👥 Our Team, Collaborators & Partners
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” (Margaret Mead)… That’s us together with you!
Board Members & Officers
Earthwise Aware is a volunteer-based 501(c)(3) that we founded early 2016, and have since then incorporated as a nonprofit in May 2017. We are very proud of its mission & vision and are working hard at developing it into a vibrant community. Thanks to a dedicated and growing group of supporters who want it to succeed, EwA is developing fast. We look forward to this journey, and invite you to join our effort!
Born in France. Claire lived in Canada in the 90s before moving to the US where she has been residing since then. Claire is a scientist trained in mathematical statistics, probabilities, and computer sciences. Until February 2016, when not working on EwA, she led an Artificial Intelligence R&D organization at an international information technology company. An organization that she created and developed into a full-fledged successful product and consulting organization.
Her science background in domains of expertise reliably used in ecology and conservation fields, her leadership and technical innovation career, along with her engagement in nature and wildlife conservation citizen science and volunteering projects, gave her the vision and provide her with the tools for building a successful organization. Her energy and commitment to EwA’s mission and vision are key in nurturing a vibrant EwA community.
I can’t count the number of countries I’ve traveled to –often in most remote wilderness areas. I’ve volunteered my skills and expertise, such as statistical and data methods that are core to most ecological and conservation research studies. I have contributed to so many great conservation missions. I had the pleasure to meet wonderful, dedicated nature enthusiasts, conservationists and scientists along the way, many of those whom I became friends with, and whom I am collaborating with at EwA.
I’ve also witnessed directly the impact of an excessive and reckless human relationship to nature. I have witnessed a fair share of poorly managed projects and venues in general; And more than I wanted to, I also volunteered for and visited few questionable organizations; I have made mistakes myself out of ignorance, as well as I observed few entitled, badly trained travelers, volunteers and leaders.
Years of these mixed experiences shared with other conservationists, experts and concerned people made me realize how ‘wild’ we’ve become and how misinformed and unprepared we can be as travelers, volunteers, leaders or simple eco-citizens. With a human population of 7.6 billion and counting, this has devastating effects on our environment.
That is how EwA came to be. EwA intends to provide the information support and an eco-centered ethics model for the Nature lovers, conservation experts, volunteers, travelers, leaders as well as eco-citizens and guide them towards identifying ethical experiences and developing responsible actions and habits.
Ultimately all of us want to contribute positively and responsibly while enjoying our life and experiences to the fullest. Celebrating responsibly the gift of Nature every day whatever we do wherever we are is what EwA is all about. “Earthwise Aware —Because I Care!” really became my motto in Life.
Born in the UK. Sharan worked as an operational change and people manager within a major bank in the UK until 2010. When an offer of voluntary redundancy came her way after a 15-year career, she grabbed the opportunity and undertook 9 months of voluntary conservation work across several countries.
Since returning, she has been a self-employed consultant and has re-arranged her life to enable her to continue to lead and support businesses through project management and transformational change and have the flexibility to support her passion for further volunteering and nature conservation ventures once the contracts finish. Sharan has volunteered in Africa, Asia and Australia with more plans for the future.
“I have the best of both worlds and my enthusiasm for knowledge transfer, to learn and to share what I’ve learned, works in both fields.
Conservation efforts for me include finding out about good ventures, learning lessons from bad ones, widening my knowledge from fellow travelers, working with and understanding local communities and what they do to preserve their ecosystems and wildlife, and of course sharing my enthusiasm.
Claire and I met in Asia on a poorly run animal conservation site and it was our conversations in the main that grew my awareness that the ethics of conservation volunteering and travel need a lot more thoughts.
Over the years I’ve often been approached to share my experiences and about how I choose ethical organizations. Then when Claire asked me if I would be interested in collaborating on Earthwise Aware and working on a platform for furthering knowledge about conservation volunteering & traveling ethics (including my own), I simply jumped at the opportunity.”
Born in Romania, Dan moved in the US in 1999 and lived there since then. With a background in Chemical Engineering and Organic Chemistry, Dan is now an Informatician, Data Manager and Administrator for Scientific Research Information Systems in Biotech and Pharma. He likes working closely with Scientists and IT professionals, to provide optimal solutions for increasing productivity by automating repetitive tasks like analyzing, reporting, storing and querying/mining data.
