Staff

Lorayne Meltzer - Executive Director and Environmental Studies Faculty

Lorayne Meltzer - Executive Director and Environmental Studies Faculty
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As Director of the Kino Bay Center, Lorayne is active in collaborative conservation efforts in the Gulf of California. Lorayne coordinates the Center’s research, education and community outreach programs toward the realization of the mission and vision of Prescott College and the Kino Bay Center. Through her Marine Conservation classes, students learn firsthand about complex issues confronting marine and coastal environments.  It is one thing to read in a book that 85% of everything caught on a shrimp trawler is discarded dead as by-catch back into the sea.  It is quite a different learning experience to be sorting through the by-catch on the deck of a trawler, working along fishermen whose livelihoods depend on destructive fisheries practices.  Upper division students have the opportunity to learn about conservation issues and solutions, while simultaneously contributing to the conservation projects conducted through the Center’s programs.

Patricia Alvarez

Patricia Alvarez
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Born in Sonora, Patricia went through elementary school in Mexicali Baja California, where she learned English due to her love for language. Later, in Hermosillo, Patricia studied communication at the Universidad del Valle de México. She has been a language teacher since she was 18, starting with English and now teaching Spanish at different levels and institutions. She has always been interested in art and nature and enjoys spending time at the beach.

She started working in communication at an arts high school, focusing on digital communication and event planning.

Patricia is very excited to learn more about the environment and culture of the region working at the Center. She is working at the Information Center, focusing on sharing experiences and knowledge developed at the Center or within its classes and programs.

"I am enjoying the work, the community, and the beautiful landscape, always with my daughter and a sci-fi book."

Ana

Ana
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Ana was born in Hermosillo, Sonora, on a warm summer day. As an active girl, she learned her first letters in Valencia, Spain. Later, running around in Hermosillo, she started to discover the wonders of nature, always in the company of her parents, little sister, and multiple pets. Ana learned English by studying a year at Davis Senior High school in Davis, California. Then she was ready to go back to Hermosillo and study a major in Biology with a minor in Marine Ecology at the Universidad de Sonora, but that was not enough. She studied a Master's in Environmental Management at CIAD, a research center in Guaymas, Sonora.

Ana worked as an intern at Delfinario Sonora in 2010, where her love for the ocean and its creatures grew. She was also a biology teacher for many years at a junior high, where she was also in charge of the ecology club.

She is new to the Center and ready to work as part of our team, willing to make it even better with her enthusiasm and interest in science. As Assistant Director, she will be working hard to have our projects funded, well communicated, and organized.

Ana loves sports, but especially those that involve the sea, so she is confident she will be quite happy living in Kino!

Julio Carrasco Paredes - Maintenance Coordinator

Julio Carrasco Paredes - Maintenance Coordinator
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The oldest of five brothers, Julio was born in 1967 in Mexico City. He arrived in Kino with his family in 1981. At first his family supported themselves with artisanal wood carving, house construction, and fishing. In the following years, Julio worked as a gardener, waiter, bartender, house painter, carpenter, and much more. He began working for Prescott in 2004. We now count on Julio to keep the station alive and running. He lives with his family in Kino Viejo. On weekends, he and his soccer team enjoy losing games against other old men.

"I have learned a lot of new things in my job here at Prescott that I didn't know before; for example, ecology and to care for the environment. Conservation is not directly my job, but I support it and it has been a grand satisfaction to work all these years for Prescott. I have made many good friends as well."

Abril Heredia - Waterbird Monitoring Fellow

Abril Heredia - Waterbird Monitoring Fellow
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Born in Mexico City, Abril studied biology at the Universidad Autónoma Nacional de México. After obtaining her undergraduate degree, her interest in wildlife brought her to participate in various projects involving bird monitoring in different habitats such as boreal forests, prairies, islands, and the wetlands of the Baja California Peninsula.

She carried out her Master’s degree at the Center for Scientific Research and Higher Education of Ensenada, in Baja California, with a project focused on the effect of human disturbances on migratory shorebirds spending the winter in the Todos Santos bay.

Abril is very excited to learn more about the birds and wildlife of the Sonoran Desert and Midriff Island Region in the Gulf of California. At the Center, Abril is working on waterbird conservation projects, sharing different perspectives and knowledge with local communities, and of course, enjoying the beautiful Kino landscape!

Leonel

Leonel
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Leonel was born on August 4, 1990, in Hermosillo, Sonora. He grew up in his hometown of El Desemboque in Pitiquito, Sonora, which is part of the ancestral territory of the Comcaac (Seri) community. He studied a major in Ecology at the Universidad Estatal de Sonora.

Although he has collaborated with the Kino Bay Center since he was a student, this is Leonel’s first season working as Coordinator of the Indigenous Communities Partnership Program.

Leonel is excited to start working with the Center on a steady basis and believes he can generate results and positive impacts for the program in the short and long terms. His work with the program consists of forming a relationship between the Comcaac community and the Center, combining important conservancy and habitat protection efforts, involving the young people, elders, and community members in general. This program is a sum of traditional knowledge from the community, and technical and scientific information from the Center, creating a synergy that allows everybody to achieve protection and conservation goals.

