Meet the Restoration Stewards


Meet the 2024 Restoration Stewards

Trisa Bhattacharjee



Jann Vinze Barcinal



Kamanzi Claudine



Maria Geane Magalhães Bastos



Anna Obi Akpe



Dayana Blanco Quiroga


Bolivia Wetlands Restoration Steward

Steve Misati




Trisa Bhattacharjee, Mountains Restoration Steward, India

Trisa Bhattacharjee is a 2024 Mountain Restoration Steward, working along the mid elevations of western Himalaya, Chamba, Himachal Pradesh, India. She is an Ecology graduate who is working towards habitat restoration and conservation monitoring and evaluation in India to bring stakeholder driven conservation action. She works at Zoo Outreach Organisation, Coimbatore, India as a researcher for the Himalayan Restoration Project.

Her project aims to restore the landscape of Chamba in collaboration in local communities and women self-help groups to mitigate climate crisis, reduce human wildlife negative interaction, and provide ecology based livelihood to the communities. 

Trophic rewilding to enhance ecology based climate resilience in the Himalayas!

About the project:

The Zoo Outreach Organisation focuses on biodiversity, ecosystem, and livelihood conservation through science, education, training, and outreach. Utilizing contemporary conservation tools and processes, the organization's network of thematic groups addresses knowledge gaps, conducts research, and advocates for the conservation of wild fauna and flora, as well as issues related to climate change, human-wildlife coexistence, and sustainability.

The Himalyan Langur Project, initiated by the Zoo Outreach Organisation in 2012 in Chamba, Himachal Pradesh, aims to restore the highly neglected broad-leaf oak and pine forest habitat in Gajnoi, Chamba District. By collaborating with local communities of farmers, the project focuses on growing a mix of fruiting trees and native vegetation to revitalize this deteriorated ecosystem. The Chamba Valley currently has only one small wildlife sanctuary (Khajjiar-Kalatop) and several isolated small fragments of lesser-known forests, interspersed with ever-increasing terraced agriculture that occupies more than 90% of the landscape. This neglected, non-protected, and highly threatened habitat faces increasing rates of deforestation, habitat degradation and fragmentation, forest fires, unsustainable garbage disposal practices, expanding horticulture, and drastic, unsustainable land use changes.

The Himalayan Restoration Project, an extension of the organization's efforts, aims to collaborate with communities and women self-help groups along the mid elevations of the western Himalaya. The project seeks to restore highly degraded forests, provide ecology-based livelihoods to communities, and create corridors for the conservation of wildlife. The organization invites individuals to join in its mission to protect the Himalayan ecosystem and promote sustainable living.


Jann Vinze Barcinal, Forests Restoration Steward, Philippines

Jann Vinze or Javie Barcinal is a nature conservationist and storyteller, dedicated to mainstream community-led biodiversity conservation through local involvement in Antique, his home province in the Philippines. He is the founder and chairperson of Dulungan Youth, one of the foremost youth-led grassroots organizations in the conservation of the IUCN critically endangered Rufous-headed Hornbill, known locally as the ‘Dulungan’.

Javie’s work emphasizes the intersectionality of economic development, intersectoral collaboration, and environmental conservation, striving to create a regenerative and equitable future for all, grounded in grassroots development. 

In response to the conservation challenges of the threatened Dulungan hornbill and its habitat in the Central Panay Mountain Key Biodiversity Area, which are directly linked to the lack of capabilities and opportunities for frontline communities to reforest and have stable income streams, he aims to establish a conservation hub focused on developing a program that fosters landscape leadership rooted in community-based conservation strategies. This program will promote behavioral change through alternative livelihoods, ecological education through the EcoLearning Hub and Field Museum, and assisted natural regeneration and agroforestry through the Dulungan Community Tree Nursery and Agroforestry Capability Development.Central to his restoration practice and approach is the empowerment of local communities to take ownership of conservation efforts, ensuring the long-term sustainability of these initiatives. By fostering a deep connection between communities and their natural environment, he believes that true conservation can be achieved through inclusive and holistic processes.

About the project: Dulungan is a youth-led organization which has actively engaged in intersectoral collaboration with local communities, government institutions, NGOs, businesses, and politicians to holistically mainstream grassroots conservation efforts. Coined from the local name of the critically endangered Rufous-headed hornbill or the ‘Dulungan’, we’ve been focusing on the preservation of its ecosystem in the Central Panay Mountains Key Biodiversity Area in Northern Antique, where we have initiated multiple projects and programs. Through capacity development initiatives and Information, Education, and Communication (IEC) programs, we have empowered local communities with the knowledge and skills to manage their resources effectively. This approach has fostered a sense of agency and ownership among locals, resulting in significant strides in ecology restoration.Throughout our journey, we have successfully implemented four community projects and thirteen short-term programs, showcasing the active involvement of community members in species and habitat conservation. By inspiring and nurturing the next generation of environmental leaders in Antique, we have made a tangible impact in advancing community-based restoration efforts, fostering a more environmentally-conscious community.


