Our Team

Dr Nicholas Hellmuth


He has an undergraduate degree, Harvard; Master’s degree Brown University; then three different post-graduate research positions at Yale University.

PhD is from the University of Graz (Karl-Franzens Universitaet). Previously he was a research professor in digital photography at Rollins College (Florida) and then at Brevard Community College (Florida).

He was Visiting Research Professor (digital imaging and digital printing) simultaneously at BGSU (in Ohio) and Universidad Francisco Marroquin (Guatemala) circa 2000-2005. He now works full time on flora and fauna of Mayan areas of Mesoamerica and also works with the FLAAR Reports team on wide-format inkjet digital printing trends, T-shirt printers, and inkjet printing workflow equipment.

Administrative & Coordinator

Flor Setina
Administrative Manager
With over 16 years of working with us, she is responsible for all the administrative operations here in FLAAR Mesoamerica. Her work is essential to different areas of the organization: supervising daily support operations of our company, planning the most efficient administrative procedures, monitoring costs and expenses to assist in budget preparation.
Vivian Hurtado
General Coordinator and Researcher
Environmental engineer, artist and nature lover. Vivian Hurtado is the current project manager of FLAAR's divisions: Flora & Fauna and MayanToons. She hopes to promote research and educational content on Guatemala's biodiversity and its conservation for students, teachers, children, and everyone who may be interested.

Flora & Fauna Photography

Alejandra Gutierrez
Graphic designer and photographer of FLAAR Mesoamerica, she makes expeditions alongside with Dr. Nicholas Hellmuth to incredible places to shoot big format photographs of native flora and fauna. Based on her experience, she also helps with publicity and marketing.
David Arrivillaga
Photographer & Graphic Designer
Photographer and graphic designer, David is passionate about capturing images of nature and complements the expedition team. He takes incredible pictures and video of flora and fauna and assists Dr Nicholas Hellmuth in all the expeditions. He also edits the material for print and digital media.
Pedro Pablo Ranero
Photographer & Videographer
Communication science student, cinephile and photographer, mainly focused on capturing video. Currently Pedro is editing videos about previous FLAAR research and documents on Flora, Fauna and Ecosystems.
Edwin Solares
Photographer & Videographer
Edwin is an environmental engineering student with an imperative interest in ecosystemic logic. He enjoys creating videos that not only communicate accurately on the academic but also the emotional. Wildlife adventure and a perfectly framed photograph it's what he loves.
Haniel López
Drone Pilot & Photographer
He takes amazing drone shots of the ecosystems we visit and also documents flora and fauna with photographs and videos during each field trip.

Flora & Fauna Research

Victor Mendoza
Flora & Fauna Researcher
Environmental Engineer student, aquatic ecosystem enthusiast and lover of Guatemalan native biological diversity. He is in charge of the photographic database of FLAAR Mesoamerica. Not only does it organize it, but it also identifies the flora and fauna of the photographs we have. Because of his knowledge, he also serves as a research assistant.
Sergio D'angelo Jerez
Flora & Fauna Researcher
Sergio is an undergraduate student in agronomy, and his current interests are focused on how to do agriculture with practices that promote both ecological conservation and economic development. At the moment, his work at FLAAR includes doing plant identification and bibliographical research. In these days he might tell you that he is the happiest when he is on expedition or when he shares his knowledge about nature.
Norma Estefany Cho Cu
Helps with preparing the camera equipment for each and helps in the office (and on field trips) cooking.
Byron Pacay
Handles GPS mapping of where we hike or go in the lancha (boat) each field trip day. He also lists where we stop to take photos and what each one of us is photographing, and then has that information tabulated and ready each night.
Diana Sandoval
Flora & Fauna Researcher
Agricultural engineer, plant lover and botanical enthusiast. As part of the flora and fauna research team, her work is based on the collection of scientific information that shapes the reports that are posted on our pages. As an agricultural engineer my field of study is based on plants, their environment and the different tools that humans have used throughout our history to get the best out of them. The work carried out in FLAAR is focused on ethnobotany, the conservation of native species and their use, so she hopes that our work can reach a large number of people and can create awareness of the importance that plants have in the development of the communities.
Belén Chacón
Flora & Fauna Researcher
Belén is a biology student, her actual interests include aquatic fauna and conservation. For the moment, her work includes the order and tabulation of useful and edible flora listed in the FLAAR bibliography and many other references, to make a complete list of useful plant species, as well as the updating of taxonomic information on species and families. She hopes to learn more about plant species and share the knowledge. She looks forward to being a part of other projects at FLAAR.
Samuel Herrera
Flora & Fauna Researcher
Samuel is a biology graduate, interested in a wide range of topics like molecular biology, genetics and geographic information systems for research purposes. Samuel’s line of work covers scientific literature research, taxonomic identification/counseling of flora and fauna, and remote sensing using SIG software applied to geographic and ecological analysis. Samuel also is an avid enthusiast of wildlife photography, Mayan archeology, and Guatemala’s biodiversity conservation.
Alejandra Valenzuela
Flora & Fauna Researcher
Alejandra Valenzuela is a biology student who has been part of the Research Team of FLAAR Mesoamerica since September of 2020. She has a special interest for ferns, lichen and fungi, both botanically and for her hobby as a botanical illustrator, and contributions to the team usually involve research, text edition and translation.
Pedro Pablo Marroquín
Flora & Fauna Researcher
Agronomic engineering student, passionate about plants and sustainability. He has an interest in the use of GIS and data analysis for the protection of the environment and the conservation of natural resources. He has been part of FLAAR Mesoamérica since 2022 and helps the team by editing and translating the valuable reports that we prepare.

