National Association of Conservation Districts Summer Meeting: San Juan, Puerto Rico
NRCS Chief Terry Cosby
Terry Cosby was appointed to serve as chief of the United States Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in May of 2021. In this role, Chief oversees the 3,000 NRCS field offices and their employees across the nation.
Cosby began his career with the agency in 1979 as a student trainee in Iowa. Cosby’s roots run deep. Raised on a cotton farm with his eight siblings in Tallahatchie County, Mississippi, his love for the land began at an early age. The farm, now in his family for three generations, was purchased by his great-grandfather in the late 1800s.
Chief Cosby will be speaking at Monday’s General Session.
Dr. Bradley Doorn, Ph.D.
Dr. Doorn is the Program Manager for Water Resources and Agriculture in the Applied Science Program of the Earth Science Division of NASA. With over 35 years of experience in applying remote sensing data to Earth applications, Dr. Doorn now manages over 30 applied research projects and two consortia. He also serves as the Applied Sciences Project Lead for the Surface Water Ocean Topography (SWOT) and the Mass Change missions and various interagency committees; such as the NOAA-led Executive Council for the National Interagency Drought Information System (NIDIS) and co-lead of the Green House Gas Interagency Working Group for Climate-Smart Agriculture, among other duties.
Previously, Dr. Doorn was the Division Director of the International Production Assessment Division in the Office of Global Analysis, Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS), USDA. Dr. Doorn also served on active duty for nearly 10 years as a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Topographic Officer. He is a long-time member and officer (including President) of the American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (ASPRS).
Dr. Doorn received his doctorate and master’s degrees from The Ohio State University in Geodetic Science and Surveying and his bachelor’s degree in Geological Engineering from South Dakota School of Mines and Technology.
Doorn will be speaking at Monday’s General Session and will be a panelist in the Technology in Conservation and Agriculture breakout session on Monday, July 18 at 2:15 p.m.
Iván Llerandi-Román is a Supervisory Fish & Wildlife biologist in the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) Caribbean Ecological Services Field Office. He holds a Master’s degree in Fish and Wildlife Management from the Mississippi State University and B.S. degree in Biology from the University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez. Iván has divided his professional career as a wildlife biologist between the Puerto Rico Department of Environmental and Natural Resources, where he coordinated the Puerto Rican parrot Recovery Program and the Technical Assistance for Wildlife Conservation project in Puerto Rico, and as a Habitat Restoration Programs Caribbean Coordinator and Supervisory Fish and Wildlife Biologist in the USFWS, where he coordinates habitat restoration, and threatened and endangered species recovery efforts in Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands. His work links habitat restoration, T&E species recovery, landscape level conservation, anthropogenic activities, ecosystem services, agriculture, and socio-economic factors to maintain healthy trust species populations, conservation engagement and the ecological integrity of ecosystems.
Llerandi-Román will be a panelist in the JCI breakout session on Monday, July 18 at 10:30 a.m.
Gabriela Morales Nieves
Gabriela Morales Nieves is a forester currently working as a Land Management Planner in El Yunque National Forest with the U.S. Forest Service. She has a bachelor’s degree in Biology and Environmental Science from UPR Río Piedras and a Master of Forestry from Yale School of the Environment. In El Yunque, she is helping to develop strategies for conservation of lands in the eastern region of Puerto Rico, doing policy work, and promoting opportunities for community engagement around the Forest.
Morales Nieves will be a panelist in the Sustainable Tourism and Community Engagement breakout session on Monday, July 18 at 10:30 a.m.
Ricardo J. Colon
Ricardo J. Colon completed a Bachelor’s Degree in Animal Science and a Master’s Degree in Biology at the University of Puerto Rico. With more than 10 years of experience in the federal government, he began his career in the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as a Wildlife Biologist in the Caribbean Island National Wildlife Refuge Complex. Currently, he is the Caribbean Area Biologist for the USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service where he also serves as the Joint Chiefs Landscape Restoration Partnership Coordinator.
Colon will be a panelist in the JCI breakout session on Monday, July 18 at 10:30 a.m.
