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OUR VISION

TO BE LEADERS AND STEWARDS LOCALLY AND INTERNATIONALLY IN WILDLIFE CONSERVATION THROUGH EXCEPTIONAL EDUCATIONAL EXPERIENCES AND PROGRAMS

HOW CAN YOU HELP?
DR. VANESSA BÉZY, Ph.D.
Founder & Director

Vanessa has been studying sea turtles and the arribada phenomenon at Ostional for over ten years. She is a National Geographic Explorer who strongly advocates for the protection of sea turtles at Ostional National Wildlife Refuge. Through her involvement with the local community, Vanessa has helped form alliances between the tourism sector and the Refuge, provided scientific data to support wildlife conservation policies, and established a non-profit dedicated to sea turtle and wildlife conservation in the area. Integrating scientific research into the lives of local communities and visiting travelers is important to her, as she believes it is fundamental to inspiring the behavioral change needed to protect our planet.

FRANCHESKA GUERRERO
Marketing Director 

Francheska is committed to wildlife and environmental conservation. She leverages marketing strategy and tactics to cultivate greater community engagement and outreach for audiences and constituents in the NGO, Health, Education, and FinTech market sectors. She creates engaging storytelling experiences for the WCA's core audiences and the greater Nosara community. Francheska combines high level brand experience, compelling messaging, and top-of-mind-awareness amplification to foster WCA brand loyalty and engagement. Her work with the WCA centers around showcasing the organization's programs and initiatives to empower the community as WCA Changemakers, Trailblazers, and Sustainable Stewards.

FRANNY SUAREZ
Social Media & Blog Manager

With experience in Communications Strategy, Community Engagement, Environmental Conservation and Public Relations, Franny’s done a bit of everything. The majority of her experience lies in creating stories and strategies to inform Philanthropic campaigns. Her work with the WCA centers around showcasing the organization's rich programming, critical environmental and marine conservation efforts in the area. Franny has directly experienced the impacts of industrial growth in Nosara and its effects on the natural environment, and is dedicated to helping to further the WCA’s important work. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in International Politics and Economics from Middlebury College.

OUR CORE TEAM
President
Vanessa Bézy, Ph.D. Conservation Biologist,
Wildlife Conservation 
Association
Vice President
Roberto Quirós
Biologist & Professor,
Del Mar Academy
Secretary
Steve Mack
Executive Director,
Guanacaste Community Fund
Treasurer
Jane Sabin-Davis
Retired,
Non-profit consultant
Marketing Advisor
Franny Suarez
Account Associate, 
Brew Advisors
Stakeholder Analysis
Gabriel Coronado
Co-Founder and Manager, 
Synergy Action Consultants
Organizational Development
Nice Alterman
Organizational Development
Consulting, California Consortium of Education Foundations
Government Relations
Emel Rodriguez
Director of Forestry Programs and Biological Corridors, ACT, SINAC
Community Relations
Ethel Araya
Community Projection & Sustainability Manager,  Harmony Projects
Educational Programming
Jessica Sheffield
Co-founder and Director of 
Sustainability, Del Mar Academy
Educational Programming
Michelle Libby
Founder and President, 
Earth Equilibrium
Community Service and Tourism
Jennifer Simmons
Founder and President, Conocer Harmony Projects
Real Estate Advisor
Nathaniel Jackson
Realtor, Wanderlust Realty
FOUNDING MEMBERS & PARTNERS
Founder & Director
Vanessa Bézy, Ph.D.
Conservation Biologist
Campaign Advisor
Jennifer Thurman
Director of Development,
Oklahoma Contemporary
Business Advisor
Michel Bézy, Ph.D.
Professor and Associate Director, Carnegie Mellon University-Africa
FISCAL SPONSORS

THE HISTORY OF THE WILDLIFE CONSERVATION ASSOCIATION

TortuGuiones: Our Legacy Organization
Fifteen years ago, our founder Vanessa Bézy came to Costa Rica for the first time on a study abroad experience that ignited her passion for wildlife conservation. Her work with various sea turtle conservation projects made her realize she wanted to devote her life to the protection of this species. Years later, when she was conducting her Ph.D. research on sea turtles at the Ostional National Wildlife Refuge, she founded our legacy organization TortuGuiones, for which she quickly became known as “the turtle lady” in town.

2015: Developing Sustainable Tourism and Wildlife Conservation Initiatives

The increasing interest the area gained as a tourism destination brought masses of tourists onto the beach in September 2015, disrupting nesting sea turtles in an event covered by international media. Something needed to be done on a broader scope to protect sea turtles at this site. After reaching out to colleagues and looking at examples of sustainable tourism and successful conservation initiatives around the world, Vanessa came up with a plan to develop programming and generate revenue for conservation in the area.

2018: Wildlife Conservation Association

As a result, TortuGuiones grew into a larger initiative to protect all wildlife by and for the community. The Wildlife Conservation Association was established in 2018 as a non-profit organization dedicated to inspiring sustainable living through research, community engagement, and immersive educational experiences. Since then, many collaborating partners and individuals have joined the cause, making what was once only a dream a reality that many other community members and organizations have embraced.

Our Future: The Ostional Nosara Sustainability Campus

Our ambition goes further. The initiative to establish the Ostional Nosara Sustainability Campus is the result of a collaboration between the WCA, the Nosara Civic Association and the Ostional National Wildlife Refuge. Our goal is to create a campus of an integrated system of spaces that help make the refuge's natural capital profitable to promote the construction of a resilient community in balance with nature. Following many other successful examples around the world, we want to establish the Ostional Nosara Sustainability Campus which will fulfill the social, economic, and environmental needs of the Ostional National Wildlife Refuge and surrounding communities. This initiative will enable and strengthen the existing participatory conservation model by promoting collaborative initiatives for sustainable development in the area. The Ostional Nosara Sustainability Campus will provide shared space and facilities for research and local organizations; immersive educational and community programming; mobility solutions to connect Campus sites; sustainable design, construction, and operation. 

Tax-deductible donations can be made in Costa Rica, the United States, and Canada through our fiscal sponsorships with the Guanacaste Community Fund, Amigos of Costa Rica, and the International Canadian Fund for Conservation.
COLLABORATING
PARTNERS
The Wildlife Conservation Association works in close collaboration with individuals and organizations who share our mission and empower us by offering monetary or in-kind support.

Dr. Vanessa Bézy during her PhD research in 2017 with an Arribada at Ostional National Wildlife Refuge.

Steve Mack, Executive Director of the Guanacaste Community Fund