Vilma Machava

USDA Forest Service, International Programs

Vilma Cléria Eduardo Machava António is the Mozambique Country Coordinator for the US Forest Service International Programs. She coordinates different programs such as law enforcement to counter illegal logging and crimes against wildlife, fire management, mangroves and forest restoration, and alternative livelihood opportunities for local communities, working with different protected areas in the country. She holds a MSc degree in Aquatic Biology and Coastal Ecosystems, and currently enrolled in a PhD program in Coastal Ecosystems Services at the University of Lisbon – Portugal. During her career she has been involved in research studies related to Ecosystems Services and Climate Change, Socio-ecology, Community engagement and advocacy for management of Natural Resources, with strong interest in social ecological programs under the SDGs for a sustainable development of the country considering Mozambique’s vulnerability to climate change and its effects.

Ana Agreda

Aves y Conservación Birdlife

Ana is an ornithologist with more than 25 years of experience. She obtained her Bachelor’s Degree in Biological Sciences from the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Ecuador (PUCE) in 1998 and completed her Master’s Degree in Biological Sciences at the University of Missouri, US in 2003. Since 2011, she has been an honorary Scientific Advisor for the Convention on Wild Migratory Species (CMS). She has managed the development and sustainably of waterfowl conservation, monitoring and research programs for 15 years on the coast of Ecuador. She currently leads the implementation of the Action Plan for the Conservation of Migratory Shorebirds in Ecuador (PACAPME).


Hen Mpoano

Daniel is a project manager for Hen Mpoano, a local fisheries and coastal governance NGO, and a final year PhD (ICZM) candidate at the World Bank Africa Center of Excellence in Coastal Resilience at the Center for Coastal Management, UCC. He has in-depth knowledge in the spatial distribution, ecology, status and utilization of mangroves and fisheries resources in Ghana. He also has extensive experience in working with local communities to develop coastal ecosystem-based livelihoods and training manuals for schools in wetland communities.


Hen Mpoano

Mira Haddad draws on 16 years of experience as an environmental and GIS specialist and supports the research on the enhancement of ecosystems services and approaching land degradation neutrality in drylands. She works on soil and water management projects in Jordan, Lebanon, Sudan, Iraq, Syria, Palestine, Morocco, Tunisia, and Uzbekistan. Mira is a PhD student at the Faculty of Geosciences at Utrecht University and holds an MSc in Environmental Science and Management from Jordan University.

Nancy Sonti

U.S. Forest Service, Northern Research Station

Nancy Falxa Sonti is an Ecologist with the US Forest Service Northern Research Station at the Baltimore Field Station, where she works as an interdisciplinary researcher studying urban social-ecological systems. Nancy works to build collaboration between academics, community groups, and government agencies in order to support the research activities of the Baltimore Field Station. Her current research interests include urban tree ecophysiology and processes of forest restoration and regeneration, as well as motivations for engagement with urban green spaces such as forest patches. Nancy has a Masters in Conservation Biology from Columbia University and a PhD in Plant Science from the University of Maryland, College Park.

Nicole Harmelin

Sociedad de Historia Natural Niparajá A.C.

Nicole serves as the Head of Demonstration Projects for Soil Conservation of the Water and City program for the Sociedad de Historia Natural Niparajá A.C. Born and raised in La Paz, Mexico, she has worked in Niparajá for 2 years in the water and city program in which she has participated in soil conservation projects in the upper part of the basin, monitoring the water quality of the aquifer, and the development of public space interventions, with green infrastructure for rainwater harvesting and native vegetation.
She has a master’s degree in science in the use, management and preservation of natural resources.

Sarah Hines

U.S. Forest service northern research station

Sarah Hines serves as a coordinator and project manager among the network of Urban Field Stations within the USDA Forest Service, working with diverse communities to develop and advance knowledge and practical solutions to interrelated ecological, social, and economic issues and challenges. Sarah has spent her career in the Forest Service linking research with practice at local and regional scales to inform holistic stewardship of natural infrastructure and communities, ranging in scale from National Forests to the local parks and forests in our communities. Sarah is also currently serving in a special assignment role as the acting national lead for urban sustainability research.


