About Us


Brent Loken - Executive Director
Brent has been been living and working overseas for the past 15 years. Since the beginning of his career, Brent has been advocating for and leading a progressive education movement. His numerous publications and conference workshops have inspired educators around the world. Most recently Brent helped create one of the most progressive international schools in Asia, one in which his progressive educational vision merged with his environmental ethic. He created Integrated Conservation because of his unwavering belief in the potential of young people to do extraordinary things. Brent hopes that Integrated Conservation will inspire others and initiate grassroots environmental action projects around the world.

Sheryl Gruber - Director of Operations
Sheryl started her international career in 1994, in the Rwandese refugee camps of Goma, DRC. She then worked in Bolivia with communities high in the Andes mountains. There she discovered her passion for education, cross-cultural understanding and the environment. She earned a Master's degree in Mathematics Education from the University of Minnesota and was an educator and program coordinator at international schools in Pakistan and Taiwan. Driven by a sense of urgency to help conserve our planet’s biodiversity, she co-founded Integrated Conservation and is combining her skills as a program administrator, educator and conservationist to fulfill Icon’s mission of building sustainable and resilient social-ecological systems.

Barbara Parker - Director
Barbara Parker grew up with a father who was 'green' before it was fashionable. As she ages she continues to marvel at her father's wisdom and is grateful for what he gave her through his example. For most of her professional life, Barbara has worked as an educator in international schools. She has degrees in education from Northern Illinois University, Southern Illinois University and graduate work in Educational Administration from Lehigh University. She has worked with teachers to help develop and adapt curriculum through conferences, consulting work and professional assignments. Most recently she was an administrator at the International Community School of Addis Ababa in Ethiopia. From living amidst less 'developed' cultures, she has discovered the beauty of our planet, the wisdom of tradition and the spiritual responsibility and role we each need to play during our lifetime.

Chance Briggs - Director
Chance began teaching in Brazil as a sixteen year old and by age twenty-three had studied in Senegal, taught in the US and China, earned a masters degree in education, and was helping to build and run an international volunteering organization, WorldTeach. After completing research for the Citizens Schools apprenticeship model, Chance became fascinated and horrified by the war in Bosnia and moved there in 1997, hoping to make a small contribution to the fragile peace. Since then, he has worked to improve the lives and livelihoods of people in Bosnia, Albania, Nigeria, Pakistan, and Mozambique while managing relief and development projects and organizations in those countries. A lifetime environmentalist, Chance is now personally focused on leaving a positive environmental legacy for his son, Maxwell, and believes that urgently needed leadership may only come from people whose lives have been transformed through intense developing nation experience.

Martin Robards - Director
Martin Robards is the Director of the Wildlife Conservation Society's Arctic Beringia Program.  He earned his Bachelor’s degree in Marine Biology from Liverpool University (England), his Master’s degree in Fisheries Conservation from Memorial University of Newfoundland (Canada), and his Ph.D from the University of Alaska. He is an avid explorer, and accomplished marine ecologist and policy analyst who has worked extensively with indigenous communities and their representatives in the Arctic, particularly the Siberian Yupik communities of St. Lawrence Island in Alaska. Despite a penchant for the high latitudes, he has contributed to field research efforts on Egypt’s Red Sea Coast, in the Bangladesh Sundarbans, and around Tasmania.  Martin has also worked for two years in Washington D.C., informing policy makers about the challenges of implementing regional-scale policies concerning the conservation of marine mammals in remote subsistence-dominated environments. His goal is to encourage the development and implementation of conservation policies that are more responsive to new scientific understandings, and the changes in ecological, social, and economic conditions of the Arctic. He has published over 30 scientific articles, served as a reviewer for numerous scientific journals, and is affiliate faculty with the University of Alaska.

Stephanie Spehar - Director
Stephanie Spehar is an assistant professor at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh. She earned her Ph.D. from New York University, examining the social and reproductive function of a long-distance vocalization in white-bellied spider monkeys (Ateles belzebuth) in Yasuní National Park, Ecuador. She continues to be involved in collaborative research on communication and social interactions in spider monkeys and other ateline primates in Ecuador. She is currently involved in collaborative research in Indonesia, geared towards understand the effects of hunting and logging on primate communities at sites in East Kalimantan, Indonesia. She has conducted primate research in Wehea Forest on several occasions. Her research in Wehea Forest focuses on the behavioral ecology of maroon langur and estimating the size and demographic structure of the orangutan population. She is also active with the training of rangers in biodiversity monitoring and data management.

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