Rainforest Trust Council
The Rainforest Trust team is a dedicated, experienced team of conservation professionals. Combating the complex threats facing our world’s tropical ecosystems takes perseverance, vision and commitment. Our dedicated team has already halted destructive threats to millions of acres. Every day, their hard work and passion propel Rainforest Trust’s conservation strategy while helping to shape a sustainable future for the tropics.
Dr. Bruce Beehler
Dr. Bruce Beehler works for the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History as an ornithologist and research associate. An authority on New Guinea Birds and the author of several major works on the subject, he previously worked for the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, Conservation International, the Wildlife Conservation Society and Counterpart International.
Bruce received his master’s and Ph.D. studying behavioral ecology at Princeton. He also co-led a broadly published rapid assessment survey on biological diversity in the Foja Mountains of Papua in 2005 alongside a team of international scientists—during which the Wattled Smoky Honeyeater was discovered and the Bronze Parotia and Golden-fronted Bowerbird were photographed for the first time.
Dr. Gwen Brewer
Gwen has a background in conservation, ornithology and ecology and has worked on the ground in Argentina, Guatemala, Ecuador and Chile.
She pursued more direct conservation work with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources and now manages the science program for the Maryland state wildlife agency working in conservation planning, rare species monitoring and research, determination of species’ legal statuses, development of protection strategies, and on-the ground conservation projects.
An avid birder and nature enthusiast, Gwen has traveled widely and enjoys learning about habitats, species, and conservation challenges and successes both locally and internationally. She has been a committed supporter of Rainforest Trust and its partners for over 10 years. Gwen lives near Washington, DC, with her husband George Jett, retired chemical engineer, nature photographer, and long-time supporter of Rainforest Trust.
Gwen received a B.S. in Zoology at Michigan State University and Ph.D. in Ecology at the University of Minnesota.
Callie is a senior designer at National Geographic, where she produces nonfiction children’s books inspiring kids to love animals and be curious about the planet. As a photographer and writer, she has published over 30 articles on topics ranging from Virginia solar legislation to education in the Marshall Islands. Callie focuses on youth education and engagement as a key to solving the climate change crisis and protecting critical habitat.
Callie holds a B.S. in Architecture from the University of Virginia with a minor in Urban and Environmental Planning.
Dr. Thomas Brooks
Dr. Thomas Brooks is IUCN's Chief Scientist, with areas of expertise in biodiversity conservation, ornithology and ecology. Before joining IUCN in January 2013, he was Vice President for Science and Chief Scientist of NatureServe. He’s also held biodiversity science positions in Conservation International and the Nature Conservancy and visiting appointments at the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF).
Trained as an ornithologist with field experience primarily in tropical forest hotspots like the Philippines, Paraguay and Indonesia, Thomas has a Ph.D. in ecology and evolutionary biology and a B.A. in geography. He is the author of more than 250 scientific and popular articles.
Brett is a venture capitalist with a prior background as a senior executive, corporate attorney and engineer. He is motivated by a desire to combat climate change through the creation of large carbon-storing protected areas.
Brett is a Managing Director with Partner Ventures and led the venture capital investing activities of VCFA Group for over a decade. Brett holds a J.D. from Yale Law School and a B.S. in electrical engineering from Cornell University.
Dr. Nigel Collar
Dr. Nigel Collar is a Leventis Fellow in conservation biology with BirdLife International, where he has previously worked as the Director of Science, Director of Development, Chairman of the ICBP Bustard Group and the compiler of the International Bird Red Data Book. His current work involves studying threatened birds and habitats through fieldwork and the support of graduate students.
Nigel is an Honorary Professor at the University of East Anglia’s School of Biological Sciences and has written over 100 scientific papers and 12 books including Birds and People: Bonds in a Timeless Journey and Facing Extinction: The World’s Rarest Birds and the Race to Save Them.
DR. CHRIS ELLIOTT
Dr. Chris Elliott is the former Executive Director of the Climate and Land Use Alliance a collaborative initiative of the ClimateWorks Foundation, David and Lucile Packard Foundation, Ford Foundation and Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation. Prior to joining the Alliance, he worked for WWF in a variety of capacities over twenty years, starting as China Program Coordinator and ending as Executive Director, Conservation, at WWF International. Before that, he was employed by The World Bank and by the Bank of Boston. He began his professional career by working for several years in organic agriculture. Chris has been closely involved in major forest conservation initiatives in the Congo Basin and the Amazon and led the development of a global partnership with IKEA. He worked on the establishment of the Forest Stewardship Council and was the organization’s first Board Chair. His education is in plant sciences, forestry, forest policy and ecosystem management at the universities of London, Yale and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (EPFL). His doctoral dissertation was on forest certification as a policy instrument. He is an Adjunct Professor at the Department of Forest Sciences, University of British Columbia.
