In 1989 Adam graduated from Northeastern University and then studied ethno-ecology in Thailand thru San Francisco State University. After watching the failure of tribal relief projects led by the Thai and German governments he started Cultural Intrigue, a business buying tribal handicrafts as a way to give local peoples more financial freedom while honoring their cultural identity.
Over 20 years the business scaled to 25 employees, moved digital and sold a diversity of ethnic hand-made goods from all over South East Asia. Offerings including home spun textiles, ceramics, wood carvings and hand-blown glass. With the rise of giant internet retailers and the resulting reduced margins of ecommerce the business closed in 2017.
During the same period, Adam led numerous environmental projects in Vermont. As chairman of the Marlboro Vermont Conservation commission for 10 years, he directed wildlife migration studies in the 30,000-acre town. That work led to one of the most comprehensive municipal-level ecological zoning ordinances in the history of Vermont. He then founded Green Mountain Conservancy which took on a diversity of environmental projects, including the extension of migration studies throughout Windham County and the Green Mountain National Forest of Vermont, an area of over 800,000 acres. Detailed movements of coyotes, fox, bob cat, fisher, porcupine and other mammals were studied between the Connecticut River Valley and the Green Mountains of Vermont. These studies brought about a deep understanding of bio- corridors and migration in the area and received great reviews from the Nature Conservancy and other conservation organizations.
An avid navigator, backpacker, kayaker and back country skier, Adam has been leading deep wilderness adventures around the world for over 30 years. His extensive expeditions in all kinds of large wild landscapes along with his knowledge of migration and tracking have led to an ability to pinpoint areas of high conservation value in the larger ecological matrix. Adam is deeply committed to re-establishing ecological connectivity between the Andes and the Amazon which is essential to maintaining the great diversity of the region. He currently lives with his wife and son in Cuenca, Ecuador where he has spent the last three years.
Gabriela Auquilla graduated from the University of Azuay in 2011 in the Tourism Management and Development career, and in 2019 she received her Master’s Degree in Contemporary Anthropology at the University of Cuenca. Gabriela lived for a year abroad where she learned English and has worked for more than eight years as a Spanish teacher. She worked in coordination of cultural events such as Inti Raymi Ingapirca and Festival Titiricuenca. She has conducted research on the “Pinzhi Mikuna” in the community of Saraguro and research in the La Feria Libre market in the city of Cuenca.
Tsunki Marcelo is a member of the Shuar nation who grew up in a roadless rainforest community north of Macas before route 45 was built. He describes the road construction as being a heartbreak for his people. Shortly after the road came in, so did the missionaries. Tsunki was taken to a new mission, taught Spanish and was renamed Marcelo. At the mission he excelled to such a degree that he was sent to the Orientalista Saleciano College in Cuenca where he became a priest. After his education as a priest he decided to join the Ecuadorian army where he was in an elite brigade in the war with Peru (1995). After the war, Tsunki decided to become a wilderness guide and for 20 years guided groups from around the world on trips in the Amazon and the Andes. In 2017/18 he worked as a tourism analyst at the Ministry of Tourism in Huamboya. With so many years and experiences in the Macas area, Tsunki has a wealth of ecological knowledge, family and friends that have made him a great person to help spearhead our Palora Pastaza Biocorridor and Mangozisa hut to hut system projects.
Pioneering promoter in the cultivation of bamboo and amazonian fruit trees. Knowledgeable about the socio-economic and environmental problems that the Shuar communities of Morona Santiago are going through as a consequence of the opening of a highway in the rainforest, which causes the extraction of their natural resources; entry of mining companies, water pollution, poverty, migration and acculturation of its people. Our innovative proposal is to Renaturalized these areas, with the planting of fruit trees, medicinal plants and bamboo. Within 3-5 years of reforestation, we have an edible forest with improved diets for local people. Renaturalized areas attract wildlife, improve landscaping and provide wood indefinitely.
Studies in Biological and Environmental Sciences. Entrepreneur with Positive Social and Environmental Impacts. Community Leader. I am from the Amazon and I grew up observing the great social and environmental impacts on my earth. I studied and received academic training in biology and the environment, and I am the founder of companies with social and environmental impact. My contribution to the project is multidisciplinary: Create an environmental business model with a social impact and economy for the common good to sustain the project in the long term. The Amazonian rainforests and the indigenous brothers of the Shuar People need kind, innovative, inclusive, visionary, spiritual and profitable solutions.
