What sets us apart from other organizations is more than our efficiency and ethic, it’s the people who work for us. We are a lean group of devoted conservation experts whose aim is to achieve the greatest results by putting financial and logistical resources where they are needed most – on the ground.

OFFICERS & LEADERSHIP

Byron Swift

President

Byron Swift

Byron has worked in Latin America for over three decades to improve land and resource conservation and environmental policy, working with over 50 groups in 12 countries. An environmental lawyer, Byron is an expert in private lands conservation and has published widely on biodiversity, industrial pollution and climate change. Previously, he directed the energy program at the Environmental Law Institute and the U.S. office of IUCN – World Conservation Union, and has served as a private foundation officer. Read Byron’s 2015 interview with Mongabay.com here.

Renzo Paladines

Vice President and Director of NCI Ecuador

Renzo

Renzo has broad experience in the field of conservation. He served as coordinator of the United Nations Geo-Loja report, and was president of the Regional Council of the Catamayo-Chira river basin. In recognition of his efforts, Renzo received the Podocarpus Award from Loja’s Provincial Council for his efforts in conservation and environmental management. He holds a Master’s in Zootechnics from the People’s Friendship University in Moscow. Read an interview with Renzo and our founder Ivan Gayler here.

Sara Dozier

Secretary and Treasurer

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Sara has served as secretary and treasurer since our founding in 1997. Passionate about community service, Sara has volunteered with many nonprofit organizations in the San Diego area since she was young. Her expertise in land tenure comes from twenty years spent helping Del Mar Partnership grow into one of California’s premier real estate companies.

UNITED STATES STAFF

Silvia Usuriaga

International Program Officer

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Before coming to our U.S. office, Silvia served as the staff director for our programs in the Peruvian Amazon for three years, working closely with governments, communities, donors, and the private sector to develop and manage our programs to protect the Amazon rainforest. Born in Iquitos, a major city in the upper Amazon, Silvia is a former international business manager whose personal experience led her to devote her talents to the conservation of ecosystems and ancient cultures. Read her article in the Huffington Post here.

Jamie Reinhardt

Development Associate, Individual Giving

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Jamie is an MBA graduate with a special concentration in Sustainable Business. Her passion for conservation and the nonprofit world led her to work for the Clinton Global Initiative and the Rainforest Alliance before coming to NCI. She holds a B.A. from UCSB in Global and International Studies, has a background in international logistics, and has lived and worked in Brazil. Jamie’s passion for conservation also extends to sustainable agriculture and farm-to-table eating.

Christina LeBlanc

Director of Finance

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Christina comes to NCI with 20 years of nonprofit finance experience, previously serving as the finance manager for a number of small and mid-sized nonprofits on Cape Cod and Nantucket Island, among them The ‘Sconset Trust, a land conservation group. She has an MA from Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, FL and an MBA from the Simmons School of Management in Boston, MA. She provides pro-bono financial services to the Kids Eco Club in San Diego.

Hayley Sanchez

Communications Coordinator

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Hayley holds a B.A. in English with a writing emphasis from Loyola Marymount University. She was Vice President of the University’s Sigma Tau Delta Honor Society and represented the University as a tour guide and ambassador. Before joining NCI, Hayley came from the City of San Diego’s Park and Recreation Department where she assisted in grant writing and volunteer service and event coordination.

Ecuador Staff

Bruno Paladines

Community Development

Bruno

Bruno, an ecologist, directs our programs for community development in southern Ecuador, working on both social and environmental aspects. He also directs our largest project at La Ceiba-Pilares in the dry forests of Zapotillo. Bruno has a Master’s in Ecology from the University of Brussels, Belgium. Listen to Bruno’s song, “The World Is Calling Us”, here.

Fabián Rodas López

Cuenca Region Coordinator

Fabian

Fabián, a biologist, is the regional coordinator for our office and projects in the Cuenca region of southern Ecuador. He has published on bird conservation and on the use of GIS for protected areas. He also served as a university professor from 2000-2002. Fabián has a post-graduate degree in population ecology from the University of Costa Rica.

Felipe Serrano

Andes and Amazon Program Coordinator

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Felipe coordinates our Biosphere Reserve program as well as our Andes-Amazon initiatives and the community programs at Colambo-Yacuri. He has a Master’s in Management of Tropical Biodiversity from San Pablo University, Spain, and was a university professor from 1999-2002. Felipe is the founder of the Azuay Herbarium and president of Funbotánica.

José Rodrigo Sánchez

Communications

José Rodrigo Sánchez

José leads our communication efforts in Ecuador, publishing a full page in the regional Loja newspaper every Sunday, as well as internal bulletins and updates for our teams in Ecuador and Peru. He has conducted interviews with renowned biologists and researchers, as well as many of our staff and EcoClub students.

Eduardo Cueva

Project Coordinator

Eduardo

Eduardo is a forester and botanist who has studied and published on the native fruits of southern Ecuador, the growth of forest species and seeds, and reforestation. He carried out postgraduate work at the National Herbarium of Ecuador in Quito and completed his doctorate studies at the University of Bayreuth, Germany.