DR. CULLEN GEISELMAN
Cullen is a bat biologist, conservationist, and philanthropist living in Houston, TX. Her research has focused on bat-mediated seed dispersal and pollination in the Neotropics. After spending some years studying nectar-feeding bats and sleeping in a hammock in French Guiana, she returned to the US to concentrate on bringing more people and funding to conservation. She has served as the Chair of the Board of Directors of Bat Conservation International as well as various other Texas-based conservation organizations and worked to expand the missions of local community organizations, such as the Houston Zoo and the Houston Parks Board, to embrace conservation as their central tenets. She believes in the inspiring power of nature and enjoys providing people with opportunities to witness natural phenomena, such as the emergence of millions of bats from Bracken Bat Cave, as a first step in bringing them into the conservation fold. She is also a believer in collaboration and has built and curates the Bat Eco-Interactions Database (www.batbase.org), an online interactive platform for cataloging all published ecological interactions between bats and other organisms with the goal of facilitating scientific research, collaboration, and conservation of the 1,400+ species of bats worldwide by making accurate scientific information about them, their diets, and the ecosystem services they provide available to all.
When not out in nature, Cullen is the acting director and chair of the board of trustees of the Cullen Trust for Health Care, a support organization funding healthcare initiatives in the greater Houston area. She also volunteers her time at various art institutions, such as the Menil Collection and the Blaffer Art Museum at the University of Houston.
Cullen received a BA in Environmental Science and Policy from Duke University and masters and PhD in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from Columbia University.
Robert graduated with an M.A. in economics from the University of Cambridge in 1982 and qualified as a Chartered Accountant in 1985. Robert, who lives in London, is an active birder and conservationist, and has supported conservation projects in Colombia and other countries since 1991.
Robert has been involved in helping improve sustainability for ProAves Colombia by establishing EcoTurs Colombia, which promotes ecotourism to ProAves reserves and other destinations. All profits from EcoTurs are donated to ProAves. Robert is presently the Chairman of the ProAves Advisory Council and member of ProAves Board of Directors.
John is a well-known bird artist who has served as the Wildlife Conservation Society’s long-time Director of WCS’ Exhibits, Graphics and Arts Department (EGAD) and emeritus Chief Creative Officer. During his tenure at WCS John designed many of the most immersive, detailed and compelling habitats ever built and was instrumental in propelling a movement for zoo design that told stories, recreated specific ecosystems and gave zoo visitors a strong conservation message. John, with Dr. Robert Ridgely, co-authored Birds of Brazil: The Pantanal & Cerrado of Central Brazil.
Ambassador Heather Hodges
Heather Hodges was a U.S. diplomat for 31 years, serving in Venezuela, Guatemala, Spain, Nicaragua, Peru, and Washington, D.C. She was Ambassador to Moldova and Ecuador. Always fond of birds, her posting to Ecuador and travels throughout that country led to a serious interest in the protection of birds around the world. In Ecuador, Heather visited most of the Fundación Jocotoco reserves and became committed to their model of protection. Now the President and Ambassador-in-Residence of the Cleveland Council on World Affairs, Heather continues her interest in similar conservation projects. As a member of the Advisory Council, Heather raises awareness of Rainforest Trust’s projects throughout the world.
Dr. Pantaleon M. B. Kasoma
Panta Kasoma is a Wildlife Ecologist who has been in the environment and natural resources management field for over 30 years. He obtained his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees at Uganda’s Makerere University and his PhD at Cambridge University. He left academia at Makerere University at the rank of Associate Professor. He represented the Africa Region on Birdlife Global Council for 4 years.
Panta worked as Uganda Country Director for the Jane Goodall Institute for nine years. Currently formally retired, he continues to participate in natural resources conservation by being Chair of the Board of Trustees of Uganda Wildlife Authority as well as being a trustee at the Environmental Conservation Trust of Uganda. He also represents Anglophone Africa on CITES Animals Committee.
DR. SALLY LAHM
Dr. Lahm is a wildlife ecologist and biological anthropologist with experience in scientific research, diverse consultancies and biodiversity surveys in African countries since 1982, including research on the natural history and socio-cultural dimensions of the Ebola Virus in Gabon and Guinea, respectively. Her earlier work in the care and management of birds and mammals in zoological parks in the United States inspired her to study the ecology of the mandrill in Gabon for her master’s degree at San Diego State University, after which she studied human/wildlife interaction and impacts on wildlife populations in northeastern Gabon for her doctorate at New York University. Both studies were based at the Institute of Research in Tropical Ecology, where she was a resident Associate Research Scientist of the Ministry of Higher Learning and Research until 2005. Her specific interests in wildlife are ungulates and elephants.
