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SCB Board Elections Candidate Profiles


Welcome to the Candidates' Profile Page of the 2017 Society for Conservation Biology Board of Governors election. 
 

Candidates for office: Dominick DellaSala and Adina Merenlender (President-Elect); Meredith Gore, Brooke Porter, and Marit Wilkerson (Secretary); Heather DeCaluwe (Treasurer); Israel Borokin and Kevin Njabo (Vice-President of Membership). 

The election is open now through Monday, 20 March 2017. Terms of office begin 1 July 2017. Open seats include President-Elect, Secretary, Treasurer, and Vice President of Membership. 
 
Know the Candidates Before you Vote
Every candidate answered a questionnaire to explain why they want to serve on the board, how they can help SCB advance its mission, and what they feel is most important to SCB's organizational development. Responses to the questionnaire and CVs from each candidae are available below.
 
SCB offered each candidate an opportunity to submit a short video message so that they could speak directly to voters about why they want your vote. Videos are embedded in the profiles below for candidates who submitted one.  
 
How to Vote
Only SCB members are eligible to vote. Follow these steps to access your ballot and cast your vote:
  • Log in to your SCB member home page.
  • Click the link for the SCB Board of Governors Election in the blue box at the top of your home page.
  • Select the candidates you would like to serve SCB on the Board of Governors.
  • Scroll to the bottom of the ballot and click "Submit" to validate your vote!
Please encourage your fellow members to vote! Your participation matters and every vote counts!

Candidates for Office

Click the candidate's name to advance to their bio. Click the back button on your browser to return to the slate of candidates.

​The Society thanks all of the candidates for their commitment to serve SCB and for standing in the election! If you have questions or encounter difficulty logging in to cast your vote, email info@conbio.org. 


Candidates for President-Elect
 

Name: Dominick A. DellaSala |CV
Residence: Ashland, Oregon, USA
Professional Affiliation: Geos Institute
SCB Member Since: 1990
 
Previous SCB Activities: Global Board of Directors (6 years); Global Policy Committee (8 years), North America Section President (two terms, 7 years); North America Policy Committee (8 years), Science & Publications Committee (5 years), Subject Editor Conservation Biology (3 years), Smith Fellows Committee (8 years), numerous SCB policy white papers (global & regional), plenary talks at SCB conferences, helped to set up and support new SCB Chapters. 
 
Why do you want to serve as an SCB Officer? 
If you are looking for someone that will help SCB become a leader in conservation outcomes, please vote for me as the Society needs more scientists engaged! As a member of SCB since 1990, I have supported students and local chapters, served as two-term president of the North America Section and member of the global board, and coordinated international policy projects of SCB Sections. For example, I positioned SCB’s science and policy work on primary forests with UN delegates, prepared international roadless areas position papers and climate change policies developed in collaboration with SCB’s seven regional sections. I would make SCB and its members more relevant in reversing biodiversity decline by strengthening Sections, Chapters, and Working Groups. 
 
What are the most important parts of SCB’s mission and what are the most important roles SCB should undertake to advance its mission? How can you help SCB fulfil those roles? 
SCB’s global mission has never been more urgent. At each SCB congress, members have wanted to be more involved in what the Society is doing to reverse unprecedented biodiversity losses. My term would focus mainly on: (1) How SCB can play a bigger role in connecting members to decision makers; and (2) How our involvement as a society addresses biodiversity losses at the local, chapter, and section levels. I believe SCB will succeed if it: (1) hires an Executive Director to raise funds and grow the membership around this sense of urgency; (2) provides financial support to Chapters, Sections, and young professionals to be more involved in conservation policies; and (3) increases its visibility by advancing the science and practice of conservation of its members. Having worked in the non-profit world for three decades, you can count on me for stepping up SCB’s profile with the press, showcasing conservation work of members at conferences, policy meetings, and with donors, and getting more members excited about being the heart and soul of a global society engaged in real-world conservation outcomes. 
 
What is most important to the organizational development of SCB? Describe experiences that have prepared you to promote SCB’s development as an organization. 
The biggest challenge we face is convincing members that the Society is worth the time and membership fees. I would work to make sure that, as a member benefit, we offer conservation science programs that engage decision makers. SCB congresses are a great place to network with scientists involved in conservation. For example, I chaired a primary forest symposium with SCB regional Sections at the ICCB 2011 during the United Nations “International Year of the Forest” that resulted in a publication in Conservation Biology and an SCB declaration sent to UN delegates. I also chaired a roadless symposium at ICCB 2014 that followed up on the good work of the Europe Section that led to a recent publication in Science, including conservation recommendations relevant to UN sustainability goals. 
 
