Who We are?


Dr. Alan Harper, PhD, President of the Board.

Alan Harper

Alan has had an interest in photography and conservation for most of his life. Following graduate school, he became active in various conservation projects in Baja California, including being a member of the board of Pro esteros and Pro Peninsula. During his period as a Board Member of Pro Esteros, he helped to gather an inventory of Baja California’s Wetlands, and he coordinated a successful effort to prevent an American developer from building an environmentally destructive housing development at Bahía San Quintín. He is a founding board member of Terra Peninsular A.C. and he is also a board member in Audubon-California, California League of Conservation Voters, and the California Institute for Biodiversity.

Dr. Dan Silver, PhD. Vice-President of the board.

Dan Silver

A physician by training, Dan was born in Los Angeles, and attended the University of California at Berkeley and Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. In 1989, Dan led the effort to preserve the Santa Rosa Plateau in Riverside County. In 1991, after practicing internal medicine for 10 years, he retired to work full t ime on environmental issues. With EHL since its inception in 1991, Dan saw the organization emerge as a regional leader in conservation and growth management. In 2004, the American Planning Association California Chapter honored Dan with its Outstanding Distinguished Leadership: Layperson Award. At the present moment, Dan is the Chief Executive officer of Endangered Habitats League and President of the Board of Terra Peninsular A.C.

C.P.A. Marco Isaac Navarro Steck, Treasurer, Member of the Financial Committee.

Marco Isaac Navarro

Marco is a member of Corporativo Navarro S.C., an associated firm in the city of Ensenada, B.C., where he provides audit and tax services. He is a Fellow of the College of Chartered Accountants of Ensenada, B.C., where he has been Vice-Chairman and member of the Fiscal Commission. He has been lecturer in several technical training courses in Business Forums, Public Accountants Associations and Universities.

Horacio de la Cueva, PhD. Secretary, Member of the Executive Committee.

Horacio de la Cueva

Horacio is a founding member and former board president. He is a senior researcher at the Ecology Department of the Centro de Investigación Científica y de Educación Superior de Ensenada (CICESE) where he teaches ecology and evolutionary biology. He is also statistics professor and research director in a master’s collaboration program in environmental administration with the Colegio de la Frontera Norte (Colef), a humanities post-graduate institution focused on border issues. He currently directs the National Committee for the Reintroduction of the Californian Condor to Mexico; he is a founding member and Education Chair at the Pinniped’s Conservation National Committee; and, he is the CICESE’s representative in the Vida Silvestre, Borrego Cimarrón, and Parque Estatal San Pedro Mártir committees.

Jerre Ann Stallcup, Executive, Conservation and Development Committee.

Jerre Stallcup

Jerre received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Biology from the Stanford University and a Master’s Degree in Zoology from the University of South Florida. Jerre was originally inspired by her parents, both of them naturalists, and biologists, and by her camping trips to the Southwestern United States. She has been a respected and instrumental member of the Southern California conservation community for more than 20 years. She has experience on all aspects of landscape-scale conservation planning, and on the implementation, monitoring, and management of natural resources in the U.S., Europe, and Mexico. Jerre is very effective in developing and orchestrating partnerships among the academic community, government agencies, NGOs, and private landowners to leverage funds and information for achieving conservation goals. She has been working in California and Baja California through the Conservation Biology Institute for 10 years.

Eduardo Palacios, PhD. Conservation and Executive Committee.

Eduardo Palacios

Eduardo is a Founder and a Board Member. He works as a researcher at the Centro de Investigación Científica y de Educación Superior de Ensenada (CICESE) in La Paz. His doctoral research at the University of California, Davis, examined the relation among nutrition and gender and its influence on growth and development of Brown Pelicans in the Sea of Cortez. Previously, he developed the Baja California Wetlands Inventory and associated web site for Pro esteros. An avid birder, Eduardo has been advising conservation organizations and surveying the shore birds of Baja California for over 10 years.

Dra.Rosario Alvarez, Executive and Development Committee.

Rosario Alvarez

Rosario has worked for 22 years on Management, Environmental Engineering and Natural Resource Conservation; 18 of these in senior leadership positions in the private sector and the non-profit sector. She has been responsible for leading team efforts to produce measurable conservation and/or environmental results. Ms. Alvarez has an extensive experience in engaging diverse groups – public, private-sector, and non-profit in results-focused conservation strategies. She has experience in working across Latin America and the USA. Ms. Alvarez worked for 10 years in The Nature Conservancy in leadership

Bart O'Brien, Conservation and Executive Committee.

