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The HOCC network is coordinated by Ricardo "Fito" (, who resides in Honduras, with the assistance of Robert Hyman and Deborah Atwood in Washington DC, Mark and Eva Bonta at Penn State, and Rafael Ulloa, Isidro Zuniga, and Oscar Flores Pinot in Honduras. Our current affiliates (see list below) live primarily in Honduras and the United States.

Fito Steiner

Ricardo "Fito" Steiner, one of Honduras's most passionate environmentalists, is based in the city of Olanchito. Among many achievements, he has been director of FUPNAPIB, a foundation that manages the Pico Bonito National Park. His main emphasis has long been the conservation of the endangered Honduran Emerald hummingbird and its thorn forest habitat.

Isidro Zuniga

Zuniga is a parabiologist and conservationist who has co-authored studies and done field research on the Red-throated Caracara, Honduran cycads, Three-wattled Bellbird, Baird's Tapir, Golden-cheeked Warbler, and other biota. He is the creator of the Las Orquideas Private Reserve and Organic Farm, recognized as the finest of its type in Honduras.

Robert Hyman

A Fellow of the both The Explorer's Club and the Royal Geographical Society, Hyman is a mountain-climber and a photographer as well as a dedicated conservationist. He has supported and participated in scientific expeditions to Honduras and Panama focused on archaeology, cloud forest biology, and the population dynamics of the Honduran Emerald.

Deborah Atwood

Currently the Executive Director of AGree: Transforming Food and Ag Policy at the Meridian Institute in Washington, DC, Atwood has had a prominent career in policy and legislative issues involving the environment, agriculture and international development; she has worked for the US government, NGOs, & the private sector. She has been one of the primary forces behind the HOCC's continuing push to achieve effective conservation of the Honduran Emerald.

Rafael Ulloa

Prof. Ulloa is a primary school teacher, former mayor of Gualaco, and one of the most influential grassroots environmentalists in Central America. Among his numerous achievements include halting mahogany logging, establishing several municipal nature reserves, supporting protection of various national parks, and pioneering the annual Teocinte Festival and Gualaco Cultural and Natural Heritage Festival.

Eva Bonta

Eva was raised in Honduras, the Mississippi Delta, and the Philadelphia Main Line. She is currently an undergraduate in the College of Agriculture at Penn State, majoring in Community, Environment, and Development - International Development Option. Eva has travelled, hiked, and camped throughout the continental US, Canada, and Alaska as well as in Bolivia and Honduras.

Oscar Flores Pinot

Prof. Pinot is a high school teacher, agronomist, and lawyer based in Juticalpa. He is also an avid beekeeper and gardener with extensive expertise in Honduran environmental legislation. Pinot has participated in numerous biodiversity expeditions and birdwatching tours.

Mark Bonta

A geographer with over two decades' experience in the region, Bonta has pioneered conservation and biodiversity for the Sierra de Agalta National Park and other protected areas since his days as a US Peace Corps Volunteer. He is an avid birder and has written several books and articles about traditional knowledge of Honduran avifauna. He is currently a professor at Penn State Altoona.


Steering Committee


Dr. David L. Anderson, ornithologist (Peregrine Fund, ID)

James Barborak, conservationist (Director, Center for Protected Area Management and Training, Co State Univ.)

Dr. Christopher Begley, archaeologist (Transylvania University)

Ruth Bennett, ornithologist (Cornell University)

Jorge Betancourt, conservationist  (Executive Director, PROLANSATE, Honduras)

Dr. Robin Bjork, conservation biologist (Idaho)


Franklin Castaneda, biologist (Director, PANTHERA-Honduras)

Roberto Downing, biologist (Instituto Nacional de Conservacion y Desarrollo Forestal, Honduras: Biological Monitoring, Dept. of Wildlife)

Nereyda Estrada, zoologist (Tegucigalpa)

Dr. Lilian Ferrufino Acosta, botanist (TEFH Herbarium Director, Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Honduras)


Fr. Osmin Flores, conservationist (Pastoral Social, Guata, Honduras)


Dr. Pastor Gomez Zuniga, archaeologist and historian (Spain)

Dr. Donald Hazlett, botanist (Denver Botanic Gardens)

Dr. Daniel Hilliard, conservationist (Director, Zoo Conservation Outreach Group, Washington DC)

Karin Holloway, My Fat Fox books and digital media, UK


Dr. Oliver Komar, ornithologist (Zamorano University: Paul C. Standley Herbarium Director & INBIO Director)

Scott Landis (President, GreenWood, South Berwick ME)

Wilson Martinez, agronomist (Universidad Nacional Agraria, Honduras)

Dr. Sean McCann, ornithologist (Simon Fraser University, Vancouver)


Ian McGregor, Environmental Studies major (Penn State Altoona)


Edin Mendoza, photojournalist (Juticalpa)


Jose Mendoza, guide (El Boqueron, Olancho)


David Medina, ornithologist (Partners in Flight-Honduras)


Luz Medina , artist & eco-fashion designer (Eva Olympia, Juticalpa, Honduras)

Mayron Mejía, ornithology student (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Honduras)

Dr. Erik Nielsen, environmental policy (Northern Arizona Univ.)

Dr. María Teresa Pulido, botanist (Universidad Autonoma de Hidalgo, MX)

Manuel Jose Rey Figueroa, conservation biologist (Tegucigalpa)

Onan Reyes Calderon, biologist (Universidad Nacional Agraria, Honduras)

Eduardo Rico, biologist (Valle de Angeles)

Ruben Sinclair, agronomist (Universidad Nacional Agraria, Catacamas)

Sherry “Pilar” Thorn, ornithologist (Tegucigalpa)

Roberto Vallejo, conservationist (Director, INADES, Tegucigalpa)

Hermes Vega, botanist (Santa Barbara, Honduras)

Dr. Samuel Wells, entomologist (Bayer CropScience, Fresno, CA)



Affiliate Communities

The HOCC has worked directly with the following municipalities in Olancho:


  • Dulce Nombre de Culmi

  • Gualaco

  • Guata

  • Yocon


whose mayors and other leaders have collaborated with our expeditions, workshops, and other events. We have also coordinated to a lesser extent with Patuca, Catacamas, Juticalpa, San Francisco de la Paz, San Esteban, and Olanchito


We have collaborated directly with both the Tribu Pech (Santa Maria del Carbon) and the Tribu Nahoa (Guata).


In addition, we work directly with villages in the above and other municipalities in the departments of Olancho, El Paraiso, and Yoro.  These have included:


  • El Boqueron (Gualaco)

  • El Boqueron (Juticalpa)

  • El Cuabano (Yocon)

  • El Norte (Gualaco)

  • El Ocotal (Gualaco)

  • La Avispa (San Francisco de la Paz)

  • La Llorona (Dulce Nombre de Culmi)

  • Los Jutes (Gualaco)

  • San Antonio (Gualaco)

  • Santa Maria del Carbon (San Esteban)

  • Tayaco & Los Encuentros de Tayaco (Gualaco)

  • Tezapa (Guata)

Honduran Conservation Coalition

science-driven, community-focused
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