William Dent, Jr. 

Program Director

Jesus is a resident of Zitacuaro in the state of Michoacan, Mexico. Jesus became involved with Monarch Sister Schools in 2011 after meeting William Dent during a visit to Michoacan. Jesus graduated from Universidad Virtual CNCI de Mexico with a Bachelor of Arts in Business Marketing.

Following graduation Jesus became involved in multiple groups around the community to focus on continuing his education. The majority of his accomplishments involve helping the local youth in his community. From 2006-2014 Jesus worked for the Santiago Tuxpan Community Association where he was a mentor for Adolescents and Young Adults. During that time he was also training with Reforestamos México to be Youth Leader and Advisor, as part of the Youth Leadership Network.

In addition to his professional accomplishments, Jesus is also very active in Folk arts, promoting culture and education through dance. Jesus participates in many dance groups including“Butoh Ritual Mexicano” Dance Center, Ballet Folclorico del Estado de Michoacan, and has even received a Diploma in Mexican Folk Dance granted by the Michoacán State Secretary of Education.

Jesus is an integral part of our team, bringing pollinator gardens and Oyamel fir tree nurseries to schools in his community of Zitacuaro. Jesus has given students, who have never witnessed the magic of the monarch migration despite living minutes from the reserve, the opportunity to travel to the biosphere reserve. He has been awarded a State Youth Merit prize for his Environmental Protection work throughout Michoacan. Jesus continues to educate students at our Sister Schools about not only the importance of protecting the monarch butterfly but all species on our planet.


Mr. Dent is a native of Washington, DC. After attending the University of Maryland, where he earned a Bachelors in history, he served in the Peace Corps in Chile. Upon his return, he did graduate work at the University of Chicago, earning a Masters degree in education and an MBA in finance. With the support of the Ford Foundation, Mr. Dent moved to Brazil to serve as a consultant to BNDES, the National Development Bank of Brazil, where he sensed the need for better business training and assisted Roberto Lima Netto in founding SEBRAE, Brazil's Small Business Administration, today the country's most important business school for aspiring entrepreneurs. 

Mr. Dent then served as project manager at the Inter-American Development Bank putting together a number of innovative projects in Brazil, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Honduras and Costa Rica, involving investments in excess of $2 billion. During the 1990's, Mr. Dent founded and was CEO of CD-ROM International, pioneering the introduction of U.S. and European bibliographic databases (e.g., Medline) and related IT services at some 200 institutions throughout Brazil.

In early 2003, Mr. Dent founded Natural Partners, with the help of Flavio Pinheiro, Adam Tomasek and Ann McClellan, and currently serves as its Executive Director.

From October 2003 to December 2005, Mr. Dent also served as the Executive Director of the North American Association for Environmental Education (NAAEE), spearheading the turn-around of the leading professional association of environmental educators across North America.

During his tenor, NAAEE was moved from a home office in the NW corner of the State of Georgia to its present headquarter location in downtown Washington, DC. At the same time, under Mr. Dent’s leadership NAAEE more than doubled its revenue and began to rebuild its membership base.

Returning to Natural Partners on a full-time basis, Mr. Dent began work with the World Wildlife Fund - Mexico to design a plan to expand WWF’s work with local indigenous and ‘ejido’ communities own and live on the lands of Mexico’s Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve. Sensing the importance of educating the ‘younger generation’, this led to Mr. Dent’s decision to create a program to involve school children of Mexico and the United Sates in the challenging of restoring habitat for the declining population of the Monarch Butterfly in a cross-border collaboration.



Maureen grew up in the suburbs of Baltimore, MD.  After earning a B.A. in Psychology at Towson University, she worked for the Department of Defense as an engineering psychologist.  She guided the human factors design of military communications devices while earning a M.A. in Experimental Psychology.  Her research yielded methods for improving texting performance on the Global Positioning System (GPS) and several other military telecommunications devices.

While raising her two daughters, Maureen discovered her passion for sharing nature and science with children.  She earned a Master of Arts in Teaching (M.A.T.) from the University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC) and is certified to teach Grades K-8.  She is a Certified Environmental Educator (CEE) through the Maryland Association for Outdoor and Environmental Education (MAEOE) and she serves on the committee for MAEOE’s annual conference.

Maureen has managed and taught environmental education programs at several public and private environmental centers, and at public and parochial schools.  She teaches the BioBlitz program for Baltimore County Public Schools’ Office of Outdoor Science.  The numerous milkweed and nectar plants in her backyard pollinator gardens are a nursery for monarch butterflies.  Maureen collects monarch eggs and caterpillars from her gardens and nurtures them into adult butterflies.  When fall comes, she tags the butterflies and releases them with a “vaya con Diós” as they fly to their winter homes in the mountains of central Mexico.


Jesus Arriaga Vazquez

Program Coordinator, Mexico