Kamanzi Claudine, Drylands Restoration Steward, Rwanda

Kamanzi Claudine is the founder of the Forest for Life Project, with her a background in conservation agriculture. The project is dedicated to restoring graded lands in the Kayovu Model village within the Bugesera district of Rwanda. Leveraging her expertise in conservation agriculture and drawing from experiences in previous projects such as Green Amayaga, Claudine, along with her other three fellow youths, contributes valuable knowledge in sustainable land management.

The central theme of their restoration approach is a holistic one, emphasizing the cultivation of native indigenous trees like Markhamia lutea, Ficus thonningii, Faidherbia albida, and Acacia abyssinica. This approach addresses environmental challenges such as soil erosion, biodiversity loss, and decreased soil fertility. The project encompasses various activities, including reforestation, agroforestry systems, and capacity-building initiatives.

Claudine's commitment to community development is evident in the project's emphasis on active community involvement and the recognition of the interconnectedness of ecological, social, and economic components. The goal is to create a resilient and productive landscape, fostering positive environmental and social impacts. With a focus on sustainability and ecological resilience, fostering positive change in Bugesera through their studies and practical engagement in restoration projects.

About the project:
The Forests4Life Project is an ambitious initiative aimed at restoring the landscape in the Kayovu village, located in the savanna dryland of the Bugesera district in Rwanda. The project's objectives are to enhance biodiversity, improve soil fertility, and promote sustainable land management practices, all while creating positive environmental and social impacts. The landscape targeted for restoration is in the Rweru sector, characterized by Alfisols and Ultisols soil types, and low vegetation cover. The project aims to address various environmental and social problems while restoring biodiversity, improving soil fertility, and establishing native indigenous trees. The current state of the landscape in the Kayovu village reflects signs of degradation and challenges. The region has experienced soil erosion, loss of biodiversity, and decreased soil fertility over time, negatively impacting agricultural productivity and the livelihoods of the local community. To combat these challenges, the project will work towards restoring the landscape through the cultivation of specific native indigenous trees, including Markhamia lutea, Ficus thonningii, Faidherbia albida, and Acacia abyssinica, each playing a crucial role in addressing the environmental and social problems targeted by the project. To achieve these objectives, the project will implement a range of activities that embrace a landscape approach through the conduction of reforestation and native tree planting, the consolidation of agroforestry systems, and the development of capacity building and knowledge sharing activities with community members. Ultimately, the project aims to create a thriving and resilient landscape that benefits the environment, the local community, and future generations by achieving these short, mid, and long-term targets.


Maria Geane Magalhães Bastos, Drylands Restoration Steward, Brazil

Maria Geane Magalhães Bastos is a daughter of agroecological farmers hailing from one of the largest quilombola (maroon) communities of Brazil, the Quilombo Lagoas, located at the Queimada da Onça community, at the municipality of São Lourenço do Piauí in Brazil. She is an Agricultural and Beekeeping Technician, in addition to holding a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration and currently pursuing an addition degree in English Studies. Her studies focused on the Pedagogy of Alternation (Pedagogia da Alternância) having finished her Technical Course in Agriculture in 2012. She has ample professional experience in different fields, from agroecological management to rural education. In 2019, she decided to work with her brother on our lands thinking about the importance of agroecology and the restoration of degraded areas on our property, with the goal of being an inspiration for their community, raising awareness on sustainable farming, and training more people from Quilombo communities in the management and restoration of lands with agroforestry systems.

