Follow EGSEnvironmental Growth and Sustainability

Eduardo Salcedo 

Works as an Environmental Resource Project Supervisor in the Natural Areas Management Division (NAM) of the Miami-Dade County Parks, Recreation, and Open Spaces Department.  

Eduardo was born in Piura, Peru and grew up in Lima.  After graduating from high school he traveled to the United States to study in Texas A&M University, where he obtained a Bachelor's Degree in fisheries and aquaculture.  

Aileen worked for the Miami-Dade County Public School system, where she taught Bilingual Core Curriculum (BCC) classes, in English and Spanish to tenth and eleventh grade students who had recently immigrated to the United States from Latin America.  She taught Biology, Marine Biology, and Oceanography.  Upon earning her Master’s degree, she joined the Biology Department at Florida International University (FIU), where she served as a Teaching Assistant, and then as an Adjunct Instructor.  Among her responsibilities included grant proposal preparation and grant administration.  Aside from these duties, she also designed, implemented, and tracked specialized educational curricula for the undergraduate and graduate students supported by these grants. 

She joined the Education Department at Mystic Aquarium & Institute for Exploration in Mystic, Connecticut and had the privilege of working with renown Oceanographer, Dr. Robert Ballard.  At the aquarium she developed and taught marine-related educational programs for Pre-K to University level students and adults.  She led public interpretive tours of the aquarium and surrounding natural areas and also supervised the traveling teacher program, the summer camp, and the high-school youth leadership council.  

She returned to Miami and began working for the Miami-Dade Parks, Recreation, and Open Spaces Department at the Crandon Park Visitor and Biscayne Nature Center in Key Biscayne, Florida.  She was charged with supervising the interpretive services department of Crandon Park.  She supervised all aspects related to natural resource management as well as all educational and recreational activities at the park including the Miami-Dade County Sea Turtle Release Program. She also oversaw the natural resource management of the 265-acre Bear Cut Preserve.

In 2006, she became the Project Coordinator for the Environmental Education Providers (EEP) of Miami-Dade County, Inc.  This position afforded her the opportunity to align the goals of numerous environmental educators of South Florida and EEP to promote environmental education initiatives county-wide. She returned to FIU in 2008 to serve as the Assistant Director of the Faculty & Student Research Training and Access (FSRTA) Program, as well as the Coordinator of the MBRS RISE Program.  During this time, she gained invaluable experience in biomedical research, program administration, educational program design as well as grant writing.  These STEM programs funded approximately 75 undergraduate and graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, research technicians, and faculty in three colleges.  In July of 2012 she was offered the position of Associate Director for Research at the Robert Stempel College of Public Health & Social Work at FIU.  

​Currently, she organizes FIU’s School of Environment, Arts and Society’s (SEAS’) broader educational outreach agenda for K-12 audiences and beyond.  As the Florida Keys-based Education and Outreach Coordinator, she brings expertise in environmental education and outreach to craft curriculum, train teachers, and design hands-on lesson plans and activities to truly flip the classroom and empower young students to pursue STEM endeavors.

In college he worked in the genetics and toxicology laboratory of Dr. John Bickham with whom he conducted population genetics research involving pocket gophers and Steller sea lions. He also worked on several field projects including fish creels, fish and invertebrate sampling, radio telemetry tracking, fish tagging, bird banding, and dolphin monitoring.  Eduardo worked as a ground fisheries observer in the Bering Sea, Alaska, where he worked alongside fishermen collecting fishing data, taking biological samples, and preparing technical reports.  The experience helped further his knowledge in marine resource conservation and protection.  He returned to Florida and worked for Miami-Dade County as a nature guide and interpreter at the renowned Deering Estate at Cutler.  A year later he became the Estate's Education Programs Coordinator.  His responsibilities included program and curriculum development, budget preparation, grant writing and management, fundraising, and staff development. 

In 2004 he obtained a Master's Degree in Public Administration from Florida International University (FIU).  As a scientist he manages 16 protected natural areas that include upland and wetland habitats.  He is responsible for grant writing and administration, field research, managing field crews, biological report preparation, interagency project coordination, and conducting environmental education programs.  Since 2010 he has collaborated with the United States Department of Agriculture and TERRA Environmental Research Institute in Miami to create and operate the first student-run, bio-control research laboratory in the United States. The project has been a major success and has received rave reviews.  Eduardo is a participating member of the climate change and sea level rise task force of Miami-Dade County and participates in summits, discussions, and forums involving planning and implementation of adaptation and resilience strategies involving sea level rise in south east Florida.

