Staff

Eric Eikenberg

Chief Executive Officer

Appointed to the position of CEO by the Foundation’s board of directors in July 0f 2012, Eric Eikenberg has extensive policy and political experience in Tallahassee and Washington, D.C. During his time in public service, Eikenberg served as chief of staff to former Gov. Charlie Crist and former U.S. Rep. E. Clay Shaw. Immediately preceding his joining the Everglades Foundation, Eikenberg served as senior policy advisor at the law firm of Holland & Knight, LLP co-chairing the firm’s Florida Government Advocacy Team with former Gov. Bob Martinez. As the CEO of the Everglades Foundation, Eikenberg leads the Foundation's science, advocacy, communications and legal teams, which are nationally recognized for their expertise in Everglades restoration. A graduate of the American University and Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Eric and his family live in Miami.

Stanley Boynton

Director of the Naples Office

A native and resident of Naples, Fla., Stanley Boynton has extensive professional experience in the non-profit world -- including fundraising and leadership -- both in the United States and Latin America.  Boynton has lived and worked in Colombia, Puerto Rico, Panama and Guatemala. In the United States, he has worked for extensive periods of time for the Navajo Tribe in Arizona, Tuskegee University and the Guadalupe Center of Immokalee in Immokalee, Florida. A life-long environmentalist, he has served on the boards of the Panama Audubon Society and the Collier County Audubon Society. He studied at Eckerd College and the New School University. He speaks English and Spanish fluently. 

Tom Van Lent, Ph.D.

Director of Science & Policy

Runner, swimmer, bike rider, aficionado of Icelandic poetry, soccer referee...Thomas Van Lent is a 21st-century Renaissance man. In addition to aforementioned pursuits, Van Lent is currently the Director of Science and Policy at the Everglades Foundation, where he works on providing scientific and technical support to non-governmental environmental organizations supported by the Foundation.  His responsibilities include presenting expert analysis of hydrologic, engineering, and ecological information to assist in development of Everglades restoration alternatives and meeting Everglades restoration and protection objectives. Van Lent has a distinguished career as a scientist and engineer. He graduated from South Dakota State University before attending the University of Minnesota and Stanford University where he received master’s and doctorate’s degrees respectively. He has also worked at the South Florida Water Management District, Everglades National Park and as an assistant professor at South Dakota State University. Van Lent is a resident of the Florida Keys and received the George M. Barley Conservationist of the Year Award for his ability to convey highly technical information in understandable terms to decision-makers on Everglades restoration.

Aida Arik

Ecological Engineer

Originally from Tucson, Arizona where she earned her bachelor’s degree in Hydrology and Water Resources from the University of Arizona, Aida Arik joins the Everglades Foundation as the Ecological Engineer. Having a passion for finding the interface between humans and the environment, Arik moved to Oregon to work in the field of ecosystem restoration. While in Oregon, she earned her master’s degree in Water Resources Engineering from Oregon State University. Although she misses the rock climbing in Arizona and the mountain biking in Oregon, Arik is enjoying the diverse outdoor activities that South Florida has to offer.

Gloria Calle

Development Assistant

Gloria Calle joins the Foundation as the development assistant. Prior to her position with the Everglades Foundation, she worked at Excalibur Electronics, Inc., an international electronics product company. The long-time Miami resident was formerly employed with the multi-national oil and gas company, Cooper Energy Services. She is a graduate of Grace Institute Business School in New York City.

Stephen E. Davis III, Ph.D.

Wetland Ecologist

Davis, a native of Ohio, graduated from Georgetown College in Georgetown, Ky., with a bachelor’s degree in biology and environmental science. In addition, he attended Morehead State University in Morehead, Ky., and received a master’s degree in biological and environmental science. He attained his doctorate of philosophy in Miami, Fla., from Florida International University. In his role as wetland ecologist with the Foundation, Davis continues his extensive body of wetland research that dates back more than a decade -- most recently at Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas -- where he served as an assistant professor then associate professor for the past eight years. Davis leads Everglades research projects on mangrove wetland biogeochemistry and carbon dynamics.

Jennifer Diaz

Director of Education

Jennifer Diaz serves as the Director of Education for the Everglades Foundation. In her role, Diaz oversees the implementation of the Everglades Literacy program, a K-12 curriculum, which will allow students to learn the history and science of this unique ecosystem. Diaz has over 15 years of teaching experience in the classroom. Prior to her position with the Everglades Foundation, Diaz was a Science Curriculum Specialist for Miami-Dade County Public Schools, and Director of multiple science grants related to novice science teacher induction and Promoting Science Among English Language Learners (P-SELL). She graduated from Florida State University with a bachelor’s in health education/community health and obtained her masters in educational leadership from Nova Southeastern University. In addition, Diaz holds a science-teaching certificate in STEM education.

