Our board is made up of entrepreneurs, scientists, and academics who bring a high level of commitment and passion to the conservation of our planet’s biological and cultural diversity.

Board of Directors and Officers

Board Chairman

Nature and CUlture INternational
Psychologist, Retired
San Diego, CA
Term: 2003 –  present

Founder and Chairman Emeritus

President, del mar partnership
San Diego, CA
Term: 1997 – present

Vice Chair 

Co-Founder and CFO, Knowledge Factor Inc.
Boulder, CO
Term: 2011 – present

President and CEO

Nature and Culture INternational
Loja, Ecuador
Term: 2018 – present

Executive Director of Latin America Operations and Vice President

Nature and Culture INternational
Loja, Ecuador
Term: 1997 – present


nature and Culture INternational
San Diego, CA
Term: 2017 – present


San Diego, CA
Term: 2011 – present

Professor of mathematics
University of San Diego
San Diego, CA
Term: 2016 – present

conservationist, lawyer, and executive communications coach
San Diego, CA
Term: 2012 – present

Chief executive officer
Knowledge Factor Inc.
Boulder, CO
Term: 2016 – present

Board Chair
Hunter Industries
San Diego, CA
Term: 2005 – present

National Herbarium of Ecuador
Quito, Ecuador
Term: 2001 – present

Jane Goodall (honorary)

Primatologist and Founder
Roots and Shoots
Term: 2017 – present

Entomologist and Professor emeritus
Harvard University
Cambridge, MA
Term: 2015 – present


David Welborn

An avid outdoor enthusiast and kayaker, David became Chairman in December 2015 after serving on NCI’s Board of Directors alongside his wife Ann for the past 12 years. He also sits on the board of Hunter Industries, and is the former president of San Diego Coastkeeper and member of the San Diego Foundation Environment Working Group.

Ivan Gayler

Ivan has led our efforts to protect millions of acres of tropical ecosystems since 1996. He is also the founder of Del Mar Partnership, and has served on numerous boards in San Diego, including the Museum of Man.

Charles Smith

Charles has started five companies and one foundation. He is known for inventing the royalty-free model at Digital Stock Inc., later sold to Bill Gates, and the confidence-based learning model at Knowledge Factor Inc. He is co-founder and a board member of the E.O. Wilson Biodiversity Foundation, and previously served on the Director’s Cabinet at Scripps Institution of Oceanography.

Jill Gartman

Jill joined Nature and Culture in January 2017 with a renewed sense of urgency to do her part to protect nature and our planet. After working in management in the for profit world for many years, she has turned to non-profit work and specifically Nature and Culture to fulfill her desire to be a part of an organization that is not only conserving some of the most spectacular places on the planet but having an impact on the critical issue of Climate Change. She served as Nature and Culture’s Executive Director of U.S. Operations until June 2017. Jill has a bachelors degree in Speech Communication from The University of Texas where her course studies emphasized organizational communication and teamwork.

Bob Burgin

Bob brings nearly 30 years of leadership experience and success in venture capital-backed companies. As a serial entrepreneur, he has a wealth of experience in a variety of industries including Internet, healthcare, manufacturing, financial services and consulting/analytics. An avid outdoorsman, Bob lives in Boulder, CO with his wife and three sons.

Sheldon Engelhorn

Sheldon is an entrepreneur who co-founded a life sciences tool company (now part of Thermo Fisher Scientific). He is a regent of the University of California, and a trustee of the UC San Diego Foundation. An avid surfer, Sheldon is active with the Director’s Cabinet at Scripps Institution of Oceanography and received the Chancellor’s Medal in 2011.

John Gartman

John is an entrepreneur interested in the intersection of inventions, law, engineering and business automation. He is president of the Invention Foundation and past chair of the Foundation Board of San Diego Zoo Global. In 2009, California Lawyer Magazine awarded him the prestigious California Lawyer of the Year Award.

Jane Goodall (honorary)

Jane Goodall is a world famous primatologist, ethologist, anthropologist, and UN Messenger of Peace. She is the founder of the Jane Goodall Institute and Roots and Shoots. Her work began in Tanzania where she studied the social and familial behaviors of chimpanzees. She is considered the world’s foremost expert on chimpanzees. Her work has been critical to conservation and animal welfare efforts.

Sue Hart

Sue received her Ph.D. in Mathematics from UC San Diego, where she served on the Board of the Alumni Association.  She taught Math at the University of San Diego, and currently volunteers as a math tutor for an alternative education high school in Oceanside.  She and her husband Steve live in North County, where he co-founded the company ViaSat. Sue and Steve actively support a number of organizations including NCI, UC San Diego, Interfaith Community Services, KPBS, and Mainly Mozart.

Ann Hunter Welborn

Ann is a native Californian and chair of the board at Hunter Industries, a leading manufacturer of irrigation and landscape lighting equipment. She serves on the board of Rachel’s Network and the Sonoran Institute. She holds a PhD in depth psychology with emphasis on mythological studies, and views all existence through that lens. She and her husband David have three daughters and seven grandchildren.

David Neill

David has lived in Ecuador since 1985, where he has been carrying out floristic projects, providing training to Ecuadorian botanists, and assisting in the development of the National Herbarium of Ecuador (QCNE). In the past he served as director of the Jatun Sacha Foundation, a nonprofit Ecuadorian organization engaged in conservation, education and research, and holds a position as a university professor in Quito.

E.O. Wilson 

E.O. Wilson is a renowned biologist, author and Professor Emeritus at Harvard University. He is considered the world’s foremost expert on myrmecology, or the study of ants. He is a two-time Pulitzer Prize winning author known for his books ranging from biology to environmental advocacy and his secular-humanist ideas on the interplay between religion, ethics and conservation. Read more here.