And the award goes to...
Each year, Palmetto Bay's Mayor nominates the Environmentalist of the Year! The requirements are to nominate someone, a group, or a business that has made an outstanding contribution to an environmental activity and leadership in the Village of Palmetto Bay. Such contribution may be for volunteerism, leadership, or any other such service that would be considered to be extraordinary in nature.

This year, we are excited to announce the winner of the Mayor's Environmentalist of the Year Award to be Palmetto Bay resident Leopoldo (Leo) Llinas!
About Dr. Leopoldo Llinas
A resident of Palmetto Bay, Leo Llinas is a husband and a father of two young boys who share his passion for the environment. Born in Bogota, Colombia, he applied to join the Colombian Navy at the age of 18 but was disqualified for being colorblind, a discovery that explained his inability to match his clothing! 
When that plan failed, he applied to the University of Miami where he spent most of his time in the university lab studying marine food chain. Specializing in plankton ecology, he received his Bachelor of Science in 2002 and later received his PhD in Marine Biology and Fisheries in 2007. During his time at UM, he joined a National Science Foundation expedition that ventured to the Arctic Ocean and navigated over the vast frozen expanse collecting valuable data. These experiences drove him to a lifelong journey of educating others about the importance of our oceans and the environment.

Dr. Llinas often authors columns in the Community Newspapers tackling a range of environmental topics from mangroves to ocean acidification. For over a decade, Dr. Llinas has allied with educational institutions, non-profit organizations, and countless individuals to raise awareness and take steps toward safeguarding our natural resources. He has participated in multiple cleanups at Coral Reef Park and the Deering Estate. He has presented at conferences and workshops to train public and private school educators to integrate climate literacy into their curriculum. Dr. Llinas has helped Palmer Trinity install two solar systems and phase out single use plastic bottles on campus. He created the Blue Stewards Certificate Program that blends traditional education with scientific research in Miami and around the globe. Working with private and nonprofit partners, students explore the centrality of water in people’s lives, examining from both an environmental necessity and a key cultural element.
He often bikes to work and is a great inspiration to all who know him, including his students. He has joined Miami Waterkeeper’s 1000 Eyes on the Water team to identify and report water pollution incidents. This year, he served as faculty advisory for the 2021 Miami Youth Climate Summit. Over 1,000 attendees from 6 continents registered for the summit. Mayor Daniella Cava Levine and Delaney Reynolds were the keynote speakers. 

Dr. Llinas is currently a Science Teacher and Director of Environmental Stewardship at Palmer Trinity School in Palmetto Bay, Florida. He is also a member of the Upper School Science Department, the Advisor for the Environmental Action Club and 10th Grade Lead Advisor . He serves on the NOAA Planet Stewards Education Project Stewardship Community and the Climate Reality Leadership Corps. Not surprising, Dr. Llinas is a National Geographic Certified educator.

We are proud to have Dr. Llinas serve on Palmetto Bay’s Parks & Recreation and Community Outreach Committee. In collaboration with the Miami-Dade Office of Resilience, he encourages the committee to integrate climate change resilience into parks and open spaces.

Dr. Llinas enjoys spending time with his family in his Palmetto Bay home. He has been a resident since 2014 and was attracted to Palmetto Bay’s quality of life. Its relative affordability, safety, schools, and proximity to Miami were on the top of his list. He and his wife Tana fell in love with the family-friendly neighborhood of Mangowood. Their children ride their bikes and scooters and stroll around the neighborhood and beautiful Palmetto Bay parks. We hear that Leo particularly enjoys the Farmer’s Market at Coral Reef Park and can be spotted there every Saturday!

As Mayor Cunningham always says, Palmetto Bay's Got Talent and Leo Llinas is the prime example of that. He personifies the pride of Palmetto Bay!

Honorary Mentions Are in Order for Our Runner Ups!
James Woodard
James Woodard has fought for the protection of birds in Palmetto Bay and elsewhere by encouraging the passage of legislation to protect the different species. He has been a volunteer and supporter of Friends of Fakahatchee, walking the trails, wading the swamps and clearing debris. In Palmetto Bay, he has worked to safeguard the area known as the Woods, home to area wildlife.
Ines Mander
A founding member of the Palmetto Bay Garden Club, Ines Mander is known for her quiet, but significant contributions to environmental projects in Palmetto Bay. She has inspired gardens throughout the Village, including Coral Reef Park, the Deering Estate, Ludovici Park, and Howard Drive Elementary School.
Thank you both for your contributions to our community!
Mayor Cunningham will publicly recognize the Mayor's Environmentalist of the Year and the Earth Day Contest Winner during the "Earth Day by the Bay" Event on Friday, April 23rd at Thalatta Estate Park
Earth Day by the Bay- Documentary Film Screening & Art Exhibit
  • Friday, April 23, 2021, 6:30 - 9:30 pm
  • Thalatta Estate Park, 17301 Old Cutler Rd.

Join us for an Earth Day celebration at Thalatta Estate Park for an evening by the bay and under the stars, as the natural history filmmaker Richard Kern Jr. takes us on unique experience learning about the subtropical habitats of the Everglades. Along the way you'll learn about the hydrology and the watershed, as well as some of the fantastic inhabitants of “America’s wetland.” At the end of the film, participants will have the opportunity to have a Q &A session with the filmmaker.
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