BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Operations and Outreach Manager: Trina Hofreiter
Trina loves nurturing the networks that connect people to the land around them, and to each other. A fourth-generation Floridian, she grew up in awe of sea turtles and cypress domes and has built a career at the intersection of program development and grant management. She has a BA in Environmental Science from New College of Florida and an MS in Forestry and Environmental Education from University of Florida, is the author of Florida Ag in the Classroom's Gardening for Grades K-12 curriculum, and has managed education programs for The Nature Conservancy, the US Fish and Wildlife Service, Disney's Animal Kingdom and the City of Orlando's Leu Gardens with a focus on creative, hands-on, student-led experiences. Trina delights in facilitating groups to make positive community change; she led Orlando's interdepartmental working group to permit Community Gardens and helped build the first 11 community and school gardens in Central Florida. Prior to the pandemic, Trina managed the largest cohort of volunteers in Bok Tower Gardens' history, developing new and creative ways to connect, track and manage program impacts. Trina speaks Spanish and has a passion for environmental justice and equity; as the Development Director for La Comunidad she has garnered over $300,000 to support their ESOL, community leadership and workforce development programs. Most recently, Trina managed a $1 M Medicare grant program to install therapeutic gardens in elder care communities across Florida. She is looking forward to bringing her expertise to LEEF's Outreach and Development Manager role, and looks forward to all of the connections and resources that will bloom across Florida from our collective efforts.
President: Autumn Reich
Autumn Reich has a BS in Outdoor Recreation from Mars Hill College/University and is a Certified Parks and Recreation Professional (CPRP) and has worked with youth (and adults) for over 30 years in a variety of settings from homeschooling, church and in the municipal(parks and recreation) environment.
Over the last 20 years, Autumn has been employed with the City of Safety Harbor were she has been a Supervised Playground Supervisor, Nature Program Coordinator, Youth and Family Events Coordinator, Director of the before and after school programs for K-8th grade and Full Day Camps (K-8th) for the City of Safety Harbor. Most recently she has be assigned to the City’s nature preserve (11 acre parcel) and responsible for all programming on the property ranging from young children to families to adults. Her goal is to increase and improve the quality of nature or environmental programs for children and adults. She became a certified Florida Advanced Master Naturalist 2019.
She has also been actively involved with the Florida Parks and Recreation Association (FRPA) over the past 20 years as a speaker, VO and committee person for planning regional conferences. Her passion has always been nature and the great outdoors and now with the new job assignment she would like to give back and help others spread the message by promoting environmental stewardship through experiences, and education. Being a part of the board for LEEF is one way to accomplish that goal.
President Elect: Dr. Melissa Parks
Melissa Parks, PhD, is an associate professor of education at Stetson University. Dr. Parks has served on the National Science Teaching Association (NSTA) Outstanding Science Trade Book Award Committee and as an Area Director for the Florida Association of Science Teachers. She is currently a member of the NSTA Early Childhood- Elementary Science Teaching Committee and is the President-Elect of the League of Environmental Educators in Florida (LEEF). Using her educational platforms, Dr. Parks strives to support and encourage educators to create meaningful, content-rich experiential learning experiences. Embedded in those experiences, she hopes to inspire environmental stewardship founded in appreciation of and knowledge about the natural world. Dr. Parks believes there is no substitute for being outside and is passionate about supporting students as they learn about the natural world and develop their environmental identity and personal stewardship. Dr. Parks’ research has been published in national and international journals and presented during local, regional, and national conferences.
Treasurer Team/Finance Committee: Jennifer Diaz, Robin Reccasina and Autumn Reich
Past President: Jennifer Diaz
Jennifer taught mathematics and science to elementary and middle school students for more than 15 years and has extensive experience as a science coach and science curriculum development. In addition to the classroom, she served as a science leader, science club organizer, and team leader of the Southeastern Consortium for Minorities in Engineering. Prior to joining the Everglades Foundation, Jenny was a Science Curriculum Specialist for Miami-Dade County Public Schools working with school site administrators, teachers, students and parents. Diaz provided school site support for low performing schools, to model effective science teaching, share resources, motivate, encourage and support professionalism in STEM teachers. She also served as Miami-Dade County Public Schools director of two grants, University of Florida’s STEM TIPS teacher induction program-funded by the Department of Education and University of Miami’s Promoting Science Among English Language Learners (P-SELL)-funded by The National Science Foundation. She graduated from Florida State University with a bachelor’s in health education/community health and Nova Southeastern University with a master’s in educational leadership. In addition, Jenny holds a science-teaching certificate in STEM Education from Columbia University’s Teachers College, awarded by the NASA Endeavor Fellowship Program.
