THE CORE TEAM
YEW NETWORK LEAD
Elise is a young water professional passionate about water, the conservation and wise use of wetlands. Her turning point, which led her down the path of wetland conservation, was her experience working with the Secretariat of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands in Switzerland, delving into the world of wetland-related international governance. From there, Elise went to share her passion for wetlands through environmental education working with children and the wider public at the Natural Regional Park of the Cotentin and Bessin Marshes in France. As a Research Assistant with the Australian Rivers Institute, Elise supported an ecological monitoring project of conservation projects in Australia, focusing particularly on Ramsar Sites. She recently completed a Master of Integrated Water Management with the International WaterCentre in Australia. For her Master's thesis, she focused on researching the role of Ramsar Sites in environmental water management. Today, as the lead of Youth Engaged in Wetlands, she coordinates a group of committed young professionals from around the world to shape this growing youth movement and steer it towards reaching its objectives. Elise is also the Youth representative for the World Wetland Network. In 2018, she led and contributed to the active participation of youth at Ramsar’s 13th Conference of the Parties, which led to the establishment of Youth Engaged in Wetlands.
María from Ecuador is a mountain lover, scientist, puddle observer, ukulele novice, yoga practitioner, and climber. Born and raised in the Andes, she has specialized her research in studying how human pressures affect mountain peatlands. She has been lucky to work in awesome field and laboratory jobs that bolstered up her love for nature. She studied Environmental Engineering at Universidad San Francisco de Quito, followed with a Master’s in Applied Ecology from Michigan Technological University, and is currently studying a PhD at the University of Saskatchewan in Canada. Based in Canmore, Alberta, she is studying how peatlands in the Canadian Rocky Mountains will be affected by a change in winter precipitation due to climate change. She looks forward to share her love for wetland and mountain ecosystems and support initiatives that empower youth to take action on wetland conservation and knowledge mobilization.
FINANCE AND FUNDRAISING LEAD
Takuma Satoh from Japan, started to be involved with the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands since he was a junior high school student. He participated in an environmental education program called KODOMO Ramsar, where he gained experience more about wetlands and the convention. He currently represent an NGO called Youth Ramsar Japan as a university student, where he plans projects, manages workshops, and applies for grants at Youth Ramsar Japan. His favourite wetland animal is the water shrew.
Adarsh from India, is a conservationist and researcher, currently working on community-engaged wetlands restoration and preservation. This biotechnology postgraduate from Agriculture College, Vellayani is the Principal Investigator and key resource person of ‘Revive Vellayani’ project which seeks to rejuvenate and restore the Fresh Water Lake and its biodiversity. He explored diverse wetlands from the world's largest and best-preserved freshwater wetland, The Pantanal in Brazil to the disaster resilient Mangroves of Pichavaram and even through the rare forest wetland ecosystem, Myristica Swamps of Southern Western Ghats. He also worked as the Youth Reporter for UNFCCC and UNICEF panelist at COP23, Bonn, Germany. He is also an internationally recognized photographer and documentarian. He won 2016 World Wetlands Day Photo Contest conducted by the Ramsar Convention with the theme “Wetlands are essential for Sustainable livelihood” and in 2017 he won UNFCCC Global video contest with theme “Oceans and Climate Change”. Being a Climate Activist, he believes, nature-based solution like wetlands restorations are the most viable solutions to deal with climate crisis and to attain disaster resilience. He promotes community Engaged, public- private participatory, intergenerational actions to explore and implement nature-based sustainable solutions.
