About Rainforest Trust

Our Staff

Dr. Robert S. Ridgely Dr. Robert S. Ridgely

Robert is a noted author and conservationist. Robert is a leading expert on the birds of South America and a proponent of private reserve systems as a conservation strategy for endangered species. Previously, he served as Director of International Conservation at National Audubon Society and of the Center for Neotropical Ornithology at the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia. He is an ornithologist and the author of many important books on Neotropical birds, including the acclaimed Birds of South America, Birds of Ecuador, Birds of Panama, and Hummingbirds of Ecuador. Robert received a BA from Princeton University, an MS in Zoology from Duke University, and a PhD in Forestry and Environmental Studies from Yale University. In 2001, he received the Eisenmann Medal from the Linnaean Society of New York; in 2013, Robert was presented with the prestigious Arthur A. Allen Award from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.
Dr. Paul Salaman Dr. Paul Salaman
Chief Executive Officer

At the age of eight Paul met Sir David Attenborough and became enthused by international wildlife conservation. By age 14 Paul was managing a nature reserve in London and travelling across England birdwatching and volunteering in protected areas. As an undergraduate, Paul led a series of research expeditions across Colombia, spending a total of over three years in the field that culminated in a new national park and creating four nature reserves. He has described four bird species new to science, including the Chocó Vireo–which he discovered at the age of 19. In 1998, Paul helped found Fundación ProAves, which has become one of the most effective conservation organizations in South America. After graduating with a D.Phil from the University of Oxford in 2001, Paul undertook a post-doctoral fellowship at The Natural History Museum, before coordinating biodiversity science in the Andes for Conservation International. Paul is a member of the Amphibian Survival Alliance’s Global Council. Paul joined Rainforest Trust in 2008 as the Director of Conservation and was appointed the CEO in January 2012.
Christine Hodgdon, International Conservation Manager Christine Hodgdon
International Conservation Manager

Originally from Pittsburgh, Christine joined Rainforest Trust after her service as a Peace Corps volunteer in Guatemala where she spent two years implementing indigenous-led and community-based ecotourism projects. Christine has over 15 years of professional experience including 10 years providing programmatic and technical support for conservation and environmental initiatives. Christine received her Masters Degree in Conservation Biology and Sustainable Development from the University of Maryland, and Bachelor of Science degree in Zoology from North Carolina State University. In her spare time, Christine enjoys running, traveling, photography, and ice hockey (when her team is winning).
Malissa Cadwallader, Development Manager Malissa Cadwallader
Development Director

Malissa joins Rainforest Trust with a fundraising background that includes experience coordinating nationwide development and fundraising campaigns. Most recently, she worked with Chimp Haven, the National Chimpanzee Sanctuary, based in Louisiana. In 2007, Malissa earned a Master’s of International Affairs from the University of California, San Diego, specializing in Development and Non-Profit Management in Latin America. Subsequently, she served as a U.S. Peace Corps volunteer in El Salvador, where she managed organic gardens and led recycling campaigns. Malissa has a Bachelor of Arts in Communications with minors in Math, Social Responsibility and Women’s Studies. She enjoys traveling, gardening, fishing, and ice hockey.
Amanda Amanda Chester
Development Assistant
A native of Warrenton, VA, Amanda’s interest in conservation and the environment began with her family’s farm and involvement in 4H. Her growing interest in conservation and science lead her to study in such places as the Forfar Field Station in the Bahamas and the Southwestern Research Station in Arizona’s Chiricahua Mountains. She graduated with a BS in biology from Christopher Newport University, minoring in chemistry and psychology. Amanda also volunteered at the Smithsonian’s Conservation Biology Institute, where she worked with cheetahs, black-footed ferrets, and several species of endangered birds. An amateur birder and animal lover, Amanda enjoys hiking, skiing, and spending time with friends and family.
Christina Davies - Foundation Relations Manager Christina Davies
Foundation Relations Manager
Christina feels fortunate to have traveled often to South America and Europe throughout her childhood, which instilled in her an early interest in the wealth of amazing ecosystems in our world. Since graduating from Texas A&M University with a B.S. in Wildlife & Fisheries Sciences, she has turned her passions for the marvels of nature and writing into a career that has seen her work for several respected environmental nonprofit organizations in the U.S. and Ireland. She enjoys celebrating life with her family, gardening, cooking, skiing, dancing, and rugby. Christina also works as Grant Assistant for the Surfrider Foundation.
Joe Lowe Joe Lowe
Communications Director

