Duane SilversteinExecutive Director
Since 1999, Duane Silverstein has been the executive director of Seacology, an international non-governmental organization with the sole focus of preserving islands – their fragile habitats, vanishing species and historic cultures – throughout the globe.
Before heading Seacology, he was the executive director of the Goldman Fund, one of California’s largest philanthropic foundations, for 18 years. Duane was instrumental in creating and heading the Goldman Environmental Prize, which has been dubbed the “Nobel Prize of the Environment” by National Geographic and news media around the globe. Over his career he has visited more than 200 islands in 83 nations.
Duane has met with presidents of the United States, Secretaries-general of the United Nations, kings, heads of state, and indigenous chiefs throughout the world on behalf of the environment. His work has been covered in media such as Time Magazine, The San Francisco Chronicle, and The New York Times. Articles he has written have appeared in over a dozen international publications. In 2009 he was selected by a public vote as a national All-Star Among Us to be honored by Major League Baseball at the All-Star Game in St. Louis. In 2010, Duane was given the Jefferson Award for Public Service. In giving Duane a 2010 Coastal Hero Award, Sunset Magazine called him a “superhero of the deep.” In 2012, he was invited to give the closing speech on the state of the Earth’s islands for the TEDx conference in South Africa’s Cape Town. In January 2015, His Serene Highness Prince Albert II honored Duane on behalf of Seacology for outstanding innovation in a ceremony in Monaco.
Widely considered one of the world’s foremost experts on islands, he is a National Fellow of The Explorers Club and a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society. In 2018, he accepted the United Nations Momentum For Change climate action award on behalf of Seacology. In 2018, Seacology was named one of the top 15 US nonprofit organizations to work for. In 2019, Duane was named a Go Blue Award Lifetime Achievement Honoree. Under his leadership, Seacology was nominated for the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize. In 2021, he was named an Ocean Hero by The Salty Hands, a Canadian marine conservation organization. In 2022 Scuba Diving Magazine named Duane Silverstein a recipient of their Sea Hero Award.
Kevin ClaassenAccounting Manager
Kevin has extensive nonprofit accounting experience. He is a CPA and earned a Masters of Accountancy from Golden Gate University. Kevin’s first experience with nonprofits was living for over three years in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, serving as a volunteer for an international relief and development organization. Kevin loves the win-win Seacology approach to environmental conservation.
Kevin was born and raised in the San Joaquin Valley of California but now lives in Eugene, Oregon (at the southern edge of the Willamette Valley). He loves spending his spare time with family, either along the coast or in the mountains.
Joseph ClericiCommunications Director
Joe joined Seacology in 2014 after several years in both the nonprofit sector and the news media, where he worked as an editor, graphic designer, and occasional reporter. He previously served in the communications department of another NGO that works to protect coral reefs, where among other duties, he helped implement a major organizational rebranding. In his spare time, he enjoys playing and recording music, cycling, scuba diving and photography, and produces live videos of local and touring musicians for a website he operates.
ErinInstitutional Giving Officer
Erin CoyneInstitutional Giving Officer
Erin came to Seacology with a longtime passion for international development, having served as a Peace Corps volunteer as well as a program manager for several international nonprofit organizations. She has extensive experience in project management and a dedication to ensuring that innovative programs are funded and sustainable. She received a B.A. in Russian Studies and Fine Arts from Fordham University and an M.A. in Russian and East European Studies from Georgetown University. Originally from the East Coast, Erin moved to the Bay Area over 10 years ago to attend UC Berkeley, where she received an M.A. and a Ph.D. in Slavic Languages and Literature. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her family and doing volunteer work. She also enjoys traveling and learning about new places and cultures.
AmandaAdministrative and Program Assistant
Amanda KirkhartAdministrative and Program Assistant
Amanda has a longstanding passion for the natural world and environmental preservation. A native of southern Florida, she grew up with a deep love for beaches, mangroves, and marine life. She graduated with a degree in Environmental Earth Sciences from The Johns Hopkins University in 2009 and has since worked in a variety of fields, including public health, sustainable food systems, and private education. She is thrilled to now be a part of a team who shares her passions for preservation and helping local communities. Amanda enjoys hiking, cooking, sewing, vegetable gardening, and playing the piano and hammered dulcimer.
KarenSenior Manager of Special Initiatives
Karen PetersonSenior Manager of Special Initiatives
Karen has been with Seacology since it became a staffed organization in 1999 and has been working on international conservation issues for nearly 30 years. She has experience ranging from small village-based organizations to world-renowned foundations and has worked with all aspects of non-profit administration and management. Karen’s primary responsibilities at Seacology include managing the Dominican Republic National Mangrove Initiative and our work in Africa, as well as Guatemala and El Salvador. She previously oversaw the Sri Lanka Mangrove Conservation Project. She formerly served as Seacology’s Program Manager, overseeing all of our field representatives and projects throughout the world.
Karen is a graduate of Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts, where she received a bachelor’s degree in creative writing. She has served on the board of directors of several civic and charitable organizations, as well as the Contra Costa (CA) County Planning Commission and Contra Costa Commission for Women. After over three decades in the west, Karen has returned to her home state of Vermont, where she enjoys hiking and trail running, Nordic skiing, and spending time with horses.