About the project:
The Xique-Xique agroecological farm is situated in the Quilombo (Maroon Community) Lagoas, within the Queimada da Onça community, in the municipality of São Lourenço do Piauí, Northeastern Brazil. The farm's main focus is on restoration, capacity-building, and awareness-raising through sustainable land management and agroforestry systems. These systems reintegrate people into their environment, enabling them to produce food, generate income, and restore degraded environments in the Caatinga ecosystem. The project is led by siblings Maria Geane and Gean. Maria Geane holds technical degrees in Agriculture and Apiculture, a Bachelor's degree in Management, and is pursuing a degree in English Language. Gean holds technical degrees in Agriculture and Apiculture, as well as a specialization in low carbon technology. Together, they founded and manage the consultancy firm GM Agropecuária Assessoria LTDA. Gean is also the coordinator of the Technical Committee of the Association of Agroecological Producers of the Semi-Arid Region of Piauí - APASPI. The Quilombo Lagoas encompasses more than 62,000 hectares, 119 communities, and 5042 people, making it the third most populous quilombo in Brazil. The municipalities within Quilombo Lagoas have some of the lowest Human Development Indexes (HDI) in Brazil. Facing the threat of iron ore mining, members of APASPI have turned to agroecology as a means of defending their landscape, the Caatinga, the largest seasonally dry tropical forest in South America. The community is located within the UNESCO Caatinga Biosphere Reserve, near the Serra da Capivara National Park. Despite being one of the least protected Brazilian biomes, with more than half of its original area degraded or deforested, it receives the least funding and has the fewest scientific studies.


Anna Obi Akpe, Drylands Restoration Steward, Nigeria

Anna Obi Akpe is a 23-year-old biodiversity conservator from Nigeria. She graduated from the Plant and Ecological Studies Department of the University of Calabar. Anna is a passionate and dedicated volunteer at Biodiversity Rescue Club (BRC) Nigeria and presently part of the current cohort at We The People’s Rights (WTP) Academy, a learning institution dedicated to mentoring young ecological and human rights activists. She believes that our earth can be a better and more sustainable place if everyone living in it works for its sustainability, and is committed to the restoration of our fast-depleting biodiversity.

About the project:
The Mangrove Restoration Project (MRP) is being carried out in the Esierebom community, located in the Calabar South Local Government Area of Cross River State. Mangroves are vital ecosystems that support a rich diversity of plants and animals, act as carbon sinks, maintain water quality, and provide crucial support for local livelihoods. Despite their significance, the mangroves in the Esierebom community have suffered extensive degradation and neglect over the years, with a large portion destroyed due to factors such as settlement expansion, timber extraction, demand for firewood, and aquaculture (fish farming). Mangrove restoration is a critical conservation strategy aimed at revitalizing degraded and destroyed mangrove ecosystems. The primary objective of this restoration effort is to revive and reconstruct the natural structure and functioning of mangrove forests that have been adversely affected by human activities. Additionally, the restoration project aims to conserve and enhance biodiversity by providing a safe habitat for endangered and threatened species, thus helping to protect and preserve their populations. Furthermore, mangroves play a crucial role in climate change mitigation. These highly productive ecosystems sequester and store significant amounts of carbon, with their dense vegetation and extensive root systems trapping sediments and organic matter, effectively storing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Therefore, the restoration of mangroves in the Esierebom community not only helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions but also contributes to global carbon budgets.


Dayana Blanco Quiroga, Bolivia, Wetlands

Dayana Blanco is an indigenous Aymara woman from Bolivia. She is the co-founder of the Uru Uru Team, a project located in the central western of Bolivia, focused on restoring the most important and millenarian Uru Uru Lake, which is being affected by mining activities, plastic pollution, and the effects of climate change. The Uru Uru Lake was declared a RAMSAR site; it is an important wetland for the unique flora and fauna species, such as various species of flamingos. The lake is a source of life for more than seven indigenous communities surrounding it.

About the project:
The Uru Uru Team is an indigenous-led initiative dedicated to restoring the Uru Uru Lake in central western Bolivia using nature-based solutions. The team focuses on building floating rafts by recycling plastic bottles found in the lake, which are often discarded as rubbish. These rafts are then topped with native aquatic plants called Totoras, which are crucial for the phytoremediation process. Totoras, native to the community, absorb the heavy minerals from the lake's polluted waters, helping to purify them. The team's efforts include placing Totoras, implementing various sustainable actions, and actively involving the community. They lead peaceful protests urging authorities to take effective action, advocating for the cessation of mining activities, establishing a community garden, and organizing dialogues to strengthen their mission. The community's goal is to restore and heal the Uru Uru Lake using nature-based solutions rooted in respect, care, and harmony with Mother Earth.


Steve Misati, Oceans Restoration Steward, Kenya

Steve Misati is a Kenyan Marine Conservationist, and an Environmental Defender. He is the founder and director of Youth Pawa, a nature restoration and ocean conservation organization based in Mombasa, Kenya. The organization's mission to promote public support for and raise community awareness of nature restoration and conservation issues, ocean and environmental protection, climate justice advocacy, sustainable development and youth empowerment. One of the organization's flagship projects is the Mangrove Eco-Restoration Project, which aims to restore over 50 hectares of degraded mangrove forests in Kenya by the year 2030. Misati's work is driven by a deep love for the ocean and a belief that everyone has a role to play in protecting it. He is committed to working with youth and the local communities to create a more sustainable and equitable future for all. 

