Megan officially joined the team as Executive Director in July 2017 after first learning about the organization when she was working in marketing in Southern Vermont. At the time, the company she worked for had partnered with Forests for Monarchs - La Cruz Habitat Protection Project (and still does!). After stepping away from that position to focus on graduate school, she was able to join the team at FFM-LCHPP. She holds a Bachelor's degree from Emerson College and she will also soon have her MBA in Public Administration from Southern New Hampshire University. Often out hiking the mountains and trails of New England with her black lab, Megan can also be found tending to her pollinator friendly garden and working with a local crisis center.
Board of Directors
Michael Hamm, Ph.D, President
An avid birder and conservationist, Mike Hamm joined La Cruz’s Board in 2014 and became Board President in May of 2017. He holds a B.A. from Macalester College and a Master’s Degree and Ph.D from Indiana University, specializing in Russian history. From 1970 until 2014 he taught Russian, European, and Middle Eastern history at Centre College in Danville, Kentucky, holding the Ewing T. Boles professorship and serving as Faculty President from 1998 until 2001. He is the author of a number of scholarly articles and books, including Kiev: A Portrait, 1800-1917 (Princeton University Press). From 2006 until 2016 Mike served on the Board of Trustees of the Kentucky Chapter of The Nature Conservancy and chaired that Board for three years. He is currently Trustee Emeritus of TNC and has also served as President of the Central Kentucky Wildlife Refuge and the Danville— Boyle County Humane Society.
Ed Rashin, CFO, Treasurer
Founding board member and the Treasurer of La Cruz, Ed is a Forester and Forest Hydrologist who presently works as a Senior Environmental Scientist at Hicks & Company in Austin, Texas. Ed has been a technical advisor to the LCHPP project almost since its inception, working with José Luis Alvarez since 1997 and on the project from 1998 – 2002 and from 2006 – 2010 monitoring the reforestation sites, collecting basic site data, evaluating overall site conditions and maintenance needs and program success. Ed prepared the planting site maps and reports, including inventory of reforestation sites and participants in the program and helped José provide participants with technical assistance for tree planting and ongoing care and maintenance of reforested sites. He was a founding Board member of Michoacán Reforestation Fund where he served from 1997 until 2006, giving him over 22 years working on this project and is the current CFO and Treasurer of Forests For Monarchs.
Peggy Farabaugh, Vice President
Peggy Farabaugh’s passion for wildlife conservation led her to found Vermont Woods Studios in 2005, an online furniture business focused on the sustainable sourcing of wood. Peggy holds a B. S. in chemistry from SUNY, a Master’s Degree in training technology from the Rochester Institute of Technology, and a Master’s Degree in environmental health and safety from Tulane. Peggy lives in Vernon, VT. She joined our Board in July 2017.
Molly Hoopes, Secretary
Ms. Hoopes is the Secretary of the Organization. She is also on the education committee of the American Society of Botanical Artists and she is Co-Chair of the Exhibits Committee of the Botanical Art Society of the National Capitol Region. She is a Maryland Master Naturalist with a Bachelors degree in Art, Master of Arts in Teaching, and a teacher certification in Biology, who taught environmental awareness through art activities for 20 years.
Mr. Maldonado is a forester with the US Forest Service stationed at the headquarters offices in Washington, D.C. He is currently the National Program Manager for the National Forests System (NFS) Trust Funds programs. Prior to this assignment, he was the National Program Leader for silviculture, reforestation, timber stand improvement, genetic resources, and nursery management. These positions provide leadership to the 155 national forests including six nurseries and seed extractories within the National Forests Systems lands. In his capacity as the National Program Leader for reforestation and nursery management, he has provided technical assistance to the Agency for International Development (USID), The Nature Conservancy (TNC), and the Forest Service International Program with the establishment and development of a seed bank in the Dominican Republic. During his career has provided technical expertise, guidance, and recommendation to the government of Honduras in the application of harvest techniques, reforestation and nursery protocols, and guidance following harvest of private lands in the Republic of Honduras. He has a degree in Forest Management from North Carolina State University, a BS in Biology and graduate work in Marine Biology. He is a Forest Service Certified Silviculturist in two Forest Service regions (R-8 and R-9), and Certified in Logging Systems.
