Staff

Station managers, Lovett School faculty and staff, and members of the Ruiz family all work together to make visits to Siempre Verde informative, safe, interesting, and fun.

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Alex Reynolds has been the executive director of Siempre Verde since July 2007. Prior to joining Lovett, Alex worked for the National park Service as a staff biologist on the Chattahoochee River and worked for the Atlanta Botanical Garden assisting with their plant collections in the Tropical Conservatory and the Fuqua Orchid Center, as well as serving as their international intern in Ecuador. He is a graduate of the Institute of Ecology at the University of Georgia with a BS in ecology and MS in conservation ecology. During his graduate thesis work, he studied orchids and their pollinators at the Maquipucuna Reserve and surrounding areas in Ecuador, and published an accompanying field guide to the area. Alex is an avid hiker and bicyclist, having both thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail and biked across the United States.

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Diane Staats (current station manager) graduated from Kenyon College with a history degree. She taught English in Quito, Ecuador in 2010 at Escuela "Raices" and Lima, Peru in 2011 through a Fulbright Teaching Grant. After finishing her summer work at Siempre Verde, Diane will volunteer with Mary Ellen Fiewieger through November 2013 and then hopes to get a teaching job in the U.S.

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Susanna Byrd (summer 2012) graduated from Kenyon College, where she majored in International Studies.  She also did a semester abroad in Ecuador through the School for International Training, where she worked in Santa Rosa with the Ruiz family. Since working at Siempre Verde, Susanna has been accepted as a fellow with the Allegheny Mountain School, where she will study local food production and sustainable land use.

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Other recent station managers have included Jeff McWhorter, David Kneas, Dean Hardy, and Randy Pfleger. Jeff is working on his graduate work in Mexico. He served as a human rights observer in Junin, Ecuador, for a couple of years, and he has guided the CARE group while in country. David Kneas completed his Ph.D. work at Yale, researching land use issues and history in Intag. Dean Hardy, who was our manager for three summers, recently began his Ph.D. at the University of Georgia. Randy Pfleger has been leading sustainability initiatives at Kentucky's Pine Mountain Settlement School.

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Nelson and Mari Ruiz are the on-site caretakers of Siempre Verde. Nelson is from Santa Rosa. He is the son of former owner of the property now known as Siempre Verde. He has vast knowledge of the forest due to years of experience in that region. Nelson is an expert dealing with horses as well as construction, including alternative materials, such as bamboo. Mari is from Plaza Gutierez, the oldest town in the Intag--more than 100 years old. Mari heads up food services at Siempre Verde. She is an expert chef and arguably the best in Santa Rosa. Nelson and Mari have three sons: Junior, Edwin, and Jefry.

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Did You Know?

Members of The Lovett School's language and science faculty serve as leaders for trips to Siempre Verde.