Misati's approach to restoration is based on the belief that communities are at the heart of conservation success. He has adopted the Community Based Ecological Mangrove Restoration (CBEMR) approach which seeks to empower local communities to restore and steward their mangroves while deriving sustainable mangrove-based livelihoods. CBEMR methodology, works to restore underlying hydrology and considers adjustments to a disturbed area’s topography, so that mangroves may regenerate naturally, resulting in true ecosystem restoration with a richer biodiversity. He also believes in the importance of education and outreach, and he works to raise awareness of the importance of mangrove forests and other marine ecosystems. He is an inspiration to us all, and a reminder that even one person can make a difference in the fight for a healthier planet and a sustainable future.

About the project:
Youth Pawa is a project that utilizes a participatory and community-based approach to raise awareness and provide training on restoration and conservation in local communities in Mombasa, Kenya. The project is aligned with the organization's goal of planting 10,000 mangroves annually in ecosystems that encompass a substantial portion of existing and degraded mangrove areas along the Kenyan coast.

Meet the 2023 Restoration Stewards

Gloria Amor Paredes



Tahina Roland Frederic



Samara Polwatta

Sri Lanka


Levis Sirikwa



Ysabel Agustina Calderon Carlos



David Santiago Rocha Cárdenas



Dwi Riyan




Gloria Amor Paredes Philippines, Forests

Gloria Amor Paredes is an environmental education and community development specialist. She is the co-founder of Salumayag Youth Collective for Forests, an Indigenous youth and women-led initiative that empowers local and Indigenous communities in the stewardship of their ancestral lands through regenerative practices and narratives. This project is based in Sto. Domingo, Quezon, Bukidnon, a Manobo-Kulamanen community on the Philippine island of Mindanao with a long history of ecological, social, and economic disadvantages. The work of Salumayag Youth is anchored on the community’s desire to nurture culture and sustain Indigenous ways of living. For Salumayag Youth, forest regeneration and regenerative agriculture must be accompanied by community storytelling and nature-based education.


About the project: Salumayag Youth Collective for Forests is an Indigenous and local youth-led initiative that empowers local communities to lead the stewardship of their ancestral lands through regenerative practices and narratives. The project is based on four main interrelating pillars of engagements. First, it works to regenerate  land and culture through agroforestry and organic farming. With community youth volunteers, the collective manages native tree nurseries and natural regeneration methods. The project is also based on dialogues and training, including forest walks with Manobo youth volunteers, dialogues with smallholder farmers, and community consultations. Environmental storytelling also plays a big part for the collective as stories are a huge part of Manobo and other Indigenous cultures. Finally, it consists of a social enterprise, being in the exploratory stage for the collective farming of heirloom grains, coffee, and cacao, in addition to exploring farm tourism. 

Personal: @amorparedes

Twitter: @amore_paredes


Tahina Roland Frederic Madagascar, Drylands

Tahina Roland Frédéric is a young Malagasy agronomist who specialized in forestry at the Higher School of Agronomic Sciences (ESSA) at the University of Antananarivo. He has over four years of experience in conservation in his native Menabe region of Madagascar and has been involved in park management, habitat and species conservation, law enforcement and sustainable livelihood activities. The idea behind Taniala Regenerative Camp came to him after leading community patrols to fight against slash and burn agriculture and to protect the region’s dry forest ecosystem. He is currently the president of this non-profit organization, and he is convinced that if we manage to promote a model of regenerative agriculture in Menabe, the degraded soil will regenerate and the forest will be restored. 


About the project: Taniala Regenerative Camp aims to restore land that has been degraded by deforestation and agriculture in the Lambokely village of the Menabe region of Madagascar to prevent the irreversible loss of soil fertility. The project replicates forest ecosystem processes and “plants water” on these drylands through syntropic agroforestry, reconciling food production and ecosystem regeneration. The project consists of (i) developing models of syntropic agroforestry systems adapted to the local context; (ii) promoting these models to the local community, and (iii) practicing these models at the home garden, field and school garden levels. 

