Our Bee Team

guillermo fernandez hbc director

Guillermo Fernandez

Executive Director

A Master Beekeeper candidate and an urban beekeeper for a decade, Guillermo is our organization’s founder and Executive Director. He brings years of marketing experience to us from his time at brands such as Vanity Fair and Vogue. Having grown up in a food desert, he believes bees are the key to transforming our food system and ensuring that everyone has access to healthy, local foods. When he’s not at the apiary or speaking at an event, Guillermo is hiking or traveling.

Queen Bee Name: Queen Bee-atrix

Kristin Martinez

Project Manager

Kristin has worked with multiple environmental organizations including The Greening of Detroit, where she developed a Citizen Science program and expanded it by over 60% in a two year period. Prior to that, Kristin worked with a non profit in Northern California where she created environmental education programs, and led workshops and public forums. Kristin loves working with the public to organize, coordinate and execute events, while making sure others have a memorable experience.

Queen Bee Name: Queen Bee Yourself

Carin Zinter

Beekeeping Apprenticeship Director

Carin is a certified Master Beekeeper through the Eastern Apiculture Society. Through her business, C & C Orchards, Carin provides raw, local honey to restaurants and pastry chefs in the Northeast. C & C Orchards won the 2017 Good Food Award for best honey. Carin spent over 15 years in the educational services sector in every capacity from teacher to senior operations director. She is a senior lecturer in management and communications at a university. To keep life buzzing, Carin enjoys training for and racing triathlons and ultramarathons and has her sights set on running a 100 mile race this year!

Alixandra Prybyla

Science Director

Alix hails from Cleveland, Ohio, where her love of the natural world was cultivated in the forests of the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. With a professional background in ecology and conservation biology, Alix has had the privilege and pleasure of conducting fieldwork all over the world: from howler monkey conservation in Belize, to shark tagging in the Bahamas. She is a strong believer in the democratization of science through citizen science research projects (an interest she brings with her to the HBC). When she's not fussing over her latest research proposal, Alix can be found diving into the fantasy worlds of books.

Queen Bee Name: The Propolis Queen

Brooke Bee Ambassador

Brooke Gilley

Bee Ambassador Regional Lead, Midwest

Brooke is a naturalist and one of the three beekeepers at the Wehr Nature Center. She has been involved in beekeeping since 2012. She is very active in educational programs at parks located within the Milwaukee County Parks System as well as outreach programs at local schools. She primarily works on the upkeep of observation hives and rightly celebrates her success in overwintering one! Although she loves bees and all pollinators, her main interest is butterflies. She is a regional coordinator for Butterflies and Moths of North America. Brooke has recently become involved in Rusty Patched Bumblebee conservation and is hoping to develop related educational materials to distribute in Wisconsin schools in the near future.

Queen Bee Name: Queen Beenerys Hiveborn

Nicole Toutounji

Program Advisor, Bee Ambassador

As a young girl growing up in Egypt, Nicole was fascinated by bees and the delicious honey they made on her family’s farm. After a long career as a photographer and photo editor at UNICEF’s New York headquarters, Nicole took beekeeping classes, joined an urban beekeeping organization, and apprenticed with seasoned beekeepers. She is currently head beekeeper at the Cathedral of St, John the Divine, where she tends two beehives and leads events and seminars on the value of bees and beekeeping. Nicole is a founding member of BeeVillage in Battery Park, which consists of six beehives.

Queen Bee Name: Queen Nazli

urban beekeeper

Ian Sklarsky

Buzz and Creative Advisor

Ian is an artist working in blind contour, which means one line without looking at the paper. Recently he’s taken his love for bees to another level participating in the Honeybee Conservancy’s Apprentice program. He has always been interested in insects - especially the honeybee. Working with a few of the hives around NYC, he is looking forward to tending to his own bees in Williamsburg, Brooklyn in 2020. He’s excited to bring new avenues and markets for The Honeybee Conservancy, connecting everyone who wants to help #BeeTheSolution.

Queen Bee Name: Buzz

bee team

Brenda Alvarez

Governor's Island Programming Lead

Brenda is a native New Yorker who spent a lot of time in Florida. Living between these contrasting states, she resonates with the hustle and bustle of NY but her love for nature is immeasurable. She has many different interests, but gives her full dedication to each and every one. Currently a bartender in the LES, Brenda is finishing up Pilates instructor certification and is putting out her best feelers to succeed at beekeeping for the sake of our wonderful bees. Brenda took her first beekeeping course in 2016 with Carin at the Brooklyn grange and never looked back. She has worked extensively with our team in Governors Island this past summer. With experience working in groups, she knows how to keep morale high and organize to make everything more efficient and enjoyable for everyone!

Queen Bee Name: Queen Bee Elements

Erica Vartanian

Content Manager

With a professional background in education, marketing, and operations, Erica helps create and update our online content. She is constantly exploring new ideas and ventures, but since childhood she has always known one constant, which is that she is happiest when working for environmental causes. With a passion for good food, she believes there’s nothing a mindfully made meal can’t fix, and you best believe she thanks bees for the ingredients! In her spare time, Erica enjoys watching birds and dancing.

Queen Bee Name: Queen Bee Present

Meet our Bee Ambassadors!

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