It all started when we were working on a sea turtle project together in the Caribbean. The project had a hotline where locals and tourists could call in any problems or sightings they had of sea turtles. One day we received a call about a nest that was being washed out to sea. (This can happen when there is not enough space for a nesting female to lay her eggs. Usually, because development has cut off part of the beach, which you can see has happened here with the wall in the background, so she lays them too close to where the tide comes in.) We ran out to our patrol vehicle to head down to the nest only to realize we were about to be out of gas.
The problem was our project did not have any money left and we would have to wait until the following week for funds to come through. We could not just let the nest wash out to sea so we used the small stipend we had for our own food to fill the tank. On the way out we grabbed some project shirts, hoping we could sell some to tourists to cover our costs.
During the drive to the nest, all we could think about was how there had to be a better way to reach out to the world to get real-time support. We knew at least 5 people who would have given us $20 to fill our gas tank just so they could tell their friends they helped save baby sea turtles in the Caribbean that day. We imagined how good they would feel after we gave them feedback on what their support helped us do. Plus they would be helping an organization that they would have never given or heard of before.
We knew we weren't the only conservationists out there who needed this type of help. On that car ride down the idea for Key Conservation started to emerge and we've been developing it nonstop ever since.
Oh, and in case you were wondering we did save the eggs. They hatched a few weeks later and 107 sea turtle hatchlings made their way to the sea.
JOIN THE TEAM
DR. ALEX DEHGAN
CEO and Co-Founder of
Conservation X Labs
"The Key Conservation app steps in to fill gaps in funding and support when wildlife conservation organizations are at their most vulnerable. Empowering supporters to give in new ways that puts them on the front lines of conservation, receiving real time feedback as their donation is put to use. This platform has the ability to create a global movement that will change conservation during a critical time when wildlife needs it the most." - Dr. Alex Dehgan
Cheli Cresswell Sinclair is the director of Conservation Optimism and also heads up engagement for conservation charity Synchronicity Earth. Her works focuses on how to connect people meaningfully with wild spaces and threatened and endangered species in ways that promote action. Cheli is particularly interested in how to effectively inspire, motivate, and empower people to get involved in conservation policy and practice, with a focus on citizen science and community building. Her previous research has looked at understanding how the engagement of non-academics and non-scientists in the gathering, analysis, and use of scientific data -- aka "citizen science" -- has evolved over the last hundred or so years, and how we can capitalise on current technology to maximise conservation efforts by facilitating "regular folks" to contribute in substantial, robust, and significant ways. Cheli joined the board of Key Conservation because she believes this app fills a unique void in building personal connections between conservation organisations and conservationists from every walk of life, matching potential with needs in a way that has the potential to transform conservation.
DR. DIOGO VERISSIMO
I am a behavior change specialist with 15 years of experience in the fields of social marketing and behaviour change. My focus has been the design and evaluation of interventions to change environmentally relevant human behaviors, in particular those focused on biodiversity conservation. My research has been published in more than 60 peer-reviewed publications and book chapters. I am currently an Oxford Martin Fellow at the University of Oxford, where I work on interventions to reduce demand for illegally traded wildlife products, such as ivory, shark fin or rhino horn. I joined the board of Key Conservation because I believe in the power of technology and the need for new and bold solutions to connect people anywhere in the world to the everyday work conservationists do.
Aboli Rane is Senior Product Manager at one of the fastest-growing life science companies in the US, where she manages a portfolio of over half a billion dollars. Over the last 5 years, she has held various roles within Global Marketing, R&D and Operations. Prior to joining the industry, Aboli was at the University of California San Diego where she completed her Ph.D. in Bioengineering studying biomaterial therapies for cardiovascular disease. She also has a B.S. in Chemical Engineering with a minor in Biomedical Engineering from Cornell University. Aboli also led the San Diego chapter of the non-profit organization Asha for Education and is on the Board of Directors for Athena San Diego; she believes in the power of education and mentorship as a vehicle for change. Aboli is excited to be a part of Key Conservation to contribute to the platform she believes will be a game-changer in conservation efforts across the world. She also believes in supporting the next generation of leaders to pursue their passions and be the change we need in today’s world.
Sonya Li is an animal lover who has known Megan for over two decades and has witnessed her lifelong passion for wildlife conservation. Sonya loves spending time outdoors in and around her home in San Francisco. Having worked in finance since college, she is excited to contribute to the business aspects of developing Key Conservation. She has a BS in Economics with concentrations in Finance and Management from the Wharton School and a BA in International Studies from the University of Pennsylvania. She is currently an investment professional at Angel Island Capital.