Also, a nature enthusiast, Dan looks forward to continuing to learn, travel, volunteer for citizen science projects, and eventually apply his ethics, experience, scientific background, technical skills towards nature & wildlife conservation, and towards sustainability in general.
“I have always been a Nature and Wildlife enthusiast, and traveled to few parts of the world to observe, enjoy and disconnect. Until I met Claire, I didn’t really have a greater purpose, neither did I take the time to think these experiences through and take it to another Awareness level.
Early 2017, Claire and I volunteered for a wildlife conservation veterinary project in Sumatra (Indonesia). During our trip, we had numerous eye-opening discussions about human activities and behavior that negatively impact us, Life, the Environment, and long-term sustainability. As consumers and travelers, we don’t always think about the consequences of our actions (or lack of) on the Environment. It became obvious to me that Ethics are needed, and that these Ethics need to be spread and taught efficiently.
Raising awareness and promoting ethics are an essential step if we hope to survive and thrive on this planet in harmony with ourselves and with the Environment. It is also becoming critical that we better understand, and participate in Nature and Wildlife conservation efforts the best we can.”
Born in the US. Jeff lived in Puerto Rico and in France. Jeff is a minimal footprint kind of a person, a minimalist – environmentally aware and savvy. Jeff always acts as if we are to a very large extent the instrument of our fate. Leading by example, and encouraging anyone to go for what we think is right or necessary. He is an unconditional supporter of EwA.
Jeff has a Ph.D. in electrical engineering and a Juris Doctorate. During law school, Jeff was a summer intern at Fair Vote and the National Voting Rights Institute. Jeff wrote a law review article setting forth legal grounds for mandating fairer voting procedures under the U.S. Constitution. Jeff has a passion for helping people vote the right way and this motivated him to found OpaVote in 2011. All these facets are crucial to the development of EwA. Besides being a strong supporter of the mission and the vision of EwA, he brings his technical and legal expertise into the picture.
Collaborators – Interns & Citizen Scientists – Contributors – Partners
EwA is a community of collaborators, contributors, citizen scientists, and partners who are absolutely essential to our organization. All our generous volunteers help EwA shape its content –reviewing it, editing it, supplying their conservation & wildlife experiences and expertise as naturalists, volunteers, travelers, scientists, practitioners, or leaders. We are also very thankful to our growing community of citizen scientists who contribute their skills and study & record important ecological data, and co-lead field events.
We are thankful to count on such great people, who give their time, expertise and experience so as to inspire and raise the standards of nature conservation and wildlife welfare practices.
In 2017, we launched our Donation platform. And we want to also thank here all our donors, who are EwA contributors! We do need your help so that we can continue developing EwA’s Eco-Ethics framework, our guides, our etiquettes, our outreach, and citizen science programs. EwA has a small core team. We work long hours and it is complete pro bono work on our part, so your gifts to us mean a lot and help tremendously! Most importantly your tax-deductible donation helps us maintain our 501(c)(3) status!
To our EwA community ▹ Thank You!
“If we treat the Earth well, the Earth will nourish and sustain us in return…”
Agnese is a talented and passionate conservation scientist. She has a vast work experience addressing important issues related to biodiversity conservation and management.
Agnese is the co-director of Dodobase LTD, an organization focused on bringing technical assistance to actions dedicated to conservation, from individual endeavors to big-scale programs.
Agnese is a strong supporter of conservation actions, and with this in mind, she also founded a conservation nonprofit, Boomerang for Earth Conservation (BEC). BEC implements and supports small, local, ethical, community-based conservation projects worldwide because:
- Change is needed
- Change can come from the ground
- All small actions are important
- We can all contribute to a more sustainable world
- We can no longer wait
- We still have a chance
- And Now is the time to change
We couldn’t agree more with this mission statement!
Agnese helps us and allows us to use her knowledge and expertise as part of our work, as in etiquettes, guides, and recommendations pertaining to marine environments. We know how important Agnese’s work is, and we truly feel privileged to have her support and to count her as a friend!