Susan was Board Chair of the AAC for its second year of operation. Susan’s 30 year professional career included working in advertising and public relations for for-profit businesses, followed by marketing, fundraising and strategic planning for human service non-profit organizations. With a B.S. in Community and Human Services Management, she also volunteered for progressive national community organizations. She was then invited to serve in the Peace Corps as an NGO Specialist/Community and Youth Development Advisor in Armenia, providing project and organizational development training to human service organizations, followed by service in Jamaica as a Literacy Adviser for an elementary school, teaching literacy to underachieving students and recommending literacy strategies to the school administration. Now retired in Cuenca, Ecuador, Susan is enjoying volunteering with the Andes-Amazon Conservancy, offering fundraising and organizational development assistance. She notes: “I can’t imagine a more worthwhile endeavor for myself at this time than helping to sustain indigenous life of all kinds in the Andes-Amazon region. We are at our peril if we don’t succeed in this initiative which will impact ecological and human survival globally.”
Dr. Harry S. Watkins was the founding Chair of the Board for the AAC and served on the board for the first two years of the AAC’s existence. He is Professor Emeritus of Point Loma Nazarene University, San Diego, California where he was Professor of Business Strategy and Sustainability Studies in the Fermanian School of Business. While at Point Loma, he organized the university’s interdisciplinary program in Sustainability Studies and served as its Advisor for 9 years, and he served on its Sustainability Advisory Committee. He also consulted extensively within the university and in the greater San Diego area on marketing research, business strategy and sustainability practice. He and his students have built community gardens based on permaculture principles, consulted on sustainable business practices, and helped organizations such as the San Diego Zoo measure their carbon footprints. He has also taught Business and Marketing Strategy at PLNU, and California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. Prior to earning his Ph.D in Marketing Strategy from the University of Oregon, he held various positions in marketing and business management with high technology firms. In his early career he worked in research and clinical laboratories, and conducted field research in epidemiology in Africa. He received his MBA from the University of Arizona, and B.S. in Biology from Willamette University. He is a life-long environmentalist, having grown up backpacking in the California Sierra Nevada mountains, and diving among reefs in the Gulf of California, on the Yucatan and Belize coastlines, and in Hawaii. He currently lives with his wife, Carol, in Cuenca, Ecuador.
Fay Binning, CCD, is retired and has lived in Cuenca, Ecuador since 2017. He graduated from Colorado Mountain University with a degree in Education and Outdoor Mountaineering. He received his BA in Recreation and Psychology from Appalachian State University. His professional experience has included positions as Camp Director at Broadstone, at the Center for Environmental Education for five years; Director of Youth Programs, in the Department of Conferences and Institutes at Appalachian State University for twenty-one years; American Camp Association, Certified Camp Director and National Board of Directors; Senior Visitor for Accreditation and Reaccreditation, Section President, and numerous positions on the national and sectional board. He has been licensed in professional associations, such as the United States Soccer Federation and the Youth Academy, where he obtained the national C license; professional license in the National Ski Patrol; at the High Country Soccer Association, Boone, NC; He has been a founding member, coach, player, board member, fundraiser and project manager for the construction of the “Ted Mackorel” soccer complex. “My entire professional career has been focused on nature and the great outdoors, encouraging people to challenge themselves, to be passionate and to use this passion in all aspects of their lives. Be it through simple knots, paths of various fields, throwing a ball like Beckham or raising funds for the causes that I support, I always remember to be humble and grateful for what I have, for the skills that have been given me and for the knowledge. to pass it on to other people. That being said, I am proud to be a member of the Andes-Amazon Conservancy and to be a part of something much bigger than I could have ever imagined. My passion at this moment is to have the possibility of causing a positive effect in the lives of the natives who live in the Andean and Amazonian areas of Ecuador. With respect, reverence and a sense of protection for these sacred lands, I dedicate myself to the mission of the Conservation of the Andes and the Amazon."
Johnny Jara Jaramillo is a writer, professor, outdoorsman and adventurer. His work has been featured in literary magazines and newspapers in Ecuador, the United States, Mexico and Europe. He is included in several anthologies of Ecuadorian writers. As an editor, he has collaborated on a number of books by the poet Efraín Jara Idrovo. “A Winter Day in New York and Other Stories (“Un Día de invierno en Nueva York y Otros Relatos”) was his first book of short stories. While living in New York City in the 1990s, he studied linguistics and literature. He worked as a chef, and was a habitué of the concert halls and jazz clubs of Manhattan. Johnny is also a co-author of ”Chronicles of the High Seas” (“Crónicas de Alta Mar”), a story collection based on his experiences as a fisherman while living in Santa Elena Province. In addition to his passion for literature, he is a lifelong outdoorsman and adventurer. He has worked as a Naturalist Guide in the Galápagos; in El Cajas National Park in the Province of Azuay; and in the Machalilla National Park in the Province of Manabí. Johnny studied literature at the University of Cuenca, and musicology at the Pontificia Universidad Católica of Cuenca. He was a Professor of Literature at the Colegio Benigno Malo of Cuenca and a Professor of Literature and Social Sciences at the Colegio Fray Agustín de Azkúnaga in Puerto Villamil, Galápagos.