Our Staff

Rodrigo W. Soria Auza

Executive Director

Rodrigo has a degree in Biology from the Universidad Mayor de San Simón (Cochabamba, Bolivia). He moved to Santa Cruz de la Sierra to work in Armonía between January 2003 and September 2005. During this time, he led a multidisciplinary teams of biologists working to identify the first Key Biodiversity Areas of Bolivia (a collaborative project by the University of Glasgow, Association Armonía, and the Museum of Natural History Noel Kempff Mercado). He also had a key role in identifing the Important Bird Areas of Bolivia. He later developed the Conservation and Research Program for the Horned Curassow, discovering the population of this endangered species in the TIPNIS (Territorio Indígena y Parque Nacional Isiboro Sécure). In 2005, he began his PhD at the University of Goettingen (Germany) and obtained its PhD title in September 2009. Then he continued with a post doctorate at the same university until June 2011. He rejoined Armonía in 2011 as our Conservation Programs Director, and became Armonía’s Executive Director in August 2016. Since September 2018, Rodrigo is member of BirdLife’s Executive Committee for the Americas Regional Council.


bennett-hennessey-director-armoniaBennett Hennessey

Development Director

Born in Quebec City, Canada, Bennett studied biology at the University of Toronto. He worked in the Congo for one year, before moving to Bolivia where he devoted himself full-time to bird conservation. Bennett has been CEO of Asociación Armonía since 2003 and Development Director since 2016. His work over the years has been very varied – from a field investigator, to coordinator of conservation programs, to supervisor of projects and he now devotes a large percentage of his time in raising and administrating funds. Bennett has produced thousands of successful proposals for Armonía’s conservation programs. He speaks English, French, Spanish and Portuguese.


Sebastian K. Herzog

Scientific Director

Sebastian is a conservation ecologist with 21 years’ experience in South America, mainly in Bolivia and the tropical Andes. He studied biology and ecology in his home country of Germany and in California, USA. He has a doctorate in biological sciences from the University of Oldenburg and was a postdoctoral fellow of the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD). Since 2002, he has been the Scientific Director of Armonía. He has authored or coauthored more than 40 articles published in scientific journals. Since 2008, he has worked as an external investigator for the Inter-American Institute for Global Change Research (IAI) and has been co-leading two multidisciplinary projects on climate change and its impact on biodiversity and ecosystems of the tropical Andes. On these projects he has lead teams of experts and collaborators, working together with NGOs, academia and relevant governments in the region.


Iván Perez Hurtado

Adminsitrative Director 

Ivan has graduated at the Universidad San Simón de Cochabamba with Business Administration degree. He worked with young producers from Cochabamba´s tropical Chaparé region supporting fair trade projects to support local farmers.

Later he worked as Technical Director for the Chaco Program of the Fundación Natura. He was an advisor and administrative director at Centro de Ecología Aplicada Simón I. Patiño. Currently he is the administrative director of Armonía.


Tjalle Boorsma

Conservation Program Director 

Tjalle was born in Gouda in The Netherlands. He obtained a Master of Science degree in Forest and Nature Conservation, specializing in terrestrial ecology at the Wageningen University and Research Centre in 2014. He cofounded his own arborist company in 2008 but decided to focus on bird conservation after finishing his degree. In April 2015 he joined the Armonía team as the Barba Azul Nature Reserve Coordinator in charge of the reserve development and its sustainability. He partook in the first ever Blue-throated Macaw global census and led the expedition to find the breeding grounds of the northwestern subpopulation. Since April 2018 he is the Conservation Program Director, supervising Armonía’s conservation actions throughout Bolivia.


Mónica san Cristobal Gonzales

Polylepis Program Coordinator

A Biologist currently living in La Paz, Paceña by birth.

Her biggest passion is studying, being, and living in contact with nature. She has worked on conservation projects since 2005, when she began working with Armonia.

Monica coordinated the conservation program for Cranioleuca hernicae  for 6 years, strengthening connections in communities where Armonia has intervened on behalf of the conservation of this species.

Since 2016, she works as coordinator for the conservation program for Polylepis forests in the high Andes, including coordinating the study of  Phibalura boliviana in northeast La Paz, in remnant forests around the Apolo municipality.


Omar Gonzalo Oporto Daza

Program Coordinator Tunari National Park

Born in Micani, Charcas Province, Potosí, Omar is a Forestry Engineer. Since 2010 he has worked in various institutions in control, management, and auditing of Natural Resources and Environment. Before joining Armonia’s team Omar was Coordinator of the Forestry, Reforestry, and Integrated Management project for the Cochabamba departmental government, improving plant nurseries, producing seedlings, managing and monitoring forests and reforestation campaigns.


Guido Saldaña Covarrubias

Red-fronted Macaw Conservation Program Coordinator

Born in Saipina to a farming family, Guido was passionate from a young age about birds and wildilfe. He studied biology at Gabriel Rene Moreno University. He now works with humility, ability, and perseverance to protect Bolivia’s biodiversity. He is convinced that local community members are the best allies protecting biodiversity and seeks to find an equilibrium between people and the wildlife that surrounds them.


Luz Natalia Mercado

Coordinator Blue-throated Macaw Conservation Program

Luz Natalia studied Biology at the Universidad Autónoma Gabriel René Moreno in Santa Cruz de la Sierra. Her interest in deepening her understanding of complex environmental problems and seeking solutions that integrate sustainable development and biodiversity protection led her to a Master’s degree in Environment with a specialty in Conservation at the University of Melbourne, Australia. In 2019, Luz joined Armonía to support sustainable livestock and conservation projects on cattle ranches in the Beni. She is currently the coordinator of the Blue-throated Macaw Conservation Program, being responsible for conservation projects in the Barba Azul and Laney Rickman Nature Reserves.