“We must realize we are stakeholders in wildlife and habitat management. Engagement prevents us from both the mismanagement of and detachment from these precious resources.” –Matt
“In this current state of declining numbers of species and populations, supporting efforts to preserve and even expand the number of species and populations is essential. A world that’s not teeming with amphibians and reptiles would be a sad world indeed.” –Joe
Joe and Matt are both herpetologists at the Harvard Museum of Comparative Zoology (Cambridge, Massachusetts). Both share with us their love and enthusiasm for reptiles and amphibians.
We met Joe in the context of a Citizen Science program at the Mount Auburn Cemetery, where he and a group of citizen scientists monitor a little vernal pool and its inhabitants. We really enjoyed his protocol and appreciated the care that Joe takes to minimize our impact on those habitats. As for Matt, we were familiar with his 2011 survey of the amphibians of the Fells. As it happens, Matt was Joe's mentee a few years back, and are now colleagues at the Museum.
When learning that the Middlesex Fells Reservation hosts some 110 vernal pools, half of which not yet certified, we realized that certifying the candidate pools could be a great base for a community-based science program. We proposed a collaboration to Matt and Joe focused on raising awareness about wetland habitats, documenting them scientifically for the purpose of certifying them so that they gain added State protection.
Here we are today running this project together! With Joe and Matt, we are blessed to gain genuine herpetology expert knowledge every time we get out in the field. We just love it!
“Everybody has the capacity to be a conservationist. Small actions such as trying to avoid using straws or reusing plastic bags can make a big difference for the welfare of marine animals. When on holiday, try not to pay to take selfies with wild animals as many are wild-caught and this encourages illegal wildlife trafficking.
Every action, however big or small is helping the environment.”
When we started working on our apes rules and wildlife etiquette, the first potential collaborator who came to our mind was Denise. Denise is a young biologist and primatologist. When we told Denise about our EwA vision and projects and asked for her expert help, she said yes right away —excited by both the project and the ultimate EwA goal of bridging communities of citizens, conservationists and scientists. We are truly blessed to count Denise as a friend and collaborator: Denise has an energy and an enthusiasm that we love, and she truly knows her stuff in and out!
Denise is a passionate conservation biologist studying primates & the effects of anthropogenic disturbance on habitat use. We met Denise in NW Ecuador few years back when she was working at identifying factors affecting occupancy of the brown-headed spider monkey in the region. After leaving Ecuador, she then embarked on a year project years studying the effects of fragment size & shape on slow loris occupancy and the illegal wildlife trade of threatened mammals in SE Asia. Now Denise is back in the Americas where she just completed a PhD focusing on the effects of disturbance on Yucatan spider monkeys at the Universidad Veracruzana.
Oh and did we mention that Denise is also a 2016 National Geographic Young Explorer!...
“Living an eco-friendly lifestyle is something every human on this planet should incorporate into their lives. At the end of the day, we only have one planet and we really cannot afford to have it turn against us.“
Born in California, Charlie currently resides in Newburyport, Massachusetts with her family. Charlie is studying towards her bachelor’s degree in biology at Quinnipiac University in Connecticut.
Charlie has always been passionate about the environment and has taken many conservation and ecology classes in preparation for a career in environmental sciences. Charlie has also conducted research about local invasive species and the effects of deforestation. After graduation, Charlie hopes to join an environmental protection organization.
Charlie joined EwA because she wanted to be directly involved with conservation work. "A lot of the issues that species have these days are caused by humans, so it's my job as a human to help them as much as I can". We are very excited that Charlie chose EwA as a means to act and help biodiversity!
▸ Charlie's EwA Biodiversity Records
“With ballooning human population levels, species are slipping away at extinction rates 1000 times the ‘natural’ rate due to human activities. The time is now to act and try to instill changes in perception and promote awareness before we reach some sort of global tipping point that the planet’s biodiversity, and possibly we ourselves, may not recover.”
By promoting awareness and education regarding the issues negatively affecting the natural world, as well as teaching ways to be better stewards of this planet, EwA is doing its part to try and reshape people’s current thoughts and perceptions of conservation and overall sustainability. To be a part of that mindset is important.
We met Joe at the 2018 City Nature Challenge event that we run at the Middlesex Fells Reservation. Right away we knew that we had found a Nature friend—a person who discovers, shares about and learns from Nature every time possible— a true naturalist.
