ARC’s Canadian team consists entirely of volunteers – none of us receive any monetary compensation. In Peru, we have several volunteers and one paid staff member, our Executive Director, Jhin Solis, who spent many years volunteering in this role until ARC had the funds to offer him a salary.
Jana Bell (Honors B.A., Queen’s University) spent many years working in the corporate world as a Human Resources Advisor. However, her life path took a different turn after she visited the Peruvian Amazon in 2011 and returned to Canada feeling an overwhelming call to directly address the deforestation and destruction of that magical place. In 2012 she founded Amazon Rainforest Conservancy (ARC) and its Peruvian sister organization (PARC). With these two organizations, Jana hopes to bring an integrated approach to conservation that preserves the natural habitat and species of the area and also contributes to a sustainable livelihood for the indigenous inhabitants.
Charlotte Stitt has been with ARC since almost the very beginning and helped put together the documentary that convinced the Canadian federal government to issue ARC its charitable status. Charlotte studied broadcasting in Toronto on a scholarship, and currently works as an editor for The Weather Network where she collaborates with the meteorologists, on-air talent and producers to create a daily production that millions of viewers worldwide rely on for accurate weather forecasts. Charlotte recently visited the rainforest in Panama and experienced its magic first hand. She has a passion for animals, spending as much time as she can with her horse.
Guy Crittenden (Honors B.A., University of Toronto) is an independent journalist who specializes in environmental themes and advocates for the rights of indigenous people everywhere. In 2014 he left a 25-year career as editor of two top Canadian environmental business publications in order to heed the call to direct activism after a life-changing journey to the Peruvian Amazon where he experienced the natural creatures and fauna and also interacted with mestizo shamans. Over the course of his career, Guy has won 14 Kenneth R. Wilson Awards for excellence in business journalism, including the gold prizes for Best Editorial and Best Feature article. Going forward he hopes to use his research and communication skills to give voice to the animals and people who have none in our technocratic society.
Dan Cleland (MA from Royal Roads University, Intercultural and International Communications) is a serial social entrepreneur in tourism and holistic healing as well as an author and media producer. He’s founded two unique shamanic healing centers in Peru and Costa Rica, authored the book Pulse of the Jungle: Ayahuasca, Adventures and Social Enterprise in the Amazon, produced two documentaries; Drinking the Jungle (2014) and The Plant Teacher (2018), and hosts the podcast The Daniel Cleland Experience. He speaks three languages, has traveled 30+ countries all over the world and believes in supporting sustainability initiatives, such as the work being done by ARC.
Jhin Solis was born and raised in Tambopata, Madre de Dios, Peru. As a boy, he would travel with his father who was the head of the gold miners in Puerto Maldonado. Jhin saw first hand how the rainforest was being transformed first by artisanal gold mining and then later (after machinery arrived) mass deforestation and destruction. He wanted to make a difference so after high school he spent four years at Senati studying to become a tour guide. Jhin has worked for several non-governmental organizations as a research assistant in the fields of herpeto-fauna, mammals, macaws, and wild dogs. He worked as a rainforest tour guide for many years before moving to New York to work as a lab technician at The Feinsteins Institute for Medical Research. Now, he has returned to Tambopata so he can work at his passion – protecting the rainforest and its creatures.
Carlos Peña (M.A., La Molina University) leads a group that organizes Amazon rainforest expeditions, and also coordinates sustainable management activities in the Madre de Dios region with local people, public organizations and private companies. Carlos has been a tour guide and natural resource management consultant, and has also done environmental interpretation and sports promotion work, working with recognized organizations in Madre de Dios. Carlos holds a degree in Tourism Business Administration from the Universidad San Ignacio de Loyola, and a Master’s degree in Ecotourism from the La Molina University (UNALM). At the same time, Carlos is a researcher and professor at the Faculty of Ecotourism in the Amazon National University of Madre de Dios (UNAMAD), and is likely the only team member who knows all the departments of Peru! In his spare time he enjoys kayaking and cross-country biking through remote routes in Madre de Dios.
