Occupation and employer: Program Officer, Conservation International Sea Turtle Flagship Program, and IUCN Marine Turtle Specialist Group.
Specialty: I am a generalist, but my main areas of expertise are in communications and outreach, capacity building, and global networking for conservation.
Geographic area of expertise: Global
Best part about my job: Because of the global nature of my program and our projects, I’m able to interact with people from all over the world on a daily basis, and learn a lot in the process. My favorite “on the job” moments are when I’ve done something that clearly contributes to the success of someone else’s project or professional development. That my program allows me to put so much focus on supporting others is a gift. I also greatly enjoy the opportunities to visit partners in the field and spend time in the places we’re working to protect.
The most unusual or exciting thing that’s happened to me while working in the field: Having a nearly 2 meter fer-de-lance (Bothrops atrox) appear in the light of my flashlight while doing nighttime visual transect surveys along a trail in the Mache-Chindul mountains of northwestern Ecuador… Watching 6 leatherbacks emerge onto the same area of beach in Trinidad in the span of just a few minutes, and coming back in the morning to find a nest hatching just steps from another nesting turtle… incredible place!
Turtle researcher / conservationist I most admire: Many. In particular, I admire the hundreds of conservationists in developing countries who make miracles happen with few resources, and with greater risks and fewer opportunities than those of us in the developed world have. To name a few: Jose Urteaga, Zahirul Islam, Jesus “Chuy” Lucero, Ketut Sarjana Putra, Audley & Romeo DeFreitas, and many more. I also greatly admire my boss, Rod Mast (no, I’m not just saying that to try to get a raise) for his positive attitude and relentless ability to pursue dreams.
When I’m not working on turtles, I like to: Spend time outdoors with my wife and our golden retriever. Travel, cook. I am also an amateur nature photographer and modern furniture collector.
Relevant links to find out more about me and my work: SWOT—The State of the World’s Sea Turtles; Conservation International Sea Turtle Flagship Program; IUCN Marine Turtle Specialist Group (you’re here!)