Please tell us your name, your school, whether you have ever been to Latin America, do you teach any Latin American content now, what you hope to learn at the institute, any other information about yourself you would like to share. (To add to the wiki, click "Edit this Page". Then type in and save using the icons at the top of the wiki, which are similar to a word document. )


Sandy Davis, School Board of Alachua County, Joseph Williams Elementary Gifted Magnet Academy, second grade. I have only been through Latin America vicariously in thematic unit studies with my students. Community outreach is a major enriching experience of which I enjoy bringing into the classroom. The institute will add more depth of knowledge to learning about the people, ecosystem, animals, foods, and plants of the Rainforest. Saving our diverse planet resources is key to the balance children need in order to appreciate their planet.

Patricia (Lynn) Padgett, Alachua county Schools, Horizon Center, I have 6 years experience. I have never been to Latin America but I am excited about learning more about Latin America.

Janna Welch, Alachua County Schools- I just finished my first year of teaching Kindergarten. I specialized in ESOL during my masters and love learning about different countries and cultures. I have only been to Mexico for a week, but really enjoyed my time. I am looking forward to learning more about Latin America.

Kimberly Bracken, Palm Bay Elementary School, Brevard County Schools- I have 15 years of teaching experience that includes both Middle and Elementary School. I have never been to Latin America, but have adopted an acre through the Rainforest Alliance. I have a strong desire to one day visit a Tropical Rainforest. I am excited to be part of this unique learning experience.


Holly Hale, Sabal Elementary Brevard County I'm about to start my 10th year teaching and my 7th in first grade. I have not been to Latin America. I integrate all subject matters around science and social studies themes. I look forward to expanding on my bat, butterfly, and rain forest themes.

Mary Risner, UF - I have been to a variety of places in Latin America, but primarily in urban areas. I have only visited nature areas in Costa Rica, Ecuador. I look forward to learning from the speakers and hearing what teachers are doing in the classroom for the sciences.

Patricia Sampaio, UF - I am the mother of two little boys that love to get outside and explore nature. I am also a Biologist from Brazil and have been to several natural places in my home country and in LA. I have lived in a town in the heart of the Amazon Rainforest for 5 years, where I taught environmental education and guided groups of school kids to natural areas. At UF I work as the Tropical Conservation and Development Program Coordinator assisting students from the US and Latin America to carry out their graduate research in Tropical regions around the world. I am looking forward to hearing about your classroom experiences and sharing some of my background with you.

Tricia Coburn,Brevard County Teacher- I have taught elementary grades 1-4 over the the past 31 years with the majority of experience in 1st grade. I love seeing the excitement of a child when they learn to read. I have lived in Florida for most of my teaching career. I am married and have two grown sons and a teenage daughter. I enjoy being outside and gardenting with my husband.

Kari Watkins, J.J. Finley Elementary – I have been teaching 5th grade in Alachua County for the past 2 years and love that age group. J I have never been to Latin America but I do enjoy traveling around the United States. I like teaching math and science and I am looking forward to learning more about the diversity of different ecosystems.

Lisa Modola, Metcalfe Elementary - I have been teaching Elementary level students with Physical and Health impairments for 18 years. I have visited Mexico two times, once to see the Ruins, and natural areas in the Yucatan Peninsula, and once to see the Monarch Butterflys in Fir Forests of Michuacan.
I love teaching, and learning, especially about Science and Social Studies. My concerns include conserving land and in my personal life, I helped start an organization which protects Lands through Conservation. I am a volunteer on the board. For more information you can go to our website at http://www.putnamlandconservancy.org