Patrick Champagne (Honors B.Sc., Acadia University) completed his undergraduate thesis on the abundance, density and distribution of Schneider’s Smooth Fronted Caiman (Paleosuchus trigonatus) in the Madre de Dios region of Peru. During his undergraduate degree, Patrick conducted over 20 months of field experience in the Peruvian Amazon. Patrick’s specialty is herpetology; however, he has conducted rapid assessments in the region. This includes exploration work and inventory analysis of avian, mammal, amphibian and reptile biodiversity. His recent work in the region has been predominantly consulting for ecotourism and conservation organizations as well as being a guide/naturalist for Tamandua expeditions. Patrick has worked on projects throughout the region including the Bajajua Sonene Reserve, Tambopata National reserve, the Pampas del Heath, the Huascar River, Los Amigos river, CICRA, and the Malownawski River. However, it is the Las Piedras River that he calls home outside of Canada.
Dylan Singer is a Herpetologist that has been working in the Tambopata, Las Piedras, and Madre de Dios river basins for the past 3 years. In the past his studies have focused on Mark/Recapture projects with caiman, baseline assessment of herpetological communities, and the ecology of serpents. As the Herpetological Research Coordinator of Fauna Forever, he carried out various successful projects such as the mapping of caiman distribution in relation to ecotourism and native communities, a study of anuran reproduction within Guadua sp. Bamboo, and raising small colonies of tadpoles and metamorphs in the field to study their development. As the cofounder of Centro Biologico Tambopata, he is currently working to establish a dedicated research center in the Upper Tambopata. He is passionate about the protection and restoration of true wilderness and the conservation of biodiversity at all levels.
Dany Granados (B.A., San Martin de Porres University) was born and raised in Puerto Maldonado. He moved to Lima, Peru after completing high school where he studied Tourism and Hotel Management. He spent many years working for IRTP (PERU- National TV) in the audio-visual area, TV production and as a cameraman during which time he had the opportunity to see the sad reality of what is occurring in the Peruvian rainforest. Dany has returned to his roots in Puerto Maldonado and is the founder of Amazon Green Heart, a project that is developing a concession for ecotourism and conservation.
Edward W. Osowski
Ed Osowski (Ph.D., Penn State University) is a history professor at John Abbott College in Montreal. He has published two books and several articles in Mexican history. He started spending extended periods of time in Latin America while researching indigenous culture under colonial rule as a Fulbright scholar in Mexico. While hiking in some of the last remnants of the coastal Atlantic rainforest of Brazil in 2002, Ed first witnessed the devastating consequences of long-term historical exploitation of the environment.
Shaun MacIntosh (BSc., Acadia University. AdvDip., Centre of Geographic Sciences) is a Geospatial Engineer specializing in UAV applications for industrial surveying and asset management. Shaun grew up on the East Coast of Canada where his spare time was fully entrenched in the exploration of the outdoors. This love for nature and adventure pushed him to travel to the Madre De Dios region for the first time in 2015. Working within the Tambopata National Reserve, Shaun assisted in data collection for a rapid faunal assessment of the reserve. Following the month and a half spent within the reserve Shaun returned to Canada with a complete admiration for the beautiful yet unforgiving landscape of the Amazon. In 2016, Shaun was provided an educational opportunity to collaborate with ARC and return to Peru in which he promptly jumped at the chance. Moving forward Shaun hopes to integrate his education of remotely sensed data and ecological concepts for application in the fields of research and conservation.
Melanie Desch is a Conservation Biologist that has worked at the Las Piedras River for the past 4 years. A SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry graduate, she has spent the last few years studying mycology via DNA-sequencing in Ecuador and native fungi cultivation in Peru. During her time in Las Piedras, Melanie has cofounded a successful agroforestry initiative, spent years working on local cacao agriculture (including a large biochar initiative), and helped manage sustainable construction projects along the Las Piedras river. She currently works as a manager at the Las Piedras Amazon Center and is an International Living Future Institute ambassador. She has a passion for protecting the Las Piedras watershed and encountering realistic, long-term solutions to conservation issues in the region.