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Our Team

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Field Based

Michelle A. Slavin

Michelle Slavin at the Uganda Wildlife Education Center meeting a lion cub Michelle is the Director for UNITE in Uganda where she oversees daily operations, partnership development and developing and facilitating UNITE’s teacher trainings. Michelle holds a MA in International Affairs (American University) and an MA in Natural Resources & Sustainable Development (United Nations University for Peace). The majority of Michelle’s career has been in the field of science and conservation education: in the Philippines for the Center for Tropical Conservation, in Costa Rica with the Fundacíon de Monte Alto and Conservation International and in Washington, DC for the Smithsonian’s National Science Resource Center. Michelle enjoys exploring Uganda and is thrilled to have electricity in her hut after four years of reading by the light of a kerosene lantern. 

Tinka John

Tinka John with his favorite bird, the extremely endangered Shoebill storkTinka is the Project Coordinator for UNITE in Uganda where he oversees logistical operations and provides instrumental cultural advice to his American colleagues. Tinka is a co-founder and current Project Manager for the community based organization, the Kibale Association for Rural and Environmental Development (KAFRED), a valued partner of UNITE that works to conserve Bigodi. Tinka works tirelessly to promote East African communities’ conservation needs in around the world, such as COP Ten in Japan and subsequent follow-up meetings in Canada, the United Nations Development Program’s Equator Initiative Awards in Malaysia and classrooms around the United States. Tinka truly enjoys traveling, trying out new foods and bringing his knowledge back to Bigodi, where he was born and raised. Tinka’s passion for the environment can be seen in the strong environmental ethic of his three youngest children who provide him (and the UNITE staff!) with hours of entertainment. 

North Carolina Zoo

Dr. Richard Bergl

Dr. Rich Bergl, Curator for Conservation Field Programs at the North Carolina ZooRich Bergl is the Curator of Conservation and Research at the North Carolina Zoological Park and has been involved with wildlife conservation in Africa for over a decade.  He holds a Ph.D. in biological anthropology from the New York Consortium in Evolutionary Primatology.  His research and conservation work focuses primarily on the Cross River gorilla the most endangered of the four gorilla subspecies.  He has conducted field work in Nigeria, Cameroon, Uganda, Liberia and Kenya and has worked in genetics labs at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology (Leipzig, Germany) and New York University.  Rich has also been involved with broad-scale biodiversity and conservation research in West Africa, the UNEP/UNESCO Great Ape Survival Project (GrASP), and is a member of the IUCN/SSC Primate Specialist Group great ape sub-section. He serves on the conservation committees of the International Primatological Society, the American Society of Primatologists and the Association of Zoos and Aquariums and is Conservation Advisor to the Gorilla Species Survival Plan and Ape Taxonomic Advisory Group. In 2011 he was appointed as a Fellow at the Wildlife Conservation Society. Rich has been a driving force behind the success of UNITE.

Dr. Randy Fulk

Dr. Randy Fulk is the Curator for Education at the North Carolina Zoo where he oversees the zoos education programs. Randy holds a Ph.D. in Psychology: Animal Behavior, Developmental Psychobiology from the University of North Carolina, Greensboro. Randy sits on the Association for Zoos and Aquariums Field Conservation Committee and is the Chair of the North Carolina Zoo’s Field Program Team. Randy has worked extensively in Uganda, helping to develop what is today the Uganda Community Tourism Association (UCOTA) as well as UNITE.