Dr. H. Nolo Martinez
Dr. Martínez is an Agronomist and Agricultural Economist. Dr. Martínez has over 30 years of experience working with farmers, farmworkers, and disabled farmers in the Southeast Region of the US. Dr. Martínez founded the NC AgrAbility Project in 1994 and served as the first Hispanic Advisory to the NC Governor from 1997 to 2004, supporting policy changes in several areas, including agricultural outreach and education. Dr. Martínez’s areas of professional interest include the study of people’s beliefs, attitudes, and values as the foundation to describe and explain organizational culture; integrating work from adult learning and development to plan, implement, and evaluate adult education and early childhood education programs; and leadership development in diverse and immigrant communities
Martinez will be a panelist in the equity breakout session on Monday, July 18 at 10:30 a.m.
Magaly Figueroa is in charge of the State and Private Forestry Programs in Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands since 2017. She has worked for the US Forest Service at the International Institute of Tropical Forestry since 2002. Until 2002, she worked for the Forest Service Bureau of the Puerto Rico Department of Natural and Environmental Resources with the State and Private Forestry programs on the state side.
Figueroa will be a panelist in the JCI breakout session on Monday, July 18 at 10:30 a.m.
José L. Sánchez
José L. Sánchez is a board-certified lawyer with experience in civil law and administrative government processes. He has a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration, with a major in Marketing at the University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez Campus. He also has a Juris Doctor at Eugenio María de Hostos School of Law, Mayagüez Campus, and just finished a master’s degree in Public Administration from the Pontifical Catholic University of Puerto Rico’s School of Law, Ponce Campus. Currently, he is the Executive Director of Victus Puerto Rico’s “Puerto Rico Prosperity Farmers Project”, a project funded by the USDA Office of Partnerships and Public Engagement (OPPE), which is helping local farmers with heirs property issues so they can obtain a legal title for their farms and access programs and services from the USDA.
Sánchez will be a panelist in the equity breakout session on Monday, July 18 at 10:30 a.m.
John A. Huffman
John Huffman leads the Branch of Habitat Restoration, part of the National Wildlife Refuge System, for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Falls Church, Virginia. The Branch oversees the national policy, budget and implementation of voluntary habitat conservation programs including the Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program, Coastal Program, Farm Conservation Program and Marine Program. Prior to moving to headquarters in 2021, he was the Southwest Regional Coordinator and for the Service’s Gulf Restoration Program. There, his team collaborated across Service regions, agencies, states and other conservation groups to develop plans and projects to restore the Gulf of Mexico with settlement funds from the Deepwater Horizon tragedy. John has worked for the Service for 23 years and has over 28 years of experience working on fish, wildlife, and habitat issues with a focus on partnerships for collaborative conservation to benefit both species, including the imperiled species, and communities.
Huffman will be a panelist at the watershed breakout session on Monday, July 18 at 2:15 p.m.
Robert J. Mayer, Ph.D. , CERP
Dr. Mayer is a full professor at the University of Puerto Rico at Aguadilla and a Certified Ecological Restoration Practitioner. His research and ecological restoration work focuses on the ecological restoration of mangroves and coastal dunes on the north coast of Puerto Rico. This work is increasing the resilience of coastal communities and habitats to the effects of the climate emergency and is also building human capacity in the ecological restoration of coastal habitats.
Mayer will be a panelist in the coastal conservation breakout session on Monday, July 18 at 2:15 p.m.
Jennifer Casey is the Chair of the Duval Soil and Water Conservation District in Florida and a member of the 2022 cohort of the Next Generation Leadership Institute sponsored by the National Conservation Foundation. Jennifer is a partner with agencies and organizations meeting local conservation needs in Northeast Florida, a champion of agricultural education, and a committed advocate of soil and water stewardship. Her work includes transforming a regional event to create awareness about urban agriculture into a mentorship program for beginning farmers. More recently, she led her district in establishing their first demonstration project on public land. The Regeneration Park project is improving formerly contaminated land in Jacksonville’s urban core and creating a safe space to demonstrate urban agriculture, cultivate environmental stewardship and empower residents to build with nature for social, economic and environmental health.
Casey will be a panelist at the coastal conservation breakout session on Monday, July 18 at 2:15 p.m.