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Research Associates

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Catherine Schloegel, MSc

Catherine served as Executive Director of FCT from 2008 to 2016 and led many innovative and successful projects, among them 1) a community park guard program; 2) a cadaster of legal property owners within Sangay National Park; 3) assistance in participating in the government’s payment for environmental protection initiative; 4) the Mazar River Project, a hydrologic monitoring program; 5) silvopastoral and riverine forestation, with associated conservation commitments signed by landowners; and 6) an early-warning system for the Ministry of the Environment to detect illegal intervention in wild habitats of Sangay National Park. Catherine is trained as a geographer (Vassar College, 2000) and has a Master of Environmental Science (2006) from the School of Forestry and Environmental Studies at Yale University. She is particularly interested in hydrology and is a co-leader of the Mazar River Project.


Alfredo Martinez, PhD

Alfredo is a native of Cuenca, Ecuador, and studied biology at the University of Azuay (Cuenca), where he obtained his MSc degree (2001). His thesis researched the composition and structure of woody vegetation in a montane forest in the upper Mazar drainage in the Nudo del Azuay, with 62 species per hectare, making it the most biodiverse forest for its elevation in Ecuador. He received a PhD from the University of Bayreuth, Germany, in 2007 in the faculty of Biology, Chemistry, and GeoSciences. Upon his return to Ecuador, he assumed various posts in environmental management and education as Executive Director of Fundación Cordillera Tropical; Superintendent of Cajas National Park; Sub-Director of Environmental Management at ETAPA, the municipal water company; Professor in the Department of Agroforestry and Landscape Management at the University of Cuenca; and environmental consultant at the University of Cuenca. His passion is the study of Andean montane forest. Currently he resides in southern Germany, where he continues his conservation advocacy.

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Beverley Coghill-Wemple, PhD

Beverley Wemple (PhD, Oregon State University) is a Professor of Geography and Natural Resources at the University of Vermont (UVM) and a faculty fellow of the Gund Institute for
Environment. Her research examines the dynamics of water, sediment, and solute fluxes in mountain watersheds. Since 2013, Professor Wemple has served as a scientific advisor to FCT on the Mazar River Project, providing training to Foundation staff and working with students on the project. In 2017, she completed a six-month residency in Cuenca, Ecuador, as a Fulbright Foundation Science and Technology fellow, co-hosted by FCT and the Universidad Politécnica Salesiana. In addition to her work as a UVM faculty member, Professor Wemple serves on the Education and Outreach committee of the Consortium of Universities for the Advancement of Hydrologic Sciences and as associate editor for the journal Water Resources Research.


Becky Zug, PhD

Rebecca (Becky) Zug carried out research for her MSc and PhD (University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2009 and 2018) in the forests and páramos of the upper Mazar and Dudas watersheds, southern Sangay National Park. She employed an array of camera traps over an area of 40 square kilometers, with a total observation time of more than three years. In addition to her focus on the implications for conservation of mammals threatened by the proximity of an agricultural frontier (the subject of her dissertation), she created a unique and profound photographic inventory of Andean Amazon wild fauna. Becky previously worked with the WildAid Foundation in Thailand and Cambodia in a variety of roles focused on wildlife population trends. Her academic interests include carnivore conservation, human-wildlife conflict, illegal wildlife trade, and habitat conservation on private lands. Becky is currently a professor and researcher at the San Francisco University in Cumbayá-Quito, Ecuador.

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Leah Bremer, PhD

Leah earned her PhD in geography from the University of California at Santa Barbara/San Diego State University. Her dissertation field research was carried out in the páramos of
Sangay National Park and other settings in highland Ecuador, supported by a Fulbright grant. Leah obtained an MSc in conservation biology from Victoria University in Wellington, New
Zealand, and a BA in psychology from Northwestern University. Currently Leah is Assistant Specialist of Environmental Management at UHERO (University of Hawai’i Research
Organization) and WRRC (Water Resources Research Center). Her interests include ecosystem services, watershed management and conservation, environmental justice, native agroforestry restoration, and joint social and ecological outcomes of land-use and climate change.


Molly Roske, MSc

Molly served FCT as its Executive Director from 2017 to 2019 and advanced the FCT silvopastoral and riverine reforestation projects in scale, planting success rates, and research results. Her academic preparation is in environmental science (MSc, 2014, from the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies), with a specialization in hydrology. She was a Peace Corps volunteer in Guatemala for three years, worked and researched at the
Smithsonian Institution’s Tropical Research Institute in Panama, and was a research associate with the Department of Forest and Rangeland Stewardship at Colorado State University. While directing FCT, Molly brought her expertise to the Mazar River Project, where she will continue to participate in future years as a scientific advisor to the project and its local university student collaborators.


Derek Martin, PhD

Derek is an Associate Professor in the Department of Geography and Planning at Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina, USA. He is a physical geographer whose research focuses broadly on river system hydro-geomorphology. Since 2015 he has worked with FCT to study the patterns and rates of bank erosion along the Ningar River, Ecuador in an effort to better understand the role that fluvial erosion plays in exporting carbon from the carbon-rich páramo ecosystems of the Andes. In addition, he leads ASU’s annual study abroad course to the tropical Andes, which introduces students to the impacts of climate change on Andean Amazon Headwaters. He earned a Ph.D. in Geography from the University of Tennessee, an MS in Geospatial Science from Missouri State University, and a BS in Biology/Ecology from Lake Superior State University. 

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Stuart White, PhD

After Stuart completed his graduate work in geography at the University of Wisconsin-Madison (PhD, 1981) he taught for two years at the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, but then left the University to live in Ecuador, where he has resided ever since. He had been a Peace Corps volunteer in the western Cordillera of Colombia and did his graduate field work in southern Peru and the upper Amazon, so when he settled in Ecuador, its mountains felt like home. In Ecuador, he has focused on three objectives: 1) to promote the husbandry of alpacas, a species he helped reintroduce to the country in 1985; 2) to encourage habitat conservation, principally through the activities of FCT; and 3) to understand the origins and ecology of grass páramos, the savanna-like vegetation above tree line in the tropical Andes. With his wife, Patricia Espadero, Stuart manages the Mazar Wildlife Reserve, an 1800-hectare property dedicated to protecting its intact wild fauna. A small portion of the property is pasture, on which Stuart and Patricia raise alpacas. Stuart teaches a field course in alpaca husbandry and another in páramo ecology for the University of Vermont, where he is an adjunct assistant professor.

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