Flora & Fauna Designers

Andrea de la Paz
Graphic Designer
Andrea is a graphic designer and creative director of the photo essays of Yaxha project for Yaxha-Nakum-Naranjo National Park, Petén and Livigston, Guatemala. She is in charge of design the PDFs in a way to make the reader feel identified with the Essay. What she likes the most is to be able to harmonize each PDF with photographs captured in each field trip and make sure there is a graphic unit and breathing spaces in the PDF.
Heidy Galindo
Graphic Designer
Heidy is a graphic designer from the Flora and Fauna Department. She is in charge of photo editing, and PDF design.
Cristina Rios
Graphic Designer
Cristina is a graphic designer from the Flora and Fauna department in charge of selecting and editing photographs, as well as designing PDFs for various FLAAR projects.
Jaqueline González
Industrial Designer
Jaqueline is a designer from the flora and fauna department. She is in charge of photo editing and pdf design of the different FLAAR projects

MayanToons Department

Josefina Sequen
Josefina is a digital illustrator who enjoys drawing realistic and cartoon animals like crocodiles and felines. She also assists with photography inside FLAAR and during field trips. She is a senior student on weekends and works in the office during the week.
Valeria Avilés
Mayantoons coordinator and illustrator
She is an artist and illustrator with a degree in graphic design. She stands out for the ease with which she works realism in analogous techniques. However, her work in children's illustration is not far behind, always looking for her drawings and illustrations to speak for themselves.
Rosa Sequen
Rosa is an intern learning about digital illustration and children books. Her strenght when it comes to drawings are butterflies and other Mesoamerican amphibious. She loves the idea that her drawings could reach children in order to teach them about animal welfare and conservation.
Laura Morales
Engineer in Digital Content
Laura Morales has an Engineering degree in Digital Contents, from Dongseo University, Korea. She is now Director of our long-range animation project. Laura is preparing our first-stage 3D animated videos to introduce native plants and animals from Mesoamerica to our followers. It is rare that family-friendly animations are based on field trips to the rain forests where the flora and fauna can be studied.
Paula García
Graphic designer and animator of the MayonToons team, she contributes to bring motion, actions and dynamism to the educational videos, giving life through movement to the species that these videos showcase.
Niza Franco
Niza is a graphic designer focused on branding, illustration and 2D animation. In the MayanToons division, she's in charge of animating the characters and episodes about the species of flora and fauna found in Guatemala and Mesoamerica. She loves to evoke emotions, raise awareness and educate others through fun storytelling.
Isabel Trejo
Isabel has a graphic design degree and she is an analog and digital illustrator. She enjoys nature, gets inspired by it, and loves to represent it through her art.
Andrea Bracamonte
With a degree in Graphic Design, Andrea works as a digital illustrator. She loves to work on nature and children illustrations. Nature being her main source of inspiration, she loves to draw amphibians, birds and beetles.

Web, Social Media & Fund Raising Teams

Juan Carlos Hernández
Web Designer
He is a graphic design student with knowledge of website design and programing, he assists the webmaster with the maintenance and administrations of the FLAAR website network: adding texts and photos, managing content, etc.
Andrés Fernández
Web Designer
Andrés is a graphic designer with knowledge in website building and CMS management. He assists the team in updating the content of our websites to look better, load faster and have a greater user interface.
María José García
Web Designer
María José is an industrial designer with experience in web design and community management. She is currently in charge of uploading content to all FLAAR Mesoamerica websites and keep them updated.
Isabel Paiz
Isabel has recently joined the FLAAR and FLAAR Mesoamerica team. She is experienced in networking, social media, and organizing meetings. To experience what FLAAR does out in the remote rain forest ecosystems Isabel came along on several field trips. She learned aspects of plants, insects, arachnids and biodiverse ecosystems of the Reserva de la Biosfera Maya (RBM).
Paulo Nuñéz
Paulo Nuñéz is in charge of webmaster responsibilities for the entire FLAAR network of websites. He does updating and reviewing the more than one thousand pages of our diverse sites with new information and photos obtained from the site visit cases, lectures, trade shows, etc. He also assists the various teams about high-tech photography and lots of helpful tips about advanced digital technology. Paulo has directed digital panorama photography on the cooperative project between FLAAR Mesoamerica and the two managing entities (IDAEH, CONAP) of Parque Nacional Yaxha Nakum Naranjo (Peten, Guatemala).

