Protecting rainforests at the local and global levels to end deforestation by 2030.

Founded in 2007, Rainforest Partnership addresses the challenge of deforestation by centering the needs and rights of those on the frontlines of rainforest protection—Indigenous and local communities.

From implementing conservation projects on the ground with rainforest communities to bringing the world together on World Rainforest Day-- Rainforest Partnership protects standing forests both from the ground up and the top down.

December 2007
Rainforest Partnership is founded

The idea for Rainforest Partnership crystallized in 2007 after conducting extensive research and holding in-depth conversations with about 200 people. This inspiration became a collective vision and now RP has dedicated teams and partners in Texas, Peru, Mexico, Ecuador, Colombia and elsewhere with a common goal of fulfilling RP’s mission to protect tropical rainforests.
A lake from the rainforest.
November 2008
First project funded in Peru

We successfully partnered with the community of Chipaota in the Peruvian Amazon conserving 9,000 acres by creating a plan to sustainably harvest the piassaba palm fiber - the community’s principal economic asset.
Foggy morning in the rainforest
May 2010
Films for the Forest competition launched and screened

Films For the Forest (F3) is a global short film competition that strives, through the powerful medium of film, to create awareness about the importance of tropical rainforests and the ongoing threats faced by forests and their communities
Films for the forest event poster.
June 2017
World Rainforest Day launched

World Rainforest Day was created in 2017 to celebrate the importance and diversity of rainforests, foster a sense of shared, global responsibility and stewardship, and ignite collective action to protect tropical rainforests around the world.
Mayor of Austin and the RP team.
June 2020
Gen Z for the Trees

Gen Z for the Trees (Z4T) is a youth-oriented and entirely youth-led initiative with a bold mission: engage youth on rainforest protection, overcome the oversimplification of conservation work, and shift the narrative on climate change from despair to optimism and action.
Gen Z for the Trees team.
November 2021
Rainforest Collective

Convened and organized by Rainforest Partnership, Rainforest Collective brings together rainforest-focused and forest-supporting organizations, communities, leaders, and industries around the world in a bold, global collaboration for urgent, sweeping rainforest protection.
Niyanta Spelman moderating a panel at the 2022 World Biodiversity Summit.
August 2022
Rainforest Partnership Publishing launched

RP Publishing creates and shares original publications designed to educate and inspire audiences, foster dialogue, and build critical pathways to rainforest conservation.

Our global team is our most powerful form of capital.


We bring together volunteers, interns, employees, contractors,  pro bono experts, and partners around the world, creating a pool of wealth designed for resilience.

Our role as convener of this wide network makes us nimble, creative, strategic, and bold. 

The multitude of backgrounds, voices, talents, and resources each of our team members brings comes together to form a powerful collective mosaic of rainforest partners.

World map of volunteers.

Our team

Niyanta Spelman
Niyanta Spelman
Founder and CEO

Niyanta founded Rainforest Partnership in 2007 with a clear vision for achieving ground-up and global-scale rainforest conservation that can provide the sweeping and rapid impact we need to protect biodiversity, sustain thriving rainforest communities, support a balanced climate, and ensure a livable planet for all. Prior to founding Rainforest Partnership, she worked at the first lobbying firm in London, led a management consultancy, and worked with Texas environmental agencies as part of a legislative agency.

Fanny Cornejo
Fanny Cornejo
Country Director, Peru

A biologist, anthropologist, and conservationist, Fanny has led multiple research and conservation projects focused on endemic species and their habitats within the Tropical Andes, Amazonia, and the Pacific Tropical Forests. In 2008, she helped create the Peruvian NGO Yunkawasi, where her actions have focused on the largest endemic vertebrate of Peru, the critically endangered yellow-tailed woolly monkey, and involved the creation of community-owned protected areas, conservation education programs, and sustainable development of rural communities.

Beth Caplan
Beth Caplan
Chief Strategy Officer

Beth works with the CEO and leadership team to design and implement strategies across the organization: from top-level strategies such as vision and mission; to the operational strategies that inform campaigns, partnerships, messaging, and initiatives. A professional analyst and strategist, her 30 + years of experience are rooted in a two-decade career at NASA’s Johnson Space Center, before moving to the nonprofit sphere. Beth has been part of Rainforest Partnership since inception, first as a strategic planner, later as strategic advisor.

