Board & Allies
Board of Directors
The Board of Directors is a trusted group dedicated to the strategic planning and support of Camino Verde. We create projects and proposals, identify fundraising opportunities, manage the budget, and carry the organization´s name and mission to the world. The Board meets and posts are elected annually.
Current Board members:
Robin Van Loon: President
Robin is the founder and Executive Director of Camino Verde, and has been based in the Tambopata region of the Peruvian Amazon since 2004. A long-time student of traditional and indigenous agricultural and medicinal practices, Robin's work has focused on developing community-based reforestation strategies to preserve important endangered plants of the Amazon. He is a writer, regenerative designer, and consultant in agroforestry, reforestation, and sustainable development.
Tally Forbes: Vice-President
Campbell Plowden has been an advocate for tropical forests and indigenous peoples since 1985 with groups including Greenpeace, the Humane Society of the U.S., Amazon Watch and the Environmental Investigation Agency. He studied the ecology, management and marketing of non-timber forest products with the Tembé Indians in the Brazilian Amazon and earned a PhD in Ecology from Penn State University in 2001. Dr. Plowden is the founder and executive director of the Center for Amazon Community Ecology. CACE works with native and campesino communities (and with Camino Verde!) in the northern Peruvian Amazon to create sustainable livelihoods and promote forest conservation by helping them develop and market innovative handicrafts and essential oils.
Eric Van Loon: Clerk
A 24-year arbitrator and mediator with JAMS, Eric is a former Massachusetts Assistant Secy of Environmental Affairs, Undersecy of Economic Affairs, and Executive Director of the Union of Concerned Scientists. He taught Environmental Law at Boston University Law School and Education Law at Harvard Graduate School of Education, and holds degrees from the U of No Carolina at Chapel Hill, the London School of Economics, and Harvard Law School.
Jeff Greene: Treasurer
Jeff Greene was an editor in college publishing for 26 years. He has held leadership positions in finance, development, and governance in nonprofit organizations; and has a degree in international studies from the University of South Carolina.
Elisabeth Townsend is a Boston-based freelance writer and culinary historian. Her most recent publication is Lobster: A Global History. Previously, she was an internal organizational consultant for business. She has degrees from University of South Carolina and Michigan State University in English, personnel administration, and labor relations.
Laurie Van Loon
For the past 24 years, Laurie has served primarily Spanish-speaking clients as an individual and family therapist. She earned an MSW at Simmons College School of Social Work. Her undergraduate degree in Spanish at UNC-CH was followed by Peace Corps service in Costa Rica. After earning a Master's degree at the Harvard School of Education, she then specialized in bilingual and bilingual special education for Spanish-speaking children in the Boston elementary schools.
Camino Verde is aided by a talented and diverse group of advisors who believe in our work. They serve as consultants and advisors, supporting us in topics as diverse as scientific research, technical support, and legal guidance. Our Advisory Council gives us a network of highly experienced people that accompanies us in our growth.
Andrew A. Biewener is Charles P. Lyman Professor of Biology and Director of the Concord Field Station in the Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology at Harvard University. He earned his Ph.D. in Biology from Harvard and his B.S. from Duke University. Andrew was a founding member of Camino Verde's Board of Directors and served CV for over two years. He has been a member of our Advisory Council since its formation in 2013.
Engineer of Forest Sciences. Her interest in the Amazon led her to work in the region of Madre de Dios starting in 2003 in the fields of conservation, wildlife, and management of non-timber forest products (NTFPs). She is a registered consultant in the Peruvian government’s Directory General of Forestry and Wildlife. She received her masters in management of tropical forests in Costa Rica. President of the organization ARBIO-Perú whose goal is the study and implementation of strategies for the preservation of bio-diversity with a focus on the methodology of Analogue Forestry.
Joe Levine, a biologist and educator, is dedicated to improving science education and public understanding of science. He earned his Ph.D. from Harvard, taught at Boston College and Boston University, has worked with NPR, PBS, and Discovery Channel, and currently teaches Inquiry in Rain Forests, a graduate course for biology teachers through the Organization for Tropical Studies. He co-authors Biology (Pearson Education), a widely-used high school biology text text which, because it covers both evolutionary theory and climate change thoroughly, it is a frequent target of anti-scientific agitprop -- most recently in Texas. New to Camino Verde’s advisory council, Joe serves on the Board of Overseers at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, and on the Board of Visitors of the Organization for Tropical Studies.
Neil Logan is a naturalist, ethnobotanist, and agroforestry systems designer. His work has focused on arid ecosystems of the greater southwest bioregion of North America, leeward Hawaii and Andean South America. He is based out of Hawaii Island where he and his family farm sandalwood and other Hawaiian native trees. Neil is dedicated to the preservation of linguistic, cultural and biological diversity.