I joined the Society because I felt a part of something big, a sort of mini-UN! Since then, I have worked to support young professionals (Smith Fellows), Chapters (helping to support new ones), and students (conference support for travel grants) wanting more involvement. As a leader of a non-profit (Geos Institute) and former member of the SCB board, I am familiar with the inner workings of non-profits and challenges of being involved in policy while maintaining professional standing.
 

Click the image to watch Dominick's message on why he wants to serve as SCB President-Elect and what he hopes to accomplish in that role. 
 


 

Name: Adina Merenlender |CV
Residence: Ukiah, California, USA
Professional Affiliation: University of California, Berkeley
SCB Member Since: 1987

Previous SCB Activities: North America Section Board member; SCB Board of Governors / Chapters Committee Chair; 2012 North America Congress for Conservation Biology Planning Committee Chair; Conservation Biology Editorial Board (current); SCB Publications Committee (current). 

Why do you want to serve as an SCB Officer? 
I welcome the opportunity to run for SCB president-elect to advance our mission by increasing contributions by those working in conservation practice, working to include underrepresented people in a move toward greater diversity and equity, and advance the Society’s fiscal sustainability. Engaging students and strengthening SCB local chapter capacity is critical to the lifeblood of the Society and this should be done by supporting their participation in research, policy, on-the-ground conservation, and Society activities. SCB Regional Sections should be commended for making SCB more visible and impactful around the world and it’s essential we maximize the ability for their leadership to function.  With your support I look forward to (1) advancing conservation practice, (2) building an inclusive Society, and (3) reinforcing SCB’s financial sustainability. 

What are the most important parts of SCB’s mission of SCB and what are the most important roles SCB should undertake to advance its mission? How can you help SCB fulfil those roles? 
My work falls at the interface between science and practice and I appreciate how important both are to biodiversity conservation. This means implementing conservation solutions that are informed by those practicing conservation on the ground. It’s time to fully engage those that have on-the-ground experience in SCB. To that end, a new journal for conservation planning and practice could serve as an outlet for lessons about successes and failures, valuable case studies, and take homes from those working in conservation around the world.  

The extension of our science depends on stronger liaisons with these practitioners, the private sector, decision-makers, and conservation organizations, thereby increasing the visibility and impact of the Society for Conservation Biology.  It is through true partnership that we can increase the value of SCB to other sectors of society, increase employment opportunities for the next generation of conservation biologists, and provide incentive for increased investment in the Society itself.  

What is most important to the organizational development of SCB? Describe experiences that have prepared you to promote SCB’s development as an organization. 
Working to include people who are under-represented in environmental science and conservation in an overall effort to diversify our membership is critical to our mission, and must be fostered at the Chapter, Section, and global scale. Strategies should include scholarships, seed grants, and pathways to employment for young scientists.  Building partnerships with organizations working with young people from diverse backgrounds around the world is crucial for success. 

I have studied at academic institutions on the east and west coasts of the US and spent time living and doing research in Madagascar, Australia and Mexico and value the opportunity to work with conservation scientists from around the world. At UC Berkeley, I conduct applied research and work through Cooperative Extension to address environmental challenges with agencies and communities. I recently developed and direct the UC California Naturalist Program – a diverse community of naturalists who engage in environmental stewardship, citizen science, and education. Finally my service to SCB includes board, conference, and journal leadership experience. 

These experiences covering research, practice, education, and institutional capacity building qualifies me to lead the Society. Equally important, my leadership style is collaborative with a focus on maintaining an open and effective process in which a broad spectrum of ideas and expertise can lead to informed problem solving and a shared vision.

Click the image to watch Adina's message on why she wants to serve as SCB President-Elect and what she hopes to accomplish in that role.


