Avecita Chicchón is the program director for the Andes-Amazon Initiative.
Avecita joins the Foundation with over 25 years of experience in natural resource use, biodiversity conservation, and sustainable development in Latin America, with a particular emphasis on the Amazon. Avecita served as the executive director of the Latin America and Caribbean Program at Wildlife Conservation Society from 2003-2010, where she managed conservation programs in 15 countries that led to significant on-the-ground conservation achievements. Prior to her time at WCS, Avecita was a program officer at the MacArthur Foundation, responsible for grantmaking on conservation and sustainable development issues in Latin America and the Caribbean, and she was the Peru program director at Conservation International.
She received her Ph.D. in Social Anthropology with an emphasis on natural resource use and conservation issues from the University of Florida in Gainesville, FL.
Paulina Arroyo is a program officer for the Andes-Amazon Initiative.
Born in Ecuador and raised in Alexandria, Virginia, Paulina went to Ecuador for a “brief” period to do field work after graduating from college. Seventeen years later, she had dedicated her professional attention to working on conservation and development issues in Ecuador, focusing on local community participation in park and natural resource management. For several years she worked with grassroots Ecuadorian environmental NGOs, leading community conservation projects in the Andes and Amazon regions. Her strong commitment to participatory conservation led her to The Nature Conservancy, where she expanded her geographic scope to Peru, Colombia, Bolivia, and Venezuela. Recently, she served as the Conservancy’s Andes Amazon program manager, and as director of the Indigenous and Communal Lands Global Strategy.
Paulina holds a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Studies from the University of Waterloo, Canada and has carried out post-graduate studies in gender and natural resource management at FLACSO-Ecuador. She is bilingual in English and Spanish, and also speaks Portuguese.
Marina Campos is a program officer for the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation's Andes-Amazon Initiative.
She has been working in rainforest conservation, especially in the Amazon region, since 1989. Prior to joining the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, she was the program director of Natural Resource Management and Climate Change at Rainforest Foundation US, which she joined in 2010. In this position Marina worked in partnership with indigenous groups and local grassroots organizations in Central and South America to secure rights to their lands, support the implementation of natural management plans and influence policies to protect their resources. She also has served as state coordinator on climate change for the state of Amazonas in Brazil, where she oversaw the design and implementation of state climate change legislation including the first Brazilian payment-for-environmental-services program and the creation of Amazonian first Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation project in the Juma Reserve.
Marina has served as a visiting lecturer at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, where she coordinated a Strategies for Tropical Conservation seminar. Born and raised in Brazil, she received a B.Sc. and M.Sc. in Biology (Botany) from University of São Paulo-Brazil and a Ph.D. in Social Ecology from the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies.
Leo is a program officer for the Andes-Amazon Initiative.
Before joining the Foundation, Leo worked with the Conservation Strategy Fund, establishing and consolidating their first field programs in Latin America by leading international technical teams and strengthening institutional relationships. As lead conservation economics analyst, mentor, and instructor, Leo researched the economics of land use, protected areas, sustainable businesses, biodiversity, and infrastructure development, and he has trained nearly 500 conservation practitioners, researchers, and governmental officials in a multitude of countries. Leo was also an invited lecturer of the National Institute of Amazonian Research, and has lectured several MBA courses in Brazil, stimulating business professionals to assess corporate sustainability practices. He was a member of the international team of experts of The Economics of Ecosystems & Biodiversity for Regional and Local Policy, and has extensive field experience as a researcher in the Mamirauá and Amanã Sustainable Development Reserves in the Brazilian Amazon and as a resident and biologist in the Pantanal Wetlands. He has written numerous publications and helped guide policy decisions, from reducing deforestation to increasing the economic value attributed to ecosystems.
Leo has a M.Sc. in conservation biology from the Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology at the University of Kent, UK, a M.B.A. with a focus on strategic business management from UNA University, Brazil, and a B.Sc. in biological sciences from UFRGS, Brazil. He is a native of Brazil and is fluent in Portuguese and Spanish.
Chris is a program associate for the Andes-Amazon Initiative.
Prior to joining the foundation, Chris spent several months as an intern with Instituto Floresta Viva (IFV), an NGO in the Brazilian state of Bahia, dedicated to conservation and reforestation of the Atlantic Forest in southern Bahia. At IFV, Chris produced a Payment for Environmental Services (PES) guidebook in Portuguese explaining the concept of PES, its potential in southern Bahia, and the steps needed to design and implement a PES mechanism.
Chris graduated summa cum laude in Environmental Studies from the University of Colorado at Boulder. He has travelled extensively in South America and in the Amazon, and speaks Portuguese and Spanish.
Kirsten Silvius is a program officer for the Andes-Amazon Initiative.
Born and raised in Venezuela, Kirsten completed her higher education in the United States. She received a B.A. degree in Biology and Romance Languages from Bowdoin College, Maine, and both M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from the Zoology Department at the University of Florida. Trained as a terrestrial ecologist, her research has focused both on plant-animal interactions and on wildlife use and management by local and indigenous peoples. She has studied a diversity of animal species in Venezuela and Brazil, including agoutis, parrots, peccaries, beetles, and parasitic wasps, and has worked on wildlife management issues with the Xavante, Yanomami and Macuxi people of Brazil and Guyana.
Prior to joining the Foundation, Kirsten was a research specialist at the University of Hawaii at Manoa's Environmental Center, where she gained experience with watershed management issues and environmental impact regulations. Earlier she held adjunct professor positions and taught ecology courses at Florida Atlantic University and the State University of New York's School of Environmental Science and Forestry.