Amelia first joined the Floating Doctors as a volunteer in 2011 and has been coming back and forth to Panama ever since. Her work in research and conservation has taken her throughout the Caribbean, South Pacific and Indian Oceans. Now, Amelia is based permanently in Panama as the director of our nature preserve. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in marine science from the University of California, Berkeley, and her research background spans ocean geochemistry, intertidal biomechanics, underwater cave biology, and the ecology of coral reef, seagrass and mangrove ecosystems. Her hobbies include hiking, scuba diving and cave exploration, so during her time off you can usually find Amelia underwater, underground or both.
Santiago has been responsible for maintaining the preserve facilities for over 40 years. He is a well-respected traditional healer, locally referred to as a currandero, and is also an expert in local wildlife. He grew up and raised his 10 children nearby the preserve in a community known as Shark Hole. He still lives there today with his lovely wife Elva, who is also a currandero and a midwife. Fluent in both Spanish and Ngäbere, they are excellent teachers and ambassadors of Ngäbe culture.
Another member of the Dolphin Bay family, Napoleon has been working at the preserve on and off for several years. Having studied agriculture and environmental science in school, he is an incredible asset to our team. Also an avid animal lover, Napoleon is particularly fond of the mantled-howler monkeys that live throughout Dolphin Bay. He grew up in the nearby community of Shark Hole, where he lives with his wife, Irena, and seven young children. On school holidays, Napoleon’s children often accompany him at work so that he can teach them about the jungle.