César Aguirre

Project Coordinator

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César is a veterinary doctor and environmental lawyer. He worked for several years on conservation projects for the Podocarpus Foundation before joining our team. César created the Protective Forest “Servio Aguirre” over forest lands he owns, and founded a regional organization for landowners focused on conservation. In his free time, César enjoys photography and collecting books and documents about the history of Ecuador and Loja.

Priscila Dávila

Head of Accounting

Priscila Dávila

Priscilla has worked with us since 2000 and is an integral member of the team as the head of our accounting department. Previously, she was head of control for the Banco de Loja (1999-2000) and credit officer at Banco del Austro. Priscila has a PhD in Accounting.

Galo Carrillo

Education Coordinator

Galo

Galo has trained a generation of environmental activists in southern Ecuador, including several members of our staff and leadership. He has taught high school biology and ecology in the region since 1970. Galo works with us to implement the national and binational Science Fairs, the Encounters of Children’s Creativity program and the network of Loja EcoClubs. He holds a Master’s in Education. Read an interview with Galo here.

José Romero

Project Coordinator

José Romero

José is an agronomist with a Master’s in Agricultural Engineering who coordinates development projects based on sustainable productive use of native species such as the cherimoya and the toronche (a highland papaya) within environmentally-friendly agroforestry systems. The majority of his work takes place in the western part of the Colambo Yacuri Protected Forest, although he’s recently begun supporting our team in Alamos, Mexico.

Pedro Paladines

Administrator of San Francisco and laipuna Stations

Pedro

Pedro manages operations at our San Francisco Science Station, within the Podocarpus National Park. He also manages our Laipuna Research Station in the tropical dry forest of southern Ecuador. He has a degree in Environmental Management from the Technical University of Loja, and postgraduate studies at the People’s Friendship University in Moscow.

Trotsky Riera Vite

Zamora region Coordinator

Trotsky

Trotsky is an environmental engineer who coordinates the activities for our Zamora office. He is a specialist in habitat restoration and community engagement, and conducted his thesis at our San Francisco Science Station. He is also a professor at the Technical University of Loja.

Juan Ordoñez

Chief of Administration

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Juan is a public accountant with a degree in Business Administration. He has been a financial director for over 26 years within the Ecuadorian Subcommision and the Provincial Councils of Loja and Zamora Chinchipe. Juan also has experience as the head of the Municipality of Loja’s tax department, and was a university professor for two years at the Technical University of Loja.

MEXICO STAFF

Jennifer MacKay

Director of Alamos Office

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Jennifer guides the overall management plans that focus on achieving our Monte Mojino Reserve’s (ReMM) mission. She and her husband have lived in Alamos for over 20 years, where they have raised their daughters, Salina and Elly. Jennifer is very involved in the Alamos community and sits on several boards that help to promote tourism, conservation, and improving the lives of the people in Alamos.

Lydia Lozano

Coordinator

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Lydia is involved in the day-to-day operations of ReMM, working closely with the field staff and with NCI’s colleagues at Comisión Nacional de Áreas Naturales Protegidas (CONANP). She has considerable experience working with various Mexican federal agencies as well as the broader Mexican conservation community. She has a degree in Biology with a specialty in Zoology from the Universidad Autónoma de Sinaloa. She and her husband, also a biologist, have a 3-year-old daughter Violeta, who has a keen interest in nature.

Felix García Caballero

Head of Field Operations

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Felix was born and raised in Sabinito, a pueblo just 10 miles east of Alamos. He began working for NCI in 2006. He supervises the team of rangers, helps implement the reserve’s conservation objectives, leads trips to the field, and facilitates the work of visiting researchers. As a child, Felix worked with his father, raising cattle and growing staple crops of corn, beans, tomatoes, and squash. These skills and knowledge of the landscape acquired from his father are fundamental to the work he does today.

PERU STAFF

Mike McColm

Head of Amazonas Office

Mike McColm

Mike is an expert in conservation, reforestation, sustainable development and environmental education. He worked for over 20 years in Ecuador as development director and then executive director of the Jatun Sacha Foundation, which became one of Ecuador’s preeminent conservation organizations through his efforts. He has a doctorate in administration from the University of California and a Master’s in Environmental Studies. Mike enjoys leading natural history study groups, teaching and playing music.

Alexander More

Head of Northwest Peru Office

Alex

Alex is a biologist with extensive expertise in biodiversity research and local conservation, and supported the Regional Government of Piura in the development of its first Regional System of Natural Protected Areas. He has conducted biodiversity surveys in northwest Peru since 2002, and has played a key role for the establishment of protected areas like Salitral and Huarmaca of 72,000 acres. Alex enjoys painting and sculpting charismatic species of the Piura ecosystems.

Noam Shany

Head of Northeast Peru Office

Noam Shany

Noam is a noted ornithologist, agronomist and conservationist, as well as co-author of the seminal book, Field Guide to the Birds of Peru. He has been an adviser to top government officials and indigenous representatives, and helped to develop Peru’s Regional System of Protected Areas (equivalent to the U.S. State Parks system). He has been instrumental in implementing a variety of important conservation initiatives in the Loreto region of Peru.

Paul Viñas

Andean Program Coordinator

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Paul is a biologist who works on initiatives in the Andean Program for our northwest Peru office. He has conducted biodiversity surveys in the mountain ecosystems of the Piura region and has extensive experience working with communities to bring about positive conservation outcomes that benefit local people.