Sophie Parker is an Ecoregional Ecologist for The Nature Conservancy, with a background in soil and ecosystem science. Before studying nitrogen cycling in the soils of California grasslands for her doctoral work, Sophie spent time in Cape Cod digging soil pits. As a scientist, Sophie loves a mystery and was intrigued when she realized that each time you dig a soil pit, you don’t really know what you’re going to see. With every dig, she would encounter different layering of colors and textures and since soils can be very beautiful, they can almost resemble a layer cake as you’re digging down. Sophie lives in Pasadena with her family, and something tells us she still enjoys making mud pies.
M. Sanjayan is the lead scientist for The Nature Conservancy, where he specializes in human well-being and conservation, Africa, wildlife ecology and media outreach and public speaking on conservation issues.
In addition to being the Conservancy’s lead scientist, Sanjayan holds a doctorate from the University of California, Santa Cruz and has a research faculty appointment with the Wildlife Program at the University of Montana. He was recently named science and environmental contributor for CBS News.
Bill Toomey is the Forest Health Protection Program Director for The Nature Conservancy. Bill has always known that he wanted to work in conservation and spent much of his childhood years exploring swamps and woods catching frogs and snakes. As an adult, his first college ecology class sealed his desire to pursue a career in environmental conservation, which has lead him to positions ranging from stewardship ecologist, landscape project director and even a recycling and composting director. Today, he focuses his efforts on two key initiatives for The Nature Conversancy - Don't Move Firewood Campaign and the Healthy Urban Tree Initiative. Bill lives with his family in New England where he enjoys trail running, hiking, walking the dogs and even tending to a garden complete with chickens and bees.
Judy is a marine scientist and The Nature Conservancy’s director of marine and freshwater programs in Alabama, linking freshwater rivers with the salty coast. She has spent 17 years working on the Gulf of Mexico and enjoys the challenges of big restoration projects, like the Florida Everglades and 100-miles of oyster reefs in Alabama. Growing up on a large dairy farm, she was always outside exploring the woods, but fell in love with the ocean on her first trip to the Virginia coast. Judy loves sharing her knowledge of the coast and its lesser known critters with others and, while the Gulf coast doesn’t get much snow, she has been known to make “mud angels” in the knee-deep mud of the Gulf of Mexico back bays. Judy lives in Mobile, AL with her husband and two dogs.
Jonathan is a global science leader at The Nature Conservancy who collaborates with experts from around the world to develop innovative, practical solutions to conservation problems based on top-notch science and real-world experience. He discovered nature as a kid in his backyard — making forts in pine trees, swinging like Tarzan on vines through woods, or following rabbit tracks through the snow in search of a burrow. Jon now lives in Seattle, WA with his wife. Follow him on Twitter at @jonhoekstraTNC.
Yu Jie is the Policy Director for The Nature Conservancy China Program, specializing on climate change related issues including the important role of restoring forests for China's future. Yu Jie studied journalism at China's Nanjing University and has written for a number of prominent media outlets. She also has a Ph.D in public policy, and has worked for a number of organizations to advance clean energy and conservation policy. Her most memorable experience with nature was when she recently visited the Amazon rainforest and was amazed by its diversity of life. She lives in Beijing and enjoys breezing by the city's traffic as she bikes to work.
Bill directs The Nature Conservancy’s forest conservation programs in Maine as well as stewardship of its preserves in Maine’s North Woods — including the 180,000-acre St. John River Forest and the Debsconeag Wilderness. A native Mainer, Bill remembers boating with his grandmother in the Gulf of Maine’s Casco Bay as his first nature experience. His favorite tree in the world is the paper birch — but his favorite place is half a world away, in the village of Toracari, Bolivia, where he spent two years as a Peace Corps volunteer.
Zach is a Biologist and the Fire Manager for The Nature Conservancy in Florida. He has spent 23 years collaborating with a wide variety of partners in order to meet the challenge of getting enough fire on the ground in order to maintain Florida’s unique fire-dependent habitats. His early love of nature came from a childhood of exploring the woods and looking for ants, which he still studies today. He lives in Orlando, Florida with his family.
Stephanie is a marine biologist and The Nature Conservancy’s director of coral reef conservation. She has snorkeled in a jellyfish lake in Palau, come face-to-face with a Komodo dragon in Indonesia, swam with sharks in the Bahamas, and camped in the deserts of Namibia. She has lived and worked in the Caribbean, Hawaii, and the Florida Keys and is now settled with her family in Gainesville, Florida. She continues to travel the world with two little ones as she works to develop a global network of coral reef managers. Follow her on Twitter at @stephwear.