Mary RandolphProgram Manager
As program manager, Mary works with Seacology’s worldwide network of field representatives to develop and monitor Seacology-funded projects. A highlight of the job is visiting island communities across the globe that are striving to protect their local environments.
Mary has had a lifelong fascination with the natural world, especially its wildlife. She earned a B.S. in ethology and evolutionary biology at the University of Illinois, and her interest in environmental policy led her to law school at the University of California at Berkeley (Boalt Hall). While there, she served as an editor on the environmental law review Ecology Law Quarterly and worked for the National Wildlife Federation. She came to Seacology from Nolo, a mission-driven publisher of plain-English legal materials for nonlawyers, where she oversaw the editorial and production departments.
Mary loves just being outdoors, but especially when she gets to hike, backpack, or snorkel. Inside, she’s happiest reading or baking. She’s served on local nonprofit boards and as a volunteer at various animal shelters and with groups helping the unhoused.
MaximilianIndividual Giving Manager
Maximilian Rojas-DomkeIndividual Giving Manager
Maximilian, better known as Max, has long valued service and conservation in his life. Growing up in San Diego, California, Max spent his formative years along the SoCal coast. He graduated with a Bachelors in English from UC Berkeley before moving to the East Coast to get a Masters in Politics and Education from Teachers College, Columbia University.
Before joining Seacology, Max worked as an Anti-Money Laundering consultant, advising on risk and regulation practices. He also served as a communications director for a Bay Area nonprofit focused on advocacy for survivors and those living with mental health issues. There, he supported the organization’s growth and expansion during its initial years, with a focus on centering the community’s voice in the organization’s outreach efforts.
In his free time Max loves taking his friends to explore the local parks where they can appreciate the beauty of Northern California. He also enjoys creative writing, salsa making, HBO shows, and an iced mocha on the weekend.
Seacology’s network of field representatives stretches around the globe. It’s no exaggeration to say that our field reps, with their knowledge of both local environmental issues and culture, make our work possible. They reach out to local communities to discuss and develop possible projects, and then work to ensure the success of both the environmental and community benefits of each project.
Leela Padmini BatuwitageSri Lanka
Leela Padmini Batuwitage is a chartered civil engineer with a Ph.D (The Netherlands) and three master’s degrees: Master of Engineering (Sri Lanka), Master of Science (Ireland), and Master of Public Administration (Harvard University, USA). She has been actively involved in sustainable development issues over the last 23 years at local and global levels. She was the Additional Secretary (Environment & Policy) of Sri Lanka’s Ministry of Environment when she retired in 2011. After retirement, she continued her professional career as a consultant in the field of sustainable development. She believes that learned societies should sustain efforts towards complete synchronization to see a healthy planet with smiling people everywhere in the world.
Tyrone has extensive experience in Grenada and the region as an advocate for environmental protection, community development, and children’s rights. After working with the Grenada Planned Parenthood Association for 10 years, he was coordinator of the Inter-Agency Group of Development Organizations and the Grenada National Coalition on the Rights of the Child. These umbrella agencies grapple with a host of social issues, primarily poverty, education and training, domestic violence, and social and legal needs. He is now the director of the Legal Aid and Counseling Clinic, the island’s leading social justice agency.
Tyrone has had internships and working experiences in North America, Europe and Africa. He currently serves on various regional and international social justice boards and committees, as well as on expert panels in U.N.-specialized agencies.
Leida BuglassDominican Republic
A native of the Caribbean, Leida has always been attracted by colors and sound: The colors and sounds of nature; the colors and sounds of people; the chatter of tropical birds and frogs; the song of humpback whales; and the beat of Salsa and Son. Leida loves nature and people, so you can say she is a nature lover and a people person.
That is why she works in the sustainable management of natural resources with local people to facilitate their engagement with their natural environment and improving their livelihoods. Leida has a master’s in landscape and environmental planning from Germany and over 25 years’ professional experience in the intergovernmental and not-for-profit sectors, working on sustainable and social development issues. She consults on land-use planning, civil society strengthening, sustainable livelihoods, gender equity, respect for cultural and ethnic diversity, empowerment and skills training for grassroots groups, and international development and conservation. Most recently her focus has been on biodiversity conservation, coastal and marine management, and climate change mitigation.
Pisit Charnsnoh is well-known in the environmental movement for his work to protect mangrove forests in his home country. A winner of the Goldman Environmental Prize in 2002 and one of the cofounders of the Mangrove Action Project, he was one of the early high-profile advocates of defending mangrove forests. Since the mid-1980s, Pisit has worked to unite disenfranchised fishing communities in Thailand. His persistence in this mission has resulted in meaningful government action to promote local management of mangroves and other vital coastal resources.