Originally from Columbus, Ohio, Joe began visiting the Appalachian Mountains and developing an interest in nature during high school. In 2003 he joined the Peace Corps and lived in Bolivia for two years, where he developed and managed community projects. Joe has worked for several online publications as a journalist and editor. In 2010 he started a grassroots organization, Yunga Perdida, to support conservation in the Northern Tiquipaya Wildlife Reserve in Bolivia. He led several groups to visit the reserve’s new ecolodge, created a web site, and helped the reserve build new organizational partnerships. Joe received his Bachelor of Arts in Comparative Studies and Master of Environment and Natural Resources from Ohio State University and Master of Science in Journalism from Ohio University.  Joe’s interests include: exploring wild areas, photography, travel writing, and Bolivian culture and history.
Kevin McAleese Kevin McAleese
Conservation Outreach Officer
A Virginia native, Kevin was compelled to contribute to the work being done to promote conservation and sustainability during his studies at Virginia Tech, where he received a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science with minors in Sociology and Popular Culture. Kevin is inspired by the grassroots power new media holds for advocating solutions and understands the important role a strong communications strategy plays in engaging the public. Kevin also enjoys graphic/print design and discovering new music.
Kevin McAleese Will Thomas
Digital Media Designer/Webmaster
Will grew up just outside the District of Columbia, but has always found a way to enjoy a more natural habitat. His undergraduate studies were in Digital Communication at Virginia Tech and graduate work led him to Scotland, where he received a Master of Science degree in Design and Digital Media from the University of Edinburgh. He began mountain biking at an early age and has enjoyed the sport through many US states and overseas. Will enjoys design of all types and is a member of the International Mountain Biking Association (IMBA), a hiker, climber and aspiring banjo player.
david David Agro
Conservation Officer

David is an architect and conservationist based in Toronto. Previously, David worked at the Academy of Natural Sciences. His research work on birds in South and Central America led to an active role conservation, notably as a founding board member of the Jocotoco Foundation. He is actively involved with conserving and restoring forest, savanna, and wetland in the Long Point area near his home in southern Ontario. David’s interest in conservation has led him to work on design projects with a focus on project with programs relating to scientific and environmental research, education, and interpretation around the world. For over 10 years David has supported and volunteered significant amounts of time to help Rainforest Trust protect important areas of biodiversity.

Dr. Robin Moore
Conservation Officer

Since 2005, Robin Moore has been responsible for developing, supporting, and implementing conservation projects with partners in high priority sites for amphibian conservation. Robin’s first foray into herpetological research was at the age of 20 when he ventured to the rainforests of Cameroon to study chameleons. He went on to conduct research and develop conservation projects in the Philippines, Trinidad and Chile, before receiving his PhD in Biodiversity Conservation from the Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology (DICE), University of Kent, UK. Robin is an award-winning photographer and Associate of the International League of Conservation Photographers. He is also author of In Search of Lost Frogs, which will be published by Bloomsbury in September 2014. Robin is a joint Conservation Officer for Rainforest Trust and the Amphibian Survival Alliance.

Patricia cropped Patricia Munoz-Chernitsky
Finance Manager

Patricia grew up traveling the world with her family in South America, Europe,  and the Middle East.  After attending Georgetown University and studying international economics, she discovered her talent with systems and numbers and went on to learn accounting budgeting and cash flow managements.  She has spent the last 13 years working in the environmental movement where her talents helped grow the movement through growing the capacity of organizations to provide both the transparency and solid financial base and practices that are needed to provide the level of confidence that partners, donors and foundations demand. She lives on Bull Run Mountain with her husband , two children and two wolf hybrid’s.  Her off hours are spent hiking, reading, helping with homework and traveling to ice hockey tournaments with her two children.
Jaclyn Sharratt-Smith Jaclyn Sharratt-Smith
Communications Manager
Jaclyn believes in the power behind a strong communication strategy, social media experimentation, and conceptual design. Jaclyn received her Master of Arts in Public Relations and Bachelor of Science in Advertising and Communications from Ball State University and is a member of the Public Relations Society of America. Originally from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and recently relocated from Chicago, Illinois, Jaclyn is pleased to have found a new home to fulfill her love of nature. She believes in the importance of preserving our environment for future generations and has a passion for learning about new cultures and exploring all corners of the world. She enjoys practicing yoga, adding stamps to her passport, and any outdoor activity with her husband and son.
Jaclyn Sharratt-Smith Owen Young
Multimedia Producer
Owen made his first Super 8 film in high school, and graduated to 16 mm film in college, before moving on to videotape, digital video, high definition and 4K video. He has spent the past 20 years working across a broad spectrum of visual communication technologies, from large format films to the World Wide Web. For the past decade, he has focused on the areas of art, science and education, producing videos and software for museums, aquariums, and presidential libraries. He has a Bachelor of Arts in Film from the University of North Carolina and received his Master of Arts in Instructional Design from George Mason University. When not working, Owen is an avid sailor and practicing musician