Monica is the Corridor Project Coordinator for Conservation International's Pantanal office. She grew up in this region, with her grandparents owning a farm in the Pantanal. Monica left Brazil to attend college at Reading University in England, where she received her Bachelor's of Science degree in Applied Zoology. Although she had originally planned to study music, she missed chemistry and biology too much, and switched over to zoology. Her personal views on animal welfare and the importance of biodiversity conservation made the change a natural fit. After getting her degree, she successfully pursued her Master's in Aquatic Resource Management from King's College of London.
Upon returning to Brazil, Monica took a job contracting with Conservation
||"I want my children and their children to see the Pantanal the way I saw it."|
International as a member of the 1998 Pantanal AquaRap team. This job was followed by one consulting with CI on a joint effort with The Nature Conservancy and World Wildlife Fund to investigate stakeholders and economics of the Pantanal in preparation for establishing new regional conservation priorities and strategies.
Later, Monica was hired by CI full time for her current position, where she is responsible for helping organize outreach and scientific research on behalf of the Pantanal/Cerrado corridor establishment effort. The corridor would create a protected strip of wilderness connecting two ecologically important biomes in Brazil.
She credits her strong feelings about wildlife to her childhood growing up on the Pantanal. "When I visited my grandparents, I saw wild pigs, deer, alligators, macaws, jabiru storks and massive boa constrictors. And once, while watching the sunset with a friend, we were surprised to hear a jaguar growling close-by. We immediately ran and jumped back in our car. It is an experience I will never forget."
Monica is very open about enjoying her work and how important it is to her. "Conservation is rewarding. You can go home, put your head down on the pillow, and feel gratified: You've made a difference. Protecting this area is more than just a job. I want my children and their children to see the Pantanal the way I saw it. It's all about preserving for the future."
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