Carlos Tello
Carlos Tello
Administrator, Peru

Carlos has extensive experience working on conservation projects with various species of mammals, working with rural communities, and conducting outreach. As administrator and biologist, he helps consolidate the institutional and functional impact of RP’s presence in Peru. He has been studying small mammals since 2002 and is passionate about working with bat species across his native country of Peru.

Mónica Alzamora
Mónica Alzamora
Conservation Director, Peru

Monica is a biologist with wide-ranging experience in various ecosystems of Peru, including montane forests, paramos, and coastal marine ecosystems. Her experience spans almost 20 years working on conservation science and collaborating with regional governments for conservation policy across Peru. She guides the Rainforest Partnership team by working with government agencies and assessing involvement with various protected areas. She holds an MS in Integral Management of Hydrographic Basins from Universidad Nacional Agraria La Molina.

Nabeel Vira
Nabeel Vira
Chief Business Officer

Nabeel applies his experience as a former Business Analyst, Quality Assurance Tester, and Structured Query Language (SQL) Developer to contribute to the growth, operational performance, and impact of Rainforest Partnership. He started volunteering with Rainforest Partnership in 2018, and since then has worked to support its mission, staff, and volunteers. He lives in Austin, Texas.

Anne Hebert
Anne Hebert
Marketing and Communications Advisor

Anne Hebert is an independent marketing strategist with more than 25 years of experience. She has worked with companies, organizations, and individuals in dozens of sectors, creating strategy and content to help them effectively deliver their messages and define their brands. Her specialties include marketing and content strategy, message development, marketing and business communications, social media strategy, influencer/partner relations and community activation. She lives in Austin, Texas and joined the Rainforest Partnership team in 2022.

Susan Savkov
Susan Savkov
Communications and Marketing Coordinator

Susan is a creative strategist with extensive expertise in developing integrated multi-channel marketing automation, branding and content campaigns and has a passion for results-oriented, data-driven marketing. She is a a dreamer but also a doer creating positive user experiences grounded in visual design, storytelling, and data analysis to achieve effective business outcomes through empathy for the user.

Raina Chinitz
Raina Chinitz
Ecuador and Mexico Projects Coordinator

Raina joined the RP team after graduating from Amherst College with degrees in Geology and English. She currently lives in Salinas on the coast of Ecuador. Raina’s background in political ecology, environmental justice, writing, and earth science brings a nuanced perspective to her work and a dedication to the power of language. She feels very lucky to have found an organization in which she believes fully and deeply, and work that involves some of her all-time favorite things: trees, sustainable food systems, monkeys, birds, geology, and environmental justice.

Geovanny Siquihua
Geovanny Siquihua
Ecuador Project Coordinator

As a self-described “disillusioned GenZer”, Rainforest Partnership gave Geovanny the gift of hope. “I have learned how to hope in a way that is imperfect — honest, real, and grounded in action. I am humbled and energized by our vision and impact and feel grateful to the RP team for showing me that no matter the challenges and stakes, this work can and should be done with joy.”

Senaida Cerda
Senaida Cerda
Project Coordinator, Ecuador

Senaida is a Kichwa woman of the Ecuadorian Amazon, a cultural activist and founder of Yuramuyo, a project which empowers Amazonian women to protect ancestral knowledge and to support themselves and their families through sustainable agriculture and traditional artisanship, benefiting from the abundant resources provided by forests, the earth, and pachamama (Mother Earth). She coordinates Rainforest Partnership’s projects in Ecuador, working directly with communities along the Rio Napo.

Amalia Llano
Amalia Llano
Director of Education and Research

Amalia is a Colombian biologist who is passionate about rainforest ecology and conservation. As director of education and research, she works with a team of dedicated interns and volunteers to create engaging educational content about the world's most valuable rainforests. Curious by nature, she devotes her time to understanding how to harmonize the interactions between humans and natural ecosystems, particularly rainforests. She likes to spend her free time drawing and tattooing.

Nia Gorbunova
Nia Gorbunova
World Rainforest Day Coordinator

Nia’s work focuses on ensuring that global action for forests matches the urgency of the moment. She leads World Rainforest Day events and programs, including the Global Summit, and manages the partner network, facilitating connections and collaboration to drive resilient rainforest protection. Nia has been part of the World Rainforest Day team since 2020; in 2021, she helped launch the Global Summit. She is from Tbilisi, Georgia.

Andrea Builes Vélez
Andrea Builes Vélez
Films for the Forest

Andrea leads strategy and implementation of Films for the Forest, RP’s forest-focused annual juried short film competition, and Music for the Forest, a new initiative to inspire and raise awareness about forests and climate change through the power of music. As a professional biologist, she has experience in the field of science communication within museums and the creation and management of strategies for audience engagement in educational and cultural environments.