Leonel likes traveling by boat, nature observation, and desert walks.

Martha Verónica Maldonado Bracamontes-Conservation Fellow/Environmental Education and Community Leadership

Martha Verónica Maldonado Bracamontes-Conservation Fellow/Environmental Education and Community Leadership
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A proud Sonoran native, the biologist Martha Veronica Maldonado Bracamontes was born in Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico. Ever since she was a child, she and her father have shared a passion for nature and the great excitement to know and discover places in this beautiful state.

With an adventurous and curious spirit, the biologist concluded her studies at the Universidad de Sonora. Veronica specialized in Land Management of Natural Resources and became the first generation of young people to pursue this exciting profession in the state of Sonora. Before she left university, Veronica shared environmental education and wildlife monitoring experiences and activities with fellow students, and to this day, is good friends with her peers. Veronica has associated with institutions devoted to the care and conservation of the environment throughout her career. She still loves to learn about nature, communities, and the management of natural resources; she enjoys her job and tries to give back to the planet. She joined the Prescott College Kino Bay Center for Cultural and Ecological Studies as a Conservation Fellow in the Environmental Education and Community Leadership program in August 2015.

Jorge A. Miros Gómez - Wetlands Conservation and Community Projects Coordinator

Jorge A. Miros Gómez - Wetlands Conservation and Community Projects Coordinator
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Jorge is originally from Los Tuxtlas, Veracruz. He received his Bachelor's degree in Environmental Sciences at the Autonomous University of Baja California (UABC) in Ensenada City. Jorge received a Master's degree in Coastal Oceanography from the UABC's Oceanological Investigation Institute, where Jorge received an honorary mention for his thesis. During his Master's studies, he focused on the areas of geology, coastal conservation, and sustainable tourism.

During his career, Jorge has worked with the Center for Sustainable Studies and Projects as well as the Kino Bay Center Environmental Education and Community Leadership Program. He also worked as a field technician in remote areas for various organizations, in Baja California.

Nebai

Nebai
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Nebai grew up in the center and south zone of Mexico in the country, always with lots of curiosity to learn new things and share. She has a Psychology Major from the Autonomous University of Puebla; she also has a master’s degree in Environmental and Sustainability Studies from the National Polytechnic Institute in Mexico City. Nebai studied these two disciplines because she believes environmental problems are directly related to human behavior, which contributes to deterioration or conservation of nature. She came to the Kino Bay Center in the summer of 2019 to work as an Environmental Education Fellow. Her work consists of giving ecology classes to kids in elementary schools, and she participates in field outings and other community activities within the program. Nebai believes the Environmental Education Program is a huge chance to promote an appreciation for nature and environmental awareness in the Kino, Punta Chueca, Desemboque, and Hermosillo communities. She loves landscapes, animals, plants, arts, food, sports, wandering around, reading, drawing, making friends, and sharing.

Héctor Pérez Puig - Resident Researcher / Marine Mammal Research and Community Outreach

Héctor Pérez Puig - Resident Researcher / Marine Mammal Research and Community Outreach
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Originally, from Mexico City, Hector has had a keen interest in natural science since he was a boy; this later developed into a passion for marine mammals. Due to his interest in whales, he studied Biology at the Benemérita Universidad Autónoma in Puebla, México, with an undergraduate thesis based on the craniometrics of coastal Pantropical spotted dolphins (Stenella attenuata graffmani).


He completed his Master's in Marine Ecology at CICESE, a research and education center in Ensenada, Baja California, with a thesis focused on Gray whale (Eschrichtius robustus) calf abundance estimation from shore-based surveys near the city of Ensenada.

Hector has worked and collaborated on different projects with whales and dolphins for various institutions. Since 2009, he has been working as a Research Coordinator of the Marine Mammal Program for the Kino Bay Center. This exciting job focuses on documenting the spatial and temporal distribution of all cetacean sightings from the Eastern Midriff Islands Region of the Gulf of California, and the application of photo-identification methods in more than ten species. Hector collaborates with remarkable national and international scientists to study cetacean ecology both in the stunning Pacific Ocean and in the beautiful Gulf of California.

In the last ten years, he has been teaching marine mammal classes to students from different scholar grades and general audiences. He has also been a mentor and co-director of several Prescott College and undergraduate students from various academic institutions. Due to his experience, Hector has been proudly representing us in meetings and forums.

"Working at the Center, allows me to develop on a professional basis while enjoying what I like most in life, and it promotes the sense of wonder for what I see in the Gulf of California."

Gregory Smart

Gregory Smart
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Gregory Smart is a Prescott College graduate; he has been in the Kino Bay Center as a student, teacher, and employee since 2006. He served as manager from 2010-2014 and returned in 2018 to take on the same role. From 2014 to 2018, he worked in Alaska and Washington State. He occasionally teaches classes in ecology, Spanish, and marine conservation issues. In both work and free time, Gregory enjoys building things, fixing things, being on the water, and baking bread. He is a native of Seattle, Washington.