Joe is curious, humble, marvels quietly at the beauty and sophistication of Nature, and shares generously his knowledge of the local fauna and flora. Joe also enjoys wildlife camera trapping. He started this activity both for his own enjoyment, and to get his daughter involved and excited to get outdoors. Over the years, he has learned so much about the habits of the animals captured in these photos. Some of his records have even been in a mammal tracking survey of the Middlesex Fells Reservation, as well as became evidence for the presence of mammals that were never documented in that location.
Another thing about Joe: he spots quickly! And that is a great asset when we lead biodiversity events! Since we started our Biobliss series at the Fells (part of EwA's citizen science program), Joe rarely missed one, as well as joined our side data collections expeditions. So, naturally, we thought that it would be great to count Joe as a formal EwA citizen scientist. Done deal! (and we're so happy about it!)
“Being from the Pacific Northwest I was raised with a plethora of outdoor activities, and beautiful natural areas. I grew aware that When we degrade the environment we are simply taking away pieces of the biological puzzle. Doing so, we are weakening our own life support system and jeopardizing our future. So, I hope to work in a career where I can help people learn and appreciate the environment, and teach that making small changes that can have lasting impacts.”
In high school, Sarah attended an Advanced Placement Environmental Science class. From there came the realization of a tough environmental reality. This was followed by the desire to do something about it, starting with pursuing environmental studies at the University of Washington in Seattle. Once introduced to the world of environmental careers, Sarah saw the many opportunities where environmental professionals can indeed make a difference. And she is taking it from there...
Sarah is from Edmonds (Washington) and spending her summer in Massachusetts interning at EwA. It's a special internship that integrates her EwA assigned project into her capstone project. Sarah wanted to learn about co-creative citizen science and how it can empower the people. So, we gave her a project designed to enable empowerment: create a resource that facilitates the active participation of our citizen scientists in the development of our annual biodiversity & phenology report. With this resource, our citizen scientists will gain a deeper understanding of the program and its underlying science questions, the protocols, the data (including how to aggregate data from different data sources and how to interpret and present data).
We are very excited to have Sarah help us connecting and strengthening our communities through citizen science!
▸ Sarah's EwA Biodiversity Records
“As we continue to face increased natural disasters and disturbances to our environment, conserving biodiversity is immensely important as it will help species to adapt to our rapidly changing environment. It is really important to encourage others to advocate against harmful policies and corporations that threaten life around us. The power of the public is immeasurable, and if we can unite towards a common goal we can make real change.”
Jackson is currently studying Environmental Sciences at the University of Vermont. Originally he started college wanting to study neuroscience. But after realizing the type of environmental destruction that is occurring, Jackson felt obligated to do something to have a positive impact on our natural world. "I can't say there was one specific event that made me want to switch to environmental science, but just overall paying attention to current events made me concerned about the future of the planet."
Jackson thinks that it is an obligation for human beings to advocate for a sustainable future that includes protecting the well-being of our world's diverse species. He wants to engage in a career focused on water resources to help develop ways to reduce our use of water. So, at EwA this summer, Jackson will focus part of his internship on an article just about that! We are very excited to have Jackson raising awareness on such an important topic!
▸ Jackson's EwA Biodiversity Records
“I have found such joy and wonder in botany. I want to help others see it. The world around us is so intricate and interconnected. The more I look, the more there is to see. The more I learn, the more I want to find out. I think that is the key to motivating positive change: inspiring wonder and curiosity.”
Laura grew up a country girl playing in the woods and fields of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. She came to Boston for college and immediately knew this was home. She got a BS in Computer Engineering and then worked on microprocessors at Intel for 3 years. But engineering wasn't for her, and she quickly transitioned to Product Management. She is now a Director of Product Management at a public safety software company. Another of her passions is baking (especially desserts), and we can tell you that her baking is top! She also enjoys partner dance and photography. We regularly showcase Laura's wonderful botany photography on the EwA website.
Laura's interest in botany exploded the summer of 2016 based on two events: First, a friend pointing out lady's-slipper orchids and second, an edible plants walk around Somerville. "It blew my mind that every little weed in the cracks of the sidewalk had a name and particular characteristics and that many were edible and I knew nothing about them. And that there could be orchids growing wild in Massachusetts and I was completely ignorant of it."