Sally has collaborated with government ministries in several countries, as well as organizations and institutions such as the Smithsonian Institution, the National Museum of Natural History in Paris, the World Health Organization, Conservation International, World Wildlife Fund and the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS). For WCS, she was a technical advisor to the Gabon National Parks Program from 2000-2005. She has also worked in Ghana, Guinea, Republic of Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo and Uganda in various projects, including working with the mining and petroleum industries to improve their environmental and wildlife mitigation, management and monitoring plans and implementation.
Sally holds the position of Research Associate Professor in the Department of Global and Community Health at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia. She also holds an associate faculty appointment as Assistant Professor of Research in the Department of Epidemiology and Environmental Health at the State University of New York at Buffalo.
Sally is currently a member of both the Africa Section and Great Ape Section of the IUCN Primate Specialist Group, a member of the IUCN Antelope Specialist Group and an advisor to the IUCN African Elephant Specialist Group.
Alan Martin is the Secretary of the Brazilian Atlantic Rainforest Trust and acts as the main coordinator of the REGUA project in Brazil which he visits regularly and assists with the governance and fundraising. He is a retired accountant and amateur birder but has published a Guide to the Hawkmoths of the Serra dos Orgaos, South-eastern Brazil and has just finished working on a Guide to Butterflies of the same area. He has served as the Honorary Treasurer and a Council member of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, as Treasurer and then Chairman of the British Trust for Ornithology, a trustee of Butterfly Conservation, a Director of Wetlands International, and a Council member of the World Land Trust as well as being a trustee of some other more local charitable organisations.
Dr. Russell A. Mittermeier
Russ is the President of Conservation International and was selected as one of TIME Magazine’s “EcoHeroes for the Planet” in 1998. Russ is a noted author of Hotspots and many other books on conservation and is the only working field biologist at the head of a major international environmental organization.
He has been Chairman of the IUCN Species Survival Commission’s Primate Specialist Group since 1977. Russ received his Ph.D. from Harvard University in biological anthropology in 1977. He has served as Vice President for Science at the World Wildlife Fund, President of the Margot Marsh Biodiversity Foundation and an Adjunct Professor at the State University of New York at Stony Brook.
A lifelong birder and conservationist, Roger Pasquier previously worked at BirdLife International, World Wildlife Fund-US, Environmental Defense Fund and the National Audubon Society.
Roger acted as chair of the Board for the conservation organization Rare from 1992 until 2000. He was the founder and president of the Friends of the Peruvian Rainforest, where he led efforts to help local organizations, including CEDIA, protect millions of acres of Amazon rainforest.
Roger has written several books on birds and served as a Board member of Rainforest Trust from 2000-2003.
A digital marketing leader, Linda is an expert in strategic branding, marketing and communications. As the first Chief Digital Officer for the American Museum of Natural History, she transformed the Museum into a leading 21st century digitally innovative cultural institution.
A passionate advocate for wildlife and conservation, Linda relishes applying her knowledge of cutting-edge mobile, social media, and digital technologies to help Rainforest Trust protect the world’s tropical forests.
Linda received a B.A. in Business and Economics from the University of Maryland and a M.S. in Information Science from Wayne State University.
Sir Ghillean Prance
Sir Ghillean worked from 1963 to 1988 at The New York Botanical Garden as Director of the Institute of Economic Botany and Senior Vice-President for Science. He spent the next 11 years as Director of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, until his retirement in 1999.
He trained as a plant taxonomist and is an expert on the flora of the Amazon rainforests, having led annual expeditions there for over 25 years, collecting more than 450 Amazonian plants new to science. He has been a Fellow of the Linnean Society since 1961 and a Fellow of the Royal Society since 1993.
Mr. Quarles is a partner in the Washington, D.C. office of the law firm Nossaman LLP. He is a veteran attorney who focuses his practice on addressing issues concerning federal wildlife laws (Endangered Species Act (ESA), Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA) and Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act (BGEPA), federal lands and resources (including resource use, siting, and access law), and renewable energy. He represents a wide range of associations and companies, policy coalitions, state governments, local governments, land conservation trusts, and environmental organizations.
He served as Deputy Under Secretary in the U.S. Department of the Interior and special counsel on the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. He is active as an officer and member of the Board of several non-profit organizations. He is a graduate of Princeton University and Yale Law School.
Mr. Quarles has served on the Board of Mineral and Energy Resources of the National Academy of Sciences and on two committees of the National Research Council commissioned by Congress. He also was a member of the Secretary of the Interior’s Federal Advisory Committee on Wind Turbine Guidelines and the Secretary of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Research, Extension, Education and Economics Advisory Board. He was a participant in the Endangered Species Act at Thirty project of the University of California, Santa Barbara, Columbia University and the University of Idaho; Stanford University Forum on the Endangered Species Act and Federalism; and The Keystone Center’s Working Group on Habitat Issues.
