Marta Villasán Barroso
Biodiversity Conservation Biologist , Ecoenergías del Guadiana / Fauna&Vida NGO / SEO BirdLife
I'm from Badajoz, a little city near Portugal at Extremadura, Spain. I love my region because is plenty of wild nature, birds, forests, rivers... but is endangered too. I have a BSc in Biology and a MSc in Biodiversity Conservation. I have more than 15 years of experience in Environmental Education with school kids and the general public. I'm interested in all related topics about ecology, conservation and all living creatures and their relationships, that makes possible the life on Earth. I have worked in Paraguay granted by University of Salamanca and UNESCO Chair "Education for Sustainable Development: Strengthening lines of research in the area of biodiversity and the link with society". My duties were teaching experiments design and basic biostatistics at UNA (Universidad Nacional de Asunción); doing a biodiversity's bird research at the San Rafael National Park (the major Atlantic Forest patch remaining), ringing birds and teaching young students how to carry out a basic research; and doing environmental education with young child and population living at the natural park influence area. I stayed at Madeira (Portugal) working on two LIFE projects, one to protect the endemic sparrowhawk "Furabardos" and the other to take care of marine birds. The LIFE projects are the UE tool to support and fund the conservation on their territories. Later I have devoted to natural ecotourism at Extremadura (Spain) and scuba diving tourism at Sharm el Shaik (Egypt), in addition to environmental education, or little research and consultancy tasks. I have a youtube channel to outreach environmental issues and my own talks. Is in Spanish, but if you want you could take a look at it. Currently, I have a job at an environmental consulting at Extremadura (Spain), working about the compensatory measures to take during and after the construction of photovoltaic plants. I take care of bird nests, mitigation and prevention of bird and bat mortality at the high voltage lines, soil restoration, reforestation, etc. I'm glad to carry out this work because I'm sure I'm doing the best to protect the nature while the construction of renewable energy plants are trying to reduce the climate change. In addition, I take part from two NGOs: Fauna&Vida, a environmental conservation and education organization from Paraguay, where I'm currently the Education and conservation programs Director, and SEO/BirdLife, the ornithological society to protect birds, where I coordinate the volunteer group in my city.
Highly experienced in supporting policy and decision making through delivering data on marine species, coastal pollution, and water delivery on the local, state, and federal levels. Early in my career I took every opportunity I could to gain experience in marine mammal science from California to Quebec. These opportunities created strong connections eventually guiding me to researching plastic pollution while earning my masters degree. As I finished writing my thesis, I began working with NASA on projects using satellite imagery and big data to investigate drought, this experience immensely strengthened my project management, mapping, and analytical skills. Last year I ventured into conservation writing wanting to build on my science communication skills. I would be happy to feature your project or career journey as a blog post within WildHub, so feel free to reach out to set up a short chat/interview.
I am a passionate individual dedicated to ensuring wildlife and wild places are here for years to come in an equitable and sustainable way. An animal lover all my life, it made sense that I would pursue a career focused on the wellbeing and conservation of wildlife. Once I obtained my B.S. in Animal Science, I moved to Birmingham, Alabama to work at the Birmingham Zoo with African mammals. During my time as a zookeeper, I focused much of my energy on educating the public by communicating information to generate understanding and create compassionate attitudes for endangered wildlife and conservation priorities. My natural ability to make connections with people led me to use my time to engage the public and coordinate partner priorities as the Operations Manager for the Global Conservation Corps where I worked both individually and as a team to increase support conservation education and boots-on-the-ground efforts. Additionally, I also acted as the Bowling For Rhinos Communication Liaison with the American Association of Zookeepers where I coordinated communication and connections with field conservationists and zoo professionals. Recently I returned home to Columbus, Ohio to focus on completing my Master’s degree in Conservation Biology through Miami University of Ohio’s Project Dragonfly studying attitudes and participation in conservation while also coordinating collaborative conservation initiatives with university professors, zookeepers, and community members.
I was born in Switzerland, but my current home is Costa Rica where I have been living with my wife and daughter for the last 25 years. Over two decades, I have developed extensive knowledge in sustainability topics along with a wide experience in designing, fundraising, and implementing conservation biology programs, biological corridors, project planning, implementation and monitoring, the leadership of inter-institutional alliances at the national, bi-national, regional and international level, as well as in the creation of protected areas. My areas of expertise include biodiversity, landscape issues, connectivity conservation, transboundary conservation, protected areas, and World Heritage Sites, sustainable development, wildlife, governance, and ecosystem conservation. I have worked for local and international NGOs and the academy, and define myself as a passionate conservation practitioner compromised with high standards of excellence, and a team player able to build strong intercultural relationships. I love trail running, photography, reading, cooking, traveling, and meeting new people from different cultural contexts. I am fluent in French, English, Spanish, Portuguese, with limited working proficiency in German and Indonesian. I am currently learning Mandarin and Arabic.