Lynn CostenaroDutch Caribbean
Lynn grew up in the land-locked Midwest of the United States but grasped the first opportunity to move to a coastal area, working as a financial analyst. She later traded her pinstripes for a wetsuit, and as dive instructor, logged dives on six continents. She eventually settled on the five-square mile island of Saba, in the Dutch Caribbean. There she co-owned a scuba diving center for more than 30 years while spearheading a range of programs focused on enhancing environmental awareness, cultural heritage, sustainability, and uniting communities. Lynn’s innovative approach was recognized by the Women Divers Hall of Fame with her induction in 2013.
Claudio earned his bachelor’s degree in marine biology from the Universidad Austral de Chile and studied the Integrated Management of Coastal Zones at Guadalajara University in Mexico. Since 1998, he has led various projects concerning the conservation biology of coastal zones. From 1999 to 2003, Claudio was coordinator of the Biodiversity Program for Comité Nacional Pro Defensa de la Fauna y Flora’s Valdivia regional office. He led private land conservation initiatives and implemented the first private protected coastal area in the region.
In 2003, he founded Conservación Marina, a Chilean NGO promoting the protection of marine biodiversity along the Chilean coast. As the organization’s director, Claudio has led projects related to marine mammal research, conservation of migratory shorebirds on Chiloé Island, and planning for the sustainable use and conservation of Mocha Island. He has led nine conservation planning processes and has trained many professionals and conservation practitioners from private and governmental agencies in Chile, Uruguay, Brazil, and Cuba.
He lives in Valdivia with his two children and wife. Claudio loves hiking, mountain biking, and sea kayaking.
Krishna is an attorney at law and a natural scientist with a postgraduate degree in marine management. He spent eight years working for the Government of Jamaica as their technical adviser on coastal issues. During that time, he led numerous interdisciplinary teams responsible for natural resource management and regulating physical development. Krishna spent a number of years working as an environmental consultant, using his experience to help formulate policy and contribute to management plans while he studied law. His work included a short stint in London, where he worked in sustainable development for an inner London borough. He is now back in Jamaica, where he is working for a major law firm in downtown Kingston. Krishna enjoys photography, scuba diving, playing squash, and camping out with friends.
Simon has degrees in marine biology and fisheries from Edinburgh and Louisiana State Universities and has worked in this field since 1990. He moved to Micronesia in 1997 and has traveled extensively in the region supporting conservation and aquaculture projects. From 2002-2006 he was the marine program advisor for the Conservation Society of Pohnpei, a leading grassroots NGO.
Currently, Simon is director of the Marine and Environmental Research Institute of Pohnpei, an NGO dedicated to developing sustainable aquaculture in rural communities in Micronesia. In this role, he travels through the Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, and Palau working with conservation groups and communities. Simon has been the Seacology representative for Micronesia since 2004.
Marilen Enseñat was born and grew up just steps from the Mediterranean Sea, so it’s no surprise that she has always had a passion for the ocean, above and below the water’s surface. In her youth, she was an avid snorkeler. She began working as a swimming teacher but switched, just months later, to a career as a professional dive guide and instructor. Her work has allowed Marilen to log more than 10,000 dives around the world. Over the years she has worked in Sri Lanka, the Maldives, Indonesia and of course, the Mediterranean Sea.
Marilen says she has often felt the need to give something back to the seas and oceans, and in Seacology found the ideal path to that goal. She joined Seacology as our field rep for Spain in 2019.
Antony is a social psychologist and a candidate for a master’s degree with a focus on sustainability. He has a diploma in environmental management. He was born in Colombia’s Caribbean region and has a strong connection with the sea and marine ecosystems. Antony has more than 10 years of experience with community development, preservation of ecosystems, and voluntary service. He has worked with governments, universities and NGOs.
Currently he directs the Fundacion Isla Unika, a non-profit organization working on island community development. Antony is convinced that promoting sustainable development with a focus on native rights is fundamental to the protection of the environment.
Since March 2007, Sione has been the executive director of the Tonga Community Development Trust, a nonprofit that works with disadvantaged communities to foster self-reliance. Tonga Trust projects range from health, water, and sanitation to disaster preparedness, environmental protection, climate change adaptation, good governance, democracy, and voter education. Before joining Tonga Trust, Sione was a national project coordinator in Tonga’s Department of Environment for two consecutive regional projects. First, the Ha’apai Conservation Area Project under the South Pacific Biodiversity Conservation Program from 1995-2001. Second, the Nukuhetulu Waste Reduction Pilot Project under the Strategic Program for the International Waters of the South Pacific from 2002 to 2007. Both programs used a community-based participatory approach to conservation. In 1994 Sione obtained a Master of Arts in sociology from the Australian National University in Canberra.
Michelle is an environmental engineer with a master’s in natural resource management and environmental studies, with a focus on coastal and marine management and climate change, from the University of the West Indies in Barbados. She has worked in the field for about 15 years in the Bay Islands of Honduras. She was raised in mainland Honduras and moved to the Bay Islands in 2002, eager to discover her island roots, and made it her home. Ever since, she has been working with the local municipalities, central government, local and international organizations, and communities for the protection, conservation, and sustainable development of the islands. She believes that empowered communities can inspire growth, influence change and awareness to break barriers and take control of their quality of life. Michelle loves nature and enjoys the calm island community, family history research, traveling, and island food.
