Lorayne Meltzer - Executive Director and Environmental Studies FacultyLorayne Meltzer - Executive Director and Environmental Studies Faculty
As Director of the Kino Bay Center, Lorayne is active in collaborative conservation efforts in the Gulf of California. Lorayne coordinates the Center’s research, education and community outreach programs toward the realization of the mission and vision of Prescott College and the Kino Bay Center. Through her Marine Conservation classes, students learn firsthand about complex issues confronting marine and coastal environments. It is one thing to read in a book that 85% of everything caught on a shrimp trawler is discarded dead as by-catch back into the sea. It is quite a different learning experience to be sorting through the by-catch on the deck of a trawler, working along fishermen whose livelihoods depend on destructive fisheries practices. Upper division students have the opportunity to learn about conservation issues and solutions, while simultaneously contributing to the conservation projects conducted through the Center’s programs.
Vicky-Yañez - Office AdministratorVicky-Yañez - Office Administrator
Vicky is very happy with her work at the Kino Bay Center. She was invited to work in the office by her friend Lillian Drosen, and since then has had a wonderful experience. She would like to thank god for this opportunity. She enjoys the marvelous islands and their natural beauty, and that every day she learns something new about the ocean or the desert. Vicky loves to go on excursions to the islands and spend time with her coworkers, including making the most delicious lunches in all of Sonora. When she is not working at the center, Vicky works in sales and enjoys spending time with her family, and going to church.
Cosme Damian Becerra - Transportation Coordinator, Boat CaptainCosme Damian Becerra - Transportation Coordinator, Boat Captain
Cosme moved to Kino when he was six years old, and as a child lived in Estero La Cruz with his family. Cosme learned to drive a panga in the estero with one of his older brothers, who also taught him to fish. After attending primary and secondary school in Kino, he went to Hermosillo to study industrial maintenance at CONALEP, and began captaining a panga in Kino at the age of 17. At 18, he became a member of the fishing cooperative S.C.de P.P.y A.SAN JUAN SCL, and soon became the president.
In 2007, he began to work at the Kino Bay Center as the Transportation Coordinator. Cosme’s work involves taking university classes, researchers, and local school kids out in the panga to look for whales, study birds, and visit the surrounding islands, among other things. At the center, Cosme also applies all the knowledge he gained at the CONLEP: soldering, electrical work, engine repairs and maintenance, and also enjoys building new furniture for the ever-expanding Center - skills which he learned from another former station manager, Tom Donovan. Since 2010, Cosme and a few fishermen from the community have formed a Sea Turtle Monitoring Group that formed with support from CONANP.
Julio Carrasco Paredes - Maintenance CoordinatorJulio Carrasco Paredes - Maintenance Coordinator
The oldest of five brothers, Julio was born in 1967 in Mexico City. He arrived in Kino with his family in 1981. At first his family supported themselves with artisanal wood carving, house construction, and fishing. In the following years, Julio worked as a gardener, waiter, bartender, house painter, carpenter, and much more. He began working for Prescott in 2004. We now count on Julio to keep the station alive and running. He lives with his family in Kino Viejo. On weekends, he and his soccer team enjoy losing games against other old men.
"I have learned a lot of new things in my job here at Prescott that I didn't know before; for example, ecology and to care for the environment. Conservation is not directly my job, but I support it and it has been a grand satisfaction to work all these years for Prescott. I have made many good friends as well."
Héctor Pérez Puig - Resident Researcher / Marine Mammal Research and Community OutreachHéctor Pérez Puig - Resident Researcher / Marine Mammal Research and Community Outreach
Originally from Mexico City, Héctor has had a strong interest in natural science from a young age. This developed into his current passion for marine mammals. Due to his interest in whales Héctor studied Biology at the Benemérita Universidad Autónoma in Puebla with an undergraduate thesis based on the craneometry of coastal pantropical spotted dolphins (Stenella attenuata graffmani).
Héctor completed his Masters in Marine Biology at CICESE with a thesis focused on Gray whale (Eschrichtius robustus) calf abundance estimation from shore-based surveys near Ensenada.
Héctor has worked and collaborated on projects with whales and dolphins for various institutions. In 2009, Hector became the Marine Mammal Research and Conservation fellow for the Kino Bay Center. This post focuses on cetacean Photo Identification and documenting the spatial and temporal distribution of all cetacean sightings from the region. Héctor collaborates with researches at UABCS and other international scientists to study cetacean ecology both in the Pacific Ocean and the Gulf of California. Héctor also maintains the station’s User Day Database.
"Every day my entrance to the center gives me the opportunity to develop on a professional basis while enjoying what I enjoy most in life and above all not losing the sense of wonder in what I can see in the stunning Gulf of California."
Megan Hennings - Executive Assistant and Development AssociateMegan Hennings - Executive Assistant and Development Associate
Megan earned her B.A. in Political Science and Spanish from UNC Charlotte. After graduation, she continued to work at UNC Charlotte in the Office of International Programs and New Student & Family Services Office. Through her previous positions and volunteering with non-profits, Megan has gained skills and knowledge in organizational administration, development, and public relations. She greatly enjoys being able to support programs and organizations that facilitate intercultural education, social justice, and global thinking. Originally from Ireland, Megan grew up in North Carolina but traveled often with her family. From an early age, she loved learning about different cultures and experiencing new places. In her spare time, Megan enjoys hanging out with friends, volunteering, trying new food, live music, and reading.