COMMUNICATIONS AND OUTREACH LEAD
Gab Mejia from the Philippines, is a conservation and adventure photographer, and emerging storyteller, who particularly advocates for the conservation of wetlands. He is a National Geographic Explorer, and has traveled and covered stories on nature from the receding glaciers of Patagonia for the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands as the 2017 Global Youth Wetlands Photo Contest Winner, to the critically-endangered dwarf buffalos for the World Wide Fund for Nature Philippines (WWF). He is an avid adventurer and mountaineer, having scaled mountains across different continents from Northern Africa all the way to the Himalayas and South America. He works as part of the National Youth Council of WWF-Philippines to educate and empower the youth to protect and conserve wetlands and mountain ecosystems through the art of visual storytelling. He is a Jackson Wild Media Lab 2019 Fellow and is currently a Nikon Asia Trailblazer Ambassador for the Philippines and has presented stories as a TEDx speaker. Mejia is currently pursuing a civil engineering degree in the University of the Philippines as he aspires to become an environmental engineer integrating his career in the arts and science.
COMMUNICATIONS AND OUTREACH OFFICER
Nic Fabian from the Philippines, is a marketer by profession with a penchant for digital media, research, and campaign ideations. Armed with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication Research from the University of the Philippines, her belief system has been anchored on the premise of, “So what?” By this premise, she has always aimed to delve into projects which have a contribution to the society at large –and so she did just that. For the past half-decade, she has involved herself into different causes such as: skills capacity building for ASEAN youth through the ASEAN Youth Leader’s Association; women empowerment through Harvard Undergraduate Women in Business Asia Chapter and She Talks Asia; digital literacy through Mano Amiga Pilipinas and Facebook APAC; and environmental awareness through the UP Marine Biological Society and Marine Wildlife Watch of the Philippines. Her stints in these organizations varied from doing on-ground research to organizing nationwide conferences and events which aimed to educate and empower its participants in rippling change at their chosen spaces in the society. Now, she’s currently the communications and outreach support for YEW while also maintaining a corporate day job in the Philippine FMCG industry.
CONSERVATION POLICY LEAD
Dylan Jones from Australia works in environmental policy and regulation, with a focus on biodiversity conservation as it relates to land, water and resource use. He holds a master of conservation science from a world-leading research centre (ARC-CEED), with a thesis on conservation decision making, and worked on field research in a number of wetland and dryland systems throughout Australia. He has experience on the development of environmental policy at local, state, national and international levels, through public consultation and negotiation and has written research papers and analysis reports which were used for government decision making. A couple of achievements include coordinating the development of a large multilateral wetland conservation project in Central Africa, and the management of a UNEA resolution on the impacts of armed conflict on the environment. He currently works as a senior policy officer in the Department of Environment and Science, in his home city of Brisbane.
CONSERVATION POLICY OFFICER
Clarisa from Venezuela works in regulatory tech as a Sustainability Analyst at Greenomy. Her work involves climate finance and environmental regulation at the regional and international levels. She is an International Relations Graduate at IE University in Spain. Her main areas of interest are environmental policy and the role of natural resources in international relations. She studied the role of policy in all levels of governance and now aims to help bridge the gap between wetland scientists and environmental policymakers by making policy more accessible and tangible. She is a nonfiction reader, a novice climber, and she won't hike but if you see a snake, she'll be there.
KNOWLEDGE AND CAPACITY BUILDING LEAD
ASIAN REGIONAL REPRESENTATIVE
Bidhya from Nepal is currently a PhD student at Department of Geography, McGill University looking at Green House Gas Emissions from peat use in horticulture. With her first degree in Nepal, she did her MSc in Wetland Science and Conservation from Bangor University in 2018. Sharma is a 2017 Chevening Scholar awarded by Foreign and Commonwealth Office, UK. She loves art, history and science and enjoys travel, fiction and outdoors. Coming from Nepal, mountains are the absolute love of her life. Sharma leads the Knowledge and Capacity building team which aims to bring together the youths involved in wetlands and building up network and knowledge sharing.