Candidates for Secretary

Name: Meredith L. Gore |CV
Residence: Washington DC and East Lansing, Michigan, USA
Professional Affiliation: Associate Professor, Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, School of Criminal Justice at Michigan State University; Jefferson Science Fellow, Office of the Geographer and Global Issues, US Department of State
SCB Member Since: Graduate School (PhD)

Previous SCB Activities: President (current), Vice President, Member-At-Large for Social Science Working Group; Chapters Liaison; ICCB abstract reviewer (’13, ’15, ’17); NACCB abstract reviewer (’14, ’16); Smith Fellowship Review Committee (‘17); Associate Editor, Conservation Letters (2011-present); Guest Editor Special Issue of SCB affiliate publication, Biological Conservation (2015); journal reviewer (Conservation Letters, Biological Conservation, Conservation Biology); Conference Session Chair (ICCB, NACCB); ICCB and NACCB conference participation (presenter, panellist, moderator). 

Why do you want to serve as an SCB Officer? 
SCB has been my scientific and professional home since I was a graduate student. SCB has supported and empowered me as a conservation social scientist to explore, innovate, and contribute to more effective conservation at a global scale. I care about SCB and its future. I want to give back to the Society and contribute to a positive and strategic future. I feel it is important for the leadership of SCB to reflect the diversity of its membership, particular as that diversity can impact the extent to which students and other young professionals feel the Society is a place they can find a professional home. I have experience working for conservation-based NGO’s; conducting research, including fieldwork, on conservation social science; serving as a senior science advisor to high level policymakers at the State Department and within the US Intelligence Community; and direct (i.e., myself) or indirect (i.e., my graduate students) experience with conservation on five continents as well as terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems. I can bring a fresh perspective, love to work on teams, and remain highly driven to improve conservation outcomes around the world. 
 
What are the most important parts of SCB’s mission of SCB and what are the most important roles SCB should undertake to advance its mission? How can you help SCB fulfil those roles? 
In my opinion, science is the keystone in SCB’s mission. Conservation science embodies the principle of “science diplomacy,” or the use of scientific collaborations among stakeholders to address common problems and build constructive partnerships. In my opinion, SCB has an important role to play in enhancing the role of science in diplomacy and science for diplomacy. Indeed, in todays globalized world with biodiversity and the people that depend on it facing multiple threats and collateral effects from those threats, SCB can play a key role in promoting conservation science as a mechanism to build bridges, collaboration, and new ways of resolving problems. SCB can do this at all scales identified by AAAS as being essential for science diplomacy. SCB can help inspire communities of science and science activities, help initiate new exchanges to put science into action, and continue to build the intellectual foundation of conservation science. 
 
What is most important to the organizational development of SCB? Describe experiences that have prepared you to promote SCB’s development as an organization. 
I am an interdisciplinary scientist who has worked in academia, federal government, and with NGOs. My expertise has and will continue to enable me to contribute to these diverse organizations involved in conservation and identify aspects important to the organizational development. I believe SCB will rely increasingly on consistent and meaningful engagement from its members. Given membership in SCB is voluntary, members must believe in the mission and activities of SCB and reap a return on investment to their membership.  Development will also rely on group leadership that is innovative and well-connected to diverse members and their needs. The organization can demonstrate situational awareness of existing organizational strengths and leverage them to advance the mission. At the same time, the organization can reflect on shortcomings and identify short-, medium-, and long-term activities to overcome them. 
 
My experiences prepare me to participate and promote SCB’s efforts to continue developing as an organization. During my time on the SSWG Board, we have worked to regularly engage in strategic planning, update bylaws, engage in member-initiated activities, recruit and retain disciplinary, geographic, institutional, and other diversity measures on the board (although we work to do more!). Our member surveys have helped build capacity to serve members’ professional needs. My other volunteer activities for SCB help me maintain a connection to different members. As secretary, I would work enthusiastically to leverage my experiences with those of SSWG, other working groups and sections to help advance SCBs mission. 
 
Click the image to watch Meredith's message on why she wants to serve on the SCB Board of Governors.

 

Name: Brooke A. Porter |CV
Residence: Amelia, Italy
Professional Affiliation: Coral Triangle Conservancy, Manila Philippines
SCB Member Since: 2011

Previous SCB Activities: Oral presenter SCB 2011 conference, registered peer-reviewer for the SCB journal Conservation Biology, member of the Europe and Asia Sections. 

