Raised in the town of Rincon, Julianka Clarenda has Bonaire’s heritage close at heart. Other than living on Bonaire, she studied in Curacao and the Netherlands where she completed her studies in Management, Economy and Law at the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences, HvA. Ultimately, she decided to come back home where culture and nature really are a part of everyday life. She joined the Echo team in 2015, at first just by offering to help with communications pieces in the native language of Papiamentu. After working more than a year as Communications Assistant, she was given more responsibility to help Echo grow in the areas of community engagement and outreach. In 2018, she was appointed by the Board as Echo’s Director.
Benito Koffie joined Echo in 2017, as the manager of the invasive species control program. The uniqueness and identity of Bonaire are what he has aimed to protect his whole life. Born and raised on Bonaire, he spent most of his childhood on a farm, raising chickens, geese and goats. His experience with native parrots started as a young child admiring big flocks during their daily visit in the “Hoba” native fruit tree in his backyard. As a professional sportsman and champion of ABC marathon runs, he has always been fit and active; which he has further proven after starting his work with Echo and becoming responsible for the daily management of the Conservation Centre and Echo’s conservation programs. Since joining the team, he has complemented his natural learning with more a formalized education through his participation in Echo’s field work on the management of invasive herbivores and the restoration of the parrot’s native habitat.
Dr. Sam Williams is passionate and dedicated to parrots and their conservation. His parroty experiences started early with him keeping birds as a boy in Yorkshire, England. Aged 16 he traveled to Mauritius to volunteer with the Echo Parakeet and experienced field work and conservation work that would prove formative. From there he completed a degree in ecology, at Stirling, Scotland. Parrots then led him to Brazil, where he spent six months observing Lear’s Macaws. Following that in 2003, Sam visited the Yellow-Shouldered Amazon Parrots on Bonaire. That visit led to a PhD on the limiting factors for the population. On completing the Phd Sam established Echo. Its aim: to address the conservation challenges his research identified.