2014 Interns

Tierra Del Fuego Team (Chile/Argentina)

Lara Heidel, Argentina

Lara Heidel-2014

I was born and grew up in Patagonia Argentina and received a Licentiate degree in biology from the University of Buenos Aires. Currently I am working on my PhD. project and work part time as a consultant for the Wildlife Conservation Society´s (WCS) Patagonian and Andean Steppe (PAS) Program based in Junín de los Andes, Patagonia Argentina. My PhD. project addresses the effects of climate change and human activities on the distribution and viability of guanaco (Lama guanicoe) and Andean cat (Leopardus jacobita), two native mammal species in northern Patagonia.

As an undergraduate I worked as a volunteer with a captive breeding and conservation program for Andean condors in Buenos Aires. In 2006 I began working as a research assistant for the WCS PAS Program. In this role I assisted in field surveys of numerous wildlife species including guanacos, rheas, condors, vultures and other carnivores such as Andean cats in several provinces of northern Patagonia and the southern Andean steppe. In the period 2008 – 2010 I worked as a training assistant in the same NGO in a project to build capacity in government agencies to evaluate and address impacts of oil and mining industries on biodiversity. Finally until 2012 I worked as a consultant coordinating conservation in areas with oil and gas activities and Andean condor survey and data analysis in the WCS PAS Program.

I am also a founding member of a local conservation NGO, Conservación Patagonia. In this NGO I have taught workshops on environment and conservation to schoolchildren from the ages of six to twelve, and currently we are managing a small urban natural reserve in the small city where I live.

Melissa Carmody, Chile


I am a Conservation Biologist with knowledge and experience in the areas of ecology, restoration science and biodiversity conservation planning. I graduated as an Environmental Biologist from Universidad de Chile in 2007 and in 2009 I flew to Australia, to study a Master degree in Conservation, Restoration and Landscape Management, at Melbourne University. While in Australia, I had the opportunity to work in The Australian Research Center of Urban Ecology, investigating the effectiveness of conservation measures installed to reconnect the habitat of arboreal marsupials, fragmented by a major highway. I worked as researcher for the Department of Sustainability and Environment in Australia, in order to inform public policies regarding native vegetation and conservation planning. Today and already back in Chile, my home country, I work in the Wildlife Conservation Society, contributing to address Chile’s conservation challenges.

I have always felt connected to nature and interested in its conservation, however it wasn´t until I finished my studies, that I realized that we needed to plan how to bridge the gap between science, ecology, planning and development if we wanted to succeed in the endeavor of land and biodiversity conservation. I realized it was not enough to feel connected to nature but that we needed more than that. Communicating disciplines and acknowledging that biodiversity supports all activities, economies and processes is part of this and despite this is a major challenge, I believe it is the only way to it.

A bit more of me: I like outdoor activities and travelling, both of which I have done extensively in Chile as well as in Australia, Europe and South East Asia; I also enjoy reading, cooking, singing, riding my bike and swimming.

Claudia Silva, Chile

Claudia Silva Headshot

Claudia is a Chilean Environmental Biologist from Universidad de Chile. She earned a Master’s degree in Ecology at the same institution, and later pursued a Master in Biodiversity Conservation and Management at the University of Oxford. Her professional interest focuses in bridging the gap between conservation science and application, both in the public and private spheres. She is currently Coordinator of the Offsets and Conservation Strategies area for the Chilean WCS Program.

Belizean Team

Mathilde McAlpin, USA

Matti Headshot

My name is Mathilde McAlpin from Boston, Massachusetts . In the Fall of this year I moved to Punta Gorda Toledo, Belize and began an internship as a lab and field research assistant with the Toledo Institute for Development and the Environment. I focused primarily on a fresh water study determining the impact of a dumpsite on the Rio Grande River, using stable isotope and trace elemental analysis of aquatic species of multiple trophic levels. I also worked on a project trying to development a market for invasive lionfish in the Toledo district of Belize through community outreach. I later moved back to The Bahamas to intern for the Cape Eleuthera Institute as a SCUBA dive and lab assistant looking at larval settlement in Eleuthera, Bahamas. I will be attending Clark University in the Fall of 2014 to study Biology.

Karena Mahung, Belize

Elmar Requena, Belize

Pennsylvania Team

Haley Giannone, USA

Hailey Headshot

I’ve grown up canoeing, whitewater boating, camping, and hiking which has resulted in my passion for the outdoors and the wild places in it. I love to whitewater kayak, boulder, slackline, and mountain bike whenever I can. During the summer I am a photographer and river guide on the Lehigh River. Currently I am entering my junior year at Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania as a Geography and Planning major. My goal is to eventually move out west and work in wetland and river/stream restoration around the country and globe. I volunteer at Quest at BU (an outdoor adventure and recreation program) which has sparked my interest in landscape conservation. I want to help create more parks and natural areas and keep current ones beautiful. I have a passion for nature and outdoor adventure and hope to instill this passion in others. I believe that we need wild places in order to be happier beings, the sights and feelings they inspire a necessary part of life. I also think that they need to be protected in order for future generations to be able to enjoy them and for our current society to become sustainable. I look forward to the Acadian program as an opportunity to gain hands-on experience and meet others interested in and who already work in the field of conservation.

