STAFF & BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Founder and Executive Director
(2006 to present)
Julie, founder of the Art of Conservation, whose quest for learning, creative thinking and tremendous love for animals, inspired her to move to Rwanda to work with local communities about the importance of conservation and health for local communities bordering the Volcanoes National Park, home to the Critically Endangered Mountain Gorilla. After seven successful years, Julie handed over the management of AoC’s programming to a local Rwandan team who continues to pursue AoC’s mission. Having seen the impact she made on the local communities in Rwanda, Julie surveyed other regions which she believed could benefit from her innovative programming. She now lives with her two African Street Dogs in Tulum, Mexico running AoC's programming.
MANUEL DEL MONTE
Program Manager and Facilitator
(2014 to 2017)
Manuel was born in México City and grew up fond of nature and sports. Manuel's mother, Beatriz, an anthropologist, and his father, Manuel, a timber contractor, were clear with their children on their ideas towards personal relationships and attitudes toward the environment. Manuel has worked for the last eleven years on sustainability and human development. He worked in south Thailand on a crisis program in primary schools along the coast after the December 26, 2004 tsunami. He continues his work on human development and resources management with forest communities in México. Manuel has lived in Tulum for the last seven years and loves to work with Art of Conservation close to nature and children.
Director of Development, Translator, and Facilitator
(2014 to 2017)
(2015 to 2016)
(2014 to 2016)
PATRICIA 'PATO' PAGNUCCO
(2014 to 2016)
BOARD AND ADVISORY COUNCIL
Michele Marsh Vice-President, New York City
C. Hawthorne Flaherty, Tulum, Mexico
Maria (Malú) de Lourdes Guïjosa Garcia Colin Associate Member, Tulum, Mexico
Alberto Alvelais Associate Member, Playa del Playa, Mexico
Richard Lozier Counsel to the Corporation, Des Moines, Iowa
Alyson H. Ball, BoardsThatExcel.com
Ilze K. Berzins, scientific advisor, PhD, DVM, MPH, One Water, One Health, LLC
Bunny Bruning, United States Professional Tennis Association – Missouri Valley
Mary Burns, Archaeological Consultant
Mike Cranfield, DVM, Mountain Gorilla Veterinary Project, Inc.
Susan Garrison, Greenwood Elementary School
Magdalena Lukasik-Braum, DVM, University of Pretoria
Jan Ramer, DVM
Carole Reichardt, Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation
Chad Robertson, Independent Artist
John Terpkosh, United States Tennis Association – Missouri Valley
Art of Conservation (AoC) was founded in 2006 by Julie Ghrist in Rwanda’s Virunga Massif region, where the ideas and cooperation of local communities were incorporated to develop innovative educational programming. After seven successful years, delivering its curriculum, AoC handed over the work to the local team to create its own non-profit – Conservation Heritage -Turambe (CHT). In 2014, recognizing a similar need for conservation education in the Mesoamerican Reef Region, AoC launched its four-module programming in several Mayan communities bordering protected areas including the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve and X'cacel-X'cacelito in Tulum, Mexico.