Examples of diverse Capabilities of University Students: Former Employees

Senaida Ba
Flora & Fauna Researcher
Senaida Ba is a bilingual Q'eqchi' Mayan student. Her interests include photography. She is very adept at plant research, especially capable of finding rare plants deep in the rain forests. She has also done studies of inkjet printing technology in Germany, Italy, and Turkey. She will be a capable university student and we are looking for scholarship opportunities for her.
Editor & Translator
Majo is an Environmental Engineer who supports FLAAR´s Yaxha Project by editing and translating (Spanish/English) texts for the flora and fauna series. She also carries out final reviews of Yaxha´s PDF photo essays.
Roxana Leal
Community Manager
Roxana is the voice of the messages, photos and videos of our documentation through the social media of FLAAR Mesoamerica and MayanToons. She has ventured into the different ecosystems of Guatemala together with the field team to document the expeditions. She has a degree in Communication Sciences and is currently pursuing a master's degree in Digital Marketing and E-Commerce. Every day dreams and works for a better world!
María José Toralla
Flora & Fauna Researcher
Majo is a biology student, her interests include marine biology (specially cetaceans), ornithology and entomology. Her dream is to dedicate her life to field work with macaws and carry out intensive studies on the species of native butterflies of Guatemala. Her main job is bibliographical research, she is in charge of making bibliographies on native flora and fauna of the country. In addition, she contributes in compiling scientific information used in FLAAR reports, as well as making monthly blogs on relevant topics.
Vivian Díaz
General Coordinator and Illustrator
Vivi is an environmental engineer, who is actually doing project management for FLAAR’s divisions: Flora & Fauna and MayanToons. She is also the chief storyboard director of the department of cartoon illustrators. She loves to share her knowledge of nature and also to raise awareness through her drawings about how to take care, preserve and appreciate nature as she does.
Desirée Cordón
Illustrator & Communicator
Desirée has a degree in communication and works as a digital illustrator specializing in editorial and children’s illustration. She likes to be able to provide information to children about fauna and flora so that together we can take care of our environment better. She works as a freelance illustrator and is also part of the MayanToons team of illustrators.
Mariana Cabrera
3D Animator & Illustrator
A creative mind that wants to use her skills to promote environmental education. In Mayantoons she has worked in illustration, character design and, at the moment, in 2D animation. She believes that, with dinamic and interactive material, we can ignite the interest of people of all ages in Guatemala and its diverse nature.
Marcela Sarti
Flora & Fauna Researcher
An environmental engineer student, Marcella Sarti is part of the research team of flora and fauna, she collects information along with bibliographies of many books to create documents with scientific and educational information which are posted on our pages. In addition, she has contributed to write storyboards for Mayantoons. Through her research, she hopes to contribute to education in Guatemala about native flora and fauna and its conservation.
Elena Siekavizza
Flora & Fauna Researcher
Environmental engineer, forests enthusiast and lover of the guatemalan native flora. She is in charge of FLAAR Mesoamerica’s photographic database. Not only does she organize it, but also performs the flora and fauna identification of the photographs we have. Due to her knowledge, she also serves as a research assistant.
Génesis Girón
3D Animator & Illustrator
Génesis Girón is a proud member of the Mayan Toons Animation Department, she loves expressing herself through her unique creations. In addition to animation, Génesis enjoys illustration and character design. Powered by fashion, fandoms and cinema.
Erick Flores
Photographer & Graphic Designer
Erick helps preparing educational material on Neotropical flora and fauna of Guatemala. These PDFs and PowerPoint presentations are to assist students, scholars, professors, and the interested lay public both in Guatemala and around the world.
Melanny Quiñonez
Graphic Designer & Illustrator
Melanny "Cucu" is a graphic designer and illustrator for the several educational materials. She was Assistant Review Editor for evaluating and doing press reports on digital imaging.
Ximena Arriaga
Digital Library Manager
Ximena is in charge of scanning and digitizing all content from previews investigations about the Mayan culture by Dr. Nicholas Hellmuth so that it can be available on all FLAAR’s websites.
Alexander Gudiel
Graphic Designer & Photographer
Alexander is a graphic designer from the flora and fauna department who joined our team in December 2020. He is in charge of design and creating pdfs of different projects of FLAAR, editing photos and visual content. He loves to create attractive and functional visual content. He is a nature lover.
Sofia Monzon
Sofia Monzon is a talented photographer and book designer. She had a fluid flowing style that is more eye-catching than just rectangular pages. In photography she also had her own style. Dr Nicholas was Visiting Professor in digital photography and digital imaging at several universities, so working here at FLAAR is like being in a university course. But a unique aspect is that we like the students to develop their own style and literally do better photography than the professor! Sofia and her husband Estuardo Torres now have their own company, doing event videos and event photography.