Mary Perpetua Kwakuyi

Goshen Global Vision

Mary Perpetua Kwakuyi is the founder and Executive Director of Goshen Global Vision, a NGO focusing on building capacities of women and youth in urban greenspace restoration, forest landscape, and climate-resilient agriculture. She has 23 years of experience in green urban development and currently managing the “Greening Sekondi-Takoradi Twin-city” project funded by the United States Forest Service in Takoradi – Ghana
Mary Perpetua is driven by a passion for urban restoration and is inspired by the ancient proverb, “we do not inherit the Earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children. As of 2022, GGV has planted 329,000 trees in western Ghana and adopted an inclusive partnership approach enabling collaboration, teamwork, transparency, and trust-building.

Swami Prem Parivartan “Peepal Baba”

Give Me Trees Trust

Swami Prem Parivartan and his organization Give Me Trees Trust have planted more than 20 million trees all across India. He has been planting trees for the last 44 years, since he was 11 years old. He is one of the largest planters of Peepal trees (also called Ficus religoisa) in India, having planting more than 12.5 million Peepal trees all across India. He was thus nicknamed ‘Peepal Baba’ because he has devoted his entire life to the plantation and preservation of the Peepal tree.



Maha Mousa

WADI Sustainable Ecosystems Development

Maha has been the director of WADI since 2019. She worked with USAID/Jordan for over thirteen years as Economic Growth Officer and with CARE International as Regional Human Resources and Administration Manager. Maha had the honor to serve the Royal Palaces of Jordan for five years as Deputy Royal Palaces Director / Human Resources Manager. 

Dr. Mohammad S. Alnsour

WADI Sustainable Ecosystems Development

Dr. Alnsour is a Natural Resource Manager with WADI and has been with the organization since its inception. He previously worked with the Sustainable Environment and Economic Development, funded by USAID and implemented by the USFS. Dr. Alnsour’s background is in forestry, rangeland, and environmental management and plant biology.

Jihad Zawaidah

WADI Sustainable Ecosystems Development

Jihad has been working with WADI for Sustainable Ecosystems Development since its inception; and before that he worked as Field Technical Support Officer for the Sustainable Environment and Economic Development Project. As his roots go back to Wadi Rum being part of the Jordanian Badia, Jihad is very proud of that work, which gave him to drive and passion to go back to studying the same field of his current work.

Dr. Majd Abu Salem

WADI Sustainable Ecosystems Development

Dr. Abu Salem holds a PhD in Sustainable Agriculture and a master’s degree in Dryland Ecology. Her education and employment history display her commitment and passion to the sustainable development and management of Jordan’s land and the socio-economic wellbeing of its people.

Muna Saba

WADI Sustainable Ecosystems Development

Muna has a M.Sc. in in Agricultural Resources and Environment, with experience in studying land use/ land cover change, drought and climate change impacts using Remote Sensing and GIS techniques.

Dr. Stephan Strohmeir


Dr. Stefan Strohmeier’s current research interests include many facets of watershed health and management and environmental responses to human intervention. He has authored dozens of peer-reviewed journal articles, book chapters, and conference papers on mitigating land degradation and improving livelihoods. Dr. Strohmeier holds a Ph.D. in environmental engineering from the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna, Austria, where he worked as a researcher.

Dr. Mira Haddad


Mira Haddad draws on 16 years of experience as an environmental and GIS specialist and supports the research on the enhancement of ecosystems services and approaching land degradation neutrality in drylands. She works on soil and water management projects in Jordan, Lebanon, Sudan, Iraq, Syria, Palestine, Morocco, Tunisia, and Uzbekistan. Mira is a PhD student at the Faculty of Geosciences at Utrecht University and holds an MSc in Environmental Science and Management from Jordan University.

Abdo Nassar

Lebanon Reforestation Initiative

Abdo is the Landscape Restoration and Rehabilitation Specialist at the Lebanon Reforestation Initiative. Abdo Focuses on outplanting, land-use planning, Rangeland management, Sustainable Forest Management plans and implementation of related activities.

Joelle Salameh

Lebanon Reforestation Initiative

Joelle Salameh is a Natural Resources Conservation Specialist at the LRI. She is leading on the establishment of the First National Forestry Park in Lebanon: Anjar Eco Park. The park is a model for conservation of natural resources, sustainable rural development, new ecotourism activities, engagement of youth and supporting local communities. She has been working on several cash for work projects that tackle forest management activities and rural tourism.

Majd Khashan

Lebanon Reforestation Initiative

Majd Khashan joined the Lebanon Reforestation Initiative in 2010 and currently is the Restoration senior specialist and team leader. Majd leads most of the outplanting activities and ensure field to office learning practices as well supervising restoration activities across different components in LRI.