Secretary: Robin Reccasina
Hi, my name is Robin Reccasina. I have a B.S. in Zoology from North Carolina State University, an M.S. in Biology Education from Long Island University, and am a Florida Master Naturalist Instructor. I have been LEEF’s Board Secretary since 2011. I am also the Executive Director at the Sawgrass Nature Center & Wildlife Hospital in Coral Springs, FL where I have served in all capacities as an employee since 2014 and volunteer since the late 90’s.
I enjoyed a childhood with the freedom to explore the outdoors at my leisure and have always been amazed at the wonders of nature. I enjoy sharing my discoveries with others which led me to life of teaching both in and out of the classroom for over 30 years. LEEF offers a great forum to learn and network with others who share the same passion.
Native to North Carolina, I have been in Florida since 1996 where my husband and I have raised two children.
Director 1: John Martinez
John Martinez is an award winning educator, executive coach, corporate trainer, and father of three. He resides in Orlando, Florida where he teaches fifth grade at Millennia Gardens Elementary (Orange County Public Schools). John is the president of Eco Club which is a program that is at Millennia Gardens Elementary School and Westridge Middle school. In 2018 John won the state of Florida teaching Ag in the classroom award and the National Teaching Ag in the classroom award. In 2019 John took a group of Millennia Garden Eco Club students camping at Everglades National Park, and this was the first school in Orange County to participate in this program. In 2022 Millennia Gardens won the Orange County Green School Award, the state of Florida's Green Apple Award, and the US Department of Education's Green Ribbon Award. In December of 2022 John graduated from UCF with a masters degree in teaching K-8 Math and Science. John has been a speaker at the Florida Association of Science Teachers (FAST) conference and at National Science Teachers Association Conferences.
Director 2: Dr. John (Jack) Scarbrough
Hi, my name is John (Jack) Scarbrough and my family and I have happily made Florida our home since 2010. Since this time, I’ve been teaching biology classes at AdventHealth University in Orlando. I grew up in a rural, northern California town and fondly remember my mother taking me on nature walks and teaching me the names of local plants and animals. From a very young age, she instilled in me a love and appreciation for nature that has continued throughout my adult life. In college, I majored in biology and especially enjoyed studying marine invertebrates along the California coast. My graduate work focused on genetics, but I have always been interested in ecology and conservation and people’s interactions with nature. For many years, I taught a non-majors, environmental science class called “Life in the Balance” and developed a passion for helping all types of students to appreciate nature and to give value to the natural world. One of my overall objectives is working with others to get learners, from all educational levels, into the outdoors and teach them about the interconnectedness of nature and our place within it. I am honored to serve as a LEEF board member and be part of a professional organization working to promote environmental stewardship, education, and literacy.
Lori is the Instructional Systems Specialist at St. Marks NWR. She grew up in Oklahoma, has taught in OK, TX, and FL. She has resided in this area of Florida for the past 20 years. She received her B.S. in Elementary Education from Northeastern State University in Oklahoma, and her B.S. and M.S. in Wildlife and Fisheries Ecology from Oklahoma State University. She has worked both in formal and non-formal education, teaching all ages. She has taught in schools, a museum, and acted as Senior Interpretive Education Instructor/Facilitator for Disney’s Wilderness Adventures at Walt Disney World. Lori enjoys being outdoors, horseback riding, fishing hiking, and gardening. During her 18-year tenure at St. Marks NWR numbers reached in environmental education programs and outreach has gone from 5400 to over 14,000 participants annually. She currently acts as the Chair (president) for the Florida Project Learning Tree state steering committee. Lori also partners with the state wildlife agency FWC acting as hunt master for two youth hunts held on the refuge annually.