Emily Vebrosky, USA

Emily Headshot

I am a 2014 graduate of Lycoming College, with a B.S. degree in Chemistry and minor in Environmental Science. This is my second summer interning with Lycoming College’s Clean Water Institute, under the direction of Dr. Mel Zimmerman. Through my time with CWI, I have gained great knowledge and experience. I completed a research project/“pilot study” entitled, “Acclimated cultures of freshwater archaea and bacteria degrade synthetic sewage in a salt-water environment,” as well as participating in the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission Unassessed Waters Initiative, fish habitat restoration, macro-invertebrate collection and identification by DEP protocols, monitoring the status of various sites along the Susquehanna River, and I have become very knowledgeable in water chemistry analysis. I completed two semesters of Environmental Practicum, where I interned at the Williamsport Municipal Water Authority and began the pilot study; for my Chemistry requirements, I completed a semester of research that I presented at my senior colloquium entitled, “The Synthesis and Characterization of Dihydrobenzoxazines and Tetrahydroquinazolines.” As coordinator of the Sustainability Committee at Lycoming College, I was able to help implement new initiatives such as founding a chapter of the Food Recovery Network and TerraCycle brigades, along with maintaining the status of previous initiatives such as RecycleMania, recycling efforts, Biodiesel production, and an environmental audit at the college. I have been passionate about the environment and issues affecting it throughout my lifetime, and I am grateful I was given the opportunities to pursue my interests throughout my academic career. I will be a graduate student this fall at Louisiana State University on track to receive my Master’s Degree in Environmental Sciences.

Trent Lee, USA

Trent Headshot

I am currently an intern with the Clean Water Institute at Lycoming College, under the direction of Dr. Mel Zimmerman. The program has allowed me to work in a field environment and gain vital experience with electro-fishing practices and water chemistry analysis, through participating in the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission’s Unassessed Waters Initiative, along with various assessments of water quality and macro-invertebrate studies along the Susquehanna River and its tributaries. I am a senior Ecology major with a minor in Environmental Science at Lycoming College. My minor has provided me with the opportunity to intern at the Lycoming County Resource Management Services during the 2014 spring semester. I learned management practices pertaining to the containment and testing of leachate, environmental regulations, and single-stream recycling. Growing up in the rural community of Williamsburg, PA, I was fortunate enough to be surrounded by areas for hunting and fishing. Every month of the year I am able to be outside enjoying the landscape through multiple different activities; which allowed me to obtain a strong respect for nature. I hope to continue my passion for the outdoors in my future career by working to preserve our watersheds and regulate the conservation practices in place. I hope that my efforts will convince others to have a more considerate and courteous outlook on our land, and they themselves put forth an effort to preserve its beauty.

Maine Team

Janna Newman, USA

Janna Newman's Photo

Janna Newman is working toward her Master’s degree at Tufts University’s Department of Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning. She will complete her course credits in May 2014 and will continue writing her thesis, which involves reviewing large landscape conservation best practices to develop a plan framework for the Penobscot watershed region, throughout the summer and early fall of 2014. In addition to her education, Janna has worked for a private firm, Dewberry, for over seven years, where she is a hazard mitigation planner and geospatial analyst. Janna has been consistently traveling to Acadia National Park for the past two years and enjoys hiking to the top of the park’s summits and fishing in its pristine lakes. A New England native growing up in Rhode Island, Janna understands the region’s natural resources, geography, and culture. Janna holds her BA from Syracuse University (2002-2006) in Geography and Policy Studies.

Jessica Fefer, USA

Jessica Headshot

My name is Jessica Fefer, and I am currently pursuing my M.S. in the School of Forest Resources at the University of Maine, Orono. After growing up on the coast of Southern Maine, I attended the University of Vermont in Burlington. There, I gained my B.S. in Natural Resource Management, and spent summers working in a variety of resource management positions. Since then, I have been working for Acadia National Park in the summers, and traveling the world in the winters. I have been to many different European countries, and spent three months exploring both India and Thailand. While traveling is my passion, I decided it was time to stay put for two years to earn my masters degree, which I began in the fall of 2013. I hope that my background with working and learning in New England’s forests will help me to provide valuable input for both this course, and in its proceeding conservation efforts.

Matthew Collins, USA

Vietnamese Team

Van Ngoc Thang, Provincial Forest Protection Department,Quang Tri, Vietnam

Thang Headshot

My name is Van Ngoc Thang. I come from Quang Tri Province of Viet Nam. I was born on the 12 of July in the year 1970 in Yen Bai Province of Viet Nam. I began my University studies in 1989 at the Agriculture and Forestry University in Hue City, graduated in 1994 as a Forestry Engineer.


