Lauren heads the SFI Conservation Pillar, providing conservation leadership internally as well as externally to our network of resource professionals, landowners, educators, local communities, Indigenous Peoples, and governments. She will develop best management practices for climate-smart forestry and fire resiliency and awareness, lead SFI participation in collaborative efforts to conserve forested landscapes and integrate Indigenous knowledge into SFI conservation programs. Lauren currently leads the Forest Carbon and Climate Program at Michigan State University, and she has international experience working with Indigenous communities in Peru, Mexico, Ecuador, and the United States. Lauren has served as a convener, moderator, and facilitator in high-level climate events, engaged in numerous climate working groups and has developed climate curriculum, educational materials, and plans. She currently serves as a steering committee member with the Women’s Forest Congress and on the Forest-Climate Working Group. Lauren is passionate about building new relationships at the intersection of sustainability, forests, society, and climate.
Dr. Healy Hamilton works collaboratively and strategically across SFI’s conservation pillar to support scaling conservation impact. Healy’s scientific work will further the role of sustainable forest management in species recovery, climate-smart forestry, and conservation outcomes. Healy will also serve as SFI’s conservation science liaison with the wider conservation and scientific community. She will support the SFI standards pillar on customer engagement related to conservation science and the SFI education pillar on engaging Project Learning Tree audiences. Healy currently serves as Chief Scientist for NatureServe, and she is an elected member of the Executive Committee for the International Union for the Conservation of Nature U.S. National Committee. Healy’s impressive track record of leading high-profile and impactful research projects includes developing the most comprehensive and detailed map of species extinction risk, in collaboration with the Environmental Systems Research Institute and The Nature Conservancy. Healy holds a PhD from the Department of Integrative Biology and Museum of Paleontology, at the University of California at Berkeley, and an MA in Environmental Studies from Yale University’s School of the Environment. She channels her passion for the outdoors into hiking, cycling, and scuba diving.
Lead Scientist and Founder, Tangled Bank Conservation;
Executive Director, Amphibian and Reptile Conservation
Dr. JJ Apodaca
Dr. JJ Apodaca is the lead scientist and founder of Tangled Bank Conservation and the Executive Director for the Amphibian and Reptile Conservancy. He received his B.S. in Biology at the University of South Florida in 2004 and his Ph.D. in Biology from the University of Alabama in 2010. He has worked on numerous conservation projects across the country, helping some of the most imperiled species in the United States. His research combines multiple fields and methods (i.e. conservation genetics, habitat-modeling, life history studies, etc.) in order to develop and inform optimal conservation and management decisions. JJ is currently a partner on a 2021 SFI Conservation Grant.
Dr. Darren Sleep is responsible for the incorporation of up-to-date and scientifically rigorous technical content across all SFI’s pillars, ensuring that SFI’s work is grounded in thoughtful, science-based knowledge and communications, and that SFI standards and education programs reflect the latest in scientific understanding. He manages the conservation pillar’s scientific investigations and collaborations and provides leadership on current conservation issues of relevance to forest and supply chain sustainability in support of SFI’s mission, serving on several regional, national, and international scientific advisory boards, including the Committee on the Status of Species at Risk in Ontario (COSSARO), and the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe’s (UNECE) Boreal Forest Team of Experts. Darren brings expertise on wildlife management, species at risk, and forest science-policy integration to SFI, along with a passion for conservation, and communicating about science with the public. Darren’s recent publications include contributions to the journals Forest Science, Avian Conservation and Ecology, and Scientific Reports. Darren has a Bachelor’s degree from the University of New Brunswick, a Master’s degree from the University of Regina, and a PhD from the University of Guelph. Darren’s free time is spent in various outdoor pursuits, including downhill skiing, wilderness backpacking, canoeing, and kayaking.
Leo provides leadership to SFI’s Conservation Impact Project, the SFI Conservation Grants Program, and the Conservation Impact Sounding Board. He also supports SFI by generating collaborative partnerships within the conservation non-profit and scientific communities to develop, disseminate, and amplify the conservation-related benefits of SFI-certified sustainably managed forests. He brings over 20 years of experience working around the world toward the conservation of biodiversity, and to advance water conservation and climate issues in geographies as diverse as Australia, Brazil, Madagascar, Nicaragua, and Peru. Leo’s publications include co-authoring “A Metric for Spatially Explicit Contributions to Science-based Species Targets” in Nature Ecology & Evolution. Before joining SFI, he worked at Conservation International, the Ocean Conservancy, and the World Bank’s Global Environment Facility. Leo has a Master of Science in ecology, conservation, and wildlife management from the Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais in Brazil and a Bachelor of Science in wildlife conservation from the University of Delaware. He lives in San Diego, California with his wife and two children where they enjoy being outdoors as much as possible.