Roshan Khan
Roshan Khan
Gen Z for the Trees Co- Coordinator

As the leader of Gen Z for the Trees, Rosie organizes a team of youth in working on global digital engagement, shifting the narrative on climate change, and researching the drivers of deforestation. “Rainforest Partnership has opened so many doors for me to meet incredible people, work on causes that mean the world to me, and learn more about my future career path.”

Hana Hussaini
Hana Hussaini
Gen Z for the Trees Outreach

Hana is the Gen Z for the Trees Media & Outreach Lead. She joined Rainforest Partnership because she wanted to be involved in educating consumers around the globe about deforestation and how they can make a difference. Hussaini got involved with climate activism when she joined a climate action group at her high school. At Rainforest Partnership, she works alongside the research teams, aiming to make climate action accessible to all consumers, especially youth.

Jamie Ziah
Jamie Ziah
Gen Z for the Trees Co-Coordinator

Jamie is passionate about finding ways to use her knowledge and leadership skills to make social, economical, and political changes for the environment. She is currently working for her MPA with a focus on Environmental Policy at University of Washington in Seattle.

Rosa Gordillo
Rosa Gordillo
Project Coordinator, Peru

Rosa is an anthropologist with a degree from the Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos in Peru. She has experience working with indigenous and farming communities concerning productivity activities, community organizing, and conservation. She is a founding member of the Cuencas Association (Asociación Cuencas – Red de Asuntos Amazónicos), an institution that links academia and research with indigenous communities.

Angélica Camargo Flórez
Angélica Camargo Flórez
Communications Coordinator

Angélica is responsible for Rainforest Partnership’s internal and external communications strategies, working with team members across the countries in which Rainforest Partnership has a presence. She holds an MFA in Public Art and New Artistic Strategies from the Bauhaus-Universität Weimar, Germany with a background in Fine Arts, and she has more than 10 years of experience in community service connected to the environment, conservation, and education. She has been part of Rainforest Partnership since 2021.

Kim Chua
Kim Chua
Graphic Designer

Kim engages with change makers who make an impact on causes I believe need to be amplified, need to be at the forefront of digital platforms, and need to be captivated by the usual passive onlooker. She translates their empowerment and strategic efforts into accessible products for measurable success. Thoughtful strategy is powerful with mindful delivery.

Rick Baraff
Rick Baraff
Creative Consultant and Videographer

Rick is a uniquely experienced storyteller and creative content pro. He’s written feature film scripts, dangled from helicopters on extreme TV shoots, been chased by people with machetes while filming documentaries, attended ad school, worked at top Hollywood agencies and production companies, and now collaborates with impact-making nonprofits like Rainforest Partnership, 4DWN Project, Restorative Farms, EarthX, and more in order to be the change he wishes to see in the world. His forte is crafting positive, engaging content that inspires audiences to action.

Pablo Venegas
Pablo Venegas
Herpetologist

With a keen interest in amphibians and reptiles since the age of four, Pablo grew up in a town on the northern coast of Peru searching for snakes and lizards in the desert after school. Pablo has participated as a herpetologist in several biological assessments and expeditions. So far, he has published more than 60 scientific papers on taxonomy and systematics of amphibians and reptiles, and discovered several new species of frogs and lizards.

Luther vom Eigen
Luther vom Eigen
Operations and Program Associate

Luther, now living in Boston, has been working at Rainforest Partnership since the beginning of 2022 as an Executive Assistant to the CEO while also coordinating one of its new Global Initiatives, Rainforest Partnership Publishing, and completed a professional certificate in Geographic Information Systems and Data Communication from the University of Vermont. He has a B.A. from Boston College majoring in International Studies with a concentration in Global Environmental Issues.

Deny Majikina
Deny Majikina
Executive Assistant to CEO

Deny works with our CEO to maximize her productivity during key events and critical global conversations including WEF, DLD, CWNY, COP27, etc. She supports various projects such as World Rainforest Day, Films for the Forests, fundraising, and communications. Deny has worked in various fields, including architecture, real estate, business administration, and education. She’s also volunteered in various NGOs working in sustainable development, ocean conservation, animal welfare, social justice, natural disasters, and art.

Linda Bergmann
Linda Bergmann
Accountant

Linda worked for the State of Texas as a manager and accountant at several state agencies for 21 years. The mission of Rainforest Partnership is dear to her heart, and she began volunteering her skills as the organization’s accountant in 2013. She also works with other non-profits and enjoys gardening, traveling, and spending time with her grandchildren.