In 2004, I decided to continue with my studies and attended the Vietnam forestry University. I successfully completed my Master of Forestry Degree in 2007. My position is head of Natural Conservation Division of Quang Tri FPD. I have more than 20 years of working on Managerment and Protection of forest and Biodiversity Conservation. Build up and remain working relationship with relevant Gov. agencies and Non-Gov. organizations. My Province is located in central Viet Nam, belong to the Central Annamites, the area is of exceptional global importance for biodiversity conservation. Our goal is to ensure sustainable conservation of natural ecosystems of pivotal protected areas in Quang Tri through effective law enforcement and good management .

I hope the Acadian program in Regional Conservation and Stewardship would be chance for me learning about landscape-level conservation and sharing our experience in this field.

Nguyen Van Duan, Provincial Forest Protection Department,Quang Tri, Vietnam

Duan Headshot

I am Nguyen Van Duan. I come from Quang Binh province, Vietnam. I was born in 1967 in my homeland. I obtained a master degree on forestry in the Hue University of Agriculture and Forestry, Vietnam. My current job is a deputy of Forest Protection Department (FPD) in Quang Binh province. FPD’s function is state management in forestry. I have had over 20 years of experience in the field of forest management and protection, biodiversity conservation and law enforcement.

Quang Binh is located in the area of biodiversity north Truong Son bordering Laos – where flora, fauna diversity and originality with many rare and precious species. Characterize biodiversity of Quang Binh is the Karst Phong Nha – Ke Bang region. In 2003, National Park Phong Nha-Ke Bang was recognized by UNESCO as a world natural heritage. According to the International Foundation for the Conservation of Nature (WWF), the National Park Phong Nha – Ke Bang is one of the 238 most important ecological areas worldwide. With the diversity, uniqueness and threats, the National Park Phong Nha – Ke Bang has been placed on the list of protected areas of biodiversity importance in priority conservation action plan for National biodiversity. With experience in the management of forest protection and biodiversity conservation along with master’s degree in forestry, my colleagues and I have been building a program of biodiversity monitoring at high biological diversity areas such as Giang in Minh Hoa district, Khe Nuoc Trong in Le Thuy district, especially the area National Park Phong Nha-Ke Bang.

I hope that after this training course in conservation at the large landscape level, I will have more experience in this field to apply and implement in Quang Binh to improve the efficiency of conservation in the province of Quang Binh, Vietnam.

Nguyen Thi Thanh Huong, Lecturer at Quang Binh University

Huong photo

My full name is Nguyen Thi Thanh Huong. I come from Quang Binh – one of provinces where the climate is harsh but natural resource is diverse in Vietnam. I was born in 1980 in Quang Binh and spent the childhood in the peace homeland with my family.

I graduated from high school in 1998 and in autumn this year I moved to another province – about 160 kilometes far from Quang Binh – for studying in Hue Economic University. Four years later I received bachelor’s degree of Agricultural Economy and Rural Development from this University. After that I worked at Faculty of Agricultural Extension and Rural Development in Hue University of Agriculture and Forestry (HUAF) as researcher and lecturer. In the period learning to become principal lecturer, I was lucky getting the grant from CIDA for summer course on Ocean Governance: Policy, Law and Management in Dalhousie University, Canada for two months in 2006.

In 2008 I got the scholarship from Sweden – Vietnam Rural Development program which funded by SIDA for master’s degree standard. I became master student of Sweden Agricutural Science University (Sveriges Lantbruksuniversitet – SLU) in the same year. In 2010, I graduated and got Master of Science degree with a major in Rural Development from SLU with speciality on Natural Resource Management and Sustainable Livelihood. I worked for HUAF until end of 2011.

On December 2011, I came back the hometown and worked for Quang Binh University. On December 2012 I joined in Vietnam National University of Agriculture as a PhD student on Agricultural Economy. I am interested in research activities on Natural Resource Management, Climate Change and Rural Development. Last year, I took part in a six weeks course on Climate Change Adaptation, Political Ecology in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Phan Thanh Quyet, Lecturer at Quang Binh University

Quyet Headshot

My name is Phan Thanh Quyet. Date of birthday is 24th January 1985. I come from Viet Nam. I was born in Bo Trach District, Quang Binh Province.

From 2004 to 2008, I studied in Hue Agricultere and Forestry, degree of Engineer. From 2009 to 2011, I studied in Hue Agriculture and Forestry, degree Master of Forestry. From 2009 to 2011, I studied in Hue University of Foreign Languages, degree of Bachelor.

Now, I am a lecturer in Quang Binh university, I work at Faculty of Agriculture – Forestry – Fisher. I am remember of centure reaseach field and Argriculture – Forestry

Before, I worked in sub_Forestry inventory planning instutive middle of Viet Nam.






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