A Team Dedicated to Promoting Nature’s Role in Our Lives

At TREE Institute International, we always strive to support, promote, and conduct research that educates others about the health benefits flora and fauna offer. We are able to do this because of the skill and commitment of our team.

Our Team

Richard W. Keefe, President

Richard Keefe is a highly accomplished executive with over thirty years of experience in the creation, implementation, management, or improvement of multi-million dollar fund raising and philanthropic programs both here and abroad. He also earned a master’s degree in political science at Boston College. Mr. Keefe is senior administrator with particular focus on fund-raising and…
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Dr. Mary Chambers, Secretary

Aside from being the owner of an education consulting firm active in establishing charter schools, Dr. Chambers has a PhD in Education Leadership from the University of Florida in Gainesville, is a member of the Governor’s Education Advisory Council, and a former superintendent of schools in Florida. With her having other degrees in accounting and…
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Carolanne Sharkey, Treasurer

Carolann Sharkey, Treasurer Carolann Sharkey has both teaching and business degrees from Rutgers University. She co-owned a New York City-based marketing and sales company for over 20 years until moving to the the Florida Keys. During the past 11 years, she founded the Key West Tropical Forest and Garden, doubling the size of the old…
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TREE Brain Trust

Dean Carlson

Hospitality industry consultant; former owner of the #1 bed-and-breakfast in the Key West; past president of the Key West Botanical Garden Society.

Miguel Coyula

Award-winning Cuban documentary filmmaker who assists TREE Institute International with all its video needs.

Douglas Fernandez

Cuban environmentalist and butterfly expert, which is a passion and dedication of his since childhood.

Dr. Brittany Graf

PhD ethnobotanist, pharmacologist, and phytochemist who specializes in the investigation and development of the medicinal plants of Latin America, initiated research along with Dr. Raskin at Otero Research Center.

Luis Mazariegas

Founder of LAM Int'l Corp., world leader in bioinsecticides. Also the executive director of Humingbird Fdn in Colombia.

Dr. Marc Minno

A conservation scientist with a PhD in Zoology from the University of Florida and has over 21 years of experience as an interdisciplinary scientist. Field researcher in the Americas, the Caribbean, Europe, and India, including work in Cuba for TREE Institute International on imperiled species.

Dr. Rayner Nunez

Cuban researcher and butterfly expert.

Doris Quintana

International relations director at the Union of Cuban Jurists in Havana; consultant of TREE Institute International on all Cuban legal matters.

Dr. Stuart L. Pimm

Conservation Ecology professor at Duke University's Nicholas School of the Environment; founder of Saving Species and former TREE Institute International president.

Dr. Ilya Raskin

Internationally known academic researcher in plant biology and pharmacology with over 25 years experience and 5 years experience in industrial research on plant biotechnology. Founder and president of GIBEX. Professor of Plant Sciences at Rutgers University, active partner with TREE Institute International.

Renier Rodriguez

A former English teacher in Havana, he has worked in ecotourism for over 20 years, with the past 8 for TREE Institute International. As a senior guide, he helps educate the next generation of guides. He is an on-ground manager for TREE Institute International's Cuba activities. His wonderful sense of humor is captured in his favorite phrase: "Welcome to Cuba! Where everything is possible, but nothing is guaranteed!”

Jean and Clark Shannon

Early financial supporters of and adventuresome travelers with TREE Institute International who went with TREE Institute International on the first flight to Havana from Key West in 50 years!

Dr. Raul Verdecia

One of Cuba's most preeminent botanists and palm specialists. Former environmental director in Las Tunas Province where he established protected area systems. Former director of Las Tunas Botanical Garden. Current researcher at Cupaynicu Botanical Garden and TREE Institute International representative for eastern Cuba.

In Memoriam: Dr. Mario Coyula

Former City of Havana architect and planner who introduced TREE Institute International to many of his associates to facilitate the completion of several projects. He was a very popular and informative speaker to our fellow travelers. He will be missed!