Barth Obrien

Bart is the Director of Special Projects at Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden (RSABG) in Claremont, CA, an educational institution dedicated to research, conservation, and horticulture of California native plants. Bart is also editor of Fremontia, the journal of the California Native Plant Society (CNPS). Bart is a fifth generation Californian, and he is an authority on the native flora of the state and of northern Baja California, Mexico. He is also a renowned plant collector, grower and photographer and a lecturer and author. He is co-author of two books: the award winning California Native Plants for the Garden; and the bilingual Care & Maintenance of Southern California Native Plant Gardens. O’Brien was listed as one of “The 100 Most Powerful People in Southern California” by the editorial staff of the Los Angeles Times/West Magazine (Aug. 13, 2006). He is currently leading the rare, endangered, and endemic vascular plants of northwestern Baja California,


Cesar Guerrero Avila, MSc. Executive Director.

Cesar Garcia

César is a committed scientific and a dedicated naturalist. He started his professional career in the Universidad Autónoma de México (UNAM) where he obtained his Bachelor’s Degree in Biology. He continued his academic studies in the Centro de Investigación Científica y de Educación Superior de Ensenada (CICESE) to pursue a Master degree in Marine Ecology in the Department of Biological Oceanography. Since then, he has participated and – in some cases – coordinated scientific and conservation projects and outreach programs with the intention of generating applied and functional science. Although Cesar always wanted to specialize in marine and coastal environments, he has acquired great experience in developing terrestrial environment projects. In addition, he has constantly travel across Baja California’s coasts in order to raise awareness with respect to the responsible use of the natural resources; and, to implement different ecology and biology projects, and to ensure the conservation of different species of first importance.

M.C. Verónica Meza López, MSc. Conservation Head.

Veronica Meza

Veronica has a Bachelor’s Degree in Biology from the Universidad Autónoma de Baja California (UABC) and a Master of Science Degree in the area of Use, Management, and Preservation of Natural Resources with an approach on Arid Environments, by the Centro de Investigaciones Biológicas del Noroeste, S.C. (CIBNOR). Since the beginning of her career she has collaborated with different NGOs, and she has participated in different research projects, including a research done to determine the reproductive season of the lizard Aspidoscelis hyperythra through hormonal and color analysis. At the present time, she is working as the Conservation Coordinator in Terra Peninsular A.C. Her efforts are focused on the design and development of conservation projects, and on the land management of areas of first importance such as Bahía de San Quintín, Valle Tranquilo, Cuenca Guadalupe, and Cuenca San Simón.

Jorge Simancas, Msc, Field Officer.

Jorge Simancas

Jorge’s professional interests are focused on the conservation and adequate management of natural resources. His works involves a wide range of organisms that go from plants to animals and from birds to mammals. For his bachelor’s thesis he evaluated the effects of Arbuscular mycorrhizal and Azospirillum brasilense on maguey seedlings, and for his master’s thesis he evaluated the habitat quality of an hibernation site for the black brant in Bahía de San Quintín. Jorge was in charge of the environmental management system for Construcciones Rocha during the construction of the electricity line named as Vizcaíno-3 Vírgenes in Baja California Sur. He is currently developing a project that involves the nocturnal rodents’ community Reserva Natural Valle Tranquilo. Jorge obtained his Bachelor degree in the Universidad Autónoma de México (UNAM) and his Master in Life Sciences in the Centro de Investigación Científica y Educación Superior de Ensenada (CICESE).

Lic. Karen Sandoval Liera, Administrative Head.

Karen Sandoval

Karen has a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from the Universidad Autónoma de Baja California of Ensenada. She has worked closely with other organizations in the Sciences area which has allowed her to acquire the necessary experience to manage and administrate an environmental civil association such as Terra Peninsular. Since January of 2014, Karen works as the Administrative Head of this organization. She is in charge of the personnel’s management, and the development of useful administration strategies to assist different projects’ financial needs.

Lic. Mercedes Vega Núñez, Finances Head.

Mercedes Vega

Mercedes earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting from the Universidad Autónoma de Baja California of Ensenada. She is currently working as the Project Monitoring and Accounting Department Manager since January of 2014. Mercedes develops different activities addressed to fundraising, and she monitors each of the projects’ budgets. Additionally, she is in charge of the communication that exists among the donors and the organization with respect to financial issues, and of foreseeing that the organization fulfills the reports, and other requirements established by the donors.