Samara El-Haddad

Lebanon Reforestation Initiative

Samara El-Haddad is a British/Lebanese zoologist based in Lebanon. For the last three years she has been working with local NGOs to conserve wildlife and their habitats. She works as a Wildlife Conservation Specialist at Lebanon Reforestation Initiative (LRI), and is tasked with finding new, cost-effective tools to study and monitor local wildlife.

Alison Holt

U.S. Forest Service, International PRograms

Alison is a member of the IP Climate Change Program and GROWN Coordinator for IP. 

Alison obtained a Bachelor’s degree in anthropology from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and a Master’s degree in applied linguistics from American University.

Anthony S. Davis

University of New Hampshire

Dean of the College of Life Sciences and Agriculture at the University of New Hampshire. He is a professor of restoration ecology and is known for his research related to native plant seedling quality, and its application in improving outplanting success following disturbance or degradation. He  has a degree in Forestry from the University of New Brunswick and an MS and PhD in Forest Biology from Purdue University.

Karma Bouazza

Lebanon Restoration Institute

Karma is a Native Nursery and Ecological Restoration Specialist with the Lebanon Restoration Institute (LRI). She has developed and supported projects in multiple countries focusing on both native seed/plant materials resources and engaging local communities in nursery and seed projects. Karma holds a BS in Agriculture Engineering and a MS in Plant Protection from American University – Beirut.


Bethanie Walder

Society of Ecological Restoration

Bethanie Walder has served as the Society for Ecological Restoration’s Executive Director since 2015 and is responsible for helping guide SER to advance the science, practice, and policy of ecological restoration. Bethanie has a degree in Political Science and International Studies from Duke University and a BS in Environmental Studies from the University of Montana.

Jeremy Pinto

U.S. Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station

Jeremy has been working for the Forest Service for 23 years. Currently, he spends most of his time as a Research Plant Physiologist in the Rocky Mountain Research Station, but he also spends some of his time serving as the Tribal Nursery Specialist, on the Reforestation, Nurseries, and Genetic Resources Team in State and Private Forestry. Jeremy received his B.S. in Biology at the University of New Mexico and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Forest and Natural Resources at the University of Idaho.

Mireille Jazi

Lebanon Reforestation Initiative

Mireille is the Monitoring and Evaluation Specialist and Gender Focal Point at the Lebanon Reforestation Initiative. She Focuses on sustainable management of natural resources and gender mainstreaming in the forestry sector. Mireille attended the 2019 FLR seminar.

Swami Prem Parivartan “Peepal Baba”

Give Me Trees Trust

Inspired by a teacher in his youth, his grandmother, and the ruthless development taking place around him, Peepal Baba has planted millions of trees in India in his lifetime. His organization, Give Me Trees Trust, has successfully planted and cared for 20 million trees in India and has been visited by people from throughout the world to learn tree planting techniques.

Craig r. beatty

World Wildlife Fund

Craig is the manager of forest strategy and research at World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and provides technical and scientific leadership to WWF forest initiatives. He has helped develop frameworks for creating science-based targets for nature, created methods for measuring conservation impact, and explored the role forests play in human health.

Nino Bregadze


Nino is a deputy team leader
for CENN and promotes sustainable forest management for rural development and coordinates the public awareness component to shape positive and responsible attitudes towards forests. Nino holds a Masers of Science and attended the FLR seminar in 2018.

Natela Lagurashvili


Natela is a third-year student at Ilia State University, currently working at CENN as a Capacity Development and Youth Mobilization Lead. In addition to her studies and work with CENN, she worked with youth empowerment and climate justice issues and has successfully lead school eco club, was organizing educational activities and advocacy campaigns on the importance of local forests.

Mohd Abdul Quddus

Arannayk Foundation

Dr. Abdul Quddus is the Senior Program Officer for the Arannyk Foundation in Bangladesh and is the Project Director for the Green Environment through Livelihood Improvement and Forest Enrichment (GREEN LIFE). Dr. Quddus attended the 2018 FLR seminar.

Maje Egento

Philippine EAgele Foundation

Maje is the Project Coordinator of the Philippine Eagle Foundation in Southern Philippines and has spent a decade promoting the conservation of the critically endangered eagle across the country. Maje focuses on creating partnerships and building technical expertise of conservation and restoration efforts. Maje attended the FLR seminar in 2018.