Meet the CATH Team

Margaret Meade, a beloved cultural anthropologist, once said,


“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world.

Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

The Children Are The Hope (CATH) team is a group of thoughtful and committed educators, scientists, biologists, researchers, academics, parents, naturalists, artists, and environmentally-mindful human beings who are dedicated to bringing the world’s cultures and peoples together in meaningful and colorful ways. Each member of the CATH team is passionate about children, teaching, and sharing the adventures of life with others. We hope you will join our team… let’s change the world!

Meet the CATH Team!


Korie Klink – CATH Founder and Executive Director

“Children Are The Hope is my passion… it brings meaning to my life.”

Born and raised in Bemidji, Minnesota, Korie migrated to Wisconsin in 1992 to study biology and writing on the shores of Lake Superior at Northland College in Ashland.  After completing her undergraduate degree, she spent two years as a naturalist with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources at Big Bay State Park on Madeline Island. In 1997, Korie joined the International Crane Foundation in Baraboo, Wisconsin, and worked there for 12 years. For 11 years of that time, she was the Project Director for an environmental education project in Cuba focused on the endangered Cuban Sandhill Crane.In 2009, Korie refocused the project into an independent venture, partnering with the University of Havana and the Empresa Nacional para la Proteccion de la Flora y Fauna in Cuba. She’s travelled to Cuba nearly 20 times during the course of the project history, and has had the wonderful opportunity to engage with children across the United States and Cuba for the project, which includes an international crane- and nature-based art exchange. Korie named the project Children Are The Hope to honor the remarkable insight of the great Cuban poet and national hero, José Martí, who once said, “In the children is the hope of the world.” This special perspective has become the mantra of Children Are The Hope, and continues to inspire its work and mission.

In August of 2012, Korie completed her graduate studies at the University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point where she earned an MS Degree in Natural Resources with an emphasis in Environmental Education and Interpretation. Her research evaluated and measured the impact of the Children Are The Hope program on the environmental literacy, environmental sensitivity and responsible environmental behavior of 4th – 6th grade students in Wisconsin and the Gran Humedal del Norte region of central Cuba. Results of Korie’s work will guide CATH into the future.

Korie is also a Certified Interpretive Trainer and Certified Interpretive Guide and has worked with training both classroom and pre-service teachers in internationally recognized environmental programs. she is also an active member of the Wisconsin Bird Conservation Initiative Education Committee and has received a certificate of post-graduate study from the Jose Marti Instituto Superior Pedagogico in Camaguey, Cuba for leading an environmental education workshop.


Marcia Elena Rodríguez Quintana – National Environmental Education Program Coordinator – Empresa Nacional para la Proteccion de la Flora y Fauna

Marcia completed her bachelor’s degree studies in History and Social Sciences at the Enrique José Varona Pedagogical Institute in Havana in 1989. She has worked with the Empresa Nacional para la Proteccion de la Flora y Fauna as a Specialist in Protected Areas and Environmental Education since 1994. In 2000, Marcia was appointed the National Environmental Education Program Coordinator and is now responsible for coordinating and delivering workshops, meetings, gatherings, festivals, and campaigns in partnership with the staff of Cuba’s protected areas, such as the Grand Wetland of the North. She has participated in numerous national and international events, presenting papers on Cuba’s protected natural areas and environmental education. She has also participated in numerous training courses both in Cuba and abroad on natural protected areas, biodiversity, and wetland management. Marcia also works with international teams in topics related to these topics, in addition to eco-tourism, planning, and management for protected areas.


Dulce Maria Cruz Simon – Environmental Educator – Empresa Nacional para la Proteccion de la Flora y Fauna

Dulce completed her 12th grade studies and holds a Technician Degree in Agronomy. She has worked with the Empresa Nacional para la Proteccion de la Flora y Fauna since 2004. For three years, Dulce worked as a Conservation Specialist at Laguna de la Leche near Moron City in Ciego de Avila province. In 2007, she began work as an Environmental Promoter in the environmental education project involving CATH. Since January 2008, Dulce has also worked as an Integral Forestry Technician and is the head of the environmental education efforts in the Grand Wetland of the North region.


Maritza Laza Gomez – Environmental Educator – Empresa Nacional para la Proteccion de la Flora y Fauna

Maritza completed her 12th grade studies and received a Technician Degree in Accounting and Finance from the Alvaro Reinoso Training School of MINAZ in 2004. Since 2008, Maritza has worked with the Empresa Nacional para la Proteccion de la Flora y Fauna as a Conservation and Wildlife Protection Worker in the El Venero Wildlife Refuge in Ciego de Avila, as well as a technician in the environmental education project partnering with CATH.


Jenny Jimenez Paez- Environmental Educator – Empresa Nacional para la Proteccion de la Flora y Fauna

Jenny completed her 12th grade studies and began her Bachelor’s Degree in Spanish and Literature. In 2004, she began working with the Empresa Nacional para la Proteccion de la Flora y Fauna in the Ana Maria Keys Wildlife Refuge, Municipality of Jucaro, in Ciego de Avila province as Conservation Specialist. Just two months later, Jenny started to work with the environmental education project as an Environmental Promoter, and continues to be an integral connection to the children and environment of Cuba’s remarkable coastal region.




MSc. Tomas A. Ramirez Andujar – Children Are The Hope Interpreter and Technical Advisor

Tommie completed his graduate studies in English language and literature at the José Martí Pedagogical University of Camagüey and earned his master’s degree in Contemporary English and Educational Technology, focusing on distance learning, computer assisted instruction, and free software. He teaches courses on English language and literature, educational technology and advanced operating systems, and has collaborated with the Children are the Hope Project since 2004. Tommie currently works as the design team leader for Center of Studies for Instructive Games and Software and also coordinates educational and environmental activities in the communities of central Cuba. He also served as a research assistant for Korie’s graduate studies program.