Laura became consumed with the need to know the wildflowers - their names and their stories. And wildflowers lead to pollinators, fungi, plant communities, ecosystems, and on and on. It's all inseparable. And she now spends every hour she can outside exploring the world.
At EwA, we are fortunate to have Laura co-leading botany walks with us and documenting the plant diversity of our study sites. Laura also manages our online EwA Guide to the Plants of the Fells, keyed by color, flowering season and native/invasive status. That Guide is designed to help our citizen scientists working in the Fells with us, and to any nature enthusiasts who simply want to learn about what they are encountering. It's a great guide, check it out!
“As a Science teacher, I am passionate about helping students develop the knowledge and confidence to take on an active role in the world. Education is key to empowering the next generation, and EwA’s role in attracting, educating, and retaining citizen scientists is something that I truly appreciate and support.”
Bill has been with us ever since his brother Joe invited him to join one of our field sessions in 2018. Together, we marvel, discover, document and monitor EwA's biodiversity study sites in the Middlesex Fells Reservation (a.k.a. the Fells).
Bill is a tranquil force and an efficient and enthusiastic presence in our team. Wandering in the Fells, where we run 75% of our citizen science programs and enjoying the moment (and the work) is becoming our Fells team's specialty and pleasure: we regularly spend hours all together without realizing that 3-4 hours just flew by!
Bill has always loved the outdoors and spent a lot of time with his brother Joe exploring and learning about the world of nature. Bill earned a BA in Biology from Colby College in Waterville, ME, and a Masters in Science Education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education in Cambridge, MA. He has been a Science teacher at Parker Middle School in Reading (Massachusetts) for 30 years and continues to love working with young people and watching them learn and grow.
“We all have some kind of an impact on the natural world and all its inhabitants. It is important to be consciously aware of that impact so that we can move forward by caring and respecting others, whether that be people or the immense amount of species that exist alongside us.”
Originally from Upstate New York, Xaelel (Shy-lel), just graduated from her last year of undergrad at Lesley University in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Xaelel grew up in the outdoors playing sports and roaming the parks around her town. Xaelel has done research on water quality with an emphasis on farming practices that can lead to eutrophication in many lakes and rivers and has spent a semester researching native bat species in Massachusetts. She spent a semester abroad conducting fieldwork in geology at the University of Otago in Dunedin, NZ, and on her free time exploring different flora and fauna while hiking the South Island.
As an Environmental Science major, Psychology minor, Xaelel hopes to better understand human attitude & behavior in order to create a cultural shift and framework for how we view and care for the natural world. She is passionate in her belief that we are no more important than any other organism. Earth houses such great biodiversity, it is meant to be cared for, not based on our anthropocentric needs, but for its own intrinsic value.
Xaelel interned with us in Spring 2019. Together we built an exciting new etiquette, a recommendation article and a field protocol outline around the topic of bats. This is new/solid EwA content (made to last). She was a wonderful intern who enabled us to refine our citizen science leadership intern program.
The internship was a means for us to develop a long-lasting relationship. Now, Xaelel keeps sharing with us her passion and ways us to improve ecological awareness and ethics.
“Our perception of wildlife needs to change if we are to continue to survive on this planet. We cannot continue to behave as if we are the top species here and we cannot continue to adopt the attitude that no one else matters but us.
We all matter, we are all here to exist, and no one species is here to be categorically disposed of at the hands of another. If we cannot CO-exist, we cannot exist… it is simple.”
Sam recently completed a master in Biology with a wildlife conservation focus at the Miami University in partnership with San Diego Zoo Global. Sam’s interest is to work with communities to inspire coexistence with wildlife through education and awareness. She raises individual environmental awareness through Open Space Coalition, a blog committed to bringing an understanding of wildlife, conservation challenges and environmental issues to residents of Los Angeles and beyond.
She is passionate about conservation which we’ve witnessed first hand when we met her in 2015 in the context of a conservation volunteering project in Costa Rica. She has worked with conservation organizations, including the Spectacled Bear Conservation Society in Peru, Ara Project in Costa Rica, and locally with Citizens for Los Angeles Wildlife, on assessing barriers to create solutions that work toward co-existence between wildlife and communities.
