Public relations were managed by the science-focused firm Evergreen & Company (formerly Crabtree + Company), and we thank them for their tireless work in promoting this historic event.


The evening event took place at Clyde’s of Gallery Place in Washington, DC, made possible through our board member and restaurant owner Sally Davidson. In October 2018, Sally’s commitment to conservation was recognized through the naming of a new-to-science coffee plant species from a Rainforest Trust reserve in Latin America.


The auction e-commerce site Invaluable.com sponsored the fundraiser through highlighting Rainforest Trust on their website, where they feature the world’s premier auctions and galleries.


The Species Legacy Auction was also sponsored by Indianapolis-based Endangered Species Chocolate (ESC), a premium fair trade chocolate company that supports conservation efforts worldwide by “giving back” 10% of their profits annually. The company is a Chairman-level member of our Conservation Circle corporate giving program, donating proceeds to Rainforest Trust projects since 2016.

We also honored ESC’s CEO Curt Vander Meer with an award recognizing his leadership in conservation as part of our 30th Anniversary Celebration on December 8th. The award given to Vander Meer recognizes not only his conservation leadership at ESC, but his dedication to global environmental sustainability. Vander Meer is a passionate conservationist, and along with his wife Lisa, purchased the naming rights to a Colombian frog during our Species Legacy Auction. They named the amphibian Pristimantis chocolatebari in honor of ESC and their commitment to high-quality, sustainably sourced chocolates.


Freeman’s of Philadelphia, the oldest auction house in the country, sponsored the event, and their Chairman and enthusiastic auctioneer Alasdair Nichol ran the show, encouraging Rainforest Trust supporters to bid. Nichol’s expertise is fine arts, and he said the event was a highlight of his career because it is not often one gets to auction off the rights to name newly discovered species.


Dr. Lahm is a wildlife ecologist and biological anthropologist with experience in scientific research, diverse consultancies and biodiversity surveys in African countries since 1982, including research on the natural history and socio-cultural dimensions of the Ebola Virus in Gabon and Guinea, respectively. Her earlier work in the care and management of birds and mammals in zoological parks in the United States inspired her to study the ecology of the mandrill in Gabon for her master’s degree at San Diego State University, after which she studied human/wildlife interaction and impacts on wildlife populations in northeastern Gabon for her doctorate at New York University. Both studies were based at the Institute of Research in Tropical Ecology, where she was a resident Associate Research Scientist of the Ministry of Higher Learning and Research until 2005. Her specific interests in wildlife are ungulates and elephants.

Sally has collaborated with government ministries in several countries, as well as organizations and institutions such as the Smithsonian Institution, the National Museum of Natural History in Paris, the World Health Organization, Conservation International, World Wildlife Fund and the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS). For WCS, she was a technical advisor to the Gabon National Parks Program from 2000-2005. She has also worked in Ghana, Guinea, Republic of Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo and Uganda in various projects, including working with the mining and petroleum industries to improve their environmental and wildlife mitigation, management and monitoring plans and implementation.

Since 2012, Sally has held the appointment of Professorial Lecturer in the Department of Global Health at George Washington University in Washington D.C. She also holds an associate faculty appointment as Assistant Professor of Research in the Department of Epidemiology and Environmental Health at the State University of New York at Buffalo.

Sally is currently a member of both the Africa Section and Great Ape Section of the IUCN Primate Specialist Group, a member of the IUCN Antelope Specialist Group and an advisor to the IUCN African Elephant Specialist Group.

Efrain Cepeda Duran

Efraín Cepeda Duran is North Reserve Director of the Jocotoco-Ecuador Foundation. He joined the Foundation in 2007 as a Reforestation assistant in the Yanacocha reserve. This forest is truly spectacular due to its scenic beauty and the multiple functions it fulfills within the ecosystem. As North Reserve Director, he manages the reserves of Yanacocha, Antisanilla, Narupa and Canandé, and now is in charge of purchasing land for the expansion of reserves. Among the activities that he enjoys the most are bird watching in each of the reserves, photography and hiking on trails.

Shanta Banstola

Shanta Banstola, originally from Jhapa district, holds a Master’s Degree in Environmental Science from Central Department of Environmental Science, Tribhuvan University with major Integrated Water Resource Management and Pollution Control Technology. Since 2015, she has been working in the field of Geographic Information System (GIS) and Remote Sensing (RS) at the Central Department of Environmental Science, Tribhuvan University and Department of Irrigation, WRPPF. She is interested in research related to environmental analysis and modeling. Besides this, she is also interested in disaster, ecology and water resource analysis.

Pedro Us Pacheco

Pedro has been working with FUNDAECO for a year, but has been working in the forest for 20
years. He used to work with Philip Tanimoto (The Rainforest Trust GIS Officer) as a guide and
helped Philip in the field. Before becoming a field guide Pedro worked as a farmer.

Walter Elías Vicente Barrondo

Walter, is one of the forest guards for Fundaeco. Walter was born and raised in a family of
loggers, and when he was only 15 years old, he himself was one of the best loggers in his
community. However, after being invited to visit a nearby protected forest and meeting tourists
who had come to see the forests, he became amazed by the richness of the protected forest
and realized that he had taken his own cloud forest for granted.