Dr. Eric Veach to Chair Rainforest Trust Board of Directors

Liz Howard

Apr 3, 2018


Rainforest Trust announced in March that Dr. Eric Veach was elected as the new chair of its board of directors, while Edith McBean was elected as vice chair.

Dr. Veach, a software engineer and former computer graphics researcher who was an early employee at Google, won two technical Academy Awards in 2013 for work he first developed as part of his 1997 PhD thesis at Stanford University. He had served as vice chair of the Rainforest Trust board since 2016.

He and his wife, Luanne Lemmer, have provided key support to a number of Rainforest Trust projects since 2008. Last year, in recognition of their efforts they received the rare honor of having two new species of moths named for them: Chlorosema lemmerae and Rosema veachi.


“The key to saving the world’s threatened species is to save their habitats,” Dr. Veach said. “This is truly one of the most urgent priorities in conservation, considering the tremendous rate at which rainforest is being lost every year — you can’t save a species in the wild if it has no place to live. I am very proud of the incredible work that Rainforest Trust has done so far, and I am looking forward to helping us achieve even more.”

Dr. Veach takes over leadership of the Rainforest Trust board from John Mitchell. Mitchell, an Adjunct Scientist at the New York Botanical Garden and Research Associate at the Smithsonian Institution-National Museum of Natural History, had chaired Rainforest Trust since 2002.

Mitchell helped guide Rainforest Trust through a period of recent unprecedented growth, and he will remain active with the board in his new role as chair emeritus.

The board’s new vice chair, Edith McBean, has been on Rainforest Trust’s board since 2014 and serves as chair of its Nominating Committee. McBean has been passionate about conservation for 30 years, and she previously served as Vice Chair of Wildlife Conservation Society in New York for 20 years.

  • At this March's Board Meeting in Ojai, CA at the Turtle Conservancy Conservation Center. Back row from left to right: Dr. Paul Salaman, Rainforest Trust CEO; Jeff Zack; Dr. Eric Veach, Rainforest Trust Chair of the Board; Dr. George Wallace, Rainforest Trust Chief Conservation Officer; and Geo Chen. Front row from left to right: Leslie VanSant, Rainforest Trust Chief Philanthropy Officer; Pat Koval; and Edith McBean, Rainforest Trust Vice Chair of the Board.

“Eric has been an important supporter of the organization for 10 years, and we are delighted with the passion and commitment he brings to this new role leading our board of directors,” said Rainforest Trust CEO Dr. Paul Salaman. “He brings tremendous value to Rainforest Trust through his extraordinary dedication to our mission and his pursuit of tangible and measurable impacts of our work. As a scientist and a donor, he will keep us focused on the most impactful and efficient actions to protect our planet.”

Dr. Salaman added, “I also want to highlight the incredible job John Mitchell did during his 17 years leading our board. We are thrilled that he will continue to be actively involved with Rainforest Trust.”