Why do you want to serve as an SCB Officer? 
I want to serve as an SCB Officer to promote conservation, not only as a science, but also as a lifestyle and practice. My goal is to inspire others to find new strategies for conservation by experiencing and serving nature. I encourage the Society to explore bizarre concepts for correlations, and by doing so discovering applicable solutions to current and emerging conservation issues. For example, I am currently co-designing a research project on humans performing as mermaids. This may appear a senseless project, yet it is grounded in conservation goals. The idea is to differentiate length-of-visitor-stay at aquariums between tanks stocked with performing mermaids versus tanks stocked only with fish. By doing so we will be able to place an entertainment value on human performers as compared to ornamental fish that continue to be harvested from the wild.
 
What are the most important parts of SCB’s mission of SCB and what are the most important roles SCB should undertake to advance its mission? How can you help SCB fulfil those roles? 
I see advancing the practice of conservation to be the most important part of SCB's mission. Practice can take many forms and mean many things. For some, practice is collecting data and publishing manuscripts, for others practice is direct conservation, resource management or outreach and education. The diversity of SCB members creates many opportunities to advance conservation practices. To advance conservation practice, I would encourage each SCB member to pledge to lead an annual open activity that shares his/her expertise. This could be as simple as leading a guided nature walk, reading a conservation-based story to children at a local library or a more complex effort involving the public in data collection through citizen science. 
 
What is most important to the organizational development of SCB? Describe experiences that have prepared you to promote SCB’s development as an organization. 
Effective communication is most important to the organizational development of SCB. I have worked in five continents and lived in four. Quite frequently, be it due to a lack of language or an unfamiliarity with customs, I have realized the importance of effective communication. Finding pathways to communicate in new places and new cultures is entirely applicable to SCB, an organization which aims to conserve global resources. In all cases, I employ simple etiquette and kindness to build working relationships and networks across the globe.
 

Click the image to watch Brooke's message on why she wants to serve on the SCB Board of Governors.


 

Name: Marit Wilkerson |CV
Residence: Washington, DC, USA
Professional Affiliation: United States Agency for International Development & University of California, Davis
SCB Member Since: 2007 

Previous SCB Activities:  Volunteer Coordinator, Secretary & President of SCB-Davis Chapter; Executive Committee member for NACCB 2012; North America Section member; Conference Coordinator & Financial Officer for global Chapters Committee; founding member of Urban Conservation Working Group; Interim Secretary for Global Board of Governors. 

Why do you want to serve as an SCB Officer? 
Without dedicated volunteers to help channel membership goals and needs into the fabric of the Society for Conservation Biology, the Society will falter. I wish to be one of those volunteers, serving as an Officer to the Society which really means serving you. A decade ago, I joined the SCB-Davis Chapter and I’ve moved through the Society from the grassroots up and across, on the Chapters Committee coordinating events and awards, on local organizing committees for the first North America regional conference in 2012 and on the scientific committee for ICCB 2015, and as a founding member of the Urban Conservation Working Group. A year and half ago, I was also appointed as interim Secretary to the Global Board to fill a vacancy in between election cycles. Ten years after I first heard of SCB and just wanted to find a way to volunteer for restoration work, I now wish to help lead the Society to become ever more relevant and useful for its members who are not only academics but also NGO practitioners, government advisors, foundation staff, entrepreneurial consultants, teachers, and of course, students. I know enough about Board governance to help maintain the workings of the Society so that it can continue to serve its membership, and I am new enough to be fully open to fresh ideas and energy coming from that membership (i.e. you) to take our Society where it needs to develop. I would be honoured to serve you as an SCB Officer.
 
What are the most important parts of SCB’s mission of SCB and what are the most important roles SCB should undertake to advance its mission? How can you help SCB fulfil those roles? 
SCB’s strongest advantage in advancing the science and practice of conserving Earth’s biodiversity rests upon the combined strength and unified diversity of its membership. Thus, fostering, building, and channelling that strength and diversity is the most important part of SCB’s mission. To do that, SCB should function as a contextually-relevant global network, a voice of authority and influence, and a promoter of excellent conservation science, policy, and practice. I can help SCB fulfill those roles through my ability to connect various peoples and organizations across multiple levels of the Society, a skill derived from years of organizational experience and on-the-ground experience of global conservation and development programs. I can particularly help ensure SCB’s authority and influence by strengthening its policy engagement capacity, my current area of expertise and paid work. I can help SCB continue its promotion of excellent conservation by helping secure relevant support via deep understanding of and connections to a globally-influential donor and eco-oriented development community.
 
