Anna Becker is Los Angeles Zoo’s first Community Conservation Coordinator focused on fostering a culture of conservation that empowers communities, amplifies partners' work, and improves the lives of people and wildlife. With an academic background in biology and education and years of professional experience, they bring a unique perspective to this role. Having an innate passion for connecting nature and people, Becker is most excited to build new ways for everyone to find a place in conservation.
Mariana obtained a Ph.D. in desert ecology in 2018. She works as an environmental consultant in Tijuana and a field botanist at California's Baja Rare project. In 2020 she created the project Expediciones Botánicas to connect people with nature botanizing along trails in northwestern Baja California and to create awareness of the importance and threats of the native flora. She has promoted the creation of the State Norm for the protection of rare, threatened, or endangered plants of Baja California, in collaboration with the government of Baja California and the San Diego Natural History Museum.
Julio is a marine ecologist interested in the ecology and management of coastal ecosystems. He is a faculty member at the Universidad Autónoma de Baja California in Ensenada and an adjunct scientist at the TRNERR. He is a member and co-founder of Mexcal https://mex-cal.org/, an interdisciplinary research program that focuses on generating socioecological data to inform how coastal systems respond to climatic and anthropogenic effects such as climate change. He also conducts hypothesis driven research on topics including population and community ecology, restoration, parasitology, conservation, invasions ecology, and biogeography.
Ignacio (Nacho) Vilchis serves San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance as Associate Director of Recovery Ecology. In this role, Nacho oversees day-to-day operations and research science of the Zoo's California least tern and western snowy plover monitoring program, as well as conservation projects in Mexico and Hawaii. Nacho is currently involved with research aimed to help inform adaptive management of California condors and thick-billed parrots in Mexico and Hawaiian petrels on the island of Lanai. Nacho also provides key support for management of Cocha Cashu Biological Station in the Peruvian Amazon.
Nacho earned his doctoral degree from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, and completed a postdoctoral fellowship in conservation biology with the Wildlife Health Center at the School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California, Davis. His dissertation and postdoctoral research focused on determining factors that make certain species of seabirds more susceptible to rapid changes in their environment.