KNOWLEDGE & CAPACITY BUILDING OFFICER
Roger from Guinea is a Specialist in Managing Science-Policy Interface on Biodiversity and Ecosystems Services and was awarded by the IUCN in 2017 for protected areas management in West Africa, Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso) and a 2018 IPBES fellow on West Africa Biodiversity and Ecosystems Services programme in Cote D’Ivoire, funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research, Germany and IKI. He is a project Associate and specialist of coastal wetlands management at Wetlands International Africa based in Dakar. ISNAD-Africa Mentee 2019 and Human Nature Project national Director of Guinea. He has work experiences in capacity building of young people, children and local communities and indigenous people in water resources and watershed management, wildlife conservation and mangrove ecosystems restoration. His research interests and expertise focused on wetlands ecosystems services assessment and restoration, socio-ecological resilience of coastal wetlands, seagrass, bio-monitoring, and promoting indigenous and local knowledge (ILK) on natural resources management. He is currently involved in the Integrated Management and Sustainable Development of the West African Coastal wetlands programme of Cheikh Anta Diop University of Dakar focused on Biodiversity in Mangrove ecosystems, Mangroves and Climate Change, Cultural aspects and the specificity of the inhabitants around the mangrove sites and other wetlands ecosystems. He is is on his master estimating ecological and socioeconomic values of mangrove ecosystems of Kapatchez Delta Ramsar site, Republic of Guinea.
MATTHEW VINCENT TABILOG
KNOWLEDGE & CAPACITY BUILDING OFFICER
Matthew is the founder of Mangrove Matters PH and our organization seeks to mainstream the idea of mangrove conservation in the Philippines. In addition, he is currently working on blue carbon research on mangrove ecosystems.
ASIAN REGIONAL REPRESENTATIVE
Ting from China is a writer and curator with particular focus on wetland governance, landscape anthropology and political ecology. She lands several columns includes "Nature and City" in Urban China magazine 1 and "A New Normal for Nature 普通人的自然" in The Paper news 2 . The later one is an ongoing monthly column with emphasize on survival challenges and the actions and desires of Chinese conservation practitioners under ecological anxiety. Ting studied Urban planning and design at the Xi'an Jiaotong-Liverpool University, followed with a Master’s in Landscape Architecture and an ongoing PhD Study in the Division of Landscape Architecture at The University of Hong Kong. Her Ph.D. dissertation explores the politics of mainstreamed wetland park constructions in Tai Lake Basin, Yangtze River Delta, China. Her design works have won competition awards and been exhibited in 2017 Shenzhen & Hong Kong Bi-city Biennale ofUrbanism\Architecture.
ASIAN REGIONAL REPRESENTATIVE
AWA MANOUORE NYOJA
AFRICAN REGIONAL REPRESENTATIVE
Awa Njoya from Cameroon is an engineer of water and sanitation and PhD student in hydrobiology and environment specializing in bacteriology at the University of Yaoundé I - Cameroon. She is the permanent secretary of the African Network Youth on Wetlands. Since 2018, Awa has coordinated the International Program Youth of Wetland in Cameroon to strengthen the capacities of youth on the importance of wetland protection. She is working with the NGO Volontariat Pour l’Environnement (VPE) in Cameroon on the issues related to wetlands and climate change. As a young focal point for the preservation of wetlands in Africa, she participates in several colloquium, conferences to share her experiences. In 2019, she was invited to the International Water Security Summit in Morocco to discuss the importance of wetland conservation on climate and youth action.
Denzel, a Civil Engineer from the Philippines, is currently a graduate student at De La Salle University specializing in water resources engineering and management. As a young water professional, he is passionate about water and how it is interdependent with the ecosystem. In his journey of being a water expert, he nurtured a deep interest in groundwater-dependent ecosystems (GDE) — particularly wetlands. As part of his dissertation, he is currently exploring different nature-based solutions, such as low impact development (LID), and their applicability to urban areas. He is also actively affiliated with other organizations, including his advisor's LID research team and Lasallian student ambassador for graduate education.
