Board of Governors

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Jessica Brown, M.A. (Chair, 2013-2015) focuses on stewardship of biocultural landscapes, civic engagement in conservation, and governance of protected areas. Her concern with biocultural diversity grows out of this work, recognizing that the landscape is both source and expression of the biocultural diversity of life. Over the past two decades, she has worked with community-based conservation projects in countries of the Caribbean, Mesoamerica, Andean South America, Central and Eastern Europe and the Balkans.  Jessica is Executive Director of the New England Biolabs Foundation, an independent, private foundation whose mission is to foster community-based conservation of landscapes and seascapes and the bio-cultural diversity found in these places. Prior to that she was Senior Vice President for International Programs with the Quebec-Labrador Foundation/Atlantic Center for the Environment (QLF), responsible for its capacity-building and peer-to-peer exchange activities in diverse regions, and a founding partner of the US National Park Service’s Conservation Study Institute. She is currently consulting with the UNDP/Global Environmental Facility Small Grants Programme and its Community Management of Protected Areas for Conservation (COMPACT) initiative. A member of IUCN’s World Commission on Protected Areas (WCPA), Jessica chairs its Protected Landscapes Specialist Group, a global working group that advises on policy and management issues related to biocultural landscapes and serves as a platform for qualitative research and dissemination of case-study experience. Recent publications include The Protected Landscape Approach: Linking Nature, Culture and Community, and the launch of a new series on Values of Protected Landscapes and Seascapes, exploring the agro-biodiversity, wild biodiversity, cultural and spiritual values of these areas. She received an M.A. in International Development from Clark University, and a B.A. in Biology and Environmental Studies from Brown University.
Christopher P. Dunn, Ph.D. (Vice-Chair, 2013) is a botanist and conservation ecologist who has considerable research experience studying the relationships between people and place and human impacts on the landscape. As director of an arboretum in Hawai‘i, he has developed a keen interest in the intersection of biological and cultural conservation. He serves on the Executive Council of Ka Mauli Hou, a multi-institutional statewide effort to restore native Hawaiian biota and to reconnect native Hawaiian culture to the land. In addition, he is spearheading the development of a transdisciplinary Center for Biocultural Studies at the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa that will have broad Pacific reach and impact. Christopher also serves on the Board of the American Public Gardens Association and is active in other botanic garden conservation organizations, including Botanic Gardens Conservation International. He has contributed to IUCN’s strategic vision with a view to greater emphasis on cultural conservation within the conventional conservation community.

Susan Fassberg (Secretary / Treasurer, 2013-2015), brings twenty-plus years of experience in marketing, business development and public relations to the Terralingua Board. Most recently she held the position of Director of Strategic Partnerships at the Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley. The GGSC studies the psychology, sociology and neuroscience of well-being, and teaches skills for a thriving, resilient and compassionate society. Previously, Susan held senior positions with Salon.com and AskJeeves.com, and consulted for LAMagazine and numerous TV productions in the US and overseas (NDR, ZDF, and RTL+). “Linking people with ideas with people with ideas…”  is Susan’s passion. Fluent in German, French and Spanish, she  launched Connectingdotz.com, a  greeting card company celebrating linguistic diversity, endangered languages, and indigenous wisdom.  Susan also serves on the Board of the Rockwood Leadership Institute and consults to the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation, based in Denver.

George N. Appell, Ph.D. (At-Large, 2013-2015) holds an A.B., M.B.A, and M.A. from Harvard University, and a Ph.D. in Anthropology from Australian National University. Along with his wife, Laura, he has done fieldwork among the Dogrib First Nation of the Northwest Territories of Canada, the Bulusu’ of Kalimantan Timur, Indonesia, and the Rungus of Sabah, Malaysia. The work with the Rungus continues. George and Laura and co-founded the Sabah Oral Literature Project in 1986. George also is co-founder and president of the Borneo Research Council, a membership organization that includes scholars in the social, medical, and biological sciences. For as long as he can remember, he has been concerned with the plight of indigenous peoples. Because indigenous societies are almost universally denigrated and ridiculed, and because change is introduced among them without full understanding of the social consequences, his and Laura’s approach has been instead to honor indigenous cultures and provide their societies with insight on their sociocultural organization, so that they can make informed choices for their own futures (see for example the Anthropologists’ Fund for Urgent Anthropological Research which they established; http://www.urgentanthro.org/). In addition to field research and ethnographic reporting, George’s research and writing have focused on the plight of indigenous peoples, including their loss of access to their natural and cultural resources. He has written several articles on indigenous land tenure, and is completing his book Understanding Resource Tenure and Property Relations: Theory and Method. He has researched and written on the ecological significance of sacred groves and sacred places and how their destruction has environmental consequences. He has also written on how the unthinking application of the basic human rights documents can do more harm than good to indigenous societies. In 1999, George and Laura established the Firebird Foundation for Anthropological Research. One of its goals is to record the vanishing arts and sciences of indigenous peoples. For this purpose, the foundation provides Fellowships for the Collection of Oral Literature and Traditional Ecological Knowledge. There are now over 60 such projects in the field. For this work the foundation prepared a draft of The Collection of Oral Literature and Traditional Ecological Knowledge: A Field Guide, which was tested in the field and is in the process of being revised.