Kevin López
Kevin López
Specialist in Productive Projects

Kevin, an agricultural technician, has worked since 2015 as a field extensionist in the central jungle, with agricultural cooperatives and native communities. A native of the district of Villa Rica of the Province of Oxapampa of the Pasco Region, he has ancestors from the Yanesha Indigenous People. Since the pandemic, he has been living in the Amazonas Region of Peru, working for Rainforest Partnership and supporting partners in developing various sustainable agricultural activities. He greatly values and loves nature.

Tadzio Mac Gregor Schnider
Tadzio Mac Gregor Schnider
Global Engagement Head of Partnerships

Tadzio, passionate about storytelling and coalition building, has experience working on sustainability projects in Mexico, Venezuela, Indonesia, Nicaragua, France, and Brazil. He is co-founder of The Javari Project, working in of the most remote and environmentally pristine areas of the world. He previously worked for The WaterBear Network and Off the Fence, securing partnerships with international organizations, co-creating video content and promoting impact campaigns. He worked for France Télévisions, Shine Productions, and Mantarraya Productions creating environmental impact productions.

Karo Carvajal
Karo Carvajal
Communications Support, Peru

Originally from Córdoba Veracruz, Karo strengthens RP’s communications, applying her expertise in marketing, visual communications, and publishing. With degrees in marketing, documentary photography, and science communication, her work focuses on scientific dissemination from graphic methodologies, such as illustration, photography, graphic design, and publishing.

Yonel Villegas
Yonel Villegas
Consultant in Productive Projects

Yonel is an agricultural engineer with expertise in consensus building and social welfare, focused on justice and progress to a society with gender equality and opportunities under a sustainable development model. He graduated in 2013 from the National University of Cajamarca. He is a native and resident of the district of Florida province of Bongara Amazonas Region - Peru.

Josue Maluquis
Josue Maluquis
Project Assistant

Josue is from San Andres, province of Cutervo, Cajamarca Region. After pursuing studies in Lima, he returned to his hometown, and with the support of family and friends became the director of the rural community of Yambrasbamba, with the role of secretary from 2015 to 2016. As project assistant at Rainforest Partnership, he supports sustainable livelihoods for families living close to the National Protected Area (ANP) through different productive projects dedicated to environmental conservation.

Giancarlo Espinoza
Giancarlo Espinoza
Communications Specialist

Giancarlo works with the Rainforest Partnership communications team, producing and editing audiovisual material for various projects. He studied at the National University of San Marcos (UNMSM) and also pursued studies in cinematography at EPIC. He has experience in audiovisual content production at UNI and the San Marcos Cultural Center. He is a part of the programming team of the University Film Festival Render and winner of a project in 2020 and 2021 from the Ministry of Culture in the Cultural Management category.

Mac Quintanilla
Mac Quintanilla
Conservation Specialist

Mac holds a Professional of Engineering degree in Renewable Natural Resources from the Universidad Nacional Agraria de la Selva - Peru, with experience in protected areas of the coast, highlands and jungle. He has worked with native communities and the private sector in sustainable development projects, with experience conducting studies of diversity of flora and fauna. He is also an active promoter of tourism in bird watching, coordinator of the observers’ club "Avistando Tingo" and a nature photographer.

Rosario Santiago
Rosario Santiago
Community Specialist

Rosario is a social anthropologist with a passion for biodiversity conservation, which has allowed her to recognize the close link that communities maintain with nature. She strongly believes that her professional contribution in education strengthens that link, as well as people’s commitment to conserve biodiversity, by promoting responsible actions from a very early age and ensuring sustainable development.

Katelynn Rivera
Katelynn Rivera
Recruitment Coordinator

Katelynn is originally from El Paso, Texas and made the big move to Austin in 2017. Since beginning her education at the University of Texas at Austin she joined the Longhorn Band, a service sorority called Tau Beta Sigma, as well as Hispanic Business Student Association while taking Japanese and business courses for my minor. Katelynn assists Rainforest Partnership with their recruitment and human resource efforts.

