Conservation for the Oceans Foundation Rotating Header Image

Advisory Board

Leonard Sonnenschein

President, Conservation for the Oceans Foundation
World Aquarium

Leonard SonnenscheinWith 46 years experience in keeping fish, 35 years experience in scientific research, 23 years experience in science education innovation, over 100 publications, and extensive performance in conservation collaboration, climate change issues and public awareness, Leonard Sonnenschein opened St. Louis Children’s Aquarium in 1993 and on June 8, 2004 (World Ocean Day) opened its expansion facility, the World Aquarium. Leonard regularly supervises students from over 40 universities which collaborate with the research component of the aquarium in facility development, exhibit design, fisheries, aquatic sciences, ecology, aquariology, legal frameworks, consumer awareness, cultural comprehension of environmental issues, and public understanding through field, conference and inter-governmental work. He also is considered an innovator in developing assessment oriented hands-on programs for schools and communities that are based on non-traditional education institution with experience driven applications to learning standards.

Leonard regularly collaborates with international agencies such as UNESCO, UNEP, WHO, International Ocean Institute, the Global Forum on Ocean, Coasts and Islands and is a co-founder of the World Ocean Network. Leonard chairs an international committee with over 85 countries represented with a mailing list of several thousand members representing government, industry, and non-governmental agencies that provide feedback and input to the current environmental affairs of the world. In 2007, he established the Conservation for the Oceans Foundation in order to meet the needs of grassroots organizations to interface with other governmental and non-governmental entities towards a collaborative approach to addressing regional environmental needs.

Ram Boojh, Ph.D.

UNESCO Office for Bhutan, India, Maldives and Srilanka

Ram Boojh

Dr. Boojh is a focal point for the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (DESD) and for coordinating the World Heritage (Natural), Climate Change Knowledge (CLICK) Partnership programmes of UNESCO.

Dr. Boojh’s previous work experiences include being the Scientific Officer and Assistant Director with Environment Dept. UP Government (1982- 1994). He was also the Regional Director/Coordinator for the Centre for Environment Education (CEE) North, during 1994-2006, and was involved with many projects and programmes related to environment education, communication and education for sustainable development, particularly UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (DESD). Dr. Boojh worked with EE professionals at WSSD to get the DESD declaration and participated in the first International consultation of DESD in May 2004 at Goteborg, Sweden. He coordinated launch of the decade at CEE at the International Conference on Education for Sustainable Future (ESF) during 18-20 January 2005 at CEE Ahmedabad.

Dr. Boojh is distinguished throughout his first class academic career, with PhD in Life Sciences (Ecology) from the North Eastern Hill University, Shillong. He is the recipient of the Science Academy Medal for Young Scientist of the Indian National Science Academy (presented by late Mrs Indira Gandhi, then Prime Minister of India in January 1984). This is considered as the highest form of national recognition to young scientists in India.

Dr. Boojh was involved in research and teaching at the North Eastern Hill University, Shillong and the Benaras Hindu University. He was a visiting fellow/scientist at several institutions and universities abroad including School of Natural Resources and Environment, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, G3C (Global Climate Change Collaborative) programme of the MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Environmental Law Institute, Washington, USA; Universities of Bradford & Manchester, UK.

Dr. Boojh has published over 40 research/technical papers in various journals of repute including Forest Ecology & Management, Biotropica, Biogeotrop, Current science, National academy Science Letters, Proceedings National Science Academy, Rural Renaissance, Our Earth, etc.

John Englander

John has extraordinary experience and expertise about ocean issues, climate and sustainability. His forthcoming book addresses sea level rise and its impending economic impacts. He was a leading entrepreneur in the resort diving industry, and then CEO of The Cousteau Society, and more recently The International SeaKeepers Society. His expeditions and research have taken him to Greenland, Antarctica, and the High Arctic. John is the Special Advisor on Climate to Friends of the United Nations, and a Fellow at the Institute of Marine Engineering, Science, and Technology. John’s blog “A Clear Voice on Climate Change and Ocean Impacts” at



David Isserman

Isserman Consulting

David Isserman

David Isserman serves as President of Isserman Consulting, a boutique strategy consulting firm that advises life science, consumer products and technology companies. Additionally, Mr. Isserman is a partner at Exploration Capital, a venture capital and private equity firm based in Clayton, Missouri.

