Earth Train Staff

Kike Arias - Program Director, Leadership and Guide Program

Kike is a cartographer, agronomist, and former Secretary General of the Guna General Congress. He has a long history in the Mamoni Valley—dating to the 1980's, when he led a team in the mapping of the continental divide and defined and subsequently patrolled the legal border of the Guna Yala—and has long expressed the desire to be able to work with youth in the protection of Panama's culture and ecology. Now, as head of Earth Train's Leadership and Guide Program, he's making that dream a reality.

Atala Beckford - Director of Administration

Atala has a Master's Degree in Business Administration from Universidad Americana and a Bachelor's Degree in Human Resources. Before joining the Earth Train team, she was Director of Administration at an international law firm. In addition to applying her skills in management, budgeting, business planning, and systems design to Earth Train operations, she serves—fluent in both Spanish and English—as a counselor and coach to interns.

Delia Cedeño - Financial Manager

Delia is a Panamanian Certified Public Accountant with over 18 years of experience running her own financial management company. She has been working with Earth Train for over 5 years, and is one of our longest-standing staff members in Panama.

Carlos Andres Gonzalez - Legal Administration

Carlos Andrés, a graduate of the University of Panama in Environmental Law, has been on our staff since he was an intern in 2008. He adroitly navigates the legal seas in Panama, preparing and revising Earth Train’s contracts and facilitating the legal proceedings of land in the Mamoní Valley Preserve.

Nathan Gray - Co-Executive Director and Founder

Nathan has over 40 years of experience in the fields of international development and education. He is one of the founders of Oxfam America, the international assistance organization based in Boston, and is a pioneer in promoting socially-positive investment and emerging community development leadership in poor countries.

Halit Khoshen - Consultant, Educational Programs and Wildlife Conservation

Halit Khoshen holds a B.Sc. in Marketing and International Business from Drexel University, Pennsylvania, US and an M.Sc. in Primate Conservation from Oxford Brookes University, Oxford, UK. She spent her earlier working years in the fields of marketing, internet and television followed by work in several wildlife sanctuaries, rehabilitation and release sites throughout Uganda, Zambia, the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Republic of Congo. Upon returning to Panama, she served as Zoo Director at the Summit Municipal Park. She has recently published book for the proper care and wellbeing of wildlife in captivity, distributed freely to Latin American sanctuaries, rescue centers and zoos (download here). Halit is fluent in English, Spanish and Hebrew, and speaks intermediate French.

Claus Kjaerby - Chief Operating Officer

Claus Kjaerby is an experienced adventurer and professional development executive with a background as a civil engineer and an additional specialization in international development studies. For 25 years he has been engaged with natural resource and protected areas management, indigenous peoples, ecotourism and international development programs, in the Amazon, the Andes, Central America and Panamá.

Susan Kopman - Earth Train Accountant and Bookkeeper

Susan has served as Earth Train's US financial officer since 2001 and as Earth Train's US office manager since 2005.

Gabriel Salazar - Project Team Member and Jungle Guide

Gabriel is a long-time neighbor in the Mamoní Valley and a valuable member of the Earth Train family. He came on board full time in 2011 and has remained one of the hardest working members of the team at Centro Mamoní. As well as assisting in construction and maintenance projects, Gabriel is adept in planting and livestock care and often lends a hand or advice in the garden and with Earth Train horses.

Lider Sucre - Co-Executive Director

Lider has been integrally involved in environmental activism in Panama for over a decade. After graduating with an MBA from Harvard University, Lider returned to Panama to work as the Executive Director of Panama's National Association for the Conservation of Nature (ANCON), the most renowned environmental NGO in Panama. He has also worked as Executive Director of the Museum of Biodiversity in Panama. He is a certified eco-tourism guide, a well-traveled backpacker, and a walking encyclopedia of information on Panamanian flora and fauna.

Leandro Toribio - Co-Manager, Centro Mamoní

Leandro has worked for Earth Train since 2001. He organizes and executes grounds upkeep and improvement projects at Earth Train's Jungle Home, Centro Mamoní, in the heart of the Mamoní Valley Preserve.

Rolando Toribio - Land Management and Community Relations

Rolando has worked with Earth Train in Panama since 2001. He completed three Earth Train internships in the United States and now works beside Carlos Andrés in land and property management in the Mamoní Valley Preserve.

Kandi Valle - Director of Video Documentation

Kandi, from Bilbao, Spain, is a highly trained and experienced Information Technology technician who has been in the international voluntary service sector since the year 2009. Following work in Africa and Asia, he joined the Earth Train staff in 2011. He has demonstrated a gift for nature appreciation and film making. He is a PAWGI Certified Wilderness Guide in South and Central America.

Elvira Wright. Project Coordinator

Elvira is an experienced marketing and sales manager with an MBA from the Rijksuniversiteit Groningen, with a major in technology and marketing. Before coming to Panama she worked as the National Marketing Manager for a consultancy company. She's lived in Panama for 12 years with her family and has worked in the real estate, reforestation and mobile applications industry. She has extensive experience in marketing and media planning, budgetting and client management. Elvira is used to working at Board level with clients, executives and third parties. Elvira is fluent in Dutch, English and Spanish. In her spare time she serves on the Board of the Dutch School of Panama.

Join our mailing list