Close up of flowing water stream and rocks

the team

Daniel Shemie

Daniel Shemie

Director, Resilient Watersheds

Daniel Shemie leads The Nature Conservancy’s Resilient Watersheds strategy which helps cities and communities protect their water sources. In this role, he partners with governments, corporations and impact investors to accelerate the inclusion of nature-based solutions in water sector spending. Before joining the Conservancy, Daniel was a partner at mWater, a mobile water monitoring company, and worked previously at the World Bank on water and sanitations projects in China and sub-Saharan Africa. Daniel holds a M.Sc. in water science and management from the University of Oxford and is a faculty advisor at Columbia University’s School of International and Publica Affairs. He currently lives in New York.

Favorite hobby: Sailing

Brooke Atwell

Brooke Atwell

Associate Director, Resilient Watersheds

Brooke Atwell is the Associated Director for The Nature Conservancy’s Resilient Watersheds strategy, where she works to conserve watersheds around the world by developing sustainable watershed investment programs that meet the needs of biodiversity and communities. Brooke develops and executes a global strategy to mainstream nature-based solutions in the climate and water sectors and manages the strategy’s portfolio of flagship programs. She has a strong background in collaborative strategic planning, program management, economic and financial analyses for NbS, strategic communications, and operational and relationship management in cross-cultural, multidisciplinary settings. She has a Bachelor of Science degree in environmental sciences from the University of Virginia.

Favorite hobby: Backpacking and kayaking

Naabia with braided hair and blue earrings in front of a light yellow background

Naabia Ofosu-Amaah

Senior Corporate Engagement Advisor, Water and Resilience

Areas of expertise: Water stewardship, Corporate Engagement, Nature-Based Solutions

Naabia Ofosu-Amaah is Senior Corporate Engagement Advisor, Water and Resilience at TNC, based in Arlington, VA. Naabia focuses on developing and implementing the strategy for engaging companies and development finance institutions to further TNC’s global freshwater goals. Naabia joined TNC in January 2017 after seven years at the Global Environment & Technology Foundation (GETF) also in Arlington, VA. At GETF, Naabia managed The Coca-Cola Company’s $65 million Replenish Africa Initiative and other programs. Ms. Ofosu-Amaah holds a Master of Philosophy in Environment, Society and Development from the University of Cambridge and a Bachelor’s degree with honors from Harvard University in Environmental Science and Public Policy.

Favorite hobby: Yoga

Photo of Andrea Erickson near a rushing river

Andrea Erickson

Global Lead, Water Security & Deputy Director for Food and Water Systems

Areas of expertise: strategic planning, institutional development and collective action for nature-based solutions, corporate engagement, and policy

Andrea Erickson-Quiroz serves as Global Director for Water Security at The Nature Conservancy. She leads our team working to identify, test and deploy innovative, large-scale strategies that demonstrate how investments in nature will enable us to improve water security. Andrea is co-author of Beyond the Source, TNC’s flagship report on nature-based solutions for water security. She serves on advisory councils such as the CEO Water Resilience Coalition and ABInBev’s Environmental Council. Andrea has 25 years of experience in the design, management, and leadership of conservation programs in the United States and Latin America. She completed her BS at Cornell University and has an MPhil from the University of Cambridge in Environmental Policy and Economic Development. 

Favorite hobby: scuba diving

Photo of Michael Gardner

Michael Gardner

Global Communications Manager, Provide Food & Water Sustainably

Areas of expertise: Strategic Communications, Marketing

Michael sits on The Nature Conservancy’s Global Strategic Communications team where he leads the communications efforts of the Resilient Watersheds Strategy. Michael works in partnership with the Strategy team to develop and execute strategic communications plans that advance and elevate TNC’s work to develop watershed investment programs around the world. He graduated from the University of Massachusetts Amherst with a degree in Journalism and Political Science.

Favorite hobby: CrossFit

Photo of Shiteng (Stan) Kang

Shiteng (Stan) Kang

Freshwater Conservation Scientist

Areas of expertise: monitoring and evaluation; freshwater science; ecosystem services; biodiversity; conservation planning; community-based natural resource management; systematic review

Shiteng Kang is a Freshwater Conservation Scientist at The Nature Conservancy and provides scientific and technical support for TNC’s Resilient Watersheds Strategy and Freshwater Community-based Conservation Program at global and regional scales. He has an interdisciplinary background in ecology, conservation biology, and environmental governance. Shiteng holds a M.Sc. in Conservation Biology and Sustainable Development from University of Wisconsin-Madison, and a B.S. in Biological Sciences from Tsinghua University. Originally from China, he now lives in Falls Church, Virginia with his wife and cat.

