Pursuant to the bylaws of our non-profit corporation, our board meets four times a year via teleconference to make sure our efforts stay true to our Mission. We currently have a board consisting of both U.S. and Costa Rican members with three officers. We take keeping the flame alive from the original intent of our young founders very seriously, making sure that we always have the welfare of the animals of the rainforest front and center, and are extremely grateful to our former board members, our volunteers, supporters and employees who make our work possible. Pura Vida and Thank you!
María Pía Martín-León, DVM – President & Wildlife Veterinarian, KSTR Regente
San Jose, Costa Rica
Dr. Pía Martín feels like her job as the wildlife Regente for KSTR was a gift from heaven. She had graduated from vet school at Universidad Nacional in Costa Rica just three months before and had left a a job at a small animal clinic. She was certain she wanted to work with wildlife and not in private practice. Her whole life she was driven with a passion to save the rainforest and all its immense diversity. She saw an email about KSTR’s search for a wildlife rescue vet in one of the most beautiful places in the world and knew she needed to interview immediately. The best job in the best location with the most amazing people in the world. Dr. Martín’s dream had become reality.
KSTR is extremely privileged to have enjoyed the benefits of Dr. Martín’s expertise for nine years now during which time her passion, tireless energy and skills have been instrumental in the growth, effectiveness of safe wild releases and innovative plans for future projects. She has become a country-wide reference for knowledge and good practices
Through being KSTR's Regente, Dr. María Pía Martín-León supervises the KSTR Wildlife Rescue Center and Sanctuary.
She is the liaison -or regente- with the Costa Rican Environmental Ministry and the National Service for Animal Health who carefully regulates wildlife rescues to guarantee they operate both within the law and are serving the best interest of the animals at all times.
Continually fueled by her passion to learn Dr. Martín pursued a master’s degree in Conservation Medicine. She participates in the Marine Turtle National Committee, the ex situ Management Wildlife Interagency Committee and is a volunteer for the KETO foundation focusing on marine mammal stranding. Under Dr. Martín’s direction KSTR is undertaking research on the monitoring of diseases in our animal population which may benefit various national and international researchers. We are very proud that August of 2014 Dr. Martin organized the First Wildlife Rescue, Rehabilitation, and Release Conference in Costa Rica, which was well attended and provided a beneficial interchange of information between rescues both in Costa Rica and internationally. Thank you, Dr. Martin!
Margaret Franzen Levin
Maggie Franzen Levin is an experienced researcher and teacher of various aspects of conservation and anthropology focusing on connections between ecology, economics and culture. She has a strong interest in the tropics and enjoys the beauty of the Manuel Antonio area of Costa Rica by owning property near the KSTR Wildlife Rescue and Sanctuary. Dr. Levin is a Fulbright Scholar who studied hunting among the Huaorani in Ecuador’s Yasuni National Park. She earned a Ph.D. from UC Davis with her project titled “Huaorani Resource Use in the Ecuadorian Amazon: Hunting, Food Sharing, and Market Participation”. She has been a lecturer for the UC Davis Anthropology Department and is a former environmental educator. Dr. Levin has published in Ecological Economics, Environmental Conservation and Conservation Biology and is currently writing a book about her time spent with the Huaorani. She also enjoys volunteering teaching plant biology and insect life cycles through the garden program at Cesar Chavez Elementary School in Davis CA.
Chip Braman - Treasurer
KSTR HQ, Costa Rica
Chip Braman (Grenville Chapin Braman Jr) was raised internationally in South America. He was an award winning golfer at a young age, and went on to be the captain on the golf team at Woodbury Forest Prep School, and again at Williams College. After graduating college he worked for 32 years with Avon as the International Marketing Director. When he retired he came to Costa Rica in 2000 to save the rainforest, save the animals, be part of KSTR and marry the president of KSTR.
Personally, if you know him at all you know he will help you no matter what. If you stay at the Blue Banyan Inn and this man approaches you be prepared to be entertained. He has a lot of great stories about the good ol days of KSTR when they would rescue animals and keep them at their previously owned Hotel Mono Azul. Chip is an integral part of KSTR because if we need something built for the sanctuary, he’s our guy to find the right person to do it!
Jennifer Rice, Ph.D. – Co Founder
KSTR HQ, Costa Rica
Jennifer Rice, AA, BA, MS, PhD, and working on a MBA, is a professional student plus more. Jennifer moved to Costa Rica with her 4-year-old daughter in 1993. Her daughter, Janine, became interested in the rainforest and founded KSTR in 1999 when she was 9 years old. Jennifer has been President since the founding and has been very active in every stage of its growth, including animal rescue, release, and providing sanctuary for those that cannot be released. Other projects include monkey bridges, education, research, sanctuary tours, reforestation, media communication, volunteer program, and community outreach, all of which have all happened under her supervision. Jennifer is passionate about saving the rainforest and everything in it! She foresees an ever-expanding future for KSTR!