EUROPEAN REGIONAL REPRESENTATIVE
Hugo from Portugal is currently a PhD student at the University of Aveiro (Portugal) in collaboration with Tour du Valat, a research centre for the conservation of Mediterranean wetlands in Southern France. Hugo’s interest in the natural world started in his early days, when he watched nature documentaries and TV shows with his father. Following his passion and curiosity, he completed his undergraduate and master’s degree in biology and ecology at the University of Minho in Portugal. Despite starting as a marine biologist, he is now assessing the processes influencing population dynamics of the Eurasian Spoonbill (Platalea leucorodia) throughout the annual cycle, and in doing so, gathering a comprehensive overview of the mechanisms beyond the inter-individual variation in migration tendencies. Due to his passion for science communication and his time as a European volunteer, Hugo is very active in sharing his journey, work, and youth activism, being an ambassador of campaigns like the #powerofWetalnds of Youth Engaged in Wetlands and the Role Models campaign from the Portuguese Youth Institute. Like many before him, Hugo was changed by the Camargue, where he discovered the magic of the Wetlands and the need to protect them.
OCEANIA REGIONAL REPRESENTATIVE
Ariana from Australia is a young environmental professional with a strong interest in the science-policy interface, particularly at the intersection of climate change and biodiversity conservation policies, including the application of nature-based solutions. Ariana is especially passionate about wetlands, and this has been the focus of much of her education and professional work. Ariana has an undergraduate Bachelors degree in science, majoring in ecology and zoology (with Honours) and a postgraduate Masters degree in Climate Change and Environmental Policy. Ariana strengthened her experience in the international wetlands policy space during her two years of experience working with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Global Peatlands Initiative (GPI). There her work included bringing awareness to the largest transboundary Ramsar site in the world, in the Congo Basin, which includes globally significant tropical peatlands, and supporting the adoption of two resolutions on peatlands at the Ramsar COP13 in 2018. Returning her focus back to Australia, Ariana’s Masters dissertation was a policy and policy process analysis focusing on mangrove and coastal wetlands restoration in Queensland, Australia, as a nature-based solution to climate change mitigation, adaptation, and biodiversity protection. Ariana is currently working in the Australian Government’s wetlands section on wetlands policy and programmes including implementing Australia’s Ramsar Convention obligations. In her spare time, she enjoys hiking and exploring new wetlands.
OUR HONORABLE ALUMNI
TATIANA LOBATO DE MAGALHÃES
YEW Core Team member from October 2019 to December 2020
Tatiana joined YEW as the Conservation Policy Support Lead and Americas Regional Representative. Tatiana, from Brazil, is an Agronomic Engineer with a Ph.D. in Biology and an international award-winning scientist and conservationist. While serving as the chairwoman of the International Chapter at the Society of Wetland Scientists and Postdoc Researcher in Mexico, she dedicated her time, skills and ideas to support the development of Youth Engaged in Wetlands. In particular, as part of the Conservation Policy Team, Tatiana worked on the development of YEW’s Constitution and Bylaws, a crucial foundational document that establishes a formal structure and the procedures for YEW. Tatiana also helped develop a proposal of a Draft Resolution on Youth and provided thoughtful input and feedback on YEW’s various projects. As one of the America’s Regional Representative, Tatiana also contributed to diverse YEW activities in the region - she was one of the members of the Jury for the Mucura Award, she also supported the development of a workshop with Guardianes de los Humedales (Peru), and established connections with the Society of Wetland Scientists, which allowed YEW to be featured several times in the Wetland Science and Practice journal. She is currently an Associate Professor at the Autonomous University of Queretaro (Mexico) and an editorial board member of the "Wetlands: Ecology, Conservation and Management" Springer Nature book series. Inspired to encourage youth scientists, in 2021, Tatiana created the “HumMentor” - a student mentoring program focused on the Latin America and Caribbean region in collaboration with the Society of Wetland Scientists International Chapter and Education Section.
