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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.

Martin Ziebell - Field Station Manager

Martin Ziebell - Field Station Manager
$alt

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
$alt

 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
$alt

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
$alt

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."

Megan Hennings - Executive Assistant and Development Associate

Megan Hennings - Executive Assistant and Development Associate
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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 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.

Erica Gaeta - Waterbird Monitoring Fellow

Erica Gaeta - Waterbird Monitoring Fellow
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Erica Gaeta has a Bachelors in Science in Wildlife Biology with an emphasis in Conservation Biology/Applied Vertebrate Ecology and a minor in Studio Art from Humboldt State University. Since graduating she has been working seasonally on multiple bird projects as a field technician or crew leader with various NGOs and federal agencies. One of her favorite positions was with Environment for the Americas and the U.S. Forest Service in Cordova, Alaska. Where she lead daily shorebird surveys in the Copper River Delta, a critical stop-over site for migrating shorebirds, witnessing thousands of birds feeding before continuing their journey to the arctic tundra. Erica is a certified passerine bird bander through the Western Bird Banding Association. Aside from birding she also enjoys learning new plants and their uses. Erica is pursuing a career in conservation biology and believes that preservation of the environment and preservation of native cultures goes hand in hand.

Rebecca Natoli - Waterbird Monitoring Fellow

Rebecca Natoli - Waterbird Monitoring Fellow
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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.