Advisors

Colborn Bell
Colborn Bell
Digital Asset Advisor

Colborn is the Co-Founder and Director at Museum of Crypto Art

Anupam Govil
Anupam Govil
Advisor

Anupam is managing partner, Avasant; president, Avasense; and board member, Avasant Foundation. He is a recognized thought leader, business executive, and consultant in the areas of business strategy, digital transformation, technology sourcing, and M&A. At Avasant, Anupam leads the Digital Transformation and Global Strategy practice as well as Strategic Partnerships and Marketing. He has chaired several industry conferences such as Digital Convergence, Automation Innovation Summit, and Avasant’s renowned Empowering Beyond summits.

Salmeron Barnes
Salmeron Barnes
Strategic Advisor

Salmeron is the co-founder of Aureus Earth, a carbon reduction and storage registry for building and infrastructure projects. He earned a B.B.A in Business Administration from St. Edward’s University in Austin, Texas, and an M.B.A in Finance from Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana. Sal is active with environmental and educational causes including St. Edward’s University Munday School of Business and Rainforest Partnership.

Scott Thomas
Scott Thomas
Marketing and Outreach Advisor

Scott is a business development and marketing professional with broad experience in all aspects of negotiations, contracts, and partner implementation. He has direct experience with the retail market, IT consulting, marketing, and software. His marketing background includes extensive branding and demand generation experience.

Peter Houlihan
Peter Houlihan
Education and Research Advisor

Peter specializes in planning and leading expeditions in understudied and threatened tropical environments for conservation. Regularly operating in more than 25 countries across Africa, the Americas, and Asia, Peter is passionate about working with local scientists and communities, and inspiring others to learn about our natural world. He has lived and worked extensively throughout the tropics, where he has led more than 50 large scale expeditions and managed long-term conservation programs.

Reed Crossley
Reed Crossley
Digital and SEO Strategist

Reed is a storyteller and digital marketer focused on the renewable energy, sustainability, and social impact industries with a vision to help businesses and nonprofits build more sustainable and resilient brands. He has spent the better part of the past decade as a solar marketer and feels just as inspired and fortunate to be in such an exciting industry as he did on day one.

Lou Stover
Lou Stover
Marketing Advisor

Board

Frank Richards
Frank Richards
Board Chair

Frank is a seasoned entrepreneur, CEO, and growth executive with 20+ years success in founding, building, and growing companies. Frank has made a career out of helping Fortune 1000 companies acquire new customers and create loyalty, and he brings that expertise to the nonprofit industry to empower social and mission-driven organizations to grow and have more impact to make the world a better place.

Hazel Barbour
Hazel Barbour
Board Treasurer

Hazel worked for many years at the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ), where she was the manager of the agency’s Mobile Source Emission Reduction Programs. Hazel supported the founding of Rainforest Partnership to make a difference regarding carbon emissions and climate change. She believes that RP’s model and way of working is one of the keys to saving the rainforests for us all.

Kristin Owen
Kristin Owen
Board Secretary

Kristin is the COO of DoStuff Media, a network of local media properties run by local teams in 20 cities, including Austin’s Do512, New York’s DoNYC, and Do312 in Chicago. She is also the co-founder of a beauty/wellness startup, Cure Studios, focused on sustainable and ethical business practices, intentional learning and staff development, and product selections that benefit not only clients' health, but the health of the local community.

Lucia Gallardo
Lucia Gallardo
Board Member

Lucia is a Honduran serial entrepreneur building socially impactful emerging technology solutions to some of the world’s most pressing problems as Founder & CEO of Emerge. Lucia is also pioneering a progressive, impact-focused ecology model as the Managing Partner of Penta Network’s Impact Ecosystem. Her life’s work revolves around meeting the UN Sustainable Development Goal targets. In her spare time, she enjoys cooking, reading, music, and practicing Krav Maga and kickboxing.

Laura Hall
Laura Hall
Board Member

Laura is a conscious capitalist committed to elevating humanity and the planet through business. With more than 30 years as a global retail executive in fashion and retail consumer goods, she is a respected voice for socially responsible business practices. As co-founder of WHYZ Partners, she helps the next generation of retail executives connect profit and purpose. In 2018, after visiting the Amazon rainforest, she chose to focus her energy on protecting rainforests across the world.

Sumit Jamuar
Sumit Jamuar
Board Member

Sumit is an entrepreneur, executive and Board leader with deep expertise in building and transforming businesses across genomics & biotechnology, financial services, education and public sectors. Sumit enjoys a unique perspective of leadership and execution from FTSE 100 corporate to being founder of a successful start-up. He has an excellent track record in the C-suite in various roles including Chairman, CEO, Board Member, Advisory Board, Managing Director and on Committees of various enterprises.

Rainforest Partnership in the press

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