Andreea grew up in Romania, where she spent many hours daydreaming about adventures at the other ends of the planet, in exotic places populated by the animals she was seeing in her atlases and books that her grandma read to her. Meanwhile (actually a decade earlier), Justin was writing stories about wanting to visit the Amazon for his school assignments in the suburbs of Chicago, and asking his parents to drive him there for their summer vacation. Many years later he actually got to spend several weeks deep in the heart of the Ecuadorian Amazon, while participating in the filming of a documentary about the Yasuní Biosphere Reserve. This was the start of a one year trip through South America, volunteering with nature organizations and heading all the way to the bottom of the continent, to Chilean Patagonia. After studying a semester in Indonesia, Andreea too was in search of a new experience that would fulfill her childhood dreams of seeing the world, so she signed up for an internship in Punta Arenas, at the southern end of Chilean Patagonia.

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Or so the story goes... When we met in 2013 we were working for an organization that puts together one of the wildest adventure races in the world, with the ultimate goal of promoting the natural beauty of southern Chilean Patagonia. The common passion for travel, the outdoors, nature conservation, and photography brought us together.

In 2014 we got married on the shore of Lake Michigan. Knowing from the start that we were going to travel extensively to nature spots around the world, our wedding registry included items like ice axes, backpacks, a sleeping pad, hiking poles and other fun stuff. In late 2016 we left Charlottesville, VA — our home for three years, and jumped on the adventure of becoming "conservation storytellers" to inspire people to travel differently. These first two years have been a successful learning process that will allow us to take Conservation Atlas to the next level.





Originally from Romania, where I've lived most of my life, I'm now based in the US and traveling the world. The past two years (2017 & 2018) have been the most fulfilling and transformative so far, a time of learning and experiencing. The subject of nature conservation is bittersweet, but spending time at projects with people that are doing amazing work to protect the natural world is truly inspiring and rewarding, and has given me the strength to continue to bring my contribution to this cause. The most important lesson so far has been one of hope: while we're being bombarded with negative news about the environment and while politicians are not listening to the needs of the planet, there are extraordinary people out there who have succeeded tremendously in protecting biodiversity and wildlands. 



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I grew up near Chicago and studied mechanical engineering and business management, and have worked in the renewable energy sector for over a decade. For as long as I can remember, I've been interested in conservation of wild areas and species. I think it's the most important item of our generation: to ensure we do as much as possible to protect the planet's biodiversity. Over the last year and a half, we've visited as many conservation projects as we could to learn about the various ways in which private individuals, governments, and organizations are working to protect the earth's land, water, flora and fauna. It's been an eye-opening experience, and it has helped us better understand the challenges we face as a species, as well as the opportunities that exist within the field of conservation. As Conservation Atlas continues to grow, we hope that it becomes a useful organization for those that are interested in learning about conservation, and ways in which people can make a positive impact while traveling to see the incredible biodiversity and wildernesses of the world.





As we continue to learn and grow, we're thankful to all the people that have stood by us, have given us advice and have helped us make connections in the world of nature conservation which was so new to us. We're grateful for those who volunteered to work with us and we’re especially grateful for our team member, Jeff Owen. We're looking forward to the next chapter when our team will continue to expand.


JEFF OWEN, GIS & MAPPING MANAGER. Jeff grew up exploring the nature of central Virginia, and enjoys getting outside on his kayak or mountain bike. He met Andreea and Justin while they all worked together in Charlottesville, and now proudly claims to be the "armchair explorer" of the team (though he knows he'll make it out on one of our backpacking trips soon). He studied Geography at Virginia Tech, and soon thereafter found his love for GIS. His mapping and GIS expertise helps us create maps of conservation projects and efforts around the world to share with all of you.





We’re happy and honored to welcome Bruno to our team of advisors! Currently we’re putting together a group of people that can help us grow and prepare for the festival in the fields of fundraising, adventure travel, and conservation tourism. Soon on the website.

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BRUNO GARCIA, MARKETING ADVISOR. Bruno is a 11+ year Nike vet working on and leading teams across: product, brand marketing, digital marketing, brand communications, city marketing and media.  Across his tenure at Nike, Bruno has been keen to step into roles that are challenge areas for Nike, allowing the brand to be at the forefront in consumer engagement and finding innovating new ways to build strong consumer affinity at every step. He also led and championed ways to elevate team talent and development within Nike with personal projects turned best practice for the company. A native Texan, he is deeply connected with running and the global running crew culture. He ran Division-I Cross Country and started running communities in New York, Portland and Mexico City. Beyond running, Bruno enjoys traveling the world, cooking and teaching himself new things — currently the cello. Last year, Bruno went solo in South America and camped in Patagonia, visited Easter Island, Machu Picchu and made it to the Equator. 




Conservation Atlas started as a self-funded endeavor, but partnerships with brands are of great help in our journey to document inspiring stories. Whether it's pro deals, products offered for testing in the field or endorsements, we are honored to have received support from brands whose missions and identities are aligned with ours.

We are a US-based non-profit organization registered under the 501(c)(3) section of the IRS.    

Thank you all for being part of the beginning of our Conservation Atlas story! 

Much appreciation for showing us a beautiful and wild part of Chilean Patagonia, and for putting together remarkable sport events:


Our friends at Yama Mountain Gear equipped us with a lightweight and spacious tent for two to take on our adventures. They specialize in making ultralight, artisan-quality gear drawing from their experience of hiking long distance trails. Based in Charlottesville, VA, they've also created a mentorship program for people looking to hike the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT). 


ThinkTank Photo gave us one of their rotation180° Professional backpacks that has become the perfect home for our photo gear. It was designed by a group of conservation and adventure-minded photographers for those who want to "engage with nature" through their photographs. When ordering from ThinkTank, please use the following link to receive free gear if your order is over $50, and please enter the special code number 250339.f8688f in the Affiliate Box to support us.


Toad&Co is a clothing brand based in California with a deep commitment to sustainability and conservation. We were happy and honored to partner with them and take some of their clothes “from trail to tavern” in our journeys in Kazakhstan, Romania and Scotland. You can read the stories we published as guests on their blog here, here and here.