Master Leader Series
Our pioneering history and connections built over the past four decades give International Expeditions access to a wealth of guest speakers. On our Master Leader Series departures, you’ll be inspired by the wonders of the world, all while learning alongside experts in wildlife and sustainability! These notable naturalists and pioneers of sustainability will join IE’s knowledgeable guides to add layers of insight into the environment that only IE’s master luminaries can provide.
Current Speaker Schedule
Jack Grove - Marine Biologist
Galapagos Darwin's Enchanted Isle - July 21, 2017
A marine biologist and professional naturalist, Jack has spent much of the past two decades traveling on, and lecturing about the world's oceans. Co-founder of IE sister company Zegrahm Expeditions and research associate in the Section of Fishes at the Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History, Jack is a leading authority on the fishes and marine environments of the eastern tropical Pacific. For seven years he lived in the Galápagos, where he carried out extensive marine biological studies. In 1997, Stanford University Press published his comprehensive volume The Fishes of the Galápagos Islands, and he received his Ph.D. from Pacific Western University.
A true adventurer and Fellow of The Explorers Club, Jack has led numerous expeditions to the remote corners of the world, participating in polar expeditions as a marine naturalist, photographer, and expedition leader, as well as working with noted scientists and explorers such as Jean-Michel Cousteau. Jack is an avid scuba diver, certified dive master, and dedicated conservationist. In 2002 he was one of 57 scientists invited by the World Conservation Union (IUCN) to participate in a conference in Hanoi to discuss a strategy for the preservation of marine biodiversity. When not traveling, he manages his own photography business in the Florida Keys.
Ian Thompson, The Nature Conservancy
Amazon Voyage - May 5, 2017
A native of Northern Ireland, prior to joining the Conservancy, Ian worked for development organizations in Brazil and Nepal on forestry and rural development which remains a strong influence on his approach to conservation as one facet of development. He spent over 20 years with the British Department for International Development and also worked for private sector companies offering development solutions. Ian earned a master's in forestry and land use from the University of Oxford, and a B.Sc. (Hons) in forestry from the University of Aberdeen.
From 2006 to 2014 Ian was director of the Conservancy’s Amazon business unit managing programs in Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela. Since 2014 he leads the conservation team of the newly-formed Brazil program. Under Ian’s leadership the Conservancy implements solutions to balance economic growth with the conservation of nature and respect for human rights. The Conservancy has a strong record of support to indigenous conservation. A key program sees the Conservancy working with farmers, local governments, and the private sector to help remove deforestation from the production of commodities. The Conservancy’s flagship program Sustainable Beef: from Farm to Fork in São Felix do Xingu engages leading companies such as Walmart and Marfrig to help farmers increase production while maintaining and restoring forest in the Amazon. Another key program focuses on freshwater conservation bringing nature-based solutions including forest restoration to the critical issue of water security in Brazil’s major urban centers. The Conservancy is also working to influence the energy and mining sectors towards development outcomes that incorporate environmental and social sustainability.
In 2012 Ian undertook a one-year assignment as acting Conservation Programs Director for the Latin American region and in 2013 he undertook a short-term assignment to provide institutional support to the Turks and Caicos Islands National Trust for the Conservancy’s Caribbean program.
Ian is a keen sports fan and bird-watcher.
Luis Davalos, The Nature Conservancy
Amazon Voyage - June 23, 2017
Luis has a Bachelor’s degree in anthropology from the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru, and it’s studying to become a psychoanalyst at the Instituto de la Sociedad Peruana de Psicoanálisi; with postgraduate studies at the Latin American Social Sciences Institute and the National University of San Marcos. Nowadays, serves as indigenous projects specialist for the Peruvian Program of The Nature Conservancy. He also serves as deputy manager of the Indigenous Landscape Consortium, of the Initiative for Conservation in the Andean Amazon (ICAA), which main objective is to conserve critical biodiversity found on indigenous lands and in surrounding areas that are also vital to ensure ecosystem functioning and continuity, as well as the sustainability of indigenous livelihoods.