“Conservation of natural resources as well as caring for mother nature needs awareness, education, and practice whenever possible.”
Nature conservation and education are very important to me, and I like that I found an organization that I can ‘be part of’ – an organization that encourages me to explore how we can better make an ecological difference altogether (…)”
Born in India, Shilpa grew up in a small forest town in the Eastern part of India. She followed her passion for nature and the management of natural resources by choosing a research career path in ecology. She has worked with WWF-Bhutan and collaborated with other international partners including assessing habitats and providing training.
Shilpa did a Ph.D. in marine ecology and graduated in 2016 from the Aquatic Bioresource Research Labotary (University of Calcutta, India). Her research work and doctoral thesis focused on mangrove crabs and their ecosystem functioning in mangrove conservation.
With Shilpa, we are benefiting greatly from her wetland expertise, and enjoy her advocacy enthusiasm to educate and help eco-citizens in understanding the value of conservation and sustainability.
“Awareness is something that I try to do every day through example. And my aim is to share the idea that small actions of a lot of people can make a huge difference.”
Caro is a traveller with a restless soul. She is currently finishing a master's degree in Biology at the University of Buenos Aires specializing in Marine Biology. Animal lover, sports fan, conservationist, she is interested in doing research in order to improve animal life quality and solve environmental issues.
Caro has been volunteering for years in Argentina, but her involvement in programs abroad is recent. She hopes to keep moving, traveling, learning, volunteering and doing everything in her power to help take care of an amazing planet.
“My greatest motivator is to leave this planet a better place than I found it. You’d be surprised how many small things you can do on a daily basis to help our species work towards that goal.”
Originally from Connecticut, Nathan is a recent graduate from Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, NY, with a degree in Environmental Science, and a minor in Chemistry. He has done research in water quality, bioremediation, and municipal sustainability.
Nathan recently worked as an outdoor educator in the Adirondacks, at the Nature's Classroom, where students and teachers have the opportunity to experience education from another perspective, outside the walls of the classroom –in Nature– and develop a sense of community, a confidence in themselves and an appreciation for others that carries over in their lives.
Passionate about the natural world, avid traveler, and spirited language learner, Nathan is working to get involved with a variety of environmental initiatives to help ensure that this world will be around for generations to come.
We are very appreciative of the input, feedback, and help from Teá Kesting-Handly & Amy Mertl (US): Entomology expertise | Marie Therese Heggen (Norway): Content (▹ article) | Anne-Cécile Decoux (France): Content Advisor + Media | Meredith Heather (Content Review) | Joyce Ng (US): Media | Chanda Bahlo (US): Content Editor | Mercedes Delgado (US): Business Advisor | Kathryn Leach (US): Corporate Legal Advisor (EwA Bylaws) | Christiane Dupré (France): Content Advisor | Jon Hodge (US): Content Advisor | Claire Reichstein (Australia): Content | David Kulik (US): Media | Lacey Higgins (US): Media | Kristen Heard (US): Content | Lorraine Roberts (UK): Media
We are very happy to collaborate with local and national organizations on important conservation and education community events. These organizations include the Friends of the Fells and the DCR (EwA at the Fells Citizen Science program); the Fresh Pond Reservation (EwA Biodiversity citizen science program, and nature journaling circles); the Mass Audubon Habitat Education Center & Wildlife Sanctuary (EwA Community-based Pollinator Science); the Somerville Community Growing Center (where we run EwA at the Growing Center a biodiversity survey focused on insects and pollinators); Speak for the Tree Boston (with our co-hosted Tree-focused events); the Center for Arts at the Armory, the Medford Public Library and the Somerville Public Library (EwA Citizen Science seminars); the Cambridge Center for Adult Education (where we present various wildlife, travel, and nature volunteer ethics programs); the Friends of Alewife Reservation now part of Green Cambridge (with our eco-ethics consultant work for the Alewife Ecology Collaborative); the Goddard House Facility (2018 Closer to Nature seminars); the Global March for Elephants & Rhinos’ Boston Chapter; and the National Biodiversity Teach-In organization (2018 environmental ethics webinar).
If you want to collaborate with us, join our effort, and contribute your experience, expertise, stories, programs, or areas of interest please do not hesitate to contact us!