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Staff

Lorayne Meltzer - Field Station Director, Research and Conservation Program Coordinator

Lorayne Meltzer - Field Station Director, Research and Conservation Program Coordinator
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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.

Liz Gregg - Development and Communications Coordinator

Liz Gregg - Development and Communications Coordinator
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Liz grew up in the Sierra Nevada Mountains of California with a love of the outdoors. She studied botany at UC Santa Cruz and earned a master’s from University of Florida in interdisciplinary ecology with a focus in tropical conservation and development. Though her background is in terrestrial biology, Liz has a strong interest in marine conservation and indigenous cultures. For the past three years she has been working in development for marine conservation organizations writing grants. In her free time, Liz enjoys volley ball, snorkeling, traveling and writing short stories that she will never publish. 

Martin Ziebell - Field Station Manager

Martin Ziebell - Field Station Manager
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Martin grew up on the island of Cyprus where he worked with the Cyprus Fisheries Department Lara Reserve Sea Turtle Project before moving to the U.S. He has been visiting the Gulf since the early 90's, sailing, sea kayaking and instructing courses with Prescott College. As part of his graduate work in Marine Studies he studied and documented the small-scale fishing fleet in Bahia de Kino. Most recently he has been teaching the oceanography section of Dr. Ed Boyer's Marine Biology course at the Center. "The opportunity to live and work in Bahia de Kino with Prescott College is a dream come true for me."

Lillian Drosen - Office Administrator

Lillian Drosen - Office Administrator
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As an administrator at the Kino Bay Center, one of Lillian’s primary focus is with the organization and management of the financial and logistical facets of the operation. Originally from Los Angeles, California, at the age of fifteen Lillian moved to Bahia de Kino, the place she’s always loved since childhood.  In 2002, Lillian left a career in registered practical nursing to begin working as a family resource coordinator for Positive Impact at an American institution in Kino. After Positive Impact closed in 2004, Lillian joined the staff of the Kino Bay Center. In addition to Lillian’s responsibilities at the Center, she enjoys spending time with her family, performing traditional Mexican folklore dance, trophy truck rally racing and motor cross. Her family is one of the original founders of the town of Bahia de Kino.  

Cosme Damian Becerra - Transportation Coordinator, Boat Captain

Cosme Damian Becerra - Transportation Coordinator, Boat Captain
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 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 Coordinator

Julio Carrasco Paredes - Maintenance Coordinator
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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."

Vicky-Yañez - Administrative Assistant

Vicky-Yañez - Administrative Assistant
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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.

Héctor Pérez Puig - Resident Researcher / Marine Mammal Research and Community Outreach

Héctor Pérez Puig - Resident Researcher / Marine Mammal Research and Community Outreach
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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."

Horacio Cabrera Santiago-Community Projects Coordinator

Horacio Cabrera Santiago-Community Projects Coordinator
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Horacio is originally from Cajeme.  He has a bachelor’s degree in ecology, a master’s degree in science and completed his doctoral studies in management, use and preservation of natural resources, with a specialty in ecology of arid zones. He has worked in the Gulf of California on a range of topics, like environmental management policy, promoting sustainable fisheries, driving community participation in conservation, coordinating environmental education programs and leading non-profit organizations that work in the conservation of natural resources of the region. Horacio is thrilled to have joined the Prescott College Kino Bay team where he will be working to give greater impetus to local community projects in addition to promoting community participation in decision making on issues of management and conservation of Estero Santa Cruz.

Olivia Osuna - Conservation Fellow / Environmental Education

Olivia Osuna - Conservation Fellow / Environmental Education
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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 Leadership

Martha Verónica Maldonado Bracamontes-Conservation Fellow/Environmental Education and Community Leadership
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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 Fellow

Kayla Sargent - Media and Communications Fellow
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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. 

Mckenna Hanson - Waterbird Monitoring Fellow

Mckenna Hanson - Waterbird Monitoring Fellow
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McKenna is a recent graduate from the University of Alaska Anchorage, with a BS in Environment & Society and a minor in Spanish. She began her career working in a citizen science program monitoring migratory shorebirds in the Anchorage Bowl, as well as studying the food web dynamics of Aleutian terns in Southeast Alaska. McKenna learned about work at the KBC center while working with seabirds in the Bering Sea, where she met a previous Waterbird monitoring fellow who shared her love for observing seabirds. McKenna's favorite aspects of the Kino Bay bio region include the interconnectedness of the marine organisms to the culture and of course the wide variety of beautiful birds!

McKenna is a life-long Alaskan and loves being in remote locations, hiking and seeing new landscapes and cultures. She also loves live music and is an avid rugby player. She also loves swimming and practicing nature photography.

Robbie Justice - Waterbird Monitoring Fellow

Robbie Justice - Waterbird Monitoring Fellow
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Robbie was planning on becoming a beach lifeguard up until a field trip snorkeling down the American River during the Salmon Run in his Junior year of college sparked his love of field work. He has been working with birds for the last 3 years, starting with California Spotted Owls, and then moving on to Wood Ducks and Waterfowl.  He was most recently working in Astoria, Oregon monitoring Caspian Terns and Brown Pelicans. After working with the conservation of specific species, he decided he wanted to gain experience in addressing conservation from all angles, and applied to be a Fellow at the Kino Bay Center. He is excited to make a real difference in the conservation of Kino Bay while learning about the education, land management, and public outreach that the Kino Bay Center does. Back home in Northern California he spends a lot of time at the beach, hiking, or playing corn hole. He is also very proud of the time he ate a 3 lb. burger at Fuddruckers in 7th grade. 

Andy Simpkin

Andy Simpkin
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Andy grew up in the city of Stoke-on- Trent in northern England and had an interest in the outdoors and wildlife from an early age. He joined the Young Ornithologists Club aged 11 and a lifetime interest was born, he now has over thirty years bird watching experience. After a 1st Class BSc in Applied Ecology at Staffordshire University he went on to complete his MSc in Ecology at the University of Wales, Bangor where he completed projects on Caribbean tree frogs and farmland birds in north Wales. He previously worked for the British Trust for Ornithology and Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust before living and working in Uzbekistan for five years studying Houbara Bustards and other desert wildlife. He then moved to Cyprus for nearly two years helping to plan and undertake national bird surveys.Two years back in the UK working for NGOs, private companies and government agencies covering everything from seabirds to butterflies was more than enough and he decided to work overseas again – ending up here in Kino.

Although the work is focused on coastal and marine birds Andy particularly likes the desert and can often be found wandering through the cacti with his binoculars. In his spare time Andy enjoys wildlife watching, soccer, and traveling.