Over the past several years, David has served on several scientific and environmental non-profit boards and currently serves as a Trustee for the Academy of Science of St. Louis, an Advisor to the Conservation for the Oceans Foundation, a Director of Helicopter Emergency Lifeline Project, and the Co-Founder of, a website that connects patients and healthcare providers affected by rare medical disorders.

In 2006, David was selected by the St. Louis Business Journal for the 30 Under 30 Award. This award is presented to the top 30 most influential people in the St. Louis region who are under the age of 30.

David received his Master of Business Administration (MBA) from Columbia Business School in New York.


Father Paul Mayer

Climate Crisis Coalition

Father Paul MayerPaul Mayer’s more than half century of service to the earth has included eighteen years as a Benedictine monk, involvement with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and the civil rights movement in the South, work in the barrios of Central America, participation in the effort to end the war in Vietnam as well as co-founding peace and environmental organizations.

Mayer’s childhood experience as a Jewish refugee from Nazi Germany inspired him to co-found Children of War, a youth leadership organization that helped transform the lives of teenage survivors of international and domestic wars.

Mayer’s commitment to global peace, social justice, ecology, non-violent social change explores the link between spirituality and activism. He is a Yoga practitioner and teacher. He has an active wedding ministry as a non-canonical, formerly married priest.

Dr. John Nightingale

Vancouver Aquarium

Dr. John NightingaleDr. Nightingale has a broad professional background in aquatic sciences, specializing in using them to enhance public awareness, education and promote conservation.

A professional biologist and public educator, Dr. Nightingale has been responsible for the development and operation of some of the world’s best aquariums. His background and lifelong work in public communications, and both formal and informal public education, make him a leader in the current rapid development of new conservation efforts in aquariums, zoos and museums.

During his eighteen years at the Vancouver Aquarium, he has guided the expansion of the Aquarium’s leadership in conservation and research while focusing operations on sustainability and solid fiscal performance. As a result, the Vancouver Aquarium is not only one of the “greenest” cultural institutions in Canada, it is the only one that is financially self-sufficient, operating without an annual subsidy from Government.

Dr. Lennart Nyman

Man and Water AB

Dr. Lennart NymanLennart Nyman received his Ph.D. as an Associate Professor of Genetics at the University of Uppsala, Sweden (1972). Major subjects studied were: Genetics, Zoology, Hydrology, Geography, Geology, Physical Anthropology, Ethnography and Environmental Economy.

Dr. Nyman is the author and/or co-author of 151 papers, books, reviews etc, mainly concerning biology of fishes in marine, brackish and freshwater ecosystems worldwide, but also relating to sustainable use of renewable natural resources also in terrestrial ecosystems like tropical and boreal forests.

Dr. Nyman worked as a consultant for governments (Sweden and Canada), FAO/EIFAC, Sida, SAREC and numerous other companies and organizations (NGO´s and others) on a worldwide basis in 49 countries on all continents. He has also been chair and/or member of more than 35 national and international working groups during the past 45 years. Since 1993, he also has been a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Agriculture, Forestry (and Fisheries), and has been involved in two of its committees – Wildlife Management and Fisheries.

Dr. Nyman has been employed with the Fisheries Research Board of Canada, National Board of Fisheries in Sweden, Swedish EPA, and World Wildlife Fund (Sweden). He has worked both as a researcher and an administrator, including Director of Research at the National Board of Fisheries in Sweden, and as Conservation Director at WWF Sweden. From 2005 and onwards, he worked as a part-time consultant for Man & Water International Network, Ltd.

Cynthia Pannucci

Art & Science Collaborations, Inc

Cynthia founded Art & Science Collaborations, Inc. (ASCI) in New York City in 1988, however now it is international and virtual:  ASCI quickly became a supportive community for those inspired by or working with science and/or technology to explore new forms of creative expression. Since then, the organization has collaborated with noted institutions to produce some of the first exhibitions in the world of kinetic art, light art, and science-inspired group exhibitions and seminal international art-tech and art-sci symposia.