Twitter: @Tahina_Roland


Institutional Facebook: : @TanialaRegenerativeCamp 


Dwi Riyan Indonesia, Wetlands

Dwi Riyan is originally from West Kalimantan, Indonesia and is currently completing his final year as a master’s student in Sustainability Management at the University of Gadjah Mada, Indonesia, and the University of Agder, Norway. Encouraged by his passion for youth development, he co-founded Pongo Ranger Community, a youth-based organization focused on youth empowerment in Ketapang, West Kalimantan. The organization recognizes  that ecosystems are vibrant and connected and works to restore coastal areas and help coastal communities in the area. Pongo Ranger embraces collaboration as its primary approach and believes that environmental protection can create enormous positive impacts when all stakeholders unite for a common purpose. 


About the project: Since starting his movement in 2018, Riyan and his youth group, Pongo Ranger Community, have focused on the intersection between nature conservation and human welfare through restoration and community development. Their coastal activity, Pongo-dopsi,  promotes the restoration of mangroves in the coastal areas of West Kalimantan, Indonesia, to mitigate seawater intrusion into local farmland. Based on a collaborative approach, Pongo Ranger Community works closely with local farmers to prepare mangrove plants and with a group of young women to produce plastic-free eco-polybags made from Nipah leaf and bamboo for the restoration process. 




Personal: @Riyan_Dwi19


Samara Polwatta Sri Lanka, Oceans

Samara Polwatta is pursuing a Joint Master’s at the University of Bonn and United Nations University institute for Environment and Human Security. This field has allowed her to understand human and environmental security and to how to engage in humanitarian relief, disaster risk management, ecosystem-based adaptation, and conservation. She is currently writing her master thesis on the topic of coral reef ecosystems as a tool for ecosystem-based disaster risk reduction. She also works as a Junior Consultant at the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Integration team on data curation and data management related to SDG tracking within the GeoHub. 


About the project: “School Meets the Reef” aims to grow the value of coastal ecosystems through  coral reef restoration and by building awareness of coastal ecosystems. The project was established to fulfill the urgent need for restoration in Sri Lanka’s coral reefs and works primarily in Kalkudah, Batticaloa district. It aims to build  artificial in situ coral reef nurseries and carry out monitoring and evaluation on the restored reefs and nurseries. The project is also guided by a strong educational focus, working with local schools to build awareness of the importance of coastal ecosystems, restoration methods and nature-based solutions around coastal ecosystems.

Instagram: @sammyboomews
Twitter: @polwatta_samara


Ysabel Agustina Calderon Carlos Peru, Mountains

Ysabel Agustina Calderon Carlos (Ysa Calderon)  is a beekeeper, farmer, environmental entrepreneur, and the founder and CEO of Sumak Kawsay.


About the project: Sumak Kawsay is an environmental enterprise that promotes native bees and other pollinators conservation through the restoration of mountainous ecosystems in the village of El Higuerón, San Francisco de Asís peasant community in the Salas district, Lambayeque, Peru. It currently conserves three species of native stingless bees and reforests their impact zone with native and predated species such as palo santo, hualtaco and faique. To finance its work, the project sells honey and panela from local fields cultivated through agroecological practices, free of pesticide residues. Sumak Kawsay also offers agritourism services through the “honey route,” an experience of connection with bees, honey and nature, hosted by  local women, thus allowing them to generate income and improve their quality of life.

Personal: @ysa_yoochun

Organization: @_sumak_kawsay

Twitter: @Ysa_calderon_


Levis Sirikwa Kenya, Oceans

Levis Sirikwa has over half a decade of experience in coastal and marine resource management, specifically in the active restoration of degraded mangroves, sustainable agriculture and local coastal community empowerment.​ He co-founded the  Ceriops Research Environmental Organization, which  works on several projects within the blue economy space in Kenya. The projects that he manages in the organization include the Casina Farms (sustainable coastal agriculture), Mikoko na Jamii (mangrove and communities) and Mangrove Buddy (advocacy and awareness) programs. The three project models are underpinned by  community empowerment, sustainable development and data-driven approaches.


About the project: The slogan for the “Mikoko na Jamii” model is to halt loss, double restoration, and triple protection through investments. Working directly with Indigenous coastal communities around  mangrove ecosystems in Kenya, the project seeks to not only restore 1 hectare of degraded mangroves but also build the capacity of local communities to generate livelihoods through mangrove ecosystems. The project will be implemented across four community groups in Mombasa and Kwale counties. Upon the completion of the project, the project beneficiaries are expected to be able to conduct mangrove monitoring by themselves as well as understand the policy frameworks that govern their operations and hence align themselves to  benefit from the provisions of the policy frameworks.


