To celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15-October 15), we are taking the opportunity to highlight Latinx leaders working in conservation who inspire us!

Today we get to learn about Miriam Hernandez! We asked her about her career and her experiences as a Latina working in conservation.

Thank you again to the SCBNA team for featuring me in the Hispanic Heritage month profile! It’s an honor to be highlighted. I am the Finance Manager on the Society for Conservation Biology Global Services team and assist with finances and administrative operations of the Society. I am proud to be a Hispanic woman working for the Society and among many colleagues that care about conservation, protecting our planet and its flora and fauna and disseminating conservation practices around the world.

The Latinx community is vast and diverse with passionate people connected and committed to the protection and well-being of our Earth. To be a part of this community means to protect what we cherish and look out for one another. From my upbringing, I was taught that Earth provides everything we need to survive: food, shelter, water. Earth provides life so it is my, and our, purpose to take care of it, to be stewards of the Earth. I love being part of an organization that strives to make a difference in the world whatever way it can and cares about connecting scientists, students and professionals from all countries, backgrounds, beliefs. Everything from ICCBs and webinars to programs and journals, SCB aims to provide as many resources as possible for members. Knowing that I am a piece of the puzzle working to advance conservation efforts makes me feel proud and happy and I hope to be an example to others around me.


Thank you so much to Miriam for sharing with us!

Check out our profiles of other Latinx leaders in conservation who were generous enough to share their stories with us: Mayor Regina RomeroMirna Manteca, and Sergio Avila.

To celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15-October 15), we are taking the opportunity to highlight Latinx leaders working in conservation who inspire us!

Today we are featuring Sergio Avila! We asked him to share about his career path and his experiences as a person of color working in conservation.

Sergio was born in Mexico City (1972) and grew up in Zacatecas, Mexico. He’s an immigrant to the United States, living in Tohono O’odham and Yaqui lands, known as Tucson, Arizona. He was first hired by the University of Arizona in 2004, and became a U.S. Citizen in 2016.  Sergio is a husband, son, brother, uncle and cousin; a trail runner; and an outspoken justice and equity advocate.

Sergio holds a Master’s degree (Arid Ecosystems Management & Wildlife Research) from University of Baja California; and a Bachelor’s in Biology (University of Aguascalientes), both in Mexico. For twenty-five years, Sergio has worked on regional conservation efforts along the U.S.-Mexico borderlands. His varied experience includes living with the Indigenous Tarahumara of the Sierra Madre (1998), and ranching communities of Sonora (2003), which transformed his vision of environmental stewardship and conservation. Avila tracked and studied borderland jaguars and ocelots in the southwest United States and northwest Mexico for 10 years. Two live encounters with jaguars in the mountains of Sonora were life-changing experiences that shaped Sergio’s personal and professional life. He has led efforts to protect Monarch butterflies’ migration, studied Cactus-ferruginous pygmy-owls in the Sonoran Desert, and mountain lion predation on bighorn sheep in Baja California. 

Throughout his career, Sergio has felt invisible, alone, and not represented in the environmental and conservation communities as a person of color, feeling forced to ‘code switch’ and ‘fit in’ in spaces, instead of feeling true belonging. While studying borderland jaguars and monitoring the impacts of border wall construction, Avila became directly aware of U.S. immigration policies and enforcement. Continued racial profiling, harrassement and threats by the U.S. Border Patrol caused Avila to stop jaguar research along the borderlands. Due to personal and professional events like those described above, Sergio left conservation science and now works with the Sierra Club as an advocate for equitable and inclusive outings programs that allow underrepresented communities to enjoy and protect Nature, elevate Traditional Ecological Knowledge, and shine a light to broader engagement opportunities than the typical scientific or recreational interests of the dominating white conservation movement.

Sergio admires Arizona Congressman and Chair of the Natural Resources Committee in U.S. Congress, Raul Grijalva. An inspiring leader, decision-maker and representative who demonstrates that conservation and care for the environment does not require an academic degree, diplomas or publications.


Thank you so much to Sergio for sharing his experiences with us. You can keep up with him by following him on Instagram.

Stay tuned to hear from more Latinx leaders in conservation this month! In case you missed it, check out our last highlights of Mayor Regina Romero and Mirna Manteca.

This National Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15-October 15), we celebrating by highlighting Latinx conservation leaders who inspire us!

Today we introduce you to Mirna Manteca, Mexico Program Road Ecology Coordinator at Wildlands Network. We asked her to share about how her conservation goals have shaped her career and about her experiences as a Latina working in conservation.

I’m Mexico Program Road Ecology Coordinator for Wildlands Network based in Cananea, Sonora, Mexico. I lead the road ecology projects in Sonora, working in research, management, and communications in conjunction with NGOs and government agencies to advocate for the establishment of appropriate mitigation structures in our highways and reconnect our landscapes and wildlife. I’m co-chair of the Latin American and Caribbean Transport Working Group of the IUCN’s Connectivity Conservation Specialist Group, and co-founder and co-director of the Asociación Mujeres y Conservación, a volunteer initiative that aims to empower, highlight, and support women conservationists in Latin America. In my day-to-day work, I try to foster local leadership, whether it be a senior road engineer or a young biology student, I believe there is much power in local community-led conservation.


