Ernest was born and Raised in Colombia. He received a Master's Degree in Conservation Biology from the University of British Columbia. He now works as an Environmental Consultant addressing terrestrial wildlife species, habitat, and conservation. Ernest moves back and forth from his hometown in British Columbia to Colombia. Ernest has been birdwatching since 1997 and has birded in Canada, United States, Costa Rica, and of course Colombia. Ernest founded Colombia Wild Ecotours to promote environmentally sustainable ecotourism in Colombia and to support local communities that protect their natural resources.
Chris was born and raised in Colombia and received a degree in Natural Resources Planning from Humboldt State University. He has worked as an environmental consultant in the Pacific Northwest and specializes in wetland science, environmental restoration, botany and environmental education. Chris lives part of the year in Cali, Colombia, and part of the year in Oregon. He has been birdwatching in Colombia and leading tours since 2008. He is one of our tour leaders and the designated photographer extraordinaire.
Sergio a native Manizaleño, has a degree in Zoology from the University of Caldas. He's currently the Director of the Gabriel Arango Restrepo Ecological Foundation. Aside from being a researcher and avid birder, he is one of the founding members of the Colombian Association of Ornitholology and the National Network of Colombian Birwatchers. As such, he has been instrumental in the promotion of avian studies and avian habitat conservation. Sergio is also actively involved in educating local children about the values of land stewardship.
Carlos Mario was born in Cali and is a zoologist out of National University. He's the tour leader for Mapalina Birding Trails, a conservation non-profit organization that trains local youth and teaches the skills necessary to guide birding groups. He has spent the past 10 years working on bird conservation projects throughout southwest Colombia, but concentrates his efforts in the Farallones National Park and the IBA San Antonio Forest where he grew up. Carlos Mario is also a key member of the Jaguar Corridor initiative spearheaded by Panthera, a wild cat conservation group. He is an exceptional guide with superb bird identification skills.
Johnnier was born in El Cairo, one of our tour destinations. He currently is the Community Environmental Stewardship Representative for Serraniaguas Corporation. Serraniaguas' mission is to promote sustainable land use management practices and protect important habitats along the western slopes of the west Andes. In addition to being a bird guide for the past few years, he's also busy educating children about responsible land use and the wonders of birding. Johnnier also contributes to environmental planning of Natural Reserves to protect endangered and endemic species that he will proudly show us. He is also involved in the improvement of tourism infrastructure of his hometown. His English has come a long way and he will practice it as much as he can with us.
Diana was born in Bogota and has lived there most of her life. She studied journalism and obtained a Master's degree in visual arts from the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México. She has been birding for 12 years and is actively involved in promoting avifauna conservation through workshops and environmental journalism. She has also used her journalistic and visual arts skills to publish several children's books and handbooks featuring birds and bird conservation. Diana is extremely dedicated to birdwatching and we are sure to be treated in our travels through the eastern Andes and the eastern plains with her joyful disposition and skills.
Emilio is our partner in Cali. He is an amazing naturalist and explorer dedicated to the conservation of Colombia's rich biodiversity who did his Botanical Studies at the University of Florida. He has traveled through most of Colombia promoting the conservation of private holdings, studying its flora and fauna, and exploring remote natural regions. He is a well rounded naturalist, specializing in... well, everything!!! Mammals, birds, orchids, heliconias, medicinal plants and indigenous cultures; you name it, he will tell you about it. He speaks fluent English and looks forward to welcoming you and showing you the best things Colombia has to offer. By the way, he is also a fantastic photographer. You can check out some of his pictures on his facebook page.