MEET THE TEAM
Anna Gili is Experience Mamoní’s Business Development and Program Coordinator. Utilizing her experience as a postgraduate in International Cooperation and Development she is focusing on expanding our curricula offerings for EM’s experiential learning programs, along with a strategy to market those through our web and social media channels. Originally from Barcelona, Anna studied Biology at Barcelona University and Agronomy Engineering at the Polytechnic University; later on, while living in England, she got her MSc. in Natural Resource Management.
She is a dog lover who has recently finished a graduate diploma in Canine Unit Instruction, a wanderer with a passion for travel adventures, and an outdoor enthusiast finishing her Wilderness Guide certification with the International Wilderness Academy.
Her experience as a researcher, animal trainer, dancer, diver, and world traveller has adapted Anna to be our perfect candidate for creating all types of user experiences while understanding the challenging environments we offer our adventurous visitors.
Rodolfo Pereira supports Experience Mamoní in bookkeeping, taxation and back-office duties. He helps Experience Mamoní manage the financial relations and billing cycles with our vendors and clients, and also supports our logistical planning and operations.
Leandro Toribio serves as Facilities Caretaker. Leandro was raised in the Valley and the jungle has always been his backyard. He’s worked with our partner NGO Earth Train since 2001 and is now in supporting both organizations as the on-site carpenter and in maintaining the grounds around our jungle campus, Centro Mamoni. When not maintaining our site beautiful, Leandro helps out with guiding and adventure trips and in his spare time he helps out on his family’s farm and tends to his gardens that include unique, native species of orchids.
Nico Armstrong serves as Facilities Manager for Experience Mamoní. With six years of hosting and management experience Nico is our key guy who manages your experience in Mamoni. His programmatic involvement is focused on agriculture and community development. Arriving to Bocas del Toro, Panama in 2006 as a Peace Corps volunteer Nico integrated himself with indigenous Ngabe cacao farmers to teach sustainable techniques to increase the production of their plantations. After completing his services Nico moved on to become a tour guide and operator for six years in the highlands of the Chiriqui province, specializing in treks, agro-tourism and indigenous cultural experiences with his Ngabe friends. He is a PAWGI certified wilderness guide and in his spare time he loves to go on “waterfall quests” — in search for beautiful, undiscovered falls.
Mark Knetsch serves as Managing Director for Experience Mamoní. He facilitates all programmatic development, both in and out of the Preserve, and is in charge of creating your meaningful experience in Panama. Mark has been leading local and international student groups of all ages throughout the Valley and parts of Panama for the past three years, and has developed a deep knowledge of the local biodiversity and culture. He is our resident PAWGI certified wilderness guide, trained in emergency response and jungle survival. While living in Canada Mark studied accounting and business administration at Laurentian University, where he graduated Cum Laude. During this period he also specialized in landscape construction and heavy machinery operation, and is a true waterman, having been raised in Aruba. His ability to speak 4 languages: English, Dutch, Spanish and Papiamento has helped Mark with supporting our NGO partner Earth Train in program development and management, along with many personal global adventures, which includes extensive time in Latin America and Asia.
Matt Brewer serves as our mentor Master Forester. His programmatic involvement covers all project development, implementation and management, as well as feasibility assessments, community development, land appraisal and procurement, and due diligence needs related to forestry, carbon, bioenergy and community development projects, which as the Chief Forester with our partners Rainforest Capital Management he manages projects in Panama, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Costa Rica, Ghana, Bahamas, Peru, Brazil, Nicaragua, and the USA. Matt also serves as Chief Forester. After receiving a Master’s Degree from the Yale School of Forestry, he spent most of the past ten years in Latin America managing forestry, bioenergy, forest carbon (AR/REDD+), and land use optimization projects. He is fluent in Spanish. Matt’s work includes design and implementation of landscape management and agro- forestry investment packages, biodiversity and watershed conservation programs, and participation in several REDD+ initiatives. Matt Previously Matt worked with US Forest Service wilderness programs for five years as a ranger and forestry technician and loves being in the mountains and wild places.
Sam Larson is our mentor Resource Economist. His programmatic involvement comes as our strategy and operations consultant. Sam is an entrepreneur and a passionate conservationist with over a decade of project development experience and cultural assimilation in Latin America. Before serving as managing director for our partner Rainforest Capital Management, Sam was founder and CEO of Ceiba Forestry, where he developed investment opportunities for projects integrating land conservation, agroforestry and clean technology. Prior to his work in the conservation and agroforestry space, Sam helped launch Sylvatex, a successful biofuel technology company, where he spearheaded business development, patent licensing and financial modeling, as well as analysis on the firm’s carbon life-cycle and GHG emissions credits. Early in his career, Sam worked on environmental impact analysis and agroforestry microfinance with Geovic Mining Group in Cameroon; he consulted on biofuel refinery economics with Ecopetrol in Colombia, and; he worked on biomass-to-energy projects with one of the largest energy companies in Latin America, Empresas Publicas de Medellin.
Enrique “Kike” Arias serves as Principle Advisor – Indigenous Affairs for Experience Mamoní. His programmatic involvement is focused on GIS mapping and community development. Kike is a Guna elder from the San Blas archipelago of the semi-autonomous indigenous Guna Nation. He served as the Assistant Secretary General of the Guna Congress, and is one of the original cartographers of the Mamoní Valley, as well the indigenous Guna territory (“comarca”) to the North. He spent many years trekking and mapping the jungles of Mamoní and the comarca, and is an invaluable part of our guiding and activities offerings. Kike is also an important member of the operations team for the Mamoní100 partnership and the Mamoní Valley Preserve.
Gabriel Salazar serves as Wilderness Guide for Experience Mamoní. His programmatic involvement is focused on local jungle expertise in survival, animal tracking, and navigating. In his youth Gabriel was once a prolific hunter trained by Noriega’s military forces in the Mamoní Valley, but he has since been able to create a more sustainable livelihood for himself when joining our partner NGO Earth Train in 2006– a start of a new era as he is now one of the Preserves biggest supporters for conservation. Running a quaint but efficient and beautiful integrated farm system, while also developing and managing our animal husbandry program, Gabriel is a true ‘hombre de la selva’ (man of the jungle); he is a master horsemen and agriculturist and he has a deep knowledge of the plants and animals of the Mamoní Valley.
Carlos Andres Gonzalez is our internal legal counsel and has since 2008 been working on our projects in the Mamoní Valley with our partners Earth Train, the Mamoní 100, as well as other for profit and non-for-profit partners operating in the Valley. He also participates in acquisitions and sales of land for the Mamoní Valley Preserve and its partners, developing legal strategies around titling and conservation easements, as well as supporting our community development and sustainable livelihood initiatives.