Favorite hobby: Photography, traveling, hiking, tennis, video games

Photo of Nathan Karres

Nathan Karres

Senior Freshwater Scientist

Areas of expertise: water resource management; source watershed protection; non-point source pollution; monitoring and evaluation

Nathan is a freshwater scientist on The Nature Conservancy’s Water Security team, providing technical and programmatic support for the Conservancy’s efforts to protect and restore freshwater ecosystems. Since joining TNC in 2013, he has helped lead efforts to strengthen monitoring and evaluation of watershed projects by directly supporting various stakeholders including NGO, government, and corporate partners across North America, Latin America, Africa, and Europe. Nathan also conducts geospatial analyses to support strategic planning and prioritization for watershed protection investments and supports research and conservation planning for community-based conservation of freshwater resources.

 Nathan earned a Master of Environmental Management (M.E.M.) from the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies and a B.S. in Biology from the College of Santa Fe.

Favorite hobby: Anything cycling related

Photo of Michael Matosich in the field

Michael Matosich

Corporate Engagement Associate, Water Security

Areas of expertise: Corporate engagement, replenishment, nature-based solutions, science-based targets, fundraising

Michael engages with TNC’s corporate partners around source water protection in key geographies, advises companies on their water sustainability strategy and helps refine TNC’s corporate strategy. Michael worked at the US Department of State in the Regional Environment, Science, Technology, and Health Hub at the US Embassy in San Jose, Costa Rica, has consulted for Swiss Re, and has worked at the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and in the US House of Representatives. Michael is an alumnus of AmeriCorps NCCC.  Michael holds bachelor’s degrees in Political Science and International Affairs from The University of California, Davis and holds a master’s degree from Johns Hopkins.

Favorite hobby: fly fishing

Justus Raepple

Justus Raepple

Conservation Finance Lead

Justus has worked the last three years as a conservation finance lead for TNC’s Resilient Watersheds strategy, in which he focuses on driving long-term sustainable funding into source water protection programs. Before this, he worked with TNC’s NatureVest group as a deal lead developing and structuring impact investments in new product areas. Prior to TNC Justus conducted private and public equity investing in the hedge fund space. Justus received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Toronto in economics and international relations.

Favorite hobby: Surfing

Kari Vigerstol

Kari Vigerstol

Director of Water Security Science and Innovation

Areas of expertise: Water resources management; Collective action; Hydrology; Water resources engineering; Corporate water stewardship; Nature based solutions

Kari Vigerstol is the Director of Water Security Science and Innovation for TNC’s global water program, strategically strengthening and advancing science behind the Conservancy’s source water protection and water scarcity strategies. Over the last 20 years Kari has brought her technical skills and partnership building experience to dozens of watersheds around the world towards protecting water sources and improving water use and management. Kari’s experience includes community organizing around urban waterways, leading water resource engineering assessments, design and project management and corporate water stewardship work. She has worked to advance collective action in critical basins around the world through integrated water resource management, agricultural best management practices and development of sustainable funding mechanisms.  She co-led the establishment of the California Water Action Collaboration (CWAC) and is a core team member for the development of the Science Based Targets for Freshwater and Benefit Accounting for Nature Based Solutions for Watersheds. Kari is a licensed Professional Engineer and holds a B.S. and an M.S. in Civil and Environmental Engineering from Rice University and the University of Washington.

Favorite hobby: Trail running

Photo of Colin Apse

Colin Apse

Africa Freshwater Strategy Director

Areas of expertise: freshwater ecosystem conservation and sustainable water management

Colin leads TNC’s Africa freshwater program development which includes TNC’s Africa Source Water Protection Strategy and other conservation and sustainable development programs in Gabon’s Ogooué River Basin, Lake Tanganyika, and the Okavango Basin. He helped develop the Upper Tana-Nairobi Water Fund which has received global attention for its public-private partnership approach to improve water security. His team now works with partners to support Water Fund expansion across Africa including Cape Town and Freetown. Colin’s first decade with the Conservancy was focused in the Eastern United States on balancing human water use and environmental water needs at state and river basin scales. Colin received a B.A. from Duke University and a master’s degree in environmental management focused on aquatic ecology from Yale University.