Jazmín Mariscal Ortega, BD, Development Head

Jazmin Mariscal

Jazmin has a Bachelor’s Degree in Communication, and she is specialized in cultural studies. She studied in the Universidad Autónoma de Baja California. Her first approach to the natural beauty of the Bajacalifornian Peninsula occurred on 2007 while she was working as a coordinator of eco-touristic and educational trips for Andiamo Tour México. Since then, she has been immersed in the history, the geography, and the landscapes of this place; she fell deeply in love with this privileged land. After this, Jazmin found in the art of teaching, fertile soil to raise awareness among young generations, and she has been involved in this work since 2010. From November 2014, Jazmin joined Terra Peninsular’s Team where she saw the opportunity of growing by creating new ways of reaching more people when communicating the importance of conserving and protecting the fascinating ecosystems of our region.

Volunteer Advisors.

Jim Riley, Science Advisor.

Jim Riley

Founded San Mateo Creek Conservancy in 2008 dedicated to the protection and restoration of the watershed that exits at the world-famous Trestles surfbreak at the San Diego/Orange County boundary. As an environmental advocate, he soon learned that it is difficult to reach the "uninitiated", and began making advocacy videos. He was invited by Cesar Garcia (now of Terra) to share my CSS video at Expo Ambiente in Tijuana, and his enthusiasm for the natural resources of Baja lead me to Terra. He has learned that it is much more effective to protect and preserve natural habitat than restore disturbed land, and quickly realized that Terra has the unique opportunity to protect land before it is destroyed. From the marine terraces, arroyos, and Matorral Rosetófilo Costero in their Natural Reserve at Valle Tranquilo, to the magnificent Punta Mazo in Bahia de San Quintin, Terra is walking the walk. Jim graduated from Humboldt State University with a BS in Physics.

Sula Vanderplank, PhD. Science Advisor.

Sula Vanderplank

Sula earned a Bachelor's degree in Botany from the University of Reading (UK) and a Master of Science degree in Botany from Claremont Graduate University at Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden, California (USA). She joins Terra to study the unique plants that grow on shell middens left behind by indigenous people of the region. Her current research is focused around the phytogeography of Baja California, with an emphasis on plant distributions along the Pacific coast of the state of Baja California and the adjacent islands, where the California Floristic Province meets the Vizcaino desert to the south. Sula feels fortunate of being part of a project that intends to assemble an inventory of all the rare and endemic plants of the California Floristic Province portion of Baja California in collaboration with Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden, Universidad Autónoma de Baja California, Santa Barbara Botanic Garden, San Diego County Planning, San Diego Natural History Museum, and Colegio de la Frontera Norte.

Investigadores Asociados.

Abby Hird, MSc, Research Associate.

Abby Hird

Abby Hird is the Program Director for Botanic Gardens Conservation International, U.S. (BGCI US), based at Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden. Abby works with botanic gardens and partners throughout North America to advance plant conservation and connect with BGCI’s global conservation network and resources. She conducts ex situ collections assessments and facilitates the strategic building of ex situ collections of threatened native plants. Abby’s interests include ex situ collections development, database management and prioritization of threatened species for conservation. Originally from Nebraska (USA), Abby earned a Master’s of Science from the Longwood Graduate Program in Public Horticulture at the University of Delaware, and a Bachelor’s of Science in Horticulture at the University of Nebraska. She is currently the Chair of the Magnolia Society International Board’s Conservation Committee, and serves on the IUCN SSC Global Tree Specialist Group, the Association of Zoological Horticulture Conservation Committee, the American Public Gardens Association Plant Conservation Professional Section, and the North American Plant Collections Consortium regional recruitment team.

Evan Meyer, Research Associate.

Abby Hird

Evan Meyer is the Seed Conservation Program Manager at Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden (RSABG). In this role, Evan manages the Garden’s extensive collection of living seeds, many of which are rare and endangered species. He works closely with government agencies, plant conservation and other environmental organizations to secure high quality ex-situ seed collections of the rare flora of the California Floristic Province (CFP). Evan has a keen interest in the plants of CFP Baja California and spoke on the topic of seed bank management at the inaugural State Forum of Use, Conservation and Management of Genetic Resources in Ensenada in 2013. His research interests include seed storage behavior, propagation protocol development and other best practices for germplasm management. Originally from New England (USA), Evan has previously held positions at the Harvard University Herbaria, the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University and the New England Wildflower Society.