Marcio Halla is an agronomist who graduated from Sao Paulo State University (Brazil) in 1996, and earned a master’s degree in Territorial Planning at Santiago de Compostela University (Spain) in 2014. He has participated in the Environmental Leadership Program at the University of California at Berkeley and in LEAD, a two-year sustainable management training program with sessions in China and Canada.
Since 1997, Marcio has carried out integrated sustainable development projects, working close to riverine and coastal traditional communities in the Atlantic Rainforest and the Amazon region, as a coordinator of NGO programs and as a consultant. He has participated in projects on topics including sustainable management and ethical trade of forest, agroforestry and organic agriculture and aquaculture products; community based ecotourism; strengthening associations and cooperative institutions; participatory methodologies; forest certification; and ethical biotrade verification.
Vineeta has a Ph.D in cultural geography and has done research on traditional lifestyles of indigenous people in remote areas. She was awarded fellowships from the East-West Centre in Hawaii, the Australian Federation of University Women, and the Norwegian Research Council. Her quest to understand traditional, sustainable use of ecological resources led her to live among Trans-Himalayan nomads, Lakshadweep Islanders, and the Sámi reindeer herders in the Arctic. She is the author of the book, Living on the Move, the Bhotiyas of the Kumaon Himalayas.
She is a founder and trustee of the Centre for Action Research on Environment, Science and Society. CARESS tries to help stem the rapid loss of cultural and natural biodiversity and focuses on the revival of traditional values among island and mountain people. Vineeta coauthored The Children’s Perception of the Environment: a teachers toolkit for coastal and marine areas in Asia, published in 2009 by IUCN. Vineeta has been at the heart of coral reef affairs involving island communities in South Asia since 1997. She is the regional coordinator for the Global Socioeconomic Monitoring Initiative for Coastal Management (SocMon) South Asia and the lead author of the SocMon SA guidelines.
Ferdie has been Seacology’s Philippines field rep since 2007. A scuba instructor since 1990, Ferdie teaches SCUBA every now and then, but his primary occupation is managing the family farm in Tanay. Ferdie also writes a blog which, among other things, discusses his visits to Seacology projects.
Ferdie worked in the Philippine Senate from 1998 to 2004, assisting technical working groups on the Senate Committee on the Environment. In that time he saw the passage of landmark laws, such as the Philippine Clean Air Act of 1999 and the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000. He holds a bachelor’s degree in economics and attended the College of Law at the University of the Philippines.
An environmental activist, journalist, and farmer, Irman lives in his home village of Mandalamekar, where his conservation efforts earned him the 2011 Seacology Prize. He holds a Bachelor of Economics from Sam Ratulangi University, in North Sulawesi. He worked for Conservation International in the Raja Ampat Islands as a campaigner and educator. Today he helps rural communities like Mandalamekar create resource management and cost-sharing plans to protect their natural resources. He also serves as Chairman of the Indonesian Community Radio Network.
Enrique is an expert on South American camelids and other wildlife. He has traveled widely in Peru, working with rural communities and learning their traditional knowledge. Working in the field for 15 years, he has done work in the mountains, rainforest, and coastal hills, searching for guanacos (Lama guanicoe), and leading the rural development program of OIKOS, a nonprofit conservation organization in Peru.
Enrique graduated from the Veterinary School of San Marcos National University in Peru and now leads postgraduate short-term courses there in wildlife conservation and biodiversity management. He also teaches about indigenous ancestral knowledge, adaptation to climate change, and sustainable conservation for rural communities.
J-Hude MoudingoWest Africa
J-Hude or “John-C” lives in Cameroon and represents Seacology with communities on the islands of the West Africa coast. He holds postgraduate (D.Sc./Ph.D.) degrees in Forestry and Environmental Science from the Atlantic International University in the USA and the University of Douala in Cameroon. He has more than 10 years of professional experience in the field of wetlands and terrestrial forest, working with local communities to develop conservation and sustainable livelihoods in Africa. He currently serves on various landscape projects of the Ministry of Environment and other United Nations specialized agencies as project coordinator and facilitator.
Dishon Lionel MurageEast Africa
Dishon, our first field representative in this region, works to expand Seacology programs in the islands off the East African coast. Dishon has a master’s degree in zoology from the University of Nairobi, Kenya. His professional experiences have included extensive work with local communities to promote conservation and sustainable livelihoods. He is currently marine and coastal resources program coordinator for the East African Wildlife Society.
Erik has been working in Madagascar every year since 2000, studying the behavioral biology and conservation of one of the most critically endangered primates in Madagascar, the silky sifaka (Propithecus candidus). He earned his Ph.D. from Cornell University and his master’s degree from the University of California at Berkeley. Currently, he is the Conservation Program Director for Lemur Conservation Foundation. He previously served as the project director of Duke Lemur Center’s SAVA Conservation Project. Erik is also a member of the Madagascar Primate Specialist Group of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Since 2014 he has served as an executive editor of the journal Madagascar Conservation and Development.