Robert Alan Hershey, J.D. (At-Large, 2013-2015), is a Professor on both the Law and American Indian Studies Faculties and Director of Clinical Education for the Indigenous Peoples Law & Policy Program at the University of Arizona. He received his law degree from the University of Arizona College of Law in 1972. He began his legal career as a Staff Attorney for the Fort Defiance Agency of Dinebeiina Nahilna Be Agaditahe (DNA Legal Services) on the Navajo Indian Reservation. Thereafter, as a sole practitioner, Robert specialized in Indian affairs. From 1983 to 1999, he served as Special Litigation Counsel and Law Enforcement Legal Advisor to the White Mountain Apache Tribe, and, from 1995 to 1997, as Special Counsel to the Pascua Yaqui Tribe. Robert has also served continuously from 1989-present as Judge Pro Tempore for the Tohono O’odham Judiciary, and he is a past Associate Justice for the Yavapai-Prescott Indian Tribal Court of Appeals. He has been a member of the White Mountain Apache, Hopi, Pascua Yaqui, and Tohono O’odham Tribal Courts. He has taught American Indian Law at the University of Puerto Rico Escuela de Derechos and at the University of Deusto in Bilbao, Spain, and has taught a Globalization course in Summer 2005 at the University of Victoria in British Columbia. For the past twenty years he has taught Indian/Indigenous/Aboriginal law at the University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law. His current courses include Indigenous Peoples Law and Policy Clinical Education (which promotes and assists the self-determination of Aboriginal communities in the southwestern United States and worldwide), Advanced Topics in Indian Law, and Globalization and the Transformation of Cultures and Humanity. His students engage in projects that benefit Aboriginal Peoples domestically and internationally (see http://www.law.arizona.edu/Depts/iplp/).  Robert also spearheads the EcoLiterateLaw project (www.ecoliteratelaw.com/), which aims to introduce ecological literacy in legal and business school education.

Bob Weeden, Ph.D. (At-Large, 2013-2015),  a New Englander through boyhood, obtained a doctorate in zoology from the University of British Columbia in 1959. His thesis was about ptarmigan, and birds have been a lifelong passion. Bob then moved to Alaska, where he was research biologist for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. After a transitional year while he served as conservation representative for national and local conservation groups, in 1970 Bob joined the faculty at the University of Alaska (UA). Combining appointments with the Wildlife/Biology and newly formed Natural Resources departments, and the Institute of Social, Economic, and Government Research, Bob developed a series of new UA offerings joining political decision- making, environmental issues, resource management, environmental law and litigation, and environmental ethics. In 1975 he took leave for 18 months to work for the Governor of Alaska as Director of Policy Development and Planning. A number of appointments greatly enriched his experience. In 1972 he was appointed to the Alaska Environmental Advisory Council, and in 1980 to the Alaska Power Authority, both being state level groups. He served the federal government on the National Marine Fisheries Advisory Committee and the US Marine Mammal Commission from 1976 to 1984. In the non-profit sector Bob was a director of the National Audubon Society (1978-1984), board member of the Student Conservation Association, and a director and officer of the Alaska Conservation Society (1960-1980), which he helped found. Bob wrote many articles and two books before retiring in 1990. His Canadian wife and he bought a small farm on Salt Spring Island, B.C. where Judy works in her pottery studio and garden, and Bob tends his 150-tree orchard and volunteers with the Salt Spring Island Conservancy. He finished his third book, a collection of natural history essays, early in 2013. He spends a lot of time reading, thinking, and writing, sometimes in that order.