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Celebrating our Education Team on International Women's Day

When it comes to Florida’s Everglades, The Everglades Foundation stands out for its commitment to restoring and protecting the Everglades ecosystem, but also for empowering the next generation of conservation stewards with its all-women education team.

International Women’s Day is a celebration of the remarkable achievements and contributions made by women across the globe and it’s important to recognize the tremendous impact that the Everglades education team has made across the state of Florida.

The education team is composed of eight committed women who are located throughout the Everglades watershed and have more than a combined 100 years of experience in education.

The team is led by Jennifer Diaz, Vice President of Education, who has been with the program since its start in 2014. In South Florida, she is joined by Education Program Manager Bianca Cassouto, Everglades Champion Schools Manager Alicia Torres, and Senior Administrative Assistant, Jeannette Rubio.

A major success for the program has been the addition of Regional Program Coordinators located within the watershed including Tate Vangellow in Southwest Florida, Alyssa Saldarriaga in the Treasure Coast, Tessa Whalen in South Florida, and Environmental Education Specialist Susan Toth on the West Coast.

From hands-on Everglades Literacy Teacher Training sessions throughout the year to in-person classroom presentations to students, and outdoor professional development days in the field, these dedicated women are giving teachers and students the tools and knowledge to drive cultural change within these Florida schools to the benefit of local and ecological communities.

Created by teachers for teachers, the STEM-based Everglades Literacy Program offers the world’s only free, standards-aligned PreK-12 Everglades curriculum. The program also provides free printed lessons and materials for teachers to take back to their classrooms.

Since its start in 2014, the Everglades Literacy Program has trained nearly 6,500 educators in 30 Florida school districts, impacting over 200,000 students. In 2024 thus far, its tenth year of the program, the education team has trained over 300 teachers in eight Florida counties.

Additionally, there is the K-12 Everglades Champion Schools Program which recognizes exceptional schools in Florida. These schools participate in Everglades professional development, integrate Everglades literacy into the classroom with lesson plans, projects, and field experiences, develop a culture of Everglades stewardship, and take action in the community. In its eighth year of the program, over 100 schools are applying to become an Everglades Champion School

For the last ten years, these ladies played a pivotal role in spreading awareness about the Everglades with its exceptional education team, and their dedication and accomplishments are making a lasting impact. Their commitment to Everglades education not only helps preserve the unique Everglades ecosystem but also helps to shape the minds of future leaders who will carry the torch of Everglades restoration forward.

On this International Women’s Day, we salute and congratulate the all-women Everglades Literacy Program team for their commitment to our Florida teachers and to the next generation of Everglades stewards. 

To learn more about the Everglades Literacy program visit:


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