Luis Miguel Ortega Barbosa

Assistant Coordinator Blue-throated Macaw Reserves

Luis Miguel was born in Trinidad (Beni) and lives there still. Starting his bachelor for veterinary and previously worked as driving instructor. Miguel started in February 2015 at Armonía, as chauffeur for the Blue-throated Macaw Conservation Program. Here Luis Miguel got into contact with conservation helping out in the Artificial Nest-box program in Loreto and environmental education at schools. He participated in the Blue-throated Macaw global population census in 2015 and Blue-throated Macaw nest sites searches in 2017. Since April 2018 Miguel is the assistant coordinator for the Barba Azul Nature Reserve and the Laney Rickman Blue-throated Macaw reserve.


Cesar Flores Aguilera

Park Ranger of the Laney Rickman Blue-throated Macaw Reserve

Born and living in Loreto (Beni) the oldest village of the Beni Department. Working for Armonía since 2009 with the artificial nest-box program in the Loreto area and in the initial phases of the Barba Azul Nature Reserve establishment. Cesar has been monitoring Blue-throated macaw nest boxes for a decade and is has developed tremendous practical knowledge on the species. Since August 2018, he is the Park Ranger of the Laney Rickman Reserve and sponsored by the Keepers of the Wild program from World Land Trust. In charge of patrolling the reserve, nest-box monitoring and general maintenance of the reserve. Devoted to the breeding program.


Miguel Martinez

Park Ranger, Barba Azul Nature Reserve

Born in Barquisimeto, Venezuela, Miguel is an environmentalist at heart and with conviction. He is trained in Natural Resource Management with emphasis on Wildlife Management. Miguel was active in the University Group of Park Rangers and worked for four years as Environmental Education Coordinator and Research Technician with the National Park Institute of Venezuela. Upon arrival in Bolivia, Miguel was the Wildlife Ranger at La Senda Verde Wildlife Refuge before joining the Barba Azul team in April, 2021.


Tania Daza

Tourist Services, Barba Azul Nature Reserve

Born in Barquisimeto, Venezuela, Tania has an Associates Degree in renewable resources. Since 2014 she has volunteered in environmental education with the University Park Guards group and has also been a volunteer guide in Venezuela’s National Parks. Tania worked for 4 years in reptile rehabilitation centers in Venezuela and at La Senda Verde in Bolivia. 

Tania enjoys traveling to be in touch with nature. She loves wildlife and fights to raise awareness in people about proper behavior when relating to wildlife. 


Jesus Eduardo Araúz

Assistant Park Ranger, Barba Azul Nature Reserve

Jesus was born at the Juvena Ranch in the Yacuma Province, the ranch that is now the center of activities at Barba Azul Nature Reserve! He lived there until the age of 5. Jesus was present and participated in the very first search for Blue-throated Macaw presence in the area. His main interests are working with tractors and heavy equipment. He has worked on short-term projects at Baba Azul and now has joined the team as Assistant Park Ranger.


Edson López Zambrana

Sustainable Cattle Ranching Coordinator

Born in the Beni Department of Bolivia (San Ramón del Machupo), Edson studied agriculture and livestock, earning a technical degree at the Instituto Salesiano MUYURINA (Montero Santa Cruz). Later he graduated as an agronomist in Santa Cruz and concluded a post graduate course on Sustainable Management of Protected Areas in Trento, Italy. He worked at cattle-ranching entreprises in Italy and bred horses in Madrid, Spain. After returning to Bolivia he worked with indigenous communities of the Amazon region leading productive and sustainable forest management projects. Before joining Armonía, he bred cattle in Beni. He is passionate about sustainable cattle-ranching and conservation. He speaks Italian and Portuguese.


Luis Enrique Arauz Flores

Livestock Manager, Barba Azul Nature Reserve

Born on a cattle ranch in Santa Ana, Luis Enrique has some 14 years of experience with livestock, specifically with livestock management in the unique conditions presented by the Beni Savannas where periods of flooding and drought have a huge impact on cattle. Since coming on board with Armonia, he has been training to improve ranching practices where both the environment and the cattle receive better treatment. Luis Enrique is dedicated to the implementation of Sustainable Ranching in support of conservation of the Blue-throated Macaw in Barba Azul East.


Suzanne Vargas

Communications Officer and Tourism Coordinator

Suzanne first came to Bolivia as a Peace Corps environmental education volunteer in the giant fern fore​sts of the Santa Cruz valleys. During the following 9 years in the US, she managed a field research station dedicated to surveying for ticks for wildlife disease studies throughout the southeast US for the University of Georgia, taught high school biology and Spanish, and freelanced as a translator of agricultural technical documents. Suzanne returned permanently to Bolivia in 2015, participating in a variety of initiatives supporting environmental education, birding and nature tourism, and protected areas. As part of Armonia’s team, Suzanne has had the task of designing and managing content for the birdsofbolivia.org webpage and preparing training materials for workshops for birding tour guides. She is currently managing Armonia’s social media and organizational webpage.


Silvia Rojas Gonzales

General Services

Silvia has been a core part of the Armonía team since 2010 and is a nurse by profession. She is always smiling and ready to provide assistance to the management team and all those who visit the office in Santa Cruz.


Leny Vargas Rocha

Chief accountant

Leny has been working for a long time as accountant of several conservation organizations and has a natural passion for outdoors and conservation. She graduated  from Gabriel Rene Moreno Autonomous University and has master of science degree in accounting.


Yoselin Rocio Saavedra Umaña

Secretary

Yoselin feels a great passion for conservation. Before coming to Armonía, she worked in the Lomas de Arena Regional Park and was responsible for the interpretation center. She earned a bachelor of science in conservation at Bolivia’s state university.

 

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