YEW member from October 2018 to October 2019
Anne, from Colombia, was working at Emirates Nature in UAE when she attended Ramsar’s 13th Conference of the Parties (COP13) in Dubai in October 2018 and met the members of the youth team, the Youth Engagement Thematic Group of the Ramsar Culture Network - the precursor to YEW. With the initial discussions for the creation of YEW taking shape in parallel to the COP13, Anne naturally joined the emerging YEW team through the key activities that took place in Dubai and which led to the establishment of YEW. Notably, Anne helped to coordinate the drafting of the Youth Closing statement of the Ramsar COP13. She then took the floor, in front of over 1000+ representatives of Governments and NGOs, to read out the Closing Statement on behalf of YEW. Following the COP13, Anne actively participated in the construction of the vision of YEW and the development of the YEW Scoping Document for the 2019-2024 period. She helped set up the Core-team structure and select the first ever YEW Core-team. Today, Anne joined National Aquarium Abu Dhabi in the role of Education and Conservation Manager, and brought to this role experience learned from YEW in building multidisciplinary teams, connecting with Government organizations to deliver coordinated conservation initiatives. This directly helped Anne in connecting with EAD, leading to a partnership for the rescue, rehabilitation, and release of vulnerable native creatures of the Arabian Gulf, more specifically Sea Turtles.
ANNE VALENTINA BOURBON
UNITED ARAB EMIRATES
YEW Member from March 2018 - February 2019
Lucía, from Peru, holds a BSc in Food Science from the Peruvian National Agrarian University La Molina and a Master of Integrated Water Management from the University of Queensland and Griffith University. She contributed significantly to the early stages of the development of YEW, participating as part of the Youth Engagement Thematic Group (YETG) of the Ramsar Culture Network (the precursor group to YEW) at the 13th Conference of the Parties (COP13) of the Ramsar Convention. In particular, Lucía helped to design and fundraise for the participation of three members of the YETG at the COP13. She supported the organisation and facilitation of the official youth side-event of the COP13 focused on showcasing youth stories from around the world. Lucía also developed and led the Youth Visioning Workshop which was the first step in shaping the YEW strategy and participated actively in the drafting of the Youth Closing Statement for the COP13. Prior to the COP13, she helped to develop a short study on youth-led initiatives in wetland conservation providing initial insight into youth’s motivations and challenges around wetland conservation, showcasing the results through a poster exhibited in the World Wetland Network stand at the COP13. After volunteering for the YETG and YEW, Lucía worked with the International WaterCentre in Brisbane, Australia in the delivery of integrated water management projects, where she co-organised the Innovate 4 Water forum. Currently, Lucía supports the Australian Water Partnership knowledge, partnerships, events, communications and program areas. Her time with Youth Engaged in Wetlands deepened her passion to explore the interconnectedness and interdependencies between nature, technology, governance and finance to manage water resources in an equitable and sustainable manner.
YEW Member from March 2018 - December 2021
Priyanka from India is a young scientist passionate about conservation and sustainable management of the wetlands. Her research interest focuses on understanding how various ecological aspects of wetlands are related to the socio-economic dimensions, livelihood sustenance and human well-being; besides, investigating the carbon sequestration potential of wetlands. A scientist with more than 8 years of working experience on Inland wetlands, she had also worked in coastal wetland ecosystems in New Jersey and California, USA. As the 2019 SWS Wetland Ambassador at the Drexel University in Pennsylvania, USA, she developed a project investigating the potential of biochar (a soil additive) in increasing the carbon sequestration potential of the wetland restoration projects. As a member of the Young Ecosystem Services Specialists (YESS), she co-hosted the technical session: ‘Engaging early career researchers to strengthen and communicate the science of Ecosystem Services in Asia” at the 2018 ESP-Asia Conference on ‘Communicating and Engaging Ecosystem Services in Policy and Practice in Asia’. Currently, finishing her PhD on conservation of a floodplain wetland from the ecosystem services perspectives at Assam University (India), she is the Asia lead of the Youth Engaged in Wetlands. She has recently joined the Wetland Ambassadors Committee of the Society of Wetland Scientists (SWS). Besides, she is also involved with various national and international conservation agencies and non-profit organizations. Recently, she has received the 2019 Green Talents Award from German Federal Ministry of Education and Research.