Janine Licare – Co-Founder
San Francisco, California
Janine Licare’s journey in environmental activism and founding Kids Saving the Rainforest is truly remarkable. At the young age of four, she and her mother left the US and settled in Costa Rica. Growing up with nine other students in her high school graduating class she was the first to go to college in the US from her high school and was accepted at Stanford University.
Upon graduating from Stanford she taught in the inner city of Inglewood California with Teach for America. Janine founded KSTR in 1999 when she was only nine years old after seeing first-hand that the rainforest needed help. With her mother and her friend she created the KSTR gift shop in Manuel Antonio where 100% of the proceeds from locally created items are sold to tourists to raise awareness and funds for the organization. The money raised contributes to preserving the local rainforest land, rehabilitating baby and injured animals, and supporting a wildlife sanctuary and rescue center.
The next phase for Janine and KSTR was to support the growth of the Wildlife Rehabilitation & Educational Center and to study and create proper living environments for some of the rarest species of monkeys left on our planet, including the Titi, Howler, and Spider monkey.
Janine (through KSTR) has been featured in many publications, shows, and more including Teen People, Teen Magazine, National Geographic for Kids; numerous books including Scholastic; and TV shows on BBC, National Geographic Earth Pulse, among others. Janine’s passion and engaging smile has inspired many young people to help her and KSTR help the animals of the rainforest.
Janette Wallis is the Vice President for Conservation of the International Primatological Society and serves as co-Vice Chair of the International Union for Conservation of Nature Species Survival Commission’s Primate Specialist Group—Africa. She is Editor-in-Chief of the journal African Primates. She has been a collaborating scientist with the Budongo Forest Project, and she served as the Coordinator for Chimpanzee Research at Tanzania’s Gombe Stream Research Centre (which was established and is directed by Jane Goodall) from 1990-94. She was also a founding faculty member of the American University of Nigeria, establishing the country’s first program on natural science and conservation biology. Janette currently directs the Kasokwa Forest Project in a small forest fragment in Uganda that is home to chimpanzees, baboons, and several other wildlife species. Research at the site focuses on behavioral ecology, reproduction, conservation, and human-wildlife interactions. Janette earned her Ph.D. in an interdisciplinary program combining zoology, psychology, and anthropology from the University of Oklahoma, where she teaches wildlife conservation courses.
Los Angeles, California
Scott Braman is an award-winning filmmaker and environmental consultant. Scott began his career as a Fulbright Scholar living and working in the Ecuadorian Amazon studying among the indigenous Huaorani people. Scott has since directed and edited hundreds of short films and a number of feature-length documentaries. Scott has worked with a myriad of high-profile clients including the Ford Motor Company, Conservation International, Overseas Development Institute, and the Environmental Litigation Group. His films have been broadcast on the National Geographic Channel and have screened at the United Nations, Harvard University, and San Francisco’s Exploratorium Museum. Scott was a Magna Cum Laude graduate of Dartmouth College where he studied Environmental Biology and Anthropology and currently lives with his wife and young daughter in Los Angeles.
Quepos, Costa Rica
Barbara Thompson has been helping out with the sanctuary from the beginning when it was brand new with the core group of marmosets we first received. She has hand raised several marmosets due to neglect from their Mom and Dad. Barbara finds life in Costa Rica working closely with Kids Saving the Rainforest to be a welcome change from the pace in the US as a flight attendant for many years. Barb’s love for monkeys is out of this world!
She is also Co-Owner of Blue Banyan Inn (where KSTR is located) with her brother Chip Braman, KSTR President Jennifer Rice and her dedicated husband Jim Thompson.
Barb is also one of the tour guides for our sanctuary tour. She has a wonderful collection of stories about the animals from her personal experience working with and living in the neighborhood with our rescue and sanctuary animals. If, ever we have a baby monkey. Barbs becomes “Super Monkey Mom”!
Tarrytown, New York
Lauren Wendle is currently the President of the Lucie Foundation and an independent business consultant. From 2010 until January of 2018 Lauren worked for Emerald Expositions leading the Photography Group as Vice President and Group Publisher of the largest collection of magazines, websites, and trade shows geared toward professional photography in North America. As Vice President Ms. Wendle coordinated editorial, sales and promotional activities for all magazines including Photo District News and Rangefinder magazine and oversaw all aspects of the two largest annual photography shows in North America: PhotoPlus Expo, and the Wedding & Portrait Photographers International (WPPI).
Prior to joining Photo District News in 2010, Ms. Wendle served as Director at Advertising Photographers of America (APA), the national association for professional and advertising photographers, and as Director of Photography at the Image Bank, the largest and most respected photo archives library of its time.
Currently she also acts as the President of the W. Eugene Smith Memorial Fund, serves on the Eddie Adams Workshop Board, Kids Saving the Rainforest, and is a board member and volunteer running an art program for undocumented immigrant children at the Abbott House with her daughters, Lily and Katie. Lauren Wendle is a native and current resident of Tarrytown, New York.
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