Environmental engineer from Italy, Michel specializes in the management and conservation of tropical forests, receiving his masters from CATIE, Costa Rica, with a focus on natural resource policy. Climate change consultant, member of the Regional Board of Environmental Services & REDD, and member of the International Network of Analogue Forestry. In 2010 he co-founded ARBIO and currently lives in Madre de Dios, where he studies efficient, scalable forms of productive conservation.
Trained as a horticulturist Jason worked in the nursery industry from 1991-2005 in Kansas, Missouri, Oregon and Washington, developing professional skill related to propagation and plant production of over 600 species of ornamental plants and trees. In 2005 Wells moved to Peru to work in the development of a native plant nursery in Madre de Dios focusing on ornamental and forest species to promote horticultural development in the region and by 2008 the nursery contained over 300 species with nearly 25,000 individuals as well as a native Vanilla plantation. Jason has worked in botanical inventories in Madre de Dios and Cusco and has 1177 plant collections in the Atrium database of the Andes Amazon Biodiversity Program. He is currently at UNSAAC-Cusco directing a specimen imaging project in the Herbarium Vargas. Jason's expeditions and exploration into remote areas between 2005-2011 include the Mauritia wetlands and the Amazonian flood plain forest of Alto and Lower Madre de Dios and the Eastern foothills and Andean slopes of the Camanti and Marcapata regions of Cusco, Peru.
Camino Verde collaborates and forms strategic alliances with organizations, companies, and individuals. We also form partnerships to offset carbon footprints and reduce greenhouse gases. Additionally, we work longterm with several groups and organizations that pursue parallel goals. Some of our allies:
Carbon offset partnerships: We work with businesses and individuals to mitigate ecological impact in a variety of ways. Each of our partnerships is developed to match carbon offset needs to various aspects of Camino Verde's ongoing climate change and reforestation initiatives.
ArBio Peru: With branches in Italy and Peru, ArBio's goal is the conservation of both the structure and functionality of Amazonian ecosystems, focusing on economically viable solutions for the brazil nut harvesters of the region of Madre de Dios, such as Analogue Forestry, smallscale Agroforestry, and improvement of production of wild Amazon nuts (Brazil nuts).
Center for Amazon Community Ecology (CACE): a US-based non-profit organization founded by ethnobotany PhD Campbell Plowden of Penn State. CACE and CV have collaborated on development of non-timber forest product-related projects, particularly focusing on essential oils. CACE facilitated our work in the Bora native community of Brillo Nuevo, where we planted 900 rosewood trees in 2013.
First Parish of Concord, Massachusetts Social Action Grants: The Social Action program of First Parish of Concord funds a variety of initiatives that impact a wide range of communities in the US and overseas. SAC grants has funded Camino Verde's Basic Agroforestry project twice since 2009, helping us plant over 5,000 trees on the farms of 25 jungle farmers.
Instituto para la investigación de la amazonía peruana (IIAP): The "Peruvian Amazon Research Institute" is a Peruvian government organization that manages plant nurseries in Madre de Dios and Loreto. Since 2007, IIAP has provided Camino Verde with plant nursery assistance and propagation of seedlings from seeds Camino Verde gathered. In 2012 they acquired rosewood seedlings for us as part of our essential oil project.
Maderera Lazo: A Peruvian family-owned timber company that operates a 40,000 acre (16,000 ha) forestry concession adjacent to Camino Verde's reforestation center and Private Conservation Area. Since 2010, CV and Lazo have worked together to create and protect a 1,000 acre conservation area within the concession. The pristine forests protected in this area represent an important green corridor within the buffer zone of the Tambopata National Reserve and contain important tree species targeted as key species in Camino Verde's reforestation work.
Marjorie Grant Whiting Center: A private foundation that funded Camino Verde’s initial collaboration with CACE (see above) to develop essential oils as non-timber forest products. MGWC has given over $20,000 in grants to Camino Verde’s initiatives, including the Basic Agroforestry and Indigenous Wisdom projects.
Ministerio del Ambiente (MINAM): The Peruvian government’s Ministry of the Environment recently certified Camino Verde’s reforestation site as a Private Conservation Area in perpetuity. This recognition has been followed by the creation of a collaborative management plan for the protection of Camino Verde’s pristine rainforest area, “Camino Verde Baltimore” (named for the community of Baltimore on the Tambopata River).
Sociedad Peruana de Derecho Ambiental (SPDA): The “Peruvian Society for Environmental Law” helped Camino Verde achieve government recognition for our Private Conservation Area and provided consultation for the development of the management plan for the area. SPDA invested $8,000 in infrastructure development for a visitor center at Camino Verde’s reforestation site and later provided a “Seed Funds” grant of $5,200 for purchase of essential oil distillation equipment.