Personal: @sirikwalevy 
Organization: @ceriops.env_research


Personal: @LevisSirikwa  
Organization: @ceriops_r 


David Santiago Rocha Cárdenas Colombia, Peatlands

David Santiago Rocha Cárdenas is a Colombian ecologist  currently working on decarbonization strategies based on natural climate solutions. He has been part of the Laboratory of Ecosystems and Climate Change (LECC)  at the Pontifical Xavierian University for six years. LECC studies the potential of ecosystems in climate change mitigation.  He has experience coordinating projects related to the study of the carbon cycle in the Colombian paramo, the generation of ecosystem restoration policies, and other tasks such as greenhouse gas flux measurements in wetlands. He started coordinating his first restoration project with the community of Paramo El Almorzadero, located north of the eastern cordillera of the Andes. 


About the project: This project aims to restore 3 hectares of high mountain peatlands located in Páramo el Almorzadero in the municipality of El Cerrito Santander in the northeastern  branch of the Andes Cordillera of Colombia. The peat bogs located in the Páramo have been drained for  sheep livestock activities, leading to the loss of their functionality and ecosystem services. This has affected the supply of water resources for the community and released thousands of tons of methane gas into the atmosphere. The purpose of this project is to isolate peat bogs to prevent goats from entering the water bodies, to recover the vegetation cover, and to restore water flow. These activities are conducted in the hope of increasing ecosystem services, reducing  methane and carbon dioxide emissions, increasing carbon accumulation, and empowering local communities to manage their projects and generate carbon credits that ensure their future sustainability and scalability.




Meet the 2022 Restoration Stewards

Sergio Esteban Lozano Baez



Hidayah Halid



Eka Cahyaningrum



Adrian Leitoro



Gabriela Gavarrete Juárez

El Salvador






Sergio Esteban Lozano Baez, Colombia, restoring Mountains

As Wangari Maathai said “Until you dig a hole, you plant a tree, you water it and make it survive, you haven't done a thing. You are just talking”.

My name is Sergio Lozano-Baez, I’m from Colombia and I totally believe that forest restoration goes beyond planting trees. I have been involved in the challenging world of restoration since 2011, when I worked on the forest restoration plan for areas affected by alluvial gold mining in the Nechí river basin, Antioquia. Since then, my experience in different restoration projects in tropical ecosystems has increased.

In 2015 I started my PhD in Forest Resources at the University of São Paulo, Brazil. Throughout my PhD experience I learned the principles of ecological restoration and importance of soil to recover the forests. I also improved my skills at scientific writing, publishing the results of my thesis in many scientific articles. In 2019, I started to coordinated my first restoration project with the NGO Selva – Research for Conservation in the Neotropics. This restoration project aims to restore 45 ha on the north of Tolima, Colombia, planting 25.000 native tree species in order to improve the habitat of two endemic and endangered bird species.

The Restoration Stewards program is the opportunity to grow and reinforce our project. Having been selected as the Restoration Steward for the mountain ecosystem brings me immense joy; I hope 2022 will be a year full of learning and lots of trees for the mountains"

Want to connect with Sergio? Follow him on: 

Instagram: sergio_ecores Twitter: @selvaorgco
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Hidayah Halid, Malaysia, restoring Oceans

“Vast green backyard at home and endless blue at my office. It’s the privilege that I wouldn’t trade in for anything else”

Hidayah Halid, a girl who grew up a daughter of a farmer in the small village of Nibong Tebal in Penang, her upbringing has been spoiled by daily golden sunset which profoundly give her tranquillity within nature. Following her naturalist quest, she discovered a new whole world below the surface and the journey has led her to pursue her career in protecting the marine ecosystem. Exploring nature has shown her the interconnectivity and complexity of each existing organism within nature and the marine ecosystem is intrinsically connected to the coastal community. Her passion is to preserve the ecosystem while protecting the well being of the coastal community. Living together with the coastal community of Perhentian Island has provided me the insight of local perception on their marine habitat and marine conservation. However, seeing the notable changes in the overall health condition of our reef, she felt the need of immediate intervention to minimize the impact of the ecosystem imbalance.

Restoring the landscape is one of the applicable approaches to help the ecosystem to recover from various degradation and for the ecosystem to become more resilient toward changes. Restoration is a process that needs constant momentum and collective efforts from each individual who benefited from the resources. Hidayah, through her organisation of Perhentian Marine Research Station (PMRS) has undertaken the responsibility to engage with stakeholder at every level to achieve sustainable resource management.

Therefore, as the 2022 Restoration Steward for Ocean Landscape, I would strengthen my advocacy in marine conservation within my coastal community via the local empowerment program of #AnakPulau whilst showcasing the beauty of Perhentian Island for its worth to be protected.

