Ceiba Staff and Directors
Who We Are

Ceiba Staff

Carolina Toapanta Carolina Toapanta is the Executive Director of the Ceiba Foundation in Ecuador.  She oversees in-country conservation projects, volunteer program, establishes partnerships with local and national governments as well as other non-profits, and raises funds for Ceiba and its projects.


Kelly van Gils Kelly Van Gils is the Science and Volunteer Coordinator at the Lalo Loor Dry Forest.  She is from The Netherlands, but has lived for years in Ecuador.  Kelly oversees the ongoing research projects in the reserve, and coordinates and works day to day with our volunteers and interns.


Yasi Rezai Yasi Rezai is Ceiba’s Administrator in the US.  She oversees the day-to-day office operations, manages the volunteer program, promotes Ceiba’s courses, and supports grant-writing efforts.


Julia Frangul is the Communications Coordinator.  She updates Ceiba’s online platforms and oversees course promotion and marketing efforts.


Lalo Loor Dry Forest Reserve Staff

Mariela Loor  Mariela Loor is the Reserve Manager of the Lalo Loor Dry Forest.  She is from Tabuga, Ecuador, and is the daughter of the reserve’s owner, Sr. Lalo Loor.  Mariela coordinates day-to-day activities at the reserve, organizes environmental education activities with surrounding schools, and strengthens Ceiba’s community outreach.


Photo Unavailable  Gustavo Vaca and Richard Puertas are our two handymen. They are from the two communities closest to the reserve, Camarones and Tabuga, and take care of maintenance work and forest surveillance in the Reserve.


Photo Unavailable  Yaritza Puertas, Andrea Puertas, Irma Vaca, and Rosa Baloy keep the biological station up and running and make sure all the facilities are taken care of. Their specialties coastal Ecuadorian cuisine and they keep the staff, interns, and volunteers well-fed with their delicious meals!


Board of Directors

Catherine Woodward Catherine Woodward
Ph.D., Botany, University of Wisconsin
Associate Lecturer, University of Wisconsin
Madison, Wisconsin
(curriculum vita)


Joe Meisel Joe E. Meisel
Ph.D., Zoology, University of Wisconsin
Madison, Wisconsin
(curriculum vita)


Monica de Navarro Monica de Navarro
Former Director, Quito Botanical Garden
Quito, Ecuador


Steve Webster Steve Webster 
Ph.D., Social Welfare, University of Wisconsin
Madison, Wisconsin


Susan Webster in the paramo Susan Webster 
Masters of Social Work, University of Tennessee
Madison, Wisconsin