As Executive Director of Citizens for a Better South Florida, Ms. Ziems cultivates community partnerships to develop effective collaborative programming and implements the organization’s mission to provide environmental education to the underserved community of South Florida. Prior to this position, she worked for the Earth Ethics Institute at Miami Dade College as an AmeriCorps VISTA Program Coordinator. She recruited and trained students for civic engagement and experiential learning opportunities related to environmental stewardship, healthy futures, and economic impact. She received her Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science from the University of Florida School of Natural Resources and Environment, as well as three minors in Mass Communication, Sustainability Studies, and Ethics. While attending the University of Florida, she also conducted research concerning tropical cyclones and received a certificate in Climatology and Meteorology. Ms. Ziems is currently completing her MBA at Florida International University.
Susan Chetwood is CITIZENS’ Director of Finance and has been with CITIZENS since early 2010. Susan is responsible for the financial management of grants and assists with educational outreach programs. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Florida International University, after which she was the Project Director of two multi-million dollar grants at the Department of Children & Families following Hurricane Andrew in 1992, and then the Grants Coordinator at the Alliance for Human Services overseeing the Notice of Funds Availability for the Miami-Dade County’s human services dollars from 2003 until they closed their doors in 2008.
Marina Barrientos is the Program Director and Lead Educator for CITIZENS’. Ms. Barrientos facilitates Community Science Workshops, which are after school programs designed to promote science and environmental awareness through experimentation and hands-on learning for students in grades K-12. She has an Associate in Arts degree in Environmental Science from Miami Dade College and is currently completing her Bachelor’s degree in Sustainability and the Environment from Florida International University. Ms. Barrientos is also an intern with the Miami-Dade County Office of Resilience. She conducts research and collects data on current trends and developments that relate to sustainability for the community. Ms. Barrientos is a passionate environmentalist and has been actively volunteering with beach cleanups and park restoration events like Baynanza and International Coastal Cleanup Day, for over 22 years.
Raquel Martinez is the Program Assistant at Citizens for a Better South Florida pursuing a Bachelor’s in Arts Degree in Environmental and Sustainability Studies at Florida International University. Her desire for living sustainably and advocating for the preservation of our environment and the diverse species that thrive within has been fueled by her experience working with organizations that promote environmental protection and activism, such as the Earth Ethics Institute at Miami Dade College, Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, and the DuMond Conservancy for Primates and Tropical Forests. Raquel looks forward to gaining further experience at CITIZENS’, embodying her beliefs and working towards bettering the future of our environment and those who live in it.
Juan Gualberto Fernandez is CITIZENS’ Go Native! Nursery Manager. He graduated from the Institute of Higher Education in Cuba with a Bachelor of Science in Biology and Education. He is a Certified Arborist through the International Society of Arboriculture and a native plant expert. Mr. Fernandez serves as a consultant to CITIZENS on Urban Greening and Community Forestry projects. He is the biologist who pioneered the ecological restoration of Virginia Key. Mr. Fernandez is currently the Senior Park Naturalist for the City of Miami.
Reinel Muñoz is part of CITIZENS’ Event Support Staff Team. He has been involved with the organization since July 2015. Reinel is currently pursuing his Bachelors in Construction Management from Florida International University. He is responsible for outreach activities to engage residents in the program, as well as planning tree plantings for our Neighbors Replanting Neighborhoods program.