Favorite hobby: whitewater canoeing

Samuel Barrêto

Samuel Barrêto

Water Program Manager, Brazil

Areas of expertise: Water Source Protection; Water Governance, Policy; Stakeholder Management; Climate Change Adaptation; Communication

Samuel Barrêto has 28 years of experience in the environmental sector and joined The Nature Conservancy-Brazil in March 2014. In less than one year he was promoted to Water Program Manager to scale the country’s strategy with the Green-Blue Water Coalition. Samuel manages a portfolio of five watershed investment programs which employ a diverse array of solutions to address local water security challenges. Samuel is a member of The Latin American Water Funds Partnership, Brazil Section of World Water Forum, the Water Governance Observatory (OGA) Steering Committee, the UN Global Compact Brazil’s Water Working Group and contributor to  Um Só Planeta (One Planet).

Favorite hobby: Photography, travel, soccer, cinema

Silvia Benítez

Silvia Benítez

Freshwater Manager, Latin America

Areas of expertise: Nature-based solutions; Conservation planning; Water Funds; Collective action; Latin America

Silvia has worked in conservation for over 20 years, specializing in water issues related to biodiversity conservation, conservation planning, nature-based solutions and collective action. Over the last decade she has worked in support of Water Funds in Latin America. She has experience working in collaborative partnerships with a variety of stakeholders, including local communities, governments, national and international organizations, the private sector and academia. Silvia holds a bachelor’s degree in environmental sciences, from Universidad San Francisco de Quito, and master’s degree in Environmental Management from Yale University. She participates in several groups that promote gender equity, diversity and inclusion.

Favorite hobby: Open water swimming

Rich Biske

Rich Biske

Waters Director

Areas of expertise: watershed protection, water resources management, agriculture best management practices, watershed planning, edge of field practices, water policy, government grants, fundraising, grant management

Rich Biske is the Waters Director for The Nature Conservancy in Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota. Rich leads the Conservancy’s freshwater policy development, conservation strategy, watershed protection and builds capacity of partner organizations. Biske collaborates with public and private sector leaders to advance freshwater protection for people and nature. He leads a team of talented scientists, regional program managers and project managers that implement conservation action throughout the 3-state chapter. Rich also leads the Chapter’s Providing Food and Water Strategy and Mississippi Headwaters Fund. In 2021 Governor Walz appointed Rich to the Clean Water Council directing the use Clean Water Funds and development of Minnesota water policy.

Favorite hobby: Dog walking, hiking, fishing, hunting

hugo contreras

Hugo Contreras

Director of Freshwater Unit, Latin America

Areas of expertise: Strategy; Collective action; Policy; Corporate Engagement; Environmental and Natural Resource Economics

Hugo Contreras leads TNC´s Latin America´s Freshwater Regional Unit, helping define strategy, high level engagement and coordinating teams across the Region. In this role he has led one of TNC´s most successful Partnerships in the water space, the Latin American Water Funds Partnership. He brings over 25 years of experience in the international corporate sector, designing policy for government and providing specialized consultancy to local and international organizations. Hugo earned his BA in Economics at ITAM in Mexico, his MSc in Environmental and Natural Resource Economics from UCL in London. He also has diplomas in Management and Environmental Economics from Cambridge University, the IPADE, Berkeley University and the World Bank. 

Favorite hobby: He is an avid tennis player and an accomplished traveler seeking to discover the natural and human wonders of the world.

Cristina de la Paz

Cristina de la Paz

Watershed Program Coordinator, Ecuador

Areas of expertise: Water funds work; Water quality monitoring using macroinvertebrates as indicators; Project management; Sustainable management

Cristina started her career as a volunteer for The Nature Conservancy in 2010, where she has been working in an official capacity for almost six years—excluding a small break period to be a mom. Today, Cristina leads the Ecuador Watershed Program, leveraging public and private funds to execute nature-based solutions projects to achieve water security. Her portfolio of conservation work employs the pillars of integrated water resources management, and multi-sector collaboration to achieve biodiversity, human development, and climate goals. Cristina holds a BSc in Biology from San Francisco University of Quito and a MSc in Sustainable Management from the University of Wisconsin.

