Kathy West, MS
The PICC program was founded and is directed by conservation photographer and primatologist Kathy West, who has over 27 years of experience in designing and implementing unique youth science education programs in the US. She has successfully designed, illustrated and authored children’s activity workbooks for science education, including bilingual Lemur Conservation Coloring Books. She was honored with the 2019 American Society of Primatologists Kyes Award for Excellence in Outreach. Kathy has conducted field research on wild primates as well as traveled extensively around the world, including many areas of Madagascar. She is an award-winning wildlife photographer, scientific illustrator and primatologist and cares deeply about conservation issues. Traveling to Suriname in October 2018, Kathy conducted the PICC pilot program with 32 children and teachers in the rural area of Lelydorp, and worked remotely with her team on the ground in Madagascar to conduct a “mini-PICC” program in June 2020.
Cortni Borgerson, PhD
Instructor in Lemur Protection and Conservation Solutions, Cultural Liaison
Dr. Borgerson is an anthropologist, conservation biologist, and National Geographic explorer working on sustainable hunting & food security in Madagascar since 2007. A scientific specialist in the Masoala National Park and across Madagascar, she is working in lemur and biodiversity conservation, sustainable wildlife management, biological anthropology, illegal endangered species hunting, public health and nutrition. She has acted in a myriad of capacities to support lemur conservation; as a member of the IUCN Primate Specialist Group, a board member of the NGO MAHERY, and has led the National Geographic Society Photo Ark Challenge Community Initiative in Masoala NP. She is currently developing creative interdisciplinary solutions to stemming biodiversity loss and food insecurity in Madagascar and around the world. Her Sakondry program provides villagers with protein while alleviating pressure on lemurs and other wild animals hunted for bushmeat.
Jaclyn Aliperti, PhD
Science Communications Lead, Executive board
Jaclyn received her PhD from University of California, Davis in behavioral ecology. An award winning filmmaker, she also has a vast amount of experience in animal behavior and ecology, a keen interest in science education, and professional training and experience in science documentary filming and production. Jaclyn actively works with children and young adults to make science more engaging and accessible, including giving public lectures and guest field lessons to girls’ youth and community groups, leading hands-on nature activities for kids’ camps and youth group summer programs, and volunteering to engage secondary school students in outdoor restoration projects. https://www.jaclynaliperti.com
Michael Ryan Clark
Michael Ryan Clark is an award winning filmmaker and photographer who has dedicated his life to creating impact driven wildlife conservation media. Documenting important and untold conservation stories has taken Michael across 6 continents and dozens of countries. Michael has accepted awards at the United Nations and has worked with companies such as National Geographic, PBS Nature, and CBS. He enjoys using storytelling skills gained from his English Education degree at Boston University, in conjunction with his passion for media, to create content that brings awareness to conservation issues with the goal of enacting measurable change. His most recent project, concerning noise pollution issues with Humpback Whales in Iceland, recently won its category in the short films section for the prestigious United Nations World Wildlife Day and Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival, has won awards in film festivals worldwide, and is being used as a tool for policy advancement by the United Nations. Michael is currently working with dozens of nonprofits across the country to create a piece to be shown to the Biden Administration, and used by policymakers and lobbyists, to enact protections of the Tongass National Forest in Alaska within Biden’s first 100 days of office. http://www.michaelryanclark.com
Onsite IT Project Chief and educator
Pascal Elison is a Malagasy ecotourism guide who grew up in the Masoala area and is a well-known guide, considered by tourists as a “legend”. Pascal has deep knowledge of the local ecosystems, plants and animals, and has formal schooling in science and multiple languages. He attended a Professional and Technical High School, has a Bachelor’s Degree with a specialty in Building and Civil Engineering, and has studied at the Faculty of Science Antsiranana with a specialty in Physics and Chemistry. Pascal has also contributed to his community through consulting for MEDAIR Madagascar doing humanitarian assistance. Pascal recently taught the summer 2020 mini-PICC program in Ambodiforaha village during the pandemic restrictions, and is a co-author and translator for the Lemur Conservation Coloring and Activity Book – Masoala Edition. Visit Pascal’s Website
Instructor in Illustration and Storytelling
Joel is an accomplished freelance wildlife illustrator living and working in the US and Madagascar. He creates beautiful and accurate graphite and watercolor illustrations to assist in conservation efforts and has also worked to empower local Malagasy artists, both children and adults, to show them the benefits of creating art. You can see his work here: http://www.joelborgerson.com.
Stuart has extensive experience in international film production, broadcast television and short films, and has worked in Latin America to promote and understand successful models of low-income housing in countries with massive shortages of dwellings with basic services. Stuart lives in Panama next to the Reserva Los Panamaes, a site of international interest for understanding the effects of climate change. He is fascinated by the development of the Reserve over the last 10 years, not only in the rapid conversion of deforested cow-pastures to native tropical dry rainforest, but also in the cultural evolution from a machismo culture tied to tree cutting and ranching to a pride in native animal species and in the forest, and the economy that is growing up around such efforts. He has begun documenting the forest and the people, and the wildlife that are returning to the area, with the goal of a feature length documentary to help get similar projects off the ground in other locations. He is excited to follow this conservation development and explore how it is affecting both the biodiversity and the local communities. Read more about Stuart’s current project.
DOCUMENTARY FILM Crew AND Production Editor
Tammy has partnered with Stuart Hooper for the past 4 years, during which time she’s traveled the globe and managed the delicate balance between some of the world’s largest travel brands, a grueling production schedule, and industry talent as a producer on international travel shows. Her keen eye in an editing suite has been crucial to the development of Mangofish Studios and its portfolio of digital properties. Tammy has also become immersed in wildlife photography and conservation filmmaking with the Reserva Los Panamaes project, and as a Panamanian brings critical cultural insight to this work.
Social media and fundraising
Madison is a recent graduate from The George Washington University, where she received her Bachelor of Science Degree in Biological Anthropology. She has worked extensively with the Smithsonian National Zoo Global Health Program researching the spread of infectious diseases within our most endangered primates. Madison spoke at the Student Conference on Conservation Science at the American Museum of Natural History in October 2019, advocating the importance of conservation in our global society. She is excited to bring her creativity and technology skills to the team!
OTHER LOCAL TEAM MEMBERS – MASOALA SESSION
• Local lemur researcher Be Noel Razafindrapaoly (pictured above), has been working in lemur research for 10 years and will be available to help to educate the students and PICC staff on the wildlife and particular conservation challenges in this area.
• The village presidents and vice presidents of the local communities: Rajaona Delox, Pres. and Bezahana, VP (Ambodiforaha) and Simplice, VP (Marofototra); and the Elder Counsels from each participating village will co-lead the project and provide their knowledge and experience to the students and PICC staff. They will also participate in the workshops, field outings and village gathering.
• School director and teachers Ms. Lucianne Be and Ms. Beolice Rasoabe from the rural elementary school in Ambodiforaha, will help to translate for their students and the PICC staff, learn alongside the students with the PICC workshops, and also identify teachers and elder counsels to participate in the PICC program from the nearby villages of Illampy, Ambatostangana, and Marofototra.
July 2020 TEAM CHANGES
Laura Durlacher was the PICC webmaster and all-things-media since designing, implementing and launching the PICC website in 2017. She is stepping back from the PICC team to pursue her studies to become a licensed veterinary technician. We will miss our “rock” with her incredible organizational and creative skills, but will know that she is cheering us on from the sidelines.