Debra Durant

Director of Special Projects

Debra Durant serves as Director of Special Projects with the Development Department at the Everglades Foundation.  In her role, Durant focuses on fundraising and external relations programs for the Foundation throughout south Florida. Prior to joining the Everglades Foundation, Durant served for 30 years in senior development and marketing positions with south Florida non-profit organizations including Bascom Palmer Eye Institute/University of Miami, Miami Children’s Museum and Jack & Jill Children’s Center/Ft. Lauderdale. Most recently, she served as Associate Vice President of Marketing at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. A fourth generation Floridian, Debra graduated from the University of Alabama with a bachelor’s in Communications and graduate work in American Studies. 

Vivian Miller

Director of Outreach

Vivian Miller is the Foundation's Director of Outreach. In her role, Miller coordinates and oversees external events including educational tours and briefings for lawmakers and supporters to educate them about the benefits of restoration. Prior to her position with the Everglades Foundation, Miller was Director of Community Relations at the University of Miami, and an artifact curator for the Archaeological and Historical Conservancy. She graduated from Florida State University with a bachelor’s in anthropology and obtained her master's at the University of Miami.

G. Melodie Naja, Ph.D.

Chief Scientist

G. Melodie Naja is the Foundation's Chief Scientist. Prior to joining the Everglades Foundation, Naja—a former resident of Montreal, Canada, and graduate of University Henry Poincaré in Nancy, France--was a research officer at the National Research Council of Canada and visiting professor at McGill University in Montreal.  She holds a bachelor’s degree in physical chemistry, a master’s degree in molecular and physical chemistry and her doctorate in environmental physical chemistry and chemical engineering, all from the University Henry Poincaré. Naja has conducted research as a consultant for government institutions, non-governmental organizations and the corporate sector. Naja has a penchant for delighting the Foundation staff with offerings of the Middle Eastern pistachio and honey-laden dessert known as bird nest.

Loren Parra

Executive Assistant to the CEO

Loren Parra serves as the Executive Assistant to the CEO at the Everglades Foundation. In her role, Loren works directly with the CEO on daily administrative tasks and serves as a liaison between staff, the Board of Directors and the CEO. Prior to joining the Foundation, Loren worked with State Representative Jose Javier Rodriguez throughout the 2013 legislative session, and as a staff-intern to the Nature Conservancy of Florida.  A South Florida native, Loren graduated from the University of Florida with a dual-bachelors degree in Political Science and Sustainability Studies.

Dawn Shirreffs

Senior Everglades Policy Advisor

In her role, Dawn focuses on researching, developing, and implementing policy positions relating to Everglades protection and restoration strategies with a variety of stakeholders and agencies. Dawn has more than 13 years of wide ranging non-profit experience public and government affairs, non-profit management and campaigns.  Her background includes caring for and training large exotic animals at a wildlife sanctuary, spearheading regional growth management and national park advocacy campaigns, coordinating grassroots support, leading an alliance of 57 conservation organizations on Everglades issues and founding Everglades Day legislation adopted by the Florida legislature in 2012.  Dawn, a New York native, holds a B.A. in Environmental Studies and Growth Management from Rollins College and a Masters in Public Administration from Florida International University.

Moni Spivey

Office Administrator

Moni Barrios serves as the Everglades Foundation’s Office Administrator. In her role at the Foundation, she works on a variety of operational projects. Barrios brings extensive business experience including office administration, project management and human resources. Barrios' previous employment includes The Early Childhood Initiative Foundation, Carnival Cruise Lines, Sandals Resorts and The Home Depot. A Miami native, Barrios enjoys the outdoors through her passion for motorcycles, fishing and traveling.

Hong Xu

Environmental Engineer

Hong Xu is the Foundation’s Environmental Engineer. She graduated from Tsinghua University in Beijing, China with a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Engineering. She obtained her Masters in Civil and Environmental Engineering from the University of Miami. In addition to being registered in Florida as a professional engineer, she has also had experience in hydraulic and hydrologic modeling and design for CERP projects. As an environmental engineer at the Everglades Foundation, she conducts ecosystem modeling (hydrologic, water quality, economic) and performs mathematical and computational analyses for environmental engineering issues.