Favorite hobby: Arts & crafts with river stones

Carlos M. Garcia Cartagena

Carlos M. Garcia Cartagena

Dominican Republic Program Director

Areas of expertise: Planning; Institutional Strengthening and Water Stewardship

Carlos is based in Santo Domingo where he leads TNC´s Program in the Dominican Republic, and sits on the board of the Yaque del Norte Water Fund. Carlos joined TNC in June 2016, where he manages the Dominican Republic’s replenishment projects supported by Coca Cola and PepsiCo, and raises the visibility of the country’s diverse conservation portfolio. Prior to joining TNC, Carlos spent six years at the National Environmental Trust Fund of the Dominican Republic. Mr. Garcia holds a Master of Science in Management of Alternative Energies from the University of Cadiz, Spain and a Bachelor's degree with honors from Pedro Henriquez Ureña National University in Agriculture Engineering.

Favorite hobby: Ping pong

Fred Kihara

Fred Kihara

Africa Water Funds Director

Fred leads TNC Resilient Watersheds strategy in Africa which aims to scale watershed conservation across the continent to achieve water security, biodiversity, human development and climate outcomes. He has been working in nature and water conservation in Africa for more than 25 years, and holds vast knowledge building public-private partnerships. He worked previously for UNDP-Kenya in the Energy and Environment Unit, the Government of Kenya, and was the founder of Africa’s first water fund, the Upper Tana-Nairobi Water Fund, which is now an independent charitable trust. Fred has a BSc in agricultural engineering and completed a MSc in Soil and Water Engineering at the University of Nairobi. He currently serves as TNC’s Elected Governor (alternate) for the World Water Council through 2022, and in 2019 he received the Robert W. Wilson Fellowship at Harvard Business School.

Ratih Loekito

Ratih Loekito

Director of Development and Marketing of the Yayasan Konservasi Alam Nusantara (YKAN)

Ratih works to establish a collaboration between corporations and foundations to conserve and support the sustainable management of tropical rainforests and marine ecosystems in Indonesia. Prior to YKAN, Ratih spent almost 25 years working with different institutions to cultivate strategic alliances through a shared value proposition. Her strong stakeholder engagement expertise spans the private sector, national and international institutions, government and non-government organizations, and communities, particularly in support of conservation, education, and management initiatives.

Favorite hobby: Cycling, trying new food, and traveling to unique destinations

Photo of Galo Medina

Galo Medina

Ecuador Program Director

Galo is an Ecuadorian with a degree in Biological Sciences from the Catholic University of Ecuador and a MSc in Forest Resources and Conservation from the University of Florida (Gainesville). Since 1996, he has worked in Ecuador’s vital and unique páramo ecosystem. He began his career as part of the NGO EcoCiencia, before becoming the Regional Director of ECOBONA Program, an Andean initiative of the Swiss Cooperation in Bolivia, Ecuador, and Peru. He joined TNC in February 2012 and he is responsible for conserving Ecuador’s incredible biodiversity through policy and advocacy at the local, national, and Andean level.

Favorite hobby: Long-distance Running (marathons)

Photo of Florence Mugi holding a new tree seedling for planting

Florence Mugi

Resilient Watersheds Coordinator, Africa

Areas of expertise: Nature-based solutions implementation, climate change adaptation and mitigation, catchment management, capacity development, network management, stakeholder engagement, strategic and project management

Florence Mugi is the Resilient Watersheds Coordinator for The Nature Conservancy’s Africa Program, based in Kenya. She helps to develop and grow the Water Funds for Africa Network which connects water partners and communities across Africa and builds capacity development programs for the Resilient Watersheds Strategy in Africa. Florence serves as a steering committee member for the Eldoret-Iten Water Fund and the Water Funds for Africa Network. She holds a Master’s in Business Administration, a Bachelor’s degree in Agriculture, and is currently enrolled for a Master of Arts in Project Planning and Management at the University of Nairobi.