Candace Bowden became an active environmentalist in the 1970s when she joined the Mothers for Peace Movement that involved itself with safety and environmental concerns during the construction of California’s Diablo Canyon Nuclear Facility. She holds a B.S. from Eastern Oregon University with an emphasis on geology and is an accomplished writer. She lives part-time in Oregon, part-time in Michoacán, Mexico. Prior to joining our Board in July 2017, she worked on occasion with José Luis Alvarez and our reforestation efforts in Michoacán.
Ben Miles runs Shire Environmental in Danville, Kentucky. He has worked with River Fields in Louisville, Bluegrass Conservancy in Lexington, the Central Kentucky Wildlife Refuge and Boyle Landmark Trust in Danville, among other organizations. Prior to relocating in Kentucky, Ben was the Executive Director of the Shasta Land Trust in Redding, CA from 2008 until 2014. Ben holds a B.A. in philosophy from Sewanee and a Master’s in environmental science from UT-Chattanooga. Ben joined our Board in July 2017.
Michaela is an Environmental Scientist with the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources. She serves as the agency’s lead on pollinator initiatives and oversees implementation of the Kentucky Monarch Conservation Plan. This plan is a collaborative effort, requiring Michaela to work with a variety of stakeholders to promote monarch and pollinator conservation initiatives in Kentucky. She also assists with at-risk species surveys and conducts research on the implications of white-nose syndrome on the reproductive capability of Indiana bats. Michaela graduated from the University of Kentucky in 2016 with a degree in Natural Resources and Environmental Science and is currently pursuing a Biology Master’s Degree from Eastern Kentucky University.
Emeritus Board Members
Executive Director of Captain Avery Museum. Deborah holds a Ph.D. from Rutgers University. She is a seasoned nonprofit manager with nearly 40 years’ experience as a non-profit professional in both the natural and cultural resources conservation area. She spent 27 years with American Forests in Washington, DC, including 14 years as the Executive Director, and 8 years as President & CEO of the Crow Canyon Archaeological Center in Colorado. Deborah joined Captain Avery Museum as Executive Director in 2018. She has served on a number of boards of directors, including Forests for Monarchs, Friends of Chaco Canyon, and many others. Dr. Gangloff lives in Southern Anne Arundel County, Maryland, with her husband.
José Luis Alvarez, Founder
Mr. Alvarez, a Mexican tree nurseryman in the state of Michoacán, Mexico, developed the La Cruz Habitat Protection Project from the ground up. He was already growing seedling trees for reforestation projects by the Mexican government and other organizations and understood the desperate need for re-establishing forests on the mountain slopes around the monarch over-wintering sites. He also understood the financial needs of the subsistence farmers who owned these lands. He has spent over 20 years developing efficient methods of growing healthy tree seedlings that utilize readily available organic materials. Throughout this time, he worked with the communities in and around the monarch sanctuaries to demonstrate the environmental and economic value of planting trees on their depleted fields and eroded lands. By providing outstanding quality trees and giving valuable technical support, he has built a relationship of trust and respect among the community leaders and participants in this project.
Christopher Best, MA
State Botanist for U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, in Austin, Texas, where he is dedicated to the conservation of rare, threatened, and endangered plants and their habitats in Texas. He has a Bachelor of Science in Plant Biochemistry from the University of Illinois in 1981 and a Master of Arts in Botany from Southern Illinois University in 1985. His thesis research on vesicular mycorrhizae in revegetated strip mine spoil led to a career in restoration ecology. From 1985 to 1989 he served as an agroforestry extensionist with the U.S. Peace Corps/CARE/INAFOR in Guatemala. From 1990 until 2006, he directed an ecological restoration program at Lower Rio Grande Valley National Wildlife Refuge along the U.S. – Mexico border in south Texas. Chris Best has served on the Advisory Board since 2010.
Lincoln Brower, Ph.D
In July 2018, Advisory Board Member and longtime partner to La Cruz, Dr. Lincoln Brower passed away. Dr. Brower, a fierce advocate for the Monarchs, dedicated his life’s work to the Monarch Butterfly, learning the intricate and complex characteristics and migration patterns of this beloved pollinator. Often times called on as the go-to expert, Dr. Brower’s work can be found among the science pages of the New York Times, National Geographic, BBC and many more. He was also a founding member of Forests for Monarch over 20 years ago. An advocate for the Monarch’s survival until the end, his legacy will endure. To a great friend, leader and advocate, we at Forests for Monarchs, along with the communities impacted by his work in Michoacán, Mexico, will miss him. His work has made a difference for generations to come.
(Pictured: Lincoln Brower with Forests for Monarchs Founder, Jose Luis Alvarez in 2016)