Local Planning Committee

The Local Planning Committee helps the Steering Committee in gathering support from local public and private organizations, recruiting volunteers, and coordinating field trips and other activities. In addition, the Local Committee designed the event’s logo and promotional videos and suggested venues and hotels for the conference.

José A. Salguero-Faría | Chair

Quintas de Cupey Gardens, Puerto Rico, U.S.A.

José is a wildlife biologist and ornithologist with a Master’s degree in Biology from the University of Puerto Rico-Rio Piedras. For the past 19 years, he has been involved in avian conservation in Puerto Rico through research, education and outreach projects, mostly in association with local NGOs Sociedad Ornitológica Puertorriqueña Inc. (SOPI) and Para la Naturaleza. His current research interests focus on bird distribution and population trends associated with human and natural disturbance.

Contact José

Julissa I. Irizarry

Executive Director, Sociedad Ornitológica Puertorriqueña, Inc, Puerto Rico, U.S.A.

Julissa was formerly the Grant Writer and Coordinator for the Puerto Rico Wildlife and Sportfish Restoration Programs. She completed her Master’s Degree in Zoology under the guidance of Dr Jaime Collazo at North Carolina State University. Her primary research interests and goals include restoring habitat connectivity and implementing conservation design through strategic plantings, the creation of wildlife corridors in fragmented or heavily urbanized areas, studying urban ecology through citizen science, and raising awareness of the importance of birds in our shared ecosystems through outreach programs.

Gabriel Lugo

Tour Guide, Wildside Nature Tours, Puerto Rico, U.S.A.

Gabriel is not only a member of the Local Planning Committee, he is also the NAOC Field Trip Coordinator, local media creator, and our local Mr. Fix It!

Gabriel has been a Puerto Rico Certified Tour Guide and birding guide for the last ten years, and a Senior Birding Guide for the last eight with Wildside Nature Tours in Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Cuba, and North America. He has been a central part of the birding community on the island for more than twelve years. A life changing moment was when Sociedad Ornitológica Puertorriqueña, Inc. (SOPI) approached him where he used to work for permits to enter a property to do a bird count. He was hooked by this amazing world of birds, with no plan to leave anytime soon. He now serves on SOPI’s Board of Directors will keep working hard to educate about and protect our birds and their habitats. 

Joseph M. Wunderle, Jr. (Joe)

Emeritus Scientist, International Institute of Tropical Forestry (IITF), Puerto Rico, U.S.A.

Joe has 40 years of experience teaching and conducting research throughout the Caribbean, where he focuses on the ecology and conservation of migrant and resident birds. His dissertation (PhD, 1980, University of Minnesota) fieldwork was conducted on Grenada while also teaching field courses in the nearby Grenadines. Postdoctoral positions included a year at North Carolina State University and course coordinator/instructor with the Organization for Tropical Studies in Costa Rica. In 1982, he joined the University of Puerto Rico (UPR), where he taught zoology and conducted research for eight years before joining the IITF as a Research Wildlife Biologist.  He also advises graduate students as an adjunct professor at UPR. He has published over 100 papers from his tropical research. He is a founding member and former President of BirdsCaribbean, a former president of the Neotropical Ornithological Society, and a recipient of the Ralph W. Schreiber Conservation Award from the American Ornithologists’ Union.