Erik’s fieldwork has garnered considerable media attention, including televised feature films (BBC, Dan Rather Reports, Animal Planet) as well as newspaper and magazine coverage. In 2010, his “Saving the ‘Ghosts’ of Madagascar” made the cover of Smithsonian Magazine. He has been Seacology’s Madagascar field representative since 2009.
Marisol Rueda FloresMexico
Marisol Rueda Flores was born in Cuernavaca, Morelos and moved to La Paz, B.C.S. in 2005 to do her master’s in science on Marine Resources Management with blue whales. Since then she has been working in environmental education and conservation programs in La Paz, B.C.S., Costa Rica, and the Galápagos Islands. Her work has involved cetaceans, marine invertebrates, sea turtles, and tortoises, among others. In 2010, she moved to Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo, and became Mexico’s Coordinator for the Healthy Reefs Initiative, focusing on the conservation of the Mesoamerican Reef.
Marisol’s passions are scuba diving and traveling around the world to get to know new places and cultures. Whenever she has free time, you can find her exploring the bottom of the ocean.
Pettine was born and raised on a copra plantation in Fiji. After living abroad, she is happy to be back at her family home, just outside the small township of Savusavu on Vanua Levu Island, bordering the ocean. She has a passion for both the land and the sea and is an ardent protector of both. She is an entrepreneur and administrator with experience in both government and the private sector. Pettine is the only woman ever elected to the Savusavu town council, where she led initiatives to improve land use and protect the environment.
Cecilia’s approach to conservation has been shaped by exposure to a wide range of environmental challenges. Working in an NGO, Vida Silvestre Uruguay, gave her a broad knowledge of national and local needs. She worked at the local level with communities near the Río Uruguay, promoting monitoring actions with fishermen, and with communities near the Atlantic Ocean in an environmental education program. At the national level, she was part of the team that was in charge of realizing the goals and the spatial design of the National System of Protected Areas for 2015-2020. Currently, she is working with the private sector to promote actions that conserve biodiversity.
Cecilia has a bachelor’s degree in biological science, with a specialization in ecology, from the Universidad de la República in Uruguay. She also holds a diploma in management and conservation of natural resources (Ducks Unlimited Mexico, with the endorsement of the Universidad Autónoma de Yucatán, Mexico). She is working toward a master’s in agricultural science with a social science focus at the Universidad de la República.
MarcosGuatemala and El Salvador
Marcos TereteGuatemala and El Salvador
Marcos Leonardo Terete Toj, born in Antigua, Guatemala, is a primary school teacher and a teacher of Spanish as a second language. He has taught at the Rural Mixta San Miguel Milpas Altas public school for 20 years. He has a long history of promoting projects that improve living conditions for his students and provide much-needed support for his school. He is very interested in sustainable development as a way to conserve the natural beauty of Guatemala, which is known as the Land of Eternal Springtime.
Marcos joined Seacology in June 2019.
Tuaine TuaraCook Islands
Tuaine Tuara is a conservation advocate from Mangaia. In 1999 she and her husband founded the Mangaia Tanga’eo Environmental Rangers, an award-winning NGO promoting environmental awareness and education among Cook Islands children. Formerly trained as a nurse, Tuara manages her family’s bakery while continuing to work with local environmental groups as an advisor and mentor to support conservation issues.
Chris grew up in a small coastal town in Australia and has loved the ocean all his life. He received a bachelor’s degree in development studies and cultural change from the University of Macquar in Sydney. He then worked in sustainability and community engagement around Australia. Later, he began collaborating on research projects with local NGOs in Malaysia. Since then, his passion for the region, its environment, and its cultural diversity has led him to a range of projects focusing on sustainability, renewable energy, and cultural development. He has also been passionately involved in climate change activism. The Guardian named him as “one of the top young campaigners to watch” before the 2016 Paris Climate Conference.
Board of Directors
Our board of directors is made up of people who are passionate about island conservation and are steadfast and generous supporters of our work.
Seacology was founded by ethnobotanist Dr. Paul Alan Cox, whose scientific research focuses on the ecology of island plants and the ethnobotany of island peoples. Receiving his Ph.D. from Harvard University, he served as a Miller Fellow at the University of California, Berkeley and as a University of Melbourne Research Fellow. He subsequently was appointed as a professor and dean at Brigham Young University and later became the first King Carl XVI Gustaf Professor of Environmental Science at the Swedish Agricultural University and the University of Uppsala. For seven years he was Executive Director of the Congressionally chartered National Tropical Botanical Garden in Hawaii and Florida. He is currently Executive Director of the Brain Chemistry Labs, in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, where he searches for cures for ALS, Alzheimer’s, and other neurodegenerative diseases. He has published over 220 scientific papers. Dr. Cox was chosen by TIME Magazine as one of eleven “Heroes of Medicine” for his search for new medicines from plants. In 1997, he received the Goldman Environmental Prize for the conservation efforts described in his book Nafanua: Saving the Samoan Rainforest (New York: W.H. Freeman). He speaks a variety of island languages and is internationally renowned for his advocacy of indigenous peoples.