Dr. Dennis Denis Avila – University of Havana Faculty

Dennis completed his undergraduate degree in Biology in 1996 and then focused his studies on the reproductive biology of wetland birds in Cuba. He obtained his PhD from the University of Havana, where he is a currently a faculty member and Assistant Professor in the Biology Department. He teaches courses in Ecology, Biostatistics and Ornithology, among others. Dennis has published more than 25 scientific articles and has given over 52 professional presentations at more than 30 scientific events throughout Cuba. Dr. Denis has received various University and national awards for teaching and investigative excellence.


MSc. Yarelys Ferrer Sánchez – Empresa Nacional para la Proteccion de la Flora y la Fauna and University of Havana PhD Candidate

Yarelys completed her graduate studies at the University of Havana and is currently a staff member of the Empresa Nacional para la Proteccion de la Flora y la Fauna (ENPPFF) as well as a PhD candidate through the University of Havana. Her graduate research focused on the reproductive behaviors, territory selection and daily activities of the endangered and endemic Cuban Sandhill Crane. She currently leads continued research on the cranes in the Venero Refuge of Ciego de Avila province in Cuba, one of the important target areas of this project. She also coordinates and organizes the nature festivals and works with regional educators to facilitate the international art exchange.


The CATH Board of Directors

Dr. Dan Sivek

Dan Sivek is a Professor of Environmental Education (Emeritus).”, and past chair of the Human Dimensions of Natural Resource Management discipline at the University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point. During the 2008-2009 academic year, he worked in Puerto Rico with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service developing a visitor services plan for Vieques National Wildlife Refuge. He has led several study trips to destinations including Puerto Rico, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Mexico/Belize/Guatemala, and China. He previously worked for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and at environmental centers and camps. Dr. Sivek teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in environmental education and advises students at both levels. His areas of interest include environmental behavior, environmental sensitivity, and environmental education program evaluation. Dr. Sivek is a reviewer for two environmental education journals and consulting editor for a third.


Janet MooreJanet_MoorePhoto

Janet is an environmental educator with the Earth Partnership for Schools program at the UW-Madison Arboretum, providing teachertraining, restoration based curriculum development, and ongoing classroom support to k-12 schools. She has also developed and implemented a comprehensive environmental education program in the McFarland School district as School Forest Coordinator, and was recipient of the statewide 2008 LEAF School Forest Award for her efforts in leading community members, teachers, students, and staff in restoration efforts in the school forest that enhance existing curriculum across many subject areas. As a working artist for two decades, Janet has won numerous awards and exhibited her work in many public venues, including Olbrich Botanical Gardens in Madison, WI (solo show) and the National Arboretum in Washington D.C. Currently, Janet is a returning student at UW-Madison in Art and Environmental Studies, she is interested in the integration of art and science and the power of the visual image in fostering communication and understanding across all barriers.


Pat Falk

Pat is a BaltimoreP1250388 native who proudly graduated 4th in her class from Mt. Hebron High School in Ellicott City, MD in 1974. She married her high school sweetheart, Brian (also a CATH fan!), in 1977, and graduated cum laude from the University of Maryland, College Park in 1978 with a B.S. in Education earning certification in Elementary Ed, grades 1-6/Middle School and Special Ed/LD grades K-12. Pat taught at Northfield Elementary in Ellicott City, MD Fall 1978-June 1981 with teaching assignments on a Math Team, in a 2nd-3rd grade-combined classroom as well as a 4th-5th grade- combined classroom.  Pat then spent 15 years at home raising four children before returning to teaching as a substitute/replacement teacher for five years in the Mukwonago Area School District in Wisconsin. Pat began teaching sixth grade at Rolling Hills Elementary in Mukwonago in September 2000, when she first met Korie. In addition to caring for her students, Pat is currently raising three grandchildren (and is an amazing baker of cookies!). Her primary goal for 6th grade is to instill in her students a passion for life-long learning! Through “Children Are the Hope”, she hopes her 6th graders are able to expand their horizons, explore, collaborate and connect with global peers.


Dolly Ledin

Photo by and courtesy of David Backes

Dolly works to engage scientists in reaching out to the community and to engage youth and adults in the process of science. She has worked as outreach coordinator for the University of Wisconsin –Madison Center for Biology Education for the past 22 years. Dolly has worked as an elementary and middle school teacher, an environmental educator with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and as an adjunct faculty with UW Stevens Point. Most of Dolly’s work has focused on the Madison community, but she has also led environmental science courses for teachers in Puerto Rico and spent a year as the environmental education coordinator at the Cloud Forest School in Monteverde, Costa Rica. She has a Master’s Degree in Land Resources from UW Madison Institute for Environmental Studies (now the Nelson Inst.).


Brenda Autz

Brenda teaches fourth grade in the Middleton Cross Plains Area School District. She earned both her Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education and Master’s Degree in Educational Psychology at the University of Wisconsin- Madison. Her passion in the classroom is often focused on Global and Environmental Education. Her classroom was the focus of a short documentary film created by the Wisconsin Education Communications Board (ECB) for a series called Global Wisconsin. Global Wisconsin highlighted schools and classrooms that provided exceptional global educational experiences for students. Brenda lives in Lodi, Wisconsin and was instrumental in organizing a local chapter for the Ice Age Trail. She has taken hundreds of students on the trail over the past 15 years. Recently Brenda was recognized by the Friends of Scenic Lodi Valley as an educational environmental leader for her work with youth in the study and appreciation of Aldo Leopold. Brenda was also a Kohl Fellowship recipient in 2011.