He participates in the county's sea turtle relocation program and assists in American crocodile surveys, and capture-recapture field work.  He mentor students and volunteers in several conservation stewardship programs.  Eduardo believes that student involvement and exposure to research is vital to develop long-lasting interest in science.  He believes in the power of education and the responsibility and obligation of giving back to the community.  “

​​Alexis has participated is fisheries assessments at tidal pools in Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park in Key Biscayne.  The project's goal was to evaluate the health of coastal fisheries and the effectiveness of newly restored mangrove forests in the area, as a nursing area for juvenile fish, and aquatic invertebrates.  Alexis also participated in soil sampling and testing practices as part of a study to evaluate soils in Everglades National Park.  This research yielded results such as humidity presence, soil type identification, ion concentration in soil solution, and the presence of soil atmosphere, which were relevant to the collection site and vegetation composition.  He has participated in various ecosystem restoration projects including salt marsh and globally endangered pine rockland.  

Alexis oversees all environmental projects and course work at TERRA.  He has developed  a curriculum based on the most pressing and current environmental problems that afflict our planet.  He is a hands-on instructor who likes to involve his students in research projects that have a direct beneficial impact on the environment and society.  In 2010, Alexis was awarded the Toyota Tapestry Grant for the purchasing of materials and equipment to evaluate and study Stock Island's Tree Snail population in Homestead, Florida.  Since 2011, Alexis has served as a volunteer counselor and liaison for the Zoological Society of Florida, via their Conservation Teen Scientist program.  This program empowers high school students to act as wildlife ambassadors as they convey a message of conservation and sustainability.

In 2012 Alexis and a selected group of his students participated in a 'Shark Tagging Expedition' off the coast of the Florida Keys.  The purpose of this study was to survey sharks species found in Florida waters.  Since 2011, Alexis has served as liaison for the multi-agency partnership between TERRA and Miami-Dade County's Natural Areas Management Division.  This partnership has yielded learning experiences for his students and an on-going high profile research project involving biological control agents for the management of the exotic invasive air potato vine.

Alexis is an active member of Project Noah and an avid nature photographer, with an inclination towards macro photography. 

He has developed and directed numerous research projects along Peru’s coastline and in Polar Regions including the Arctic and Antarctic.  He is a board member and researcher of the Research Center for Sustainability and Comprehensive Development (CIDIS) located in Northern Peru.  He has worked for the Peruvian national system of protected natural areas that comprises islands and islets where he has conducted biological baseline studies. He has been responsible for preparing technical reports for the creation of marine protected areas including Isla Foca, El Nuro, and Punta Sal Reefs located in the northern area designated as the Tropical Sea of Peru.

Yuri has written several book chapters and has published numerous scientific articles on biodiversity, taxonomy, and marine natural areas management.  He has recorded ten new marine invertebrate species, and dozens of new registries of fish and invertebrates for Peru.

He works with local authorities and local communities to build bridges of understanding and cooperation. Over the years he has managed to forge valuable partnerships and friendships with local leaders, NGOs, and members of the national and international marine scientific community. He manages Terra Aquatica, a documentary production company and has produced two publicly acclaimed short documentaries: Isla Foca, and Peninsula Illescas.  He is currently collaborating with numerous international institutions on four main projects in Peru including sponges, equinoderms, opistobranchials (sea slugs), and gorgonians.  Among the organizations involved in these projects are: The Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Science, Musse d’Historire Naturelles de Geneve, Museu Nacional de Rio de Janeiro, Universidad Autonoma de Mexico, The Nacional Zoological Collection of Munich, Germany, The Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, and the Centro de Investigacion en Ciencias Marinas y Limnologia de la Universidad de Costa Rica.

Yuri is also an accomplished underwater photographer who has photographed thousands of organisms many of which are new scientific records.  He recently published his book "Peru Submarino", the first ever pictographical collection of marine species found in Peru.      
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Aileen Soto

Is the Education Coordinator of the Florida International University (FIU) Medina Aquarius program– the world’s only operating undersea research laboratory.

Aileen was born in Miami, USA and grew up in South Florida’s culturally diverse community. Splitting her time between Miami and the Florida Keys afforded her much exposure to diverse ecosystems.  As a result, a love for the sea and its shores instilled ethics that compel her towards her present field.  She graduated from (FIU) and received a Bachelor of Science in Biological Sciences, and a Master of Science in Science Education. 

Yuri Hooker Mantilla

Is a renown Peruvian marine biologist who heads the marine biology laboratory of the Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia.  He serves as the curator of the university's aquatic specimen collection (Coleccion de Zoologia Acuatica) and is responsible for the coordination of the marine biology, invertebrate zoology, and aquatic vertebrate zoology courses. 

Yuri was born in Trujillo, Peru.  He is a fisheries biologist with extensive course work in zoology, biodiversity evaluations of fish and marine invertebrates, biological inventories, resource evaluation, and marine ecosystem baseline studies.  

Alexis Salcedo

Is the Environmental Research and Field Studies Academy Leader at Miami's TERRA Environmental Research Institute, the first green school in Miami.  Alexis was born in Lima, Peru.  He is an Environmental Scientist by profession with a strong background in environmental education.  

After graduating high school he traveled to the United States to pursue higher education.  He followed his passion towards the natural world and obtained a Bachelor's of Science Degree in Environmental Studies from Florida International University (FIU).