Rachel Dibner is co-president of The Argus Fund, a family foundation that she and her husband Mark established in 2007. She is deeply involved in the research, gifting, and financial responsibilities associated with day-to-day, long-term, and strategic fund operations. Due to its broad mission statement, The Argus Fund has supported a diverse palette of global, national, and local organizations that include the arts, healthcare, education, environmental concerns, and food insecurity. Rachel and Mark have been married for 37 years and together raised two adult daughters and a beloved dog that they adopted seven years ago. In her free time, she enjoys reading, swimming, and baking.
Scott is the founder of Revelation Partners, a venture capital fund that invests in emerging growth healthcare companies. He grew up cruising on sailboats, and it is there that he developed his appreciation for islands and their unique biodiversity and cultures. Along with his wife Lisa and four children, he continues to make regular visits to the islands of the South Pacific, Caribbean, Mexico, and the United States. Through the Bindon Foundation, Lisa and Scott are active impact investors in the areas of women’s empowerment, child slavery prevention, and health care in low-resource settings. Scott received an A.B. in biomechanical engineering from Dartmouth College in 1981, and a B.E. from the Thayer School of Engineering at Dartmouth in 1982, also in biomechanical engineering. In 1987, he received an M.M. from the Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University.
Doug is CEO and Chairman of Herst Ventures, a real estate development firm that emanated from his sale of Peerless Lighting to Acuity Brands in 1999. He is a pioneer of indirect lighting systems for schools and offices and holds over 20 utility patents and 45 design patents in the field of illumination in the US, and ten patents in other countries. He serves as Chairman of the Board of Lumenetix, a lighting technology company. Doug attended the University of California at Berkeley, where he received a B.S. in business administration. He is past Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Northern California Chapter of the World Presidents’ Organization and the Golden Gate Chapter of the Illuminating Engineering Society. He was a founder and board member of the Barbary Coast Chapter of the Young Presidents Organization, a board member of the Northern California Chapter of YPO, and a member of the Board of Trustees of the Graduate Theological Union. Doug has a keen interest in the environment and enjoys being in and around nature as an avid hiker, mountain biker, skier, scuba diver, and photographer.
Kimberly Myers Hewlett is president of the Myers Family Foundation and a council member of the Flora Family Foundation. Kimberly is treasurer and a board member of the National Center for Family Philanthropy. Kimberly is also a corporate and foundation relations officer at the Stanford University Medical Center. Previously, Kimberly worked for Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors and served as alumni relations director for the Stanford University Medical School. She is an alumna of The Philanthropy Workshop West, a “boot camp” for emerging philanthropists. Kimberly received her undergraduate degree from Stanford University and an MBA from the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University. Kimberly lives in the Bay Area, but tries to spend as much time as possible SCUBA diving with her husband and snorkeling with her two children.
Ken is the co-founder of Seacology. Ken founded Nature’s Way, one of the world’s leading herbal companies, after his mother was cured of a serious illness by plants. He spent several years in Samoa doing volunteer work, residing in the remote islands of the Manu’a group where he became fluent in the language. Ken has always had a special place in his heart for the Polynesian people. When he learned of the impending destruction of the Falealupo rain forest, Ken immediately offered to help stop the logging. In addition to winning major environmental awards, Ken’s former company, Nature’s Way, funded all of Seacology’s administrative costs for three years and has played a key role in Seacology since its inception.
Peter is a partner of Read Investments, specializing in commercial real estate acquisitions and development. He is a former co-owner of Grocery Outlet Inc., a retail grocery business with 135 stores throughout the western states and Hawaii. Peter attended high school and college in Switzerland and in the United States, and completed his education as an economics graduate at the University of San Francisco. He is a board member of the San Francisco SPCA, advisory board member of the California Shakespeare Theatre, and former member of the advisory board at Santa Clara University Leavey School of Business. The Otter Cove Foundation, which was established by Peter and his family, supports a number of philanthropic causes in the San Francisco Bay Area, such as the Alta Bates Summit Foundation, the Lindsay Wildlife Museum, and the Marine Mammal Center. Peter, who resides in Piedmont, California, most enjoys spending time with his family. He has three grown daughters: Gilan, Megan, and Carrie. Peter’s passion for skiing, car racing, and travel are surpassed only by his passion for his eight grandchildren.
A trained social scientist interested in the nexus between human rights and environment, Kristin Reed has advised on development of alternative livelihoods with fishing communities in Mexico and directed the University of California Human Rights Fellowship program. She has also taken a leadership role on variety of humanitarian initiatives and environmental projects in multiple African countries (including Angola, Botswana, Kenya, Mozambique, and Uganda), campaigns to protect endangered wildlife in Cambodia and Costa Rica, and research on fisheries development in Papua New Guinea. She earned a Ph.D in environmental science, policy and management (concentration in society and environment) from the University of California, Berkeley in 2006. Her doctoral research, published by UC Press in 2009 as Crude Existence: Environment and the Politics of Oil in Northern Angola, examined the effects of offshore oil production on artisanal fishing communities. Kristin received a B.S. in science, technology and international affairs and a certificate in African studies from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service in 1999.