What is most important to the organizational development of SCB? Describe experiences that have prepared you to promote SCB’s development as an organization. 
SCB’s organizational development depends on the functioning of its multiple levels and types of sub-units, the grassroots Chapters, the thematic Working Groups, the capacity-generating Committees,  the context-oriented Sections, and of course, the global Board of Governors and the Executive Office. Each of these sub-units must be able to function both independently and in unity with the rest of the Society. I have volunteered, created, organized, and governed within all these types of sub-units during the past ten years. Those experiences give me practical insight into how best to enable these sub-units whether that’s through funding, training, fostering leadership, or networking-building.
 

Click the image to watch Marit's message on why she wants to serve on the SCB Board of Governors.


Candidate for Treasurer

Name: Heather B. DeCaluwe | CV
Residence: Golden, Colorado, USA
Professional Affiliation: Consultant
SCB Member Since: 2006

Previous SCB Activities:  Most recently I stepped in as the Interim Executive Director. Before that I served on the board first as Secretary and then as Treasurer. Prior to serving on the board, I worked as the Assistant Director in the SCB Executive Office for seven years and served on the Local Organizing Committee for ICCB 2013. 

Why do you want to serve as an SCB Governor? What is your vision of SCB’s mission?
SCB is a critical organization in global conservation and has reached an exciting juncture, with an opportunity to refine our mission to better serve our members. We have invested a great deal in selecting a new Executive Director and it is critical that we as a Society and board facilitate a smooth transition for this person into the Society. Having worked for SCB for eight years, I have extensive institutional knowledge to help bridge SCB’s past and future by providing historical input to the board and Executive Office. I feel that I have a unique contribution to make as a board member. It is an exciting time for SCB and I believe that I can make a sizable contribution by assuring that future efforts to grow and strengthen SCB are successful.
 
What role should SCB play in shaping global conservation science, policy, and practice? How can you help fulfill that role?
SCB should bring together conservation professionals by hosting both global and regional conferences, publishing high caliber science, and representing its members in both national and international policy arenas. SCB is also well positioned to become a leader in the critical focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion issues within the conservation realm. As a member of the board, I will help implement strategies to strengthen and re-establish these programs and make sure that current and future members’ voices are well represented.
 
What do you think is most important to the organizational development of SCB? Describe experiences that have prepared you to promote SCB’s development as an organization.
In order to strengthen SCB, it is important to form partnerships with NGOs, government agencies, and like-minded corporations; to increase diversity within our membership; to foster growth within the Chapters; and finally to diversify SCB’s financial support. I worked in the SCB Executive Office, most recently as the Interim Executive Director, and before that as the Assistant Director from 2005 to 2012. I have served on Local Organizing Committees for conferences and just before stepping in as Interim Executive Director I served as a member of the board. I have been involved in every aspect of SCB’s administration, including strategic planning, membership development, fundraising, financial management, meeting planning, and board governance. I have known SCB inside and out for the past seven years and believe I can continue to provide unique insight to its governance, past challenges and successes, and future opportunities.
 
Describe your interest and experience with budgeting, fundraising, and development of nonprofit organizations.
As SCB’s Interim Executive Director and Assistant Director, I gained extensive experience with each of these, not only for a non-profit, but for SCB specifically. For much of my tenure at SCB, I created its over 3 million dollar budget, assisted in most fundraising efforts, and was integral to the daily operations of the organization.
 

Candidates for Vice President of Membership

Name: Israel Borokini |CV
Residence: Reno, Nevada, USA
Professional Affiliation: Department of Biology, University of Nevada Reno, Reno NV
SCB Member Since: 2009

Previous SCB Activities: Member, Board of Directors and Section Information Officer (Africa Section) and Secretary, Chapters Committee. 

Why do you want to serve as an SCB Officer? 
Serving as an SCB officer offers a rare opportunity to contribute significantly to the strategic positioning of the Society to meet global challenges of conservation. To ensure this, I offer my voluntary leadership and meticulous service towards building the Society, strengthening her efforts and increasing her accomplishments. My focus is to increase SCB membership across all geographical scales, expand and sustain SCB Chapters in all continents and facilitate capacity building for SCB members to attain professional development, and ensure effective management of local biodiversity within their scope.

What are the most important parts of SCB’s mission of SCB and what are the most important roles SCB should undertake to advance its mission? How can you help SCB fulfil those roles? 
In February 2016, the SCB Board of Governors produced five strategic foci for 2016-2020 strategic plan for the Society. To achieve these goals and the overall mission, I believe the most important roles SCB should undertake are membership drive and professional development for her members. In this way, the members can contribute effectively to dissemination of conservation research and other goals of the society.