Favorite hobby: Baking and long road trips

Photo of Matt Piccarello

Matt Piccarello

Forest and Watershed Health Manager, New Mexico

Matt’s work focuses on building collaborative and community-based solutions to forest and watershed management through initiatives such as the Rio Grande Water Fund and the Greater Santa Fe Fireshed Coalition. Matt’s work also explores the role of fire as a key disturbance in New Mexico’s forests and how various stakeholders can work together to build fire adapted communities and resilient landscapes.  

Matt’s passion for community-based natural resource management has taken him as far as Nepal to learn from Community Forest User Groups and in New Mexico working with acequias and land grant communities. 

Favorite hobby: Cycling

Carlos Andrés Rogéliz Prada

Carlos Andrés Rogéliz Prada

Integrated Water Resources Management Leader, Colombia

Areas of expertise: Mathematical Hydrological Modeling; Integrated Water Resources Management; Hydro-climatological Monitoring

Carlos is a Civil Engineer with a Masters in Hydraulic Resources. He leverages his extensive knowledge of hydrological and hydraulic mathematical modeling to develop successful nature-based solutions programs in Colombia that sustainably manage water resources for the benefit of people and nature. He specializes in providing thoughtful consultation for projects related to the analysis of hydrographic basins, hydraulic studies of rivers, management of geographic information systems, and generation of software and applications that analyze and compile large quantities of information. In 2021, Carlos co-led the development of the WaterProof tool, a customizable return on investment application that integrates InVEST and RIOS models.

Favorite hobby: Tennis

Photo of Ryan Smith looking at a water sample

Ryan Smith

Director of Water and Science, TNC-Texas

Areas of expertise: Freshwater Ecology, Environmental Flows, Groundwater Management, Conservation Planning, Ecological Monitoring

Ryan Smith has over twenty years of professional experience in freshwater conservation. Ryan leads The Nature Conservancy of Texas’ water program and science team. The water program implements statewide freshwater conservation strategies in the areas of market-based solutions, groundwater/surface water science, water management and policy, and watershed conservation. Ryan is also TNC’s Texas lead on the Sustainable Rivers Program, a partnership with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers modifying dam operations to improve downstream ecosystems. He has also directed placed-based applied freshwater conservation science work at TNC preserves and watershed projects across Texas.

Favorite hobby: Paddling, fishing, birdwatching

Louise Stafford

Louise Stafford

Program Director, South Africa

Areas of expertise: Watershed management; Invasive Species; Strategic planning; Monitoring & Evaluation

Louise joined The Nature Conservancy in January 2017 as Source Water Protection Director, South Africa. Her role includes the development of partnerships, provision of strategic leadership and support for TNC’s Programs in South Africa. She is passionate about working with others to find innovative solutions for restoring and protecting nature. Louise has over 20 years’ experience in invasive species management. She established a monitoring and evaluation program for CapeNature and assisted protected area managers with developing systems for planning, tracking and reporting progress. She graduated with an MSc (Entomology) from Rhodes University, Grahamstown.

Favorite hobby: Birding, Hiking, Reading, Photography

Sophie Trémolet

Sophie Trémolet

Europe Freshwater Director

Areas of expertise: Sustainable Finance; Nature-based Solutions; Partnerships; Institutions

Sophie is based in London, United Kingdom where she leads the European Freshwater Program focused on solving critical freshwater challenges affecting the health of rivers and associated freshwater systems in Europe. Key objectives include increasing the resilience of watersheds, restoring and protecting rivers, and siting renewable energy to avoid impacts from hydropower development. Sophie joined TNC in 2018 bringing 20+ years of experience in financing, and institutional and regulatory reforms in the water sector. She started her career as a consultant, working for NERA and ERM, before running her own consultancy, and then working as a Senior Economist in the World Bank Global Water Practice. She holds a double Masters in International Affairs and Economic Development from Columbia University in New York City and Sciences-Po in Paris.

Favorite hobby: Cycling

Bo Yang

Bo Yang

China Freshwater Director

Bo has 15-years of conservation planning and management experience with The Nature Conservancy’s China Program. She began her career conserving wetlands and working to restore the incredible Yangtze River before turning her attention to urban resiliency. Her current portfolio of freshwater work spans river restoration and watershed investment programs. Bo has expertise in conservation planning, nature education, corporate engagement, urban biodiversity practice, and raising public awareness of sustainable solutions.

Favorite hobby: Reading, Writing, Hiking

salmons swimming against current