Trevor Mendelow earned his Master’s Degree in Molecular Ecology and Marine Biology from Humboldt State University. He has seventeen years of experience in education and administration, teaching college for nine years until finding his passion teaching high school. He formed Teens4Oceans in 2007 at Kent Denver School in Denver, Colorado. He hoped that he and his school kids could engage their peers and youth at large to care about the ocean and recognize the importance of scientific research and experiential learning.
Trevor is the imagination and inspiration of T4O. He loves working with young people and believes deeply that if youth can experience and can understand the wonder and beauty of the ocean, they will make strides to preserve marine resources.
Family and friends of Mike Park always knew he would fulfill his childhood dreams of pursuing a career in nature and ecology. These interests became a reality while at the University of Colorado where he worked for the Biology Department, maintaining the lab’s aquariums for research and breeding programs. From his education and hands on work experience, Mike’s knowledge expanded greatly in Boulder, CO as owner of Aqua Imports, a retail store which specializes in sustainable collection, aquaculture, and captive bred livestock. It is through his business, that Mike first became acquainted with Teens4Oceans.
As a member of our organization, Mike was instrumental in designing, building, and installing the webcams, housings, and LED lighting for our programs. His knowledge about marine life and coral is extensive. His creativity and openness to new ideas, combined with an outgoing personality are the kind of leadership qualities students relate to easily. He enjoys spending time in the field and now dreams about establishing a small research station to support marine teaching activities. Mike is a pivotal member of our team, working countless hours on our program on top of working his full time job.
He has traveled extensively with Teens4Oceans, and works directly with students and mentors on projects they develop, as well as contributing to the many aspects of the web page and database. Mike was originally from New York and now makes his home in Boulder, CO and where he earned his baccalaureate in Environmental, Population and Organism Biology from the University of Colorado.
Don DeMaria is a commercial fisherman/diver who lives in the Florida Keys. In the late 1980s, Don spearheaded an effort to conserve a species of fish that was once common to the waters of the South East US, the Goliath Grouper. He became aware that the fish had become critically endangered, primarily due to overfishing during spawning aggregations. He wrote letters to any agency he could, explaining what he had discovered, and as a direct result of his citizenship and drive, the Goliath Grouper was placed on the Endangered Species List, giving it protection. Today, two decades later, the Goliath Grouper populations have become healthy and robust, and Don has become an inspiration to all of us at Teens4Oceans; every-day Americans can make a difference!
Don brings an incredible wealth of experience and insight to the T4O organization, and has served as an advisor, volunteer, advocate, and dear friend to all of us. He has assisted in benthic surveys and coral transplantation projects, collected invertebrates from marine waters for the National Cancer Institute, and worked as a research assistant for the Coral Reef Research Foundation in the South Pacific. His work involving the collection and photographing of marine invertebrates for the National Cancer Institute from areas around the US and outside US waters (Papua New Guinea, South Africa, Palau, Micronesia, Vanuatu, Vietnam, Bahrain and Australia) make Don one of T4O’s most valuable advisors.
Don has worked with, and helped, many different organizations on various fishery research projects including Fish and Wildlife Research Institute (State of Florida), several offices of the National Marine Fisheries Service, Caribbean Marine Research Center (CMRC), and the National Geographic Society. He has done deep wreck diving (200 to 350 feet) in the Florida Keys and Dry Tortugas areas, and has located and identified World War II wrecks and several other older shipwrecks in the deeper water using mixed gas.
Don was Lead Advisor for Summerhays Films, an environmental film-maker based in San Diego, California, is a member of many organization, including the State of Florida, Fish and Wildlife Commission Marine Life Working Group, the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council (Grouper Advisory Panel since 1990), the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council (Marine Reserves Advisory Panel since 1999), the Tortugas 2000 Working Group (helped establish the Dry Tortugas Ecological Reserves), the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary Advisory Council (elected vice-president of board for years), the Monroe County Marine and Port Advisory Board (appointed to the board by the County Commission), and the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council (Reef Fish Advisory Panel).
In April 2000, Don was awarded the Environmental Hero Award from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Dr. Erin Burge
Dr. Erin Burge is an Associate Professor of Marine Science at Coastal Carolina University in South Carolina. He received his Ph.D in marine science in 2003 and is an awarded educator and scientific researcher. Erin has been an enthusiastic supporter of the Teens4Oceans program for three years, and has developed meaningful and relevant interpretative and outreach tools with associated educational curricula. He has been the lead scientific advisor for the Teens4Oceans staff and student ambassadors, and has assisted the program by using underwater webcams to provide students access to reef fish behavior through the Internet. He and his students use the real-time data on fish behavior to evaluate influences of diurnal and seasonal patterns, visibility, temperature, and tidal regimes. He has developed powerful teaching and learning tools and provided the public and students around the world with an experience as close as possible to being in the ocean without getting wet!
He has traveled and assisted with installing cameras for the Teens4Oceans program to Akumal, Mexico and offshore of Cape Fear, North Carolina, and has performed Live Interpretative Chats for our coral reef cameras around the world. He continues to work with the Teens4Oceans program on organismal tagging research and fish identification projects. We are so excited to have Erin on our team!
Dr. Yannis P. Papastamatiou
Dr. Yannis P. Papastamatiou is a professor of marine science at Florida International University. He received his Ph.D. in 2008 and has a performed myriad of exciting research. He specializes in research on shark behavior and physiology, and has worked with the Teens4Oceans program for over four years. Yannis has joined students on expeditions in the Cayman Islands, performing a survey on the deep wall near the Cayman Islands Coral Reef Camera that has been enjoyed by thousands of students over the years. Students love hearing about his work and his ventures in to the deep on trimix diving equipment.
Yannis has engaged our students around the world with his knack for finding relevance and importance in his work. Sharks being top predator, he knows that we must understand their biology and their migration patterns, and he has helped our students immeasurably in their understanding of the pressures that face our oceans. Yannis is a world-class researcher and educator, and we are honored to have him on Board of Directors.
Chris is a conscientious manager who loves to educate people in the ocean and environment. She loves to see people grow, develop and achieve their goals. She supports environmental issues; is a volunteer leader in the Bonaire Junior Ranger program, and she runs a Coral Restoration project at Great Adventures Bonaire and moved the company and instructors to be 100% aware. She has NPL, coaching and development training which she brings into her education, teaching and management of the dive shop.
Chris is also a PADI Dive Master and PADI Master Instructor. She volunteers as a leader for the Junior Ranger program and runs their Teens4oceans projects. We are very excited to have Chris on our new Board of Directors.
Mary Fran Park
Mary Fran Park is a scientist and educator who earned her Masters Degree in Marine Science from the University of San Diego in 2002. She has traveled all over the world performing research in Antarctica, California, and the Caribbean. She has worked with the Teens4Oceans program for over seven years and spent her teaching career helping students appreciate the huge diversity of scientific research in related fields, including biology, marine science, biochemistry, anatomy, physiology, ecology, and forensic science. She has traveled extensively with Teens4Oceans and is a role model for students and other educators that we work with.
Mary Fran is a gifted scientist and teacher. Her enthusiasm and love of teaching is contagious, and she brings science to life both in the classroom and in her writing. We are so excited to have Mary Fran on our Board of Directors!