Olivia Osuna - Conservation Fellow / Environmental EducationOlivia Osuna - Conservation Fellow / Environmental Education
Olivia was born and raised in Cajeme, Sonora. Since an early age she has always been fascinated by natural sciences and while growing up developed a special interest in ecology which led her to get a Bachelor’s Degree in Environmental Sciences Engineering at the Instituto Tecnológico de Sonora (ITSON). She has been involved in local social and ecological movements with small non-profit organizations seeking to contribute to community welfare.
In summer 2014 she was chosen as an Environmental Education Program Fellow. She teaches ecology classes to kids in elementary schools and also participates in field trips and other community activities within the program. Her goal is to encourage environmental awareness and critical thinking in Kino’s people; especially new generations so that they are able to develop a profound sense of place and know their role as individuals and as community in the sustainable management of their region’s natural resources.
Her favorite ecosystems are semi-arid lands (with a special love for the Sonoran Desert) and coastal wetlands so it is a wonderful thing for her to have them both in Kino and feed her sense of wonder.
Martha Verónica Maldonado Bracamontes-Conservation Fellow/Environmental Education and Community LeadershipMartha Verónica Maldonado Bracamontes-Conservation Fellow/Environmental Education and Community Leadership
A proud Sonoran native, the biologist Martha Veronica Maldonado Bracamontes was born in Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico. Ever since she was a child, she and her father have shared a passion for nature and the great inquietude to know and discover places in this beautiful state.
With an adventurous and curious spirit, the biologist concluded her studies at the University of Sonora in the field of Biology, specializing in Land Management of Natural Resources, and became the first generation to pursue this interesting profession in the state of Sonora. Before leaving university she shared experiences with fellow students similarly engaged in science, and to this day is very good friends with her peers with whom she collaborated in activities of environmental education and wildlife monitoring. Throughout her career she has been involved with institutions devoted to the care and conservation of the environment, where she has both learned and shared her knowledge. To this day she continues to learn about nature, indigenous and non-indigenous communities, and the management of natural resources, enjoying her job and trying to give back to the planet even a fraction of what these experiences have given to her. She joined the Prescott College Kino Bay Center for Cultural and Ecological Studies as a Conservation Fellow in the Environmental Education and Community Leadership program in August 2015.
Kayla Sargent - Media and Communications FellowKayla Sargent - Media and Communications Fellow
Kayla Sargent graduated from New York University in 2012 with a B.A. in Storytelling. She started her career making videos for a camera company in Brooklyn before moving to Spain to work as an English teacher. She returned to New York City one year later as an Engagement Specialist for NYU, working to promote student well-being with the LiveWellNYU movement. One of her favorite video production experiences was traveling through El Salvador to film interviews for the documentary Mujeres de la Guerra. Kayla is very excited to work with the Kino Bay Center and to use media and communication to further conservation goals. She loves being outdoors, reading, dancing, family holidays, and sharing meals in the Palapa House.
Abril Heredia - Waterbird Monitoring FellowAbril Heredia - Waterbird Monitoring Fellow
Born in Mexico City, Abril studied biology at the National Autonomous University of Mexico. After obtaining her undergraduate degree, her interest in wildlife brought her to participate in various projects that have involved bird monitoring in different habitats such as boreal forests, prairies, islands and the wetlands of the Baja California Peninsula.
She carried out her Master’s degree at the Center for Scientific Research and Higher Education of Ensenada (CICESE) in Baja California with a project focused on the effect of human disturbances on migratory shorebirds that spend the winter in the bay of Todos Santos.
Abril is very excited to learn more about the birds and wildlife of the Sonoran Desert and Midriff Island Region in the Gulf of California. At the Center Abril is working on waterbird conservation projects, sharing different perspectives and knowledge with local communities, and of course, enjoying the beautiful Kino landscape!
Rebecca Natoli - Waterbird Monitoring FellowRebecca Natoli - Waterbird Monitoring Fellow
Rebecca grew up in Silver Spring, Maryland and graduated from the University of Maryland last year, where she received degrees in Environmental Science and Policy (with a concentration in Wildlife Ecology and Management) and Spanish. As a kid, she loved watching shorebirds and pelicans feeding along the ocean during summers on the Eastern Shore. Her interest in studying waterbirds began while studying in Ecuador for a semester in college, where she spent a couple weeks mapping the land-use within a coastal mangrove forest and surveying the estuary’s migratory birds. After graduating, she spent a summer monitoring Common, Least and Forster’s tern populations on Poplar Island in the Chesapeake Bay as a USGS waterbird biology intern. She spent the past year leading community habitat restoration programs and learning about Northern California flora and fauna while working in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area.
Rebecca is excited to learn about the natural and cultural history of Bahía de Kino. She is looking forward to working with local community members to accomplish conservation work and is particularly interested in learning more about the waterbirds that inhabit the Gulf of California and how their populations are responding to climate change and varying ocean conditions. In her free time she likes to run, kayak, hike (pretty much do anything outside) and play with the Kino dogs.
Jorge A. Miros Gómez - Wetlands Conservation and Community Projects CoordinatorJorge A. Miros Gómez - Wetlands Conservation and Community Projects Coordinator
Jorge is originally from Los Tuxtlas, Veracruz. He received his Bachelor´s degree in Environmental Sciences at the Autonomous University of Baja California (UABC) in Ensenada City. He received a Masters degree in Coastal Oceanography from the Oceanological Investigation Institute from UABC, where he received an honorary mention for his thesis titled "Coastal Geodiversity of San Quintín Bay and the surrounding area, Baja California, Mexico." During his Master's studies he focused on the areas of geology, coastal conservation, and sustainable tourism.
During his career, Jorge has worked with the Center for Sustainable Studies and Projects as well as the Kino Bay Center Environmental Education and Community Leadership Program. He also worked as a field technician in remote areas for various organizations in Baja California.
Kino Bay Center Photo Gallery
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