He and his spouse own and operate one of the largest Hanoverian breeding farms in Maryland. They have ensured the protection of their 250-acre farm by donating a conservation easement to the Maryland Environmental Trust.
Scott Rasmussen is President of TaxHawk, Inc., a Provo, Utah-based IRS e-file provider company. He has a Master of Accounting from Brigham Young University, and has a background as a Tax Accountant. In July, he donated $100,000 to the Tsinjoarivo-Ambalaomby project in Madagascar.
Walter Sedgwick is a long-time forest land-owner and conservationist who has worked with many organizations dedicated to land and animals, serving on the Boards of the National Audubon Society, The Nature Conservancy - Florida, Bat Conservation International, Island Conservation, the Pacific Forest Trust, the Land Trust Alliance, and the Turtle Survival Alliance. He currently chairs the Program Committee of WCS. He is the founder of the Red Hills Land Conservancy (now known as Tall Timbers). Walter also helped to found the Turtle Conservation Fund in 2002. With his Walter C. Sedgwick Foundation, he has donated a major collection of Japanese Buddhist sculpture and early Chinese ceramics to Harvard University’s Arthur M. Sackler Museum.
Dr. Simon Stuart
Simon is a leader in the field of conservation biology who has used his expertise to further global species preservation efforts throughout his career.
Simon holds both undergraduate and doctorate degrees in conservation biology from the University of Cambridge. His varied experience includes global assessments of amphibian population declines as well as ornithological fieldwork in Tanzania and Cameroon.
Simon is currently Chair of the IUCN Species Survival Commission and has an extensive history of leadership positions within IUCN. His work includes IUCN/SSC biodiversity assessments of a wide array of species including mammals, amphibians, reptiles, and marine organisms.
Dr. John Terborgh
Dr. John Terborgh is a conservation biologist who has operated the Cocha Cashu Biological Station in Manú National Park, Peru. He was a professor at the University of Maryland and later at Princeton University. In 1989, he joined the faculty of Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment and founded the Duke University Center for Tropical Conservation.
In 1992, John was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship and was honored with the Daniel Giraud Elliot Medal by the National Academy of Sciences in 1996 for his book Diversity and the Tropical Rainforest—he has published numerous books and articles on conservation. In 2005, he was elected Honorary Fellow of the Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation.
Bernie is an Adjunct Professor in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of California Santa Cruz, where he co-directs the Coastal Conservation Action Lab. He is the Founder of Island Conservation, which has created over 900,000 hectares of new marine and island protected areas and protected over 250 seabird colonies and 250 insular endemics from extinction. Bernie is also co-founder and Board Chair of Conservation Metrics, a for-profit social venture dedicated to improving conservation through better monitoring, and co-founder of Freshwater Life, which saves endangered freshwater species by eradicating freshwater invasives. He is a member of the IUCN’s Invasive Species Specialist Group and Commission on Ecosystem Management. Bernie serves as a consultant to the Mulago Foundation’s Henry Arnhold Fellows Program, and is on the boards of OneReef, the Tony Hawk Foundation. He earned his BS in Biology from UC-Santa Cruz, an MS in Marine Sciences from San Jose State University, and a PhD in neurobiology and behavior from Cornell University.
Dr. David S. Wilcove
David Wilcove is a professor of Public Affairs and Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the Woodrow Wilson School. His research focuses on the conservation of biodiversity.
He and his students have worked in Southeast Asia; the Himalayas; New Zealand; East Africa; and North, Central and South America. Their work typically combines ecological research with economics and other social sciences to address issues such as deforestation, commercial logging, agriculture and the wild animal trade.
In 2001, David received the Distinguished Service Award of the Society for Conservation Biology in recognition of his work on behalf of endangered species. He received a B.S. from Yale University and a Ph.D. in biology from Princeton University.
An esteemed conservationist, Roland’s expertise has helped to secure a future for threatened species across the globe. From a very young age, he was intrigued by the diversity of life and soon became acutely aware of threats to wildlife, triggering his lifelong dedication to conservation.
He co-founded German NGO Zoological Society for the Conservation of Species and Populations (ZGAP), an organization he chaired for thirty years and now serves as Senior Advisor to the board. Under Roland’s leadership, ZGAP has implemented and often sustained long term projects for over 100 of the globes ‘forgotten’ endangered species in more than two dozen countries. Notably, he is also a member of several IUCN Species Survival Commission specialist groups. His focus on the survival of threatened species has allowed him to forge cooperative relationships with many other conservation organizations throughout his career.