I feel proud to be a Hispanic conservationist! I’m often asked if I feel afraid or unsafe working and living on the Mexico side of the borderlands, and the truth is the only time I have feared for my safety was during bitter experiences with the Border Patrol on the US side. I might have been a professional conservation scientist doing my job, but I was still judged by my nationality and my color.


In spite of the overwhelming conservation and environmental justice issues all over the world, there is a quote that never ceases to inspire me from Berta Cáceres, a Honduran environmental activist and indigenous leader murdered in 2016: “Juntémonos y sigamos con esperanza defendiendo y cuidando la sangre de la tierra y los espíritus.”


Thank you so much to Mirna for sharing her experiences. To keep up with her work, you can follow her on Instagram: Mirna, Wildlands NetworkLACTWG, and Asociación Mujeres y Conservación.

Stay tuned for more profiles on Latinx in conservation! In case you missed it, check out our last highlight of Mayor Regina Romero.

To celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15-October 15), we are taking the opportunity to highlight Latinx leaders working in conservation who inspire us!

First up, we are fortunate to hear from Regina Romero, the Mayor of Tucson, Arizona. We asked her to share about how her conservation goals have shaped her career and about her experiences as a Latina working in conservation.

As the daughter of immigrant farmworkers who were exposed to extreme heat and pesticides, I have and continue to advocate for climate and environmental justice. For 12 years I represented Tucson’s Ward 1 on the City Council, where I championed water and pristine land conservation policies, advanced infill and transit-oriented development, and supported immigrant and workers’ rights. In November 2019, I became the first woman and first Latina Mayor in Tucson. As Mayor, in addition to keeping Tucsonans safe during the global health crisis, I have also been addressing the climate crisis by declaring a local Climate Emergency that commits Tucson to become a net zero city by 2030.

Latinx have always been conservationists, even if we didn’t always use that title. Our abuelas taught us to use renewable off-the-grid energy to dry our clothes in tendederos, to reuse our yogurt and jam containers, and to plant trees and grow vegetables in our homes. I continue to draw inspiration from my elders and from leaders such as Dolores Huerta, whose work intersects the environmental justice, labor rights and feminist movements. As a woman of color, to me “conservation” means holistically addressing racial, environmental, and other social justice issues.


Thank you so much to Mayor Romero for sharing her experiences with us. Make sure to keep up with her on social media by following her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Stay tuned to hear from more Latinx leaders in conservation this month!

The webinar recording for the sixth in the 2021 SCBNA Student Affairs Webinar Series is now available on the SCB North America YouTube Page. In the sixth installment of the SCBNA 2021 Student Affairs Webinar Series, panelists discussed the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion in conservation practice and research. We are grateful to the following panelists for sharing their research and experiences with us in this webinar: Sheena Talma, Science Programme Manager of Nekton Foundation, and Dr. Paris Stefanoudis, Marine Biologist at the University of Oxford and Nekton Foundation.

Many thanks to the Student Affairs Subcommittee for organizing this wonderful webinar series. All of the recordings in the series are up on the SCB North America YouTube page.

2021 Student Affairs Webinar Series
SCB North America’s Student Affairs Committee is hosting a 2021 webinar series on topics of interest to conservation students, early-career professionals, and others!

The sixth webinar in the series is:

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Conservation Practice & Research

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

7-8 am PT | 10-11 am ET

Join us as we discuss the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion in conservation practice and research with Sheena Talma, Science Programme Manager of Nekton Foundation, and Dr. Paris Stefanoudis, Marine Biologist at the University of Oxford and Nekton Foundation.

Registration is required, please register at this link: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZUoceCqpjstE9IjZkpDH77kPDWnNe5DiE9M

Webinars are available to both SCB members and non-members. Webinars will be recorded and posted to the SCBNA YouTube Page – subscribe so you are notified when new recordings are posted! The first five webinar recordings are now available:

Please contact megan.keville@scbnorthamerica.org with any questions related to the webinar series.

Call for Proposals Is Now Open – Deadline November 5, 2021

Organize your own session for NACCB 2022, taking place July 16-21 at the Silver Legacy in downtown Reno, Nevada.

View criteria and instructions for submitting your workshop, short course, symposium, or interactive session proposal at https://scbnorthamerica.org/index.php/2022-call-for-proposals/. We welcome session proposals of all types that relate to the meeting theme, including and not limited to topics in indigenous-led conservation, early-mid career professional development, education, climate change, human dimensions of conservation, community science, policy, and diversity in conservation leadership.

