looking forward to:
Exploring the reefs and rainforest, close encounters with wildlife, learning more about a place I have never been to and getting to share my passion for the environment with other teachers!


Chris EckartChris
Program Specialist, Life Sciences
Discovery Place
Mecklenburg County
Hobbies: reptiles and amphibians, watching movies, being a nerd.
What I am looking forward to:This trip is a biologist’s dream come true! I am very excited to be up close and personal with tropical plant and animal species and exploring another culture. I look forward to seeing (and hearing) many frog species, especially the dart frogs.


Erin Burke Edwardsace_1138029847_1306028124
Eighth Grade Science Teacher
Ledford Middle School
Davidson County
Hobbies: reading,sustainable farming methods/heritage gardening, ecology, swimming, scouting, hiking
What I am looking forward to: I am looking forward to experiencing the topics that I teach, creating engaging materials for my students, experiencing nature and culture, and having an amazing adventure.

Bernadette EllisBernadette
High School Religion and Campus Ministry Teacher
St. Catherine’s Academy
Belize City
Hobbies: I love to travel, try new and different foods, dance and meet new people
What I am looking forward to: I am looking forward to exploring new places within my country, having fun, meeting the team and having a relaxing week from the normal routine as a wife and mother.

Megan EnnesMegan
Education Program Specialist
NC Aquarium at Fort Fisher
New Hanover County
Hobbies: photography, reading, scuba diving, spending time at the beach
What I am looking forward to: I am looking forward to exploring Belize. I am especially excited about snorkeling on the barrier reef and hopefully seeing some sea turtle nests. I can’t wait to meet a jaguar and explore a Mayan temple. I am excited to speak with local educators and see how they teach about local ecosystems.


Susy HollowaySusy
Elementary Art Teacher
Trinity School of Durham and Chapel Hill
Durham County
Hobbies: Art projects, exploring nature, gardening and photography!
What I am looking forward to: Learning about the people of Belize, seeing as many new creatures and plants, sharing my adventures with my school and family


David HordDavid
Special Education Teacher
Jesse C. Carson High School
Rowan-Salisbury School District
Hobbies: Running, kayaking, biking, reading, golf, gardening, traveling
What I am looking forward to:I have been reading quite a bit about Central America since my acceptance letter arrived in March. I am looking forward to experiencing the tropical climate and rain forest, and seeing many birds. I am also excited about visiting the Mayan ruins.


Stephanie KinleyKinley
Fifth Grade Teacher
Clover Garden School
Alamance County
Hobbies: photography
What I am looking forward to:I’m looking forward to seeing the many animals that I’m unfamiliar with. I cannot wait to bring my new experiences back to my family and students


Emily KochyEmily K
Third Grade Teacher
Carrboro Elementary School
Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools
Hobbies: running, cooking, traveling and attempting to garden!
What I am looking forward to: Learning all about Belizean culture and the rain forest! I can’t wait to share this amazing adventure with my students, coworkers and family!


Ron NunezRon
St. Martin De Porres Primary School
Belize City, Belize
Hobbies: hanging out with friends, playing sports ( Basketball is my favorite). I also enjoy watching movies, reading and learning new things
What I am looking forward to: I’m looking forward to  meeting new people, learning new things, having fun, relaxing, lots of laughs, seeing things and places I’ve never seen before. I’m looking forward to an over all good time.


Cindy RamosCindy R
Assistant Educator
Alpha Academy
Cumberland County
Hobbies: practicing yoga, reading, playing the piano, traveling, exploring, eating, sleeping, discovering new things!
What I am looking forward to: Immersing myself in Belizean culture-enjoying the country’s people, food, and traditions amidst its beautiful tropical backdrop. Exploring the reefs, discovering different wildlife and sharing this once in a lifetime experience with my little (and big) scientists back home.

Angie StrodeAngie
Eighth Grade Science Teacher
West Rowan Middle School
Rowan County
Hobbies: traveling, hiking, running and spending time with my husband and dogs
What I am looking forward to:Having the opportunity to experience a new culture and snorkel the reef.


Sharon WilletsSharon
Rutherford Opportunity Center
Rutherford County
Hobbies: traveling, walking, riding my motorcycle, spending time with family, meeting new people
What I am looking forward to: I’m looking forward to exploring and experiencing the rainforest, the Mayan ruins, and learning about a new diverse cultural environment as well as bringing back resources, stories, and photos to share with my school community.


Lori ZimmermanLori
High School Teacher
Green Hope High School
Wake County
Hobbies: Triathlons, swimming, kayaking, golf, reading and exploring!
What I am looking forward to: I’m very much looking forward to snorkeling and swimming in the beautiful waters of Belize, experiencing the local ecosystems, meeting new people and working with local students and faculty in Belize. I love being outdoors and meeting new people!


Liz Baird (Institute Leader)
Director of 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)JasonCryan_Madagascar
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.





One Comment leave one →
  1. Bernadette Ellis permalink
    July 21, 2017 2:01 am

    This was such an amazing experience. I had for the first time in my life a very scary experience but even with that I would love to do it again. I made connections that will last for a lifetime. Belize is more beautiful than we think or experience as Belizean. I love to travel my country but some of these places were the first for me. Being under our sea in the day is an amazing experience but doing it in the night is much more breath taking. I can never ever forget that night. It’s a whole different world under our sea at the reef. South Water Caye is exquisite. I was very much appreciative for such an awesome opportunity.

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