In the last two years, I have served the Society assiduously to facilitate members’ personal and professional development at both the Nigeria Chapter and Africa Section, facilitated increase in SCB membership in Africa and helped establish five additional chapters in Africa, with more prospective Chapters underway. I have also consistently circulated several travel, research and academic support grants to members, and I intend to continue doing just that in capacity of a member of the Board of Governors. Specifically, I intend to assist in increasing the Society’s membership, and organize programs that assist their professional development so that they can contribute to effective dissemination of conservation research for public awareness, policy development and conservation management at local, regional and global scales.
 
What is most important to the organizational development of SCB? Describe experiences that have prepared you to promote SCB’s development as an organization.
The majority of people serving SCB are unpaid volunteer-members, therefore time management and effective work load sharing among members is critical to their efficiency as volunteers and ultimately, the growth of the Society. This offers a win-win situation such that members are contributing to the development of the Society while they also garner leadership experiences that enhance their personal development. I have served SCB at different hierarchical levels and accumulated experiences and appreciable knowledge on the modus operandi of the Society. Consequently, I intend to intensify on identifying willing and gifted members to involve them in implementing various parts of the strategic plan of the Society within the capacity of my position in the board.

 

Name: Kevin Y. Njabo | CV
Residence: Los Angeles, California, USA; Yaounde, Cameroon
Professional Affiliation:  Biologist
SCB Member Since: 2006

Previous SCB Activities: Member, Board of Directors, Africa Section, President: SCB Cameroon Chapter. 

Why do you want to serve as an SCB Officer? 
My mission is simple: Make SCB attractive to people from different spheres – scientists and non-scientists. Make membership affordable to the less deserved and give access to information and resources to those who need it the most and can’t afford it. Show the value of becoming a member of the SCB by creating an environment within the SCB that is fair and a fun experience for all members involved. We continue preaching the language of science to scientists and things don’t get better. We need to involve non-scientists into our business. We need to understand the language of lawyers, policy makers, social scientists and speak in a language that will be attractive enough to transform our results to practical policies. I must work hard, present innovative ideas, lead others kindly, and possess organizational skills.

What are the most important parts of SCB’s mission and what are the most important roles SCB should undertake to advance its mission? How can you help SCB fulfil those roles? 
The most important parts of SCB’s mission is to use science to meet our development goals while sustaining the ability of our natural systems to continue to provide those resources and ecosystem services upon which the economy and society depends. SCB’s should craft a vision that inspires its members as well as non-members to act collectively to make it happen, responding to whatever changes and challenges arise along the way. It should take bold leadership in business, government and civil society that would enable us to shift towards a more just and sustainable 21st-century lifestyle. Without bold and effective leadership – at a political, institutional and individual level – we will fail to resolve our most serious social and environmental crises. I do have certain key characteristic traits and styles that will help me fulfil those roles. These include, a long-term perspective on impacts; a strong vision for making a significant difference; an inclusive style that engenders trust; emotional intelligence and a caring attitude; a willingness to innovate and be radical; and values orientation that shapes culture. I will use them to my fullest
 
What is most important to the organizational development of SCB? Describe experiences that have prepared you to promote SCB’s development as an organization. 
Thinking out of the box. Making SCB more attractive to a much wider community, not just scientists. Develop programs that are interdisciplinary. Make sure our curriculum is also included in business schools, law schools and humanities. Share with other members and advocate for inclusion into school curricula across the board. What business model works best for SCB to be self-sustainable?  How many SCB members sit on the board of major decision making organizations?  How many non-biologists sit in our board meetings and attend our annual meetings?
 
I grew up in Cameroon, a country of enchanting beauty and rich biodiversity but poor governance, high aptitude for environmental destruction and poverty. As a child, I suffered from constant malaria attacks that may well have resulted from inefficient health policy and corruption. Over time, I have come to believe that the only way to solve our environmental and health issues was to use the "big tent" approach, where environmental biologists, community health workers and policy analysts work alongside epidemiologists and other scientists. Together we can have tremendous impact. I therefore plan on using this very interesting opportunity to build upon my academic background and practical experience to develop a future environmental leadership role in academia, civil society, government or the private sector and promote SCB’s development as an organization.