Rachel Arney, Field Director, 2015

Rachel Arney, Field Director, 2015 Sea Turtle Program

Rachel Arney, Field Director, 2015 Sea Turtle Program

Rachel recently completed her Master’s of Biology degree from The University of Texas at Brownsville where she studied the recruitment of juvenile fish at an artificial reef in the Gulf of Mexico.  This is currently her third sea turtle project and has previously worked with Kemp’s Ridley sea turtles on South Padre Island, and she worked as a Research Assistant with Leatherback and Green sea turtles in Ostional, Costa Rica.  She is excited to work with Geographic Consulting, LLC and Sandy Point National Wildlife Refuge as the 2015 Field Director and is thankful for an opportunity to become a sea turtle biologist.

Since her first day on the job, Rachel has brought a confidence and professionalism with her that makes everyone around her more comfortable and has made the project flow smoothly. She has managed several challenges this season with just the right combination of humor and grace. We consider ourselves lucky to have her directing the field activities on the beach this season.

Matt Rutledge, Sea Turtle Technician

MatRutledgeBio picMatt Rutledge joins us this year for his first season in the Caribbean. He is originally from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He graduated from California University of Pennsylvania in 2014 with a Bachelors of Science degree in Environmental Studies with a Conservation Ecology focus. Matt interned with turtles, frogs, and the fascinating giant hellbender salamanders in Ohio and West Virginia in 2013. Matt worked with loggerhead sea turtles in Bald Head Island, North Carolina in 2014. When he is not working with reptiles and amphibians, some of Matt‘s hobbies include hiking, swimming, and reading.

Romina Ramos, Sea Turtle Technician

Romina Bio PhotoMy name is Romina Ramos and I am from Providence, RI.  I graduated from Green Mountain college in Vermont in 2012 with a degree in Environmental Studies. In my junior year, I volunteered to work with loggerhead turtles in Sal, Cape Verde. Growing an interest in them, I returned to Cape Verde after graduation as a research assistant for Turtle Foundation in Boa Vista .  After observing nesting turtles with minor injuries, I had the opportunity to intern in South Carolina Acquariums sea turtle rescue program; this inspired my curiosity to learn more about sea turtle rehabilitation. After these experiences, I volunteered in my home-state’s  Biomes Marine Biology Center and joined the staff team in 2015. Helping to take care of various fish species and marine animals such as skates, horseshoes crabs, sharks, and more, I find myself captured by the ocean’s diversity and what it beholds. I am excited to work with Geographic Consulting and with leatherback turtles for the first time! I look forward to snorkeling and exploring St. Croix.

Mollie Alter, Sea Turtle Technician

 Alter_profileMollie Alter is originally from Columbus, Ohio. Mollie graduated from Denison University in 2014 with degrees in Biology and Environmental Studies. In 2013, she interned with the Navy Marine Mammal Program  working with California sea lions and bottlenose dolphins. She has also worked at the Coral Reef Farm and studied at the Duke University Marine Lab. We at Geographic Consulting heard about Mollie because of her work with National Park Service on the  Buck Island Sea Turtle Research Project. She came highly recommended and already knows her way around St. Croix, so we are glad to have her as part of our 2015 Leatherback team. In her free time she likes to hike, snorkel, and bake. 

Brian Daley Ph.D. - Managing Partner

brian daley
Taking mahogany stem diameter

Taking mahogany stem diameter

Dr. Daley came to Geographic Consulting in 2009 after working as the Agroforestry Research Specialist for the University of the Virgin Islands for 10 years. His research focus was on the propagation and ecology of native dry forest tree species. He developed protocols for reproducing them and out-planted several experiments testing drought tolerance and measuring growth rates. Native forest restoration and rehabilitation have always been his primary research interests. Daley’s most recent projects have focused on using native plants to create quality habitat on degraded commercial and industrial sites. Revegetation and phytoremediation are key processes in restoring ecological function to highly degraded sites requiring more intervention than simple enrichment plantings.

Dr. Daley is an ISA (International Society of Arboriculture) certified arborist (first certified in 2002) and still has a strong interest in hazard tree assessment, urban forest planning and proper tree pruning techniques. Daley leads the arborist services (ISA # SO 6585A) at Geographic Consulting, where we are supervising arborists on projects where we conduct hazard assessments and provide pruning and removal recommendations. Daley also writes Forest Stewardship Management plans to assist clients manage their privately held forest resources as part of the US Forest Service Program.

During his Ph.D. research he used GIS and other tools to complete a landcover change analysis of St. Croix with a focus on the relationship between forests, agriculture, and development. There is a brief summary of that work in a fact sheet available here. He also developed methods for using native trees in low-cost “gap-planting” methods that enrich dry forests dominated by exotic invasive plants. Brian and the forestry team at Geographic Consulting have improved these methods, lowered costs and are proud to be leaders in regional forest restoration and reforestation.

  • PhD University of Florida, Gainesville, School of Forestry and Resource Management. Specializing in Dry Forest Restoration
  • MS University of Montana Missoula. Resource Conservation from the School of Forestry

Jennifer Valiulis - Senior Consultant: Wildlife Biology

Jenifer Valiulis with a leatherback sea turtle hatchling

Jenifer Valiulis with a leatherback sea turtle hatchling

Jennifer Valiulis brings ten years of experience as a wildlife biologist in a variety of ecosystems and countries. Her skills include creating rapid ecological assessments and management plans, developing habitat models with GIS and remote sensing , controlling invasive species and cutting edge wildlife managing wildlife. As a wildlife biologist for the V.I. Department of Planning and Natural Resources, she worked with private developments and the public sector to minimize environmental impacts and incorporate sustainable design. She bring this unique, first-hand experience with the permitting process to all of our clients. Her most recent research focus has been on the many issues surrounding sea turtle nesting. Jen is the project manager for the US Fish and Wildlife, Sandy Point Wildlife Refuge, Sea Turtle Nesting Project. In this capacity, Jen makes decisions on the direction of research for leatherback sea turtle nesting, is leading the initial research on Green and Hawksbill turtles and manages our dedicated field staff. Jen is also active in the re-introduction and population monitoring of the endangered St. Croix Ground Lizard (Ameiva polops).


Russell Slatton - Special Adviser, GIS Jedi Knight

Russell Slatton, M.Sc – Founding Member Geographic Consulting, LLC

Russell Slatton is the founder of Geographic Consulting LLC and the leading Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and planning expert in the U.S.Virgin Islands. He has published on agricultural technology adoption, forest change analysis and other natural resources topics. Russell bridges the gap between the highly technical field of GIS and natural resources management as a forester and ISA Certified Arborist. Using his experience gained as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Panama, he has connected non-profits, federal and state agencies and private companies to complete successful projects in natural resources management with partners such as Diageo, Williams and Punch, VI Department of Agriculture and the Trust for Virgin Islands Lands. Russell brings a non-profit attitude, a government understanding of the big picture and private sector fiscal sense to the business of natural resources management.