Michael Staffieri has served for over four decades as Founder and Chairman of Financial Advisory Corporation, dba Rovin Capital, a financial consulting practice specializing in managing a broad range of financial services to closely held businesses, trust estates and foundations. He has served on several community and corporate boards; including the San Diego Council of the Boy Scouts of America, Alumni Executive Council of Brigham Young University, and the Advisory Board of Chubb & Sons. Michael is a former collegiate All-American athlete and recipient of the NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship before his four-year tenure with the Cincinnati Reds organization. He is married to the former Marilyn Black; they have six children and 18 grandchildren.
A cofounder of Nu Skin Enterprises, a leading personal care and nutrition company, Sandie has always been deeply interested in improving the quality of people’s lives throughout the world. She was named one of the top ten female business owners in the United States by Working Woman magazine. As a Seacology Board member, she helps to administer the Nu Skin Force for Good Foundation, an innovative program that links sales of the Epoch line of Nu Skin Enterprises, Inc. ethnobotanical products to preservation of indigenous cultures and peoples. Sandie played an important role in expanding Seacology’s donor base, and personally launched the Falealupo water supply campaign. Sandie has traveled throughout the world visiting projects supported by both Seacology and the Nu Skin Force for Good Foundation.
James Leslie Walker IV, known as Jake, grew up in San Francisco and now lives in Kentfield, California. Jake attended the University of Virginia (B.A. Economics 1973), Hastings College of the Law in San Francisco (J.D. 1976), and Golden Gate University (MBA in tax) in 1982. He has been an attorney since 1976, is a California State Bar Certified Specialist in Estate Planning, Probate and Trust Law, and is a partner in DeMartini & Walker LLP of San Rafael, California. He is a current or former member of several community and charitable organizations, both public and private, but considers Seacology the most effective organization with which he has had the pleasure to serve.
Michael Ward started writing software as a teen and has been involved with technology and software development for more than 35 years. After receiving a B.A. from Brigham Young University, he wrote custom software applications for entertainment-industry clients including television and film production companies, movie producers and film distributors. In 1995 he joined video game publisher Activision and spent the next 20 years working on a wide variety of entertainment software titles. He is a member of the Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences and is listed in the credits of over 75 video games, with combined sales well over the billion dollar mark. Michael grew up in Utah where, ironically, he learned to scuba dive. He currently lives in the Los Angeles area with his wife, Carolyn; they have four children and two grandchildren.
Scott Wilson is Head of U.S. Capital Markets and Chief Operating Officer, U.S. Private Wealth Management for the Canadian Imperial Bank Of Commerce. CIBC is one of the largest banks in Canada. Scott also oversees the management and development of the U.S. Private Wealth operating platform, and serves on the CIBC U.S. Region Executive Committee, global Capital Markets Management Committee and U.S. Wealth Operating Committee.
Scott began his career working for law firms in Washington, D.C. He later joined a global investment bank in New York and Hong Kong as a legal and regulatory advisor to the Emerging Markets division. He earned a BA in history from the University of California, Berkeley, and a JD from UCLA School of Law. He received his MBA issued jointly by Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management and the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology.
Along with his wife, Lucy Cummings, Scott is a co-founder and director of the United Kingdom Seacology affiliate. He has been a Seacology fellow for many years. Scott lives in New York City.
Scientific Advisory Board
We’re able to rapidly translate new research into conservation initiatives through the recommendations of our distinguished scientific advisory board. Each member of the scientific advisory board has significant expertise and experience in research affecting the conservation of island ecosystems, both terrestrial and oceanic.
Dr. Cox is a botanist whose scientific research focuses on the ecology of island plants and the ethnobotany of island peoples. Receiving his Ph.D. from Harvard University, he served for many years as professor and dean at Brigham Young University and later became King Carl XVI Gustaf Professor of Environmental Science at the Swedish Agricultural University and the University of Uppsala. For seven years he was director of the Congressionally Chartered National Tropical Botanical Garden (NTBG) in Hawaii and Florida, and is currently executive director of the Institute for Ethnomedicine, which is affiliated with the NTBG. He is the author of over 150 scientific papers and reviews, and was chosen by TIME Magazine as one of eleven “Heroes of Medicine” for his search for new medicines from plants. In 1997 he received the Goldman Environmental Prize for the conservation efforts described in his book Nafanua: Saving the Samoan Rainforest (New York: W.H. Freeman), which has been translated into German, Japanese, and Samoan. He speaks a variety of island languages and is internationally renowned for his advocacy of indigenous peoples.
A professor of physiology at UCLA since 1966, Dr. Diamond is the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of the widely acclaimed Guns, Germs and Steel, in which he explores the early geographical and environmental forces that, he argues, led to the differing rates of technological development around the world. A devoted conservationist, Dr. Diamond created a comprehensive plan, most of which was implemented, for Indonesian New Guinea’s national park system. In addition to roughly 20 field expeditions in New Guinea, he has done fieldwork all over the world and is a National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence. He received his doctorate from Cambridge and is a MacArthur Fellow. He has published more than 200 articles in Discover, Natural History, Nature and Geo magazines. His other books include The World Until Yesterday, Collapse, The Third Chimpanzee, and Why Is Sex Fun?