In 2007, Cynthia merged her interests in youth and art, her passion for and knowledge about ocean issues, with what was then new, “blogging” technology. She developed and produced ASCI’s “Fishes Feed Us” art-sci youth project for an educational and humanitarian purpose. The culmination of the project was a performance by New York City 4th and 5th graders on the United Nations Plaza, sponsored by the UN Environment Programme, especially for World Environment Day. This project is a low-budget [because of the volunteer efforts of its many partners!], highly-reproducible model for others interested in melding art and science on behalf of our oceans. It was partially funded by the Conservation for the Oceans Foundation. Full project documentation is online:


Pamela J. Puntenney

Environmental & Human Systems Management

Pamela J. Puntenney Pamela J. Puntenney is Founder and CEO of Environmental & Human Systems Management a private sector consulting firm that seeks to facilitate and support the further implementation of sustainability strategies through: learning processes; research and influencing policy; provision and distribution of key information; and training and capacity building. She currently serves as the lead Co-Chair of the UN Commission on Sustainable Development Education Caucus. As a member of the IUCN Commission on Education and Communication she has contributed her expertise on policy and advocacy as well as management and evaluation of environment and education for sustainable development strategies. Pam holds a Ph.D. in natural resources, education, and anthropology from the University of Michigan and graduate degrees in human development from the University of Kansas and in natural resources, policy and management, and environmental education from The University of Michigan; and an undergraduate degree in education from Wichita State University. Pam’s work focuses on cross-cultural solutions, the impact of world systems on local communities, public choice and public responsibility, learning systems and sustainable solutions. She has served as a lecturer and research scientist with the University of Michigan; She has been a senior foreign policy advisor to various countries advising senior management on creating linkages and partnerships, and presented keynote addresses to ministries, business, scientific, technologic and education conferences throughout the world on a variety of environmental and educational policy issues. She has authored over a dozen peer-reviewed publications, edited several books and dozens of general publications. She recently published a book entitled Global Ecosystems: Creating Options Through Anthropological Perspectives and contributed a book chapter to Anthropology and Climate Change: from encounters to Actions entitled “Where Managerial and Scientific Knowledge Meet Sociocultural Systems: Local Realities, Global Responsibilities”.

Dr. Sister Soosamma Kavumpurath

Principal, Fatima Mata National College

Dr. Sister Soosamma KavumpurathDr. Sister Soosamma George Kavumpurath, is the Principal of Fatima Mata National College in Kollam, India, which has several thousand students. It is a junior college preparatory school that has an innovative science program with a heavy emphasis on aquaculture, fisheries and sustainable agriculture. Dr. Kavumpurath has a Ph.D. in biochemistry and has brought Fatima Mata National College to being a center for science and technology in the region. The students of her school all come from poor backgrounds because the state is a relatively poor state in terms of India’s general economy, but the students exhibit a high degree of excellent performance due to the leadership of Dr. Kavumpurath.

Dr. Kavumpurath conducted, with the financial support of the World Aquarium’s Conservation for the Oceans Foundation, a State level workshop entitled “Value-added Fish By-products for Income Generation” which was held on February 10 & 11, 2010. The workshop was primarily meant for the underprivileged fisherwomen of Kollam and was a follow-up to a previous workshop entitled, “Captive Breeding of Fish for Conservation and Income Generation for Fish Farmers and other Socially Weaker Sections of the Society” held Sept 23-25, 2009, also supported by the World Aquarium’s Conservation for the Oceans Foundation. The College hosted another workshop in January 2011 entitled, “Climate Change: Global Risks, Challenges and Decisions.”

In addition to these workshops, field research conducted from January 2009 to January 2010 yielded a fisheries center textbook entitled, Conservation of Fishes of Kerala, India, published by the World Aquarium.

Dr. Kavumpurath has over 22 years of teaching experience and over 12 years of administrative experience. As a Principal Investigator for various scientific projects, she has 23 published scientific papers and 14 published abstracts from various symposia and conferences.

Youth Voices

Young people making a difference in their communities through environmental actions towards a sustainable Earth.

Learn More

close window ####