Director 4: Dawn Miller-Walker
I am the owner and program director of Science Eye and co-founder and program director of Environmental Conservation Organization. I have over 20 years of environmental education experience teaching principals of ecosystems, conservation, ethical angling, and other aspects of plant, animal, aquatic biology, Earth, and physical sciences through hand-on, inquiry-based in-school and in-the-field programs. For me, science is not a noun, but a verb… with a passion to encourage others whether it is students PreK-3-college, teachers or the general public to have a Take Action Now! approach to conserve our precious environment.
I have been a lifetime LEEF member since I started full time in the environmental education field because it fully supports my missions and values of EE. A board member since 2014, I remain on the board because I not only support what LEEF does, but I find it comforting to be surrounded by other board members who have the same drive and passion I do for EE.
Director 5: Alicia Torres
I am a native Floridian who spent her childhood running barefoot on the family farm, raising horses, tending my garden with my grandma, building tree forts in the nearby woods, exploring rivers and trails, and doing anything else I could think of in order to spend as much time as possible outdoors. These cherished childhood experiences set me on a path to value and appreciate the wonder and beauty of nature, both in my professional and personal life.
I earned my B.A. in Education from the University of Florida with a specialization in middle grades science, my M.A. in Education from Florida Atlantic University, and my Ed.S. degree in Curriculum & Instruction from FAU with a specialization in environmental education. I have 15 years of formal classroom experience teaching science to children ranging in age from PreK3 to the 7th grade. In all my years of teaching, the thing I loved the most was being a part of a student’s “Aha!” moment.
My love for the outdoors and passion for the environment eventually steered my career away from the traditional science classroom and more toward the field of environmental education. I spent three years working at Florida Atlantic University’s Pine Jog Environmental Education Center as a Program Coordinator. There, I worked closely with educators and students across the South Florida region in providing Everglades education, solar energy programs, Green School initiatives, and facilitating Project WILD and Project Learning Tree professional development. More recently, I shifted over to working at The Everglades Foundation where I am currently the K-12 Everglades Champion Schools Program Manager. My work now involves curriculum development, program management, and training educators who share the goal of helping their schools become Everglades Champion Schools.
Director 6: Danielle Ivey
My name is Danielle Ivey and I am an educator, artist, and land manager. As a youngster my two passions were drawing and exploring outside, now many, many years later things have not really changed. I have a BA in Environmental Studies and Growth Management from Rollins College. I have worked as an ecologist in a wide array of jobs in Central Florida. I have worked in regulatory compliance and enforcement, permitting, and to my current role as a land manager focusing on restoration. Throughout all my roles I have worked closely with the outreach department(s) to focus on educating not just children, but also our adult citizens. I feel the road to environmental stewardship is through education and sharing your passion for nature. Once you can show someone the beauty and splendor of natural Florida, they may fall in love. You protect what you love.
I am also an artist and find art is a wonderful way to explore the outdoors. Everyone you know was born
an artist and scientist. As we grow, we tend to think those two things are not for us. I am not “good” at
science or I am not “talented” enough for art. Good news, that is Baloney! I run a Nature Journal Club in
West Central Florida called Creative Nature Adventures to share my passions. My goal with the club is to
get people out into nature and make a stronger connection by observation using words, numbers and
drawing in a journal. I passionately believe environmental education is the key to healing our
environment and people. I am excited to work with LEEF to expand EE throughout the state. I spend as
much time as I can outside with my family hiking, biking, kayaking, camping, sketching and cloud gazing.
SEEA Representatives: Autumn Reich and Trina Hofreiter
Parliamentarian and Project WET: Eileen Tramontana
Our Board meets the last Thursday of each month via Zoom. Please contact us if you would like a link to attend the Board meeting.
View the April 2023 minutes for General Meeting approval: 04-27-23_LEEF Board Meeting.pdf
View the April 2023 financial report for General Meeting approval: LEEF Financial Statement March 2023.pdf
Interested in learning more about Board Member duties?
Founded in 1983, the League of Environmental Educators in Florida is the professional association for individuals and organizations dedicated to the cause of environmental education in Florida. We are the state affiliate for North American Association for Environmental Education (NAAEE), an organization that brings together those interested in the study and enjoyment of our natural world and one that has promoted excellence in environmental education throughout North America and the world for over four decades.
The League of Environmental Educators in Florida is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.
© 2021by the League of Environmental Educators in Florida.