Dr. Earle is a marine scientist, author, and lecturer, as well as a National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence. Dubbed “Her Deepness” by the New Yorker and the New York Times, she was named in 1998 as TIME Magazine’s first “Hero for the Planet” in recognition of her pioneering work as an oceanographer. She is author of Sea Change: A Message of the Oceans, DIVE! My Adventures in the Deep Frontier, and Wild Ocean: America’s Parks Under the Sea, as well as numerous other scientific, technical, and popular publications. Dr. Earle holds the world’s record for the deepest solo dive for a woman: 1,000 meters.
Thomas Elmqvist, Ph.D, is a professor in Natural Resource Management in the Department of Systems Ecology and Stockholm Resilience Centre, Stockholm University. His research is focused on ecosystem dynamics, ecosystem services, land use change, natural disturbances, and components of resilience including the role of social institutions. He is coordinating two major interdisciplinary research themes as part of the new Stockholm Resilience Centre at Stockholm University. He was involved in the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment and is also principal investigator of multidisciplinary projects in Madagascar and in the south Pacific. With Seacology founder Paul Alan Cox, he helped establish four indigenous reserves in Samoa and also helped with one reserve in Madagascar. He and Dr. Cox have also advocated the importance of involving indigenous leaders in conservation initiatives.
Dr. Jansen is Director of the Billie L. Turner Plant Resources Center at the University of Texas at Austin. Until 2015, he was the chair of the Department of Integrative Biology there. He is an authority on the origin and evolution of oceanic island plants. This is extremely important, as one third of the endangered plants in the world occur on volcanic islands. Dr. Jansen has extensively studied the plant life on the archipelagos that comprise Macaronesia. This includes the 32 islands of the Azores, Canaries, Cape Verde, Madeira, and the Selvagens. Dr. Jansen received his Ph.D. from Ohio State University and his postdoctoral education at the University of Michigan. His articles have been published in Science Magazine and a wide range of scientific journals.
Dr. McCosker has been senior scientist and the first occupant of the Research Chair of Aquatic Biology at the California Academy of Sciences since 1994. Prior to that, he was director of the Academy’s Steinhart Aquarium for 21 years. Dr. McCosker’s research concerning attacks upon humans by great white sharks has influenced public safety plans, and his work was featured on BBC and NOVA television programs. He is the author of more than 175 popular and scientific articles. Dr. McCosker is one of the world’s leading authorities on great white sharks, with which he has dived on numerous occasions. He is also a widely recognized expert on the Galapagos Islands. Dr. McCosker and his wife reside in Mill Valley, California and have explored all of the world’s oceans and seas.
Dr. Ogden is Emeritus Professor of Integrative Biology at the University of South Florida and former director of the Florida Institute of Oceanography (FIO). He began his continuing fieldwork on global coral reefs and associated ecosystems after building the West Indies Laboratory (WIL) in St. Croix in the Virgin Islands, where he was director from 1981 to 1988. Dr. Ogden has published over 100 scientific papers, contributed to numerous books, and produced several television films on tropical ecosystems. He was a member of the founding Advisory Council of the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary and currently serves on the Florida Ocean and Coastal Council and the boards of the Florida Ocean Alliance and SeaWeb. He is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
Dr. Rainey is an endangered species biologist and has spent years studying endangered species in the islands of the Caribbean and the South Pacific. He received his Ph.D from the University of California, Berkeley in 1984. Dr. Rainey has helped develop tracking procedures for endangered sea turtles and has studied interactions between endangered flying foxes and the plants they pollinate. He is renowned as a forensic biologist, using new DNA techniques to apprehend criminals who traffic in rhino horns and other endangered species.
Dr. Raven, who received his Ph.D at the University of California, Los Angeles, has been director of the Missouri Botanical Garden and Engelmann Professor of Botany at Washington University since 1971. He was a member of President Clinton’s Committee of Advisors on Science and Technology, and is the chairman of the National Geographic Society’s Committee for Research and Exploration. He is active internationally in science, science policy, and particularly conservation, where he has emphasized the need for a transition to global sustainability. He is the recipient of numerous prizes and awards, including the Tyler Prize and the Sasakawa Environment Prize, and has held Guggenheim and John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation fellowships.
Harvard University Museum of Comparative Zoology, Department of Entomology biologist Dr. Edward O. Wilson was a leading figure in the global effort to prevent species extinction. Dr. Wilson received two Pulitzer Prizes, the National Medal of Science, the International Prize for Biology, and founder of the field of sociobiology. He is the author of many books, including Half Earth, The Social Conquest of Earth, Letters to a Young Scientist, The Diversity of Life, Biophilia, On Human Nature, The Ants and Naturalist. His research interests included evolutionary biology, the biology of social insects, biogeography, and ethical philosophy. Fundamental to Dr. Wilson’s achievements was his lifelong fascination with and exhaustive research into ant and other insect societies. Dr. Wilson passed away in late 2021, leaving a legacy that has impacted generations of scientists and conservationists.