Who We Are

Board of Directors

Campbell Plowden

Dr. Campbell Plowden [Founder/President/Treasurer/Executive Director]

Campbell Plowden has worked for tropical forest conservation since 1985 with groups including Greenpeace, the Environmental Investigation Agency, Amazon Watch, and the Humane Society of the U.S.  He earned a Ph.D. in Ecology from the Penn State University Graduate Ecology Program based on his studies of non-timber forest products with the Tembé Indians in the eastern Brazilian Amazon.  This work was largely supported by a Kleinhans Fellowship from the Rainforest Alliance.  He has since published numerous articles on this and other tropical forest issues.  Campbell also helped formed the Tembé Indian Support Committee with other Quakers from State College Friends Meeting and other friends to support land rights, cultural preservation, and other local development projects in the Alto Rio Guamá Indigenous Reserve.  He also facilitates conflict resolution workshops with the Alternatives to Violence Project (AVP).

Kat Alden

Katherine Alden [Vice-President/Recorder]

Kat Alden is the director and pre-school teacher with the Cooperative Play School in State College, PA.  She is also the founder of the One World Environmental Center and Camp in Spring Mills, PA.  She has worked with indigenous people in the U.S. and was the co-chair of the Tembé Indian Support Committee with the State College Friends Meeting.

Michael Gilmore

Dr. Michael Gilmore [Director]

Michael Gilmore is an Assistant Professor of Life Sciences and Integrative Studies at New Century College of George Mason University in Fairfax, VA.  Michael is an ethnobiologist who is active with many Amazon conservation activities with groups including WildShare International, the Rainforest Conservation Foundation, and the Federation of Maijuna Native Communities (FECONAMAI) that represents Maijuna indigenous communities in the northeast Peruvian Amazon. 

Dr. James Finley

Dr. James Finley [Director]

Jim Finley is a Professor of Forestry at Penn State University in charge of the Forest Resources Cooperative Extension program. He has more than twenty years of experience doing forest ecology and management studies and works both private landowners and communities to develop sustainable forest management programs. He is co-author of the book Forest Resource Management: A Landowner's Guide to Getting Started that was awarded the Best Forestry Book of 2006 by the National Woodland Owners Association.  

Audrey Maretzki

Dr. Audrey Maretzki [Director]

Audrey Maretzki is a Professor Emerita of Food Science and Nutrition at Penn State University and co-director of the Interinstitutional Consortium for Indigenous Knowledge (ICIK). She has also led and promoted research and other projects to support health, culture and conservation with rural communities in Africa, Latin America and Asia through the Marjorie Grant Whiting Center, the Univ. of Hawaii and the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Service. CACE welcomes her skills as a grant writer and developer of social entrepreneurial initiatives with women in developing countries.   

Robin van Loon

Robin van Loon [Director]

Robin Van Loon is the founder and executive director of Camino Verde, a non-profit organization dedicated to planting trees in the Peruvian Amazon. A Massachusetts native, Robin has lived in Peru since 2001, studying traditional use of medicinal and economic plants in the Andean highlands and in Tambopata, Madre de Dios. The organization manages a "Living Seed Bank" of 250 species of fruit, medicinal, crafts, and timber trees for reforestation projects on site and with local farmers.


Advisory Board

Christopher Uhl

Dr. Christopher Uhl

Christopher Uhl is an ecologist with many years of experience working in the Amazon where he co-founded the Brazilian organization IMAZON – Amazon Institute of Man and the Environment.  He is a Professor of Biology at Penn State University and author of the book Developing Ecological Consciousness: Paths to a Sustainable World.

Patricia Shanley

Dr. Patricia Shanley

Trish Shanley is a researcher who is equally well known for her work studying the ecology and management of non-timber forest products in the Brazilian Amazon and her efforts to make this information directly available and relevant to forest peoples in the region.  She has written and co-edited numerous books including Frutíferas e Plantas Úteis na Vida Amazônica (Fruiting and useful plants in Amazon life).  Dr. Shanley works as a staff ethnobiologist for the Center for International Forestry (CIFOR) in Bogor, Indonesia and is on the steering committee of the organization Plants and Peoples International.

Denny Moore

Dr. Denny Moore

Denny Moore has done linguistic studies and worked for cultural preservation with dozens of indigenous groups in the Brazilian Amazon.  He has also helped several groups including the Tembé, Ka’apor, and Gavião Indians to explore sustainable harvesting and marketing programs for non-timber forest products.  Denny is a researcher in the Indigenous Linguistics of the Amazon program with the Goeldi Museum in Belém, Brazil. 

Virginia Hubbs

Virginia Hubbs

Virginia Hubbs has been a grant writer and organizational development consultant for more than 25 years.  Non-profit groups she has assisted have dealt with diverse issues such as sustainable agriculture, nutrition education, increasing access to healthy foods in low-income urban neighborhoods, care for cancer patients, and gender concerns in international development.  Virginia is also an interfaith minister and creator of The Graceful Earth on-line store.

Stephen Althouse

Stephen Althouse

Steve Althouse is an emeritus Professor of Photography and former chair of the Department of Fine Arts at Barry University in Miami Shores, FL.  He is an accomplished artist-photographer whose work has been widely shown and collected throughout North America, South America, and Europe. 

Denice Wardrop

Dr. Denice Wardrop

Denice Wardrop is a senior research associate in the Penn State University Dept. of Geography and associate director of the Penn State Cooperative Wetlands Center in University Park, PA.  In addition to her research and teaching duties in Pennsylvania, Denice co-created and led groups of Penn State students on a field course to explore the social and environmental issues in the Peruvian Amazon.

Chris Benner

Dr. Chris Benner

Dr. Chris Benner is a Professor of Environmental Studies and Sociology at the University of California, Santa Cruz where he is Director of the Everett Program of Digital Tools for Social Innovation. He also the Chair in the Dorothy E. Everett Global Information and Social Entrepreneurship. His research examines the relationships between technological change, regional development, and the structure of economic opportunity, focusing on regional labor markets and the transformation of work and employment patterns.


Peter Kostishack

Peter Kostishack has worked extensively to support regional and national indigenous organizations from the entire Amazon region.  This has included linking the concerns of these groups to conservation and other groups in the U.S. and facilitating the sale of indigenous handicrafts at special events.  He is the past co-director of the Amazon alliance for indigenous and traditional peoples of the Amazon basin and currently consulting with a variety of non-governmental organizations on Amazon regional projects. He is currently the Deputy Director of Program at the Global Greengrants Fund in Boulder, Colorado.