Want to connect with Hidayah? Follow her on:


Eka Cahyaningrum, Indonesia, restoring Peatlands

Restoration of ecosystems has taught her that multidisciplinary knowledge and collaboration are necessary to achieve a successful project. 

She is called Eka Cahyaningrum from Indonesia, a Restoration Steward for Peatland Ecosystems. She loves exploring new places. Two of her favorite things to do in the forest are waking up early morning to observe primates while listening to the forest wake up, and putting on my boots at night to conduct amphibian surveys near the riverbanks and observe these beautiful creatures. 

She started her restoration path in 2019 when she joined the firefighting team in Kalimantan and saw the detrimental impact of ecosystem degradation. She then volunteered in a mangrove, seagrass, and coral restoration project, where she learnt about coastal ecosystem restoration.

In 2021, she and her friends and decided to start their peat restoration project in Central Kalimantan, and since then She has been learning more about peatlands and its restoration efforts.

Their organization is Himba Raya Indonesia (HIRAI). Himba means Forest in Dayak and Raya means great in Indonesian. Their hope is to restore large areas of degraded peatlands, provide sustainable livelihoods for local communities, and raise awareness about environmental degradation in Central Kalimantan. They aim to build community resilience to climate change through nature-based solutions and community empowerment.  

As a Restoration Steward for Peatlands, She seeks to further improve and expand her knowledge on peat restoration. Then, with this newly acquired knowledge and network, she would support peat restoration efforts in Central Kalimantan.

Want to connect with Eka? Follow her on: 

Instagram: @Ikaa_cahya@hirai_foundation 

 Twitter: @e_cahyaningrum 

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Adrian Leitoro, Kenya, restoring Drylands

Adrian is an ecopreneur and avid conservationist. He graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Business Management but left it all behind to pursue his passion for environmental conservation. Adrian was born and raised in national parks in Kenya as his parents were conservationists working with the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) - the body mandated with conserving Kenya’s wildlife. His experiences growing up in protected areas and seeing the importance of healthy ecosystems shaped his shift to conservation and restoration in 2019.

That is why he co-founded Nature and People as One (NaPO), a local conservation initiative working at the forefront of community-led conservation in northern Kenya. NaPO, currently, partners with the indigenous Rendille and Samburu communities to conserve their pristine landscapes, biodiversity, wildlife & culture.

As the 2022 RS for the Drylands, he would like to restore northern Kenya’s dryland ecosystems in a way that increases the involvement of local communities and generates benefits for them for their sustainable management and conservation of these landscapes.

Adrian is also currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Climate Change Adaptation with a focus on Nature-Based Solutions at the University of Nairobi.

Want to connect with Adrian? Follow him on:

Instagram: @leitoro_adrian 

 Twitter: @leitoroadrian

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Gabriela Gavarrete Juárez, El Salvador, restoring Forests

Restoring ecosystems is to understand what the earth is asking of us, not only to satisfy the needs of humans, but for all species to coexist properly.

Gabriela Gavarrete is a young Salvadoran biologist who began her restoration work in deciduous forests that suffer mainly from wildfires in the dry season. Her interests are related to nature conservation, biological restoration and the scientific research of beneficial insects for ecosystems.

Since El Salvador is one of the most deforested countries in the region, Gabriela decided to initiate a restoration project in the city of Santa Ana, Cerro Tecana, which is a hill that is part of a biological corridor composed of a deciduous forest, which has suffered many years of degradation due to fires and poor agricultural practices of its inhabitants. Their main interest is to work with the communities and involve them in the restoration process through workshops and training to improve their agricultural activities and fire management, create a community plant nursery and establish a plantation with native tree species.

As Restoration Steward 2022 for forests, I would like to inspire more people to join in ecosystem restoration and be able to replicate my project in other areas where forest management is needed, as the best restoration initiatives are those born from united communities that have understood that nature's resources are present in all our daily activities and that we depend on them, it is our responsibility to protect and restore our ecosystems.

Want to connect with Gabriela? Follow her on:

 Instagram: @gabsbio 

Twitter: @Gabsbio

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‘A society informed on restoration and conservation is one of the greatest hope earth has towards healing.’

Eva Makandi, commonly known as ‘Kandi’ is her name. Kandi is from Kenya and specifically, Meru County. She is a passionate sustainable community development and peace change agent who loves art and working with children in most of her community initiatives.  Kandi believes in, and champions education as her ultimate catalyst towards empowering and transforming communities in a bid of achieving sustainable development. 

