Our People

Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive

Flora and Fauna research team:

We study flowering plants, lichens (can produce dye colorants as can several mushrooms of Guatemala) and especially edible plants plus plants that can provide useful materials. We also have a project to find all trees with cauliflorous or ramiflorous flowers and all trees and lianas (woody vines) with spines, prickles or thorns.

Our focus is high-resolution digital photography of these plants, to assist in publishing which under-utilized plants are edible and more healthy than modern junk food. We are interested in any plant that can help replace plastic, etc. The library aspect of this is accomplished by our library research team María José Toralla, Diana Sandoval, Vivian Hurtado, flora-fauna researcher Victor Mendez and Nicholas Hellmuth.

We are able to find rare and under-studied plants because we have experience (and initiative and energy) to hike for kilometers out into the rain forests, wade through rivers, swamps, and bogs, climb steep hills and reach biodiverse ecosystems that no other ecologist, botanist, or zoologist has yet recorded. Senaida Ba Mucu assists us on all field trips especially in Q’eqchi’ Mayan-speaking areas of Alta Verapaz, Peten, and Izabal.

Belen Chacon continues the helpful long-range project of Nicholas Hellmuth of edible and useful plants of the Maya and their neighbors of Mesoamerica. Elena Siekavizza helps us catalog our multiple terabytes of year 2018-2019 photographs of flora, fauna and ecosystems of Parque Nacional Yaxha, Nakum and Naranjo. Sergio Jerez accomplishes research on plants and animals that we are studying plus assists in preparing the GPSMAPS of each field trip to show where we were every hour of every field trip and what we photographed and when and where.

Flora and Fauna reports design and production team:

We prefer to prepare our reports in-house and use lots of full page photographs. All our reports on flora and fauna are not commercialized; they can be downloaded by professors, students, organizations, interested lay people, etc. Andrea Sánchez Díaz, David Arrivilaga, Jaqueline González, Cristina Rios, Alexander Gudiel, Heidy Galindo, and María Alejandra Gutierrez. Senaida Ba Mucu also helps prepare field trip reports and turn bibliographies into PDFs. Abigail (Gaby) Cabnal has assisted our teams for various years. Her family was constructing a new home in Senahu so she has been helping per family there in Alta Verapaz.

On field trips we are also assisted by Norma Estefany Cho Cu, Byron Alberto Halal Pacay, and Gaby Cabnal. We also appreciate the experienced licensed drone pilot, Haniel López, for his helpful capability of piloting essential drones.

On field trips in recent years were were assisted by Senaida Ba Mucu. Presently we are assisted by Norma Estefany Cho Cu and Byron Alberto Halal Pacay. We also appreciate the experienced licensed drone pilot, Haniel López, for his helpful capability of piloting essential drones.

Photographers & Video for Flora and Fauna Field Trip Research Projects

Edwin Solares is the new lead photographer. David Arrivillaga continues as photograph editor and production. Nicholas Hellmuth has been photographer at FLAAR since 1970 (so over half a century). His photos have been published by Hasselblad Magazine and National Geographic (in 1978), plus he won a Kodak Award decades ago.

María Alejandra Gutierrez was capable photographer for many years; she is now taking care of her newborn daughter. She is preparing a helpful registry of the multiple terabytes of photographs that our team take each field trip each month throughout the Reserva de la Biosfera Maya.

Pedro Pablo Ranero is a photographer and also video editor, he is compiling the most beautiful shoots to document spectacular views of biodiverse ecosystems in remote areas that FLAAR is reaching.

MayanToons educational book preparation and production team:

Nicholas Hellmuth writes the original storyboards on each plant, mammal, bird, reptile, etc. based on his experience in Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador (and Peru) since 1961. Kaqchiquel Mayan illustrators Rosa Sequen Subuyuj and Maria Josefina Sequen Subuyuj do the illustrations. Valeria Aviles is the leader of the MayanToons illustration team. Andrea Bracamonte and Isabel Trejo are two other illustrators collaborating with MayanToons projects. Their illustrations are delighting our social media readers each day.

MayanToons educational animated video preparation and production team

The entire MayanToons book team also contributes to the animated video preparation. Production manager is animator Laura Morales. We appreciate the cooperation and knowledge of cinematographer and video capability of Camila Morales and digital animator and digital video producer Gustavo Gallegos of their company anima.works. Animated videos are possible for the experience of Paula Garcia and Nizamaria Franco, two graphic designers who enjoy preparing each animated chapter for our social media followers.

Social Media Manager

Roxana Leal is the social media manager for the 4,192 LinkedIn contacts of FLAAR and Nicholas Hellmuth plus Facebook, Twitter, etc. for FLAAR-Mesoamerica and MayanToons.

Office Managers

Flor de Maria Setina has been office manager for over a decade. Vivian Hurtado is now manager and organizer of Flora and Fauna research and publications, Vivian Diaz continues in many helpful managerial roles including MayanToons books and animated videos.

Website Network

Our websites are handled by webmaster Paulo Nuñez and web designers Juan Carlos Hernandez Tello and María José García.

FLAAR web design team in Guatemala

This is the FLAAR web design team in Guatemala, City. They are in charge of 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. Our sites provide evaluations to over one million visitors per year.

Since we are working from our home offices, the photographs on this web page are from past years.

The additional team of FLAAR-REPORTS are presented on www.FLAAR-Reports.org. They accomplish research and reports on digital imaging and wide-format inkjet printing technology. Our experience in the world of large-format printing enables us to prepare material for museums, botanical gardens (did two exhibits of flowering plants of Guatemala at MOBOT) and especially to prepare educational material about local plants and animals to donate to schools in remote areas of Guatemala. Their research team, social media team, video team are all credited in their videos, reports, and the web sites of this división.

FLAAR video production team

Here is the first FLAAR video production team, Gustavo Gallegos, Interactive Art Director (right), Camila Morales, Production Assistant and Narrator, and Dr Nicholas Hellmuth. They are working on the first short video: sacred peccaries in 3rd-15th century Mayan art and cosmology. They have advanced their capabilities and formed their own company, whose web site is anima.works.

3d scanners, 3d software

(1) Eduardo Sacayon, Juan Luis Sacayon, and Cindy Contreras are all trained in 3D scanning, as is Dr Nicholas Hellmuth. (2) Camila Morales, a student intern interested in pre-Columbian Mesoamerica, has been scanning archaeological sculptures and 4th-8th century artifacts in museums for FLAAR in Guatemala for many months a decade ago. (3) Ievgenia Nemirova is a student of architecture and thus experienced to handle 3D modeling software. She was a helpful student intern. She and her husband are now architects in Dubai and she comes to the annual dinner of the Sign Middle East digital printing expo each year in Dubai.

FLAAR Reports team, Guatemala

FLAAR-REPORTS are the product of a team of experienced graphic designers and Technical Writers. Here you can see them at work in their research or design environment. In this photo (from left to right) Pablo M. Lee, Maria Rene Ayau, Nicholas Hellmuth, Grace Morales and Estefani Escoto. Their web site is www.FLAAR-Reports.org.


Updated April 2022.

footer logo

We are dedicated to continue to be a source of information and education about flora and fauna of Mesoamerica today that is related to Classic Maya civilization 2000 years ago.

Contact us


footer logo