Christopher Sanchez, University of Miami
Chris Sanchez, a senior at the University of Miami, is deeply committed to addressing the environmental challenges facing South Florida and the planet. Through his work as a staff member at the Deering Estate at Cutler, an environmental, archaeological, and historical preserve, Chris aims to connect area residents with the natural environments around them, providing important experiential learning opportunities. In addition to leading outdoor field-trip programs for local elementary school students and other guests, Chris recently began to develop a citizen-science program so that anyone from the Miami community can participate in scientific research taking place in the park. His work also extends beyond South Florida and into the broader scientific community. While in high school, Chris began research in the Florida Everglades that led to a solo-authored publication in a top-tier peer-reviewed journal. Since 2011, he has also served as a student member in the NSF-funded Central Arizona Phoenix Long-Term Ecological Research program, and he is currently a near-peer mentor for minority high school students involved in that program. Chris fosters public understanding of the scientific processes at work in South Florida’s restoration ecology in order to build interest and enthusiasm in engaging and preserving the natural world.