Raised by her educationist and conservationist grandmother, she grew up loving nature and the serenity that came with it. However, this beauty has been fast fading in her Kiirua village. In a bid to reverse this, and bridge some of the socio-economic gaps in her community, she founded a community based organization; Light On A Hill (LOAH) in September 2020. Loah’s aims to transform community’s lives through empowerment. Under Loah’s restoration and conservation focus area, Kandi has been partnering with her community in restoring forests and the environment she grew up knowing so that the younger generations and those to come can have the opportunity to experience it and its ripple effect benefits.

As the 2022 forest R.S., I hope to educate, mentor and empower my community, specifically kids (5-14 years) to be stewards and champions of forests and environment restoration and conservation both locally and globally. I would also like to spark an undying light of sustainable restoration and conservation that will be amplified by present and future generations. 

Want to connect with Kandi? Follow her on:

Instagram: @thisis_kandi_e
Twitter: @thisis_kandi_e
Facebook: @Thisis Kandie

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Meet the 2021 Restoration Stewards

Grace Easteria



Marlon Webb

Costa Rica


Analí Bustos



Frances Camille Rivera



Charity Lanoi



Sumarni Laman




Grace Easteria, Indonesia, restoring Oceans

Coral Reef Restoration Project in a Thousand Island

Coral reef rehabilitation in Thousand Island aims to restore coral reef cover that has been damaged as a result of human activities. Seeing that the Thousand Islands are coral islands, coral reefs are greatly significant in the coastal protection of the local community. Besides its ecological benefit, this project also provides income through restoration projects and tourism activities and helps boost up the potential of marine tourism in the Thousand Islands which was previously damaged by over 60%.

Instagram: @grace.whaley


Twitter: @geasteria


Get inspired by Grace's hope for the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration.


Marlon Webb, Costa Rica, restoring Mountains

Bosque para nacer Agua

Communities depend on the mountains in the area mainly for freshwater. However, the degradation of this vulnerable ecosystem is increasing. It is a fundamental need to restore this ecosystem and the society depending on it. That is why at Diwo, we partner with the Bruncajc Indigenous Women’s Group “So Cagru” to restore the Boruca mountains, conserve freshwater and preserve cultural heritage.


 Twitter: @bajoramas@diwoambiental


Watch Marlon's day out on the field.

Get inspired by Marlon's hope for the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration.


Analí Bustos, Argentina, Restoring Forests

Proyecto Reserva Natural Monte Alegre

El Espinal is one of the most degraded forest ecosystems on the planet. We have lost much of its diversity and surface, while many people are not aware of its particularities and richness. At Monte Alegre, we work for the ecological and social restoration of our forests. Restoration must plant seeds in the earth, but it must also plant seeds in the hearts of people. This is the only way that can allow restoration results to be enduring over time.  

 Instagram: @li.bustos@proyecto.rn.montealegre

 Twitter: @bustos_anali 


Watch Anali's day out on the field.

Get inspired by Anali's hope for the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration.


Frances Camille Rivera, Philippines, Wetlands

Community-based mangrove restoration efforts of unproductive fishponds

The restoration project for wetlands is to enhance the bottom-up restoration efforts through participatory and knowledge-transfer to the local communities and community environment officers on the suitable methods of wetland restoration by means of targeted areas and multispecies planting. One of the activities is to restore unproductive fishponds and other barren areas around the country back to mangroves so that the areas become fertile and productive to enable possible alternative livelihood to the mangrove-dependent communities.

 Instagram: @camzzrivera@mangrovesforourfuture

 Twitter: @frcamillerivera


Watch Camille's day out on the field.

Get inspired by Camille's hope for the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration.


Charity Lanoi, Kenya, Drylands

Moilo Grass Seed Bank and Apiary

I would want to restore the degraded areas of Kuku Group Ranch through grass seed banks, tree planting, and beekeeping projects. The use of grass seed banks is our primary method of restoration for the project. Grass seed banks will not only benefit the women group economically, but also provide available pasture for livestock

 Instagram: @mwct_kenya

 Twitter: @charity_lanoi@maasaiwild


Watch Charity's day out on the field.

Get inspired by Charity's hope for the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration.


Sumarni Laman, Indonesia, Peatlands

The Heartland Project

The Heartland Project focuses on different areas that are closely related to the Indigenous Dayak living system. First, the Tumbang Nusa village, located in Pulang Pisau regency, a source of hotspots for 23 years. The second area for the project is in Talekoi village, located in South Barito regency, which still has a lush forest, under the threat of forest fires. 

 Instagram: @sumarni_laman

 Twitter: @sumarnilaman


Watch Sumarni's day out on the field.

Get inspired by Sumarni's hope for the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration.



Eirini Sakellari:

Acting GLF Youth Coordinator