The Scientific Program will take place July 18 – 20, 2022. Workshops & Short Courses will primarily take place July 16, 17, and 21, 2022, with limited availability for short lunchtime sessions during the Scientific Program.

The SCBNA board and staff are pleased to offer a remote, part-time, 6-month (with option to extend to 12 months) paid communications internship with our Communications Committee. The aim of this position is to increase SCBNA’s capacity to communicate and interact with members and potential members. We seek applicants who have experience and/or education in communications, writing, social media, and/or marketing, as well as education or training in ecology and/or conservation biology. The successful candidate is expected to provide support on SCBNA’s social media accounts, as well as seek new and innovative ways to reach and interact with our diverse membership. Desired content across communication platforms will include updates and announcements, information about our biennial conference, the North American Congress of Conservation Biology (NACCB), and general conservation news and storytelling. The successful applicant may also assist with other communications outreach, such as e-newsletters and website content. Candidates who have experience in updating website content are highly desired. The intern will regularly interact with and gauge the online/communications needs of SCBNA members, will report directly to the Communications Committee Chair  and Director of Operations, and may collaborate with other Communications Committee members. Regular meetings and communications with these parties will be required. 

DESIRED QUALIFICATIONS:  

  • Knowledge and experience with digital communication tools, including social media platforms 
  • Interest, education, and/or training in ecology and conservation biology 
  • Strong written and verbal communication skills 
  • Experience with graphic design, photography, and web-based design programs 
  • Creativity in communicating content in effective and unique ways 
  • Commitment to and experience with Diversity, Equity & Inclusion initiatives in conservation or related fields

TIME COMMITMENT: Five (5) to eight (8) hours a week for six (6) months with an option to extend to twelve (12) months with target start date in October 2021

COMPENSATION: $20 an hour, estimated 5-8 hours per week  

APPLICATION PROCEDURE: Applicants should submit the following application materials electronically in a single pdf document to be considered for this position: Resume, cover letter, and names and contact information for two (2) references.  

To apply, please email your application to Communications Committee Chair, Lauren Jonaitis, jonaitislauren@gmail.com.

Review of applications will begin September 13, 2021. Applications will be considered until the position is filled. Inquiries about the position should be directed via email to Lauren Jonaitis. The anticipated approximate start date for the internship is October 2021.

SCBNA is committed to increasing equity and inclusion within the field of conservation biology and in its board and staff members. To this end, SCBNA has an Equity, Inclusion, and Diversity Officer on the board and an Equity, Inclusion, and Diversity Committee. We offer grants to attend congresses, follow best practices in conference  design (including such things as gender neutral bathrooms, providing a private place for nursing or other needs, providing sign language interpreters, etc.), run sessions on equity and inclusion at congresses, and are currently working on an Allyship program to increase the effectiveness of allies in addressing equity issues in the field of conservation. We recognize that this work will never be complete and we are committed to continually evaluating and improving our equity and inclusion work. 

SCBNA is an Equal Opportunity Employer advancing inclusive excellence. All qualified applicants will receive consideration without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability, age, protected veteran status, or other protected categories. 

The Hawaiʻi Chapter of the Society for Conservation Biology (HISCB) organized “Restoring the Mind & Body Through Aloha ʻĀina,” a series of four volunteer workdays from March through May 2021. Forty-six volunteers worked to make improvements to the local wetland and coastal areas and were given the opportunity to restore mental well-being through the natural environment, connect with like-minded individuals, and learn to identify native and invasive species.

The volunteer activities, which included removing invasive plants, out-planting native species, and mulching, benefited two local community-based conservation organizations, Kākoʻo ʻŌiwi and Mālama Loko Ea. Kākoʻo ʻŌiwi focuses on restoring agricultural and ecological productivity to wetlands on the island of Oʻahu and promoting the social and economic advancement of the local community. Mālama Loko Ea focuses on the restoration of Loko Ea, a 400-year-old loko i’a (fishpond) in Hale’iwa, Hawai’i.

To learn more about the Hawai’i Chapter and get involved with upcoming events, visit their website and follow them on Facebook or Twitter. To find a chapter near you or learn about starting your own chapter, visit the North America Chapters website.

The webinar recording for the fifth in the 2021 SCBNA Student Affairs Webinar Series is now available on the SCB North America YouTube Page. Incorporating social science into practice and research is vital for improving conservation outcomes. In the fifth installment of the SCBNA 2021 Student Affairs Webinar Series, panelists discussed the intersection of conservation and social science. We are grateful to the following panelists for sharing their research and experiences with us in this webinar: Dr. Arundhati Jagadish, Social Scientist at Conservation International, and Dr. Meredith Gore, Conservation Social Scientist at the University of Maryland.

This was the final webinar before a summer break in the series. Many thanks to the Student Affairs Subcommittee for organizing this wonderful webinar series. All of the recordings in the series are up on the SCB North America YouTube page.

Planning is underway for a fall webinar on Equity and Inclusion in Conservation and Research – stay tuned for more information over the summer!