Paso Pacifico

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Board Members Emeritus

Claudia Belli – 2006 - 2010

Claudia Belli, the founder of the Montibelli Reserva Silvestre Privada,is a leading figure in private lands conservation in Nicaragua.

In addition to creating an ecological reserve on her family-owned land, Claudia served as president of the Nicaraguan non-profit, Red de Reservas Silvestres Privadas, an organization seeking to strengthen the private reserve network in Nicaragua.

As a founding Paso Pacífico board member, Claudia served as board treasurer and helped us build our visions for landowner participation in restoration and conservation efforts.

Claudia is also the mother of three, a sociologist, and the author of a book about Italian immigrants to Nicaragua.

She remains a good friend to Paso Pacífico, and, as a private reserve owner, continues to work closely with us on many of our conservation projects, including our Neotropical Migratory Bird Conservation Initiative.

Rodolfo Dirzo

Rodolfo Dirzo is a conservation scientist with a passion for conserving the tropical forests of Latin America. He is currently Bing Professor in Environmental Sciences at Stanford University. However, Rodolfo taught for many years at the Universidad Nacional Aut—noma de Mexico where he still continues to collaborate. While at the UNAM, he also directed the Los Tuxtlas Tropical Research Station in Southeast Mexico. Rodolfo's scientific interests are focused on the ecology, evolution, and conservation of ecological processes in tropical forests.

Julia Medina

Julia Medina received a doctorate from the University of California Davis in Latin American Literature. Recently, Julia joined the faculty at Albion College in the state of Michigan as a scholar in culture and history of Central America. Previously, she worked as a program coordinator for the University's Center for History, Society, and Culture. Julia was born in Nicaragua and immigrated to the United States with her family as an adolescent. Since then, she has maintained her cultural ties with her native country. Her family continues to produce sustainable shade-grown coffee in the mountains of Nicaragua.

Sandra Pearson - Former Board President

Ms. Pearson has expertise in business management and organizational development and currently works as an instructor at three California community colleges and leads training workshops for large corporations undergoing organizational transformations. She is an experienced nonprofit leader and has served as President of the Board of Directors for a major non-profit in the Bay area. While in this position, she successfully represented the organization to the general public and the media, and participated in successful fundraising programs that resulted in broad public support for the organization. She is fluent in English and has intermediate fluency in Spanish.

Ricardo Rueda
Botany professor at the UNAN-Leon in Nicaragua

El Dr. Ricardo Rueda es biólogo y labora en la UNAN-León desde 1980, en esta institución ha fungido como Vicerrector de Relaciones Externas, Decano de la Facultad de Ciencias y actualmente es profesor del departamento de Biología, director del Jardín Botánico Ambiental y del herbario de dicha institución. Realizo sus estudios de maestría y doctorado en la Universidad y Jardín Botánico de Missouri en Estados Unidos, es especialista en botánica, miembro de numerosas organizaciones profesionales internacionales, ha recibido apoyo de la National Geographic Society para estudios de diversidad vegetal en Nicaragua. El Dr. Rueda ha participado como científico visitante de numerosas instituciones de Estados Unidos y de América Latina, en Nicaragua ha hecho más de 100 expediciones para estudiar la flora de las reservas naturales. De sus estudios ha publicado más de 20 trabajos en revistas y editoriales nacionales e internacionales, estas publicaciones incluyen libros y artículos de especies nuevas para la ciencia procedentes de diferentes países de América. El Dr. Rueda realizo sus estudios becado por LASPAU-FULBRIGHT y el Missouri Botanical Garden de donde es actualmente investigador asociado.

Rick Smith –  2006 - 2010

We are grateful to Board Member Emeritus, Rick Smith, for his continued service to Paso Pacífico. As a board member, Rick helped us launch our turtle ranger and junior ranger programs, and he continues to provide valuable advice in program planning.

When he's not advocating for Paso Pacífico and helping us strengthen partnerships with allied organizations, Rick works as a conservation consultant, liaising with with Government Management Officials and Public Non-Profit Groups that have an interest in the management of Latin American protected area systems.

Rick's expertise in resource management and customer service techniques was developed over a 30-year career as a ranger with the US National Park Service. He has taught at Colorado State University, served with the US Peace Corps, and conducted seminars on ecotourism througout the Americas. His passion for natural and cultural resource management is evident in his commitment to Paso Pacífico and the work we do in rural Nicaragua. Also evident in the work he does for us is his love of outdoor activities and river running.

We are proud of the programs Rick has helped us launch and the rangers and guides he has mentored. To learn more about his programs, please visit our project profiles:

Contact Us

PO Box 1244 • Ventura, CA 93002-1244
Phone: 1-805-643-7044

Carretera a Masaya Km 12.4
Residencial Villas del Prado, Casa No. 7
Managua, Nicaragua
Phone: +505-2279-8423
Phone: +505-2279-7072

© 2006 Paso Pacífico