Before he started working at The Nature Conservancy he worked on sustainable management of natural resources at Conservation International, and management of socio-environmental impacts in infrastructure programs at the Ministry of Transportation. He has taught Development and Social Responsibility, Education in Diversity and Methodology of Investigation at the university level.
Barry Walker, Author
Amazon Voyage - April 21st, 2017
Barry Walker was born near Manchester, England and started bird watching at the age of 13. After birding extensively in Europe and the Middle East, Barry switched his attention to the neo-tropics and has extensive birding experience in Chile, Guyana, and Suriname, Ecuador, and particularly Peru, Colombia, Brazil and Bolivia. He has participated in many ornithological expeditions and contributed to many scientific and general publications concerning birds in Peru.
Living in Cusco, Peru for 35 years, Barry has visited every corner of the country as a trekking guide, natural History guide and specifically as a bird tour leader, and he is the author of the well-received books Field Guide: the birds of Machu Picchu and the Cusco Region and Peruvian Wildlife: A Visitor's Guide to the High Andes. He has been leading bird tours for private groups and well-known bird tour companies for the last 25 years. Having seen 1710 plus species in Peru alone, he is well known for his field craft when leading tours.
He is married and with his wife Rosario, is the owner of Manu Expeditions, a pioneer eco-tour operator in Manu specializing in natural history, horse riding and cultural trips, as well as bird watching tours. Barry has also participated in many archaeological expeditions, discovered unknown Inca archaeological sites and has a keen interest in the Inca period and the Conquest of Peru. Barry occupies the post of British Consul in Cusco and was named a Member of the British Empire in the Queen’s New Year’s Honors list 2004.
Joseph Wasilewski, Wildlife Biologist & Conservationist
Galapagos Island Voyage - April 21st, 2017
Wildlife biologist and conservationist Joe Wasilewski grew up in the city of Chicago, very active in several fields of sports, but his heart wished to reach out and work with various forms of wildlife. While in the Army he was employed at the Miami Serpentarium and began a long career of hands-on work with reptiles. He worked under the tutelage of Mr. William Haast for four years and learned handling techniques for snakes, lizards and crocodilians.
He graduated from Florida International University with a BS degree in Biology. Throughout college he studied the natural history of various forms of wildlife such as alligators, American crocodiles, diamondback terrapins and diamondback rattlesnakes. His research was not only limited to reptiles, but with mammals (Everglades mink) along with birds such as bald eagles and osprey.
He has been appointed to the Switzerland-based International Union for the Conservation of Nature and is a member of two International Union for the Conservation of Nature groups, the Crocodile Specialist Group and the Iguana Specialist Group. Projects have taken him to many remote areas in the world, working with animals such as Komodo dragons (Varanus komodoensis) in Indonesia, Fiji Island iguanas (Brachyolophus fasciatus), and Black caiman (Melanosuchus niger) in Guyana.
Joe is president of Natural Selections of South Florida, an environmental consulting firm.
He has made appearances on NBC’s Today Show, The Tonight Show (with both Johnny Carson and Jay Leno), ABC Evening News and CBS Nightly News. He also regularly consults with natural history productions and national/international news outlets such as National Geographic, Animal Planet, Discovery Channel, BBC, CBS, NBC, ABC, CNN, HGTV, History Channel and Al Jazeera News. Along with the aforementioned appearances, he has consulted with the motion picture industry and several national television shows.
Joe also works for Jadora International LLC as Vice-President of biodiversity. Jadora is involved in a REDD+ project in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The project is located in a former logging concession of 345,000 hectares and Joe is responsible for measuring, understanding and developing conservation measures for biodiversity. Joe is dedicated to conserving endangered wildlife worldwide and understanding the complicated cohesion between flora and fauna along with the needs for local sustainability.