Meet The Team

ETC is uniquely composed of academic biologists, local fishermen and tourism operators that came together driven by their common passion of protecting marine life and resources.

Maike Heidemeyer

Founder & Biologist

One of the founders of ETC, Maike graduated from the University of Costa Rica with a Masters in Biology with emphasis in Genetics and Molecular Biology. Originally from Germany, she has been studying sea turtles for over ten years in Costa Rica and combines her expertise in high-end science with in-the-field conservation efforts. She is associated researcher at the CIBCM and CIMAR, coordinator of the Sea Turtle Network RITMA of the UCR and collaborates with other NGOs to incorporate ETC as an integral approach for sea turtle research and conservation.

Randall Mora

"Turtle man"​

Randall is vice-president and co-founder of ETC and community member of El Jobo. He comes from a long line of local artisan fishermen. Although he used to collect and eat turtle eggs in the past, his awareness and concern about the future of sea turtles spurred him to involve his family and other community members in sea turtle conservation efforts. He is ETC’s nesting site patrolling director and spends almost every night on Punta Descartes’ beaches to protect sea turtle nests from illegal poaching and to take biometric measurements from nesting sea turtle females. Randall is creator of the ©madeinElJobo turtle tangle nets, which ETC uses for in-water sea turtle monitoring, first mariner of “Jack Sparrows” crew, and has reported some of the first sightings of ray species around Punta Descartes.

Ricardo Obando

Ricardo started protecting sea turtle nests long before he became a founding member of ETC. Although sustaining his family with sea turtle eggs in the past, he quickly learned the lack of sustainability involved with this illegal activity, and started to relocate sea turtle nests on his own accord to protect them from poachers. Today, he and his wife Kembly facilitate a unique cultural exchange by providing an experience of-a-lifetime for volunteers and visiting students in their home stay. He is particularly concerned about the sustainable development of Punta Descartes, in addition to sustainable fishing practices.

Mathilde Giry

Vice President & environmental educator

As the heart of ETC’s future generations, Mathilde is originally from France and has lived in the El Jobo community since 2009, where she and her husband Damien raised their son Noa amidst nature. Mathilde is the Environmental Educator of the El Jobo’s kids club “Environmental Protectors” and Volunteer coordinator for ETC. While assisting in ray and sea turtle research, her main role is to translate scientific data into accessible language for everybody, especially young kids. Her values for conservation are strong and extend into her every day practice. As a professional kite surfer and captain of her sailing boat NoaNoa surfari, Matilde promotes nature-based sports while maintaining a small vacancy home Casa Mariquita.

Kembly Mora

"La mama tica"

Kembly Mora is a co-founder of ETC and community leader of El Jobo. Like her brothers Randall and Marlon, she is highly concerned about the future of El Jobo's biodiversity, and fights to preserve her home’s beauty for future generations. She is the proud mother of three children, marine conservation advocates in their own right. Kembly is an excellent cook and loves to pamper ETC’s interns and volunteers with delicious food, legendary hospitality, and heart-warming family ambiance. ​

Marlon Vargas Mora


Marlon is in charge of monitoring El Jobo and Coyotera beaches protecting sea turtle nests by finding them before poachers do. Maike’s right hand, he is the coordinator of nesting beach patrol with the help of his wife Paola who keep the turtles nesting data base update. Pirricho, Randall, and Anibal are a one-of-kind team when it comes to conducting in-water monitoring of sea turtle foraging grounds in both Matapalito and Salinas Bay. Even while fishing for octopus by hand, Pirricho manages to save critically endangered hawksbill turtles from entanglement and fishery incidences, while reporting new ray species in previously unstudied habitats. Pirricho also has a special hand for manufactured jewelry inspired by his research, which help sustain ETC’s economy.

Anibal Lara

"ETC captain"

Anibal has been our turtle captain since 2012, when we first discovered Matapalito Bay as a primary development habitat for critically endangered hawksbill turtles. His family are some of the oldest members of those who founded the port of Cuajiniquil, the majority of which initially depended entirely on fisheries. However, his family's generation adapted generation-long fishing practices into sustainable activities that preserve the marine biodiversity of Santa Elena Bay and the Santa Rosa National Park. As a founding member of ETC, Anibal has monitored and released innumerable sea turtles, frequently participating in research activities that focus on the marine conservation of the Guanacaste Conservation Area (ACG), and manages his own snorkeling enterprise (à link to his facebook page). Thanks to Anibal, hawksbill and green turtles can safely call the Matapalito reef their home.

Izaak Warmenhoven

"Jack Sparrow!

Jack used to erase all sea turtle tracks at El Jobo beach to protect their nests from illegal poaching. As a serious ocean advocate and “young biologist”, he became founding member and treasurer of ETC, where he supports our research by providing sail boat rides to our study sites, leading citizen science on eagle ray, turtle and whale identification, as well as being in charge of ETC’s accounts. He makes our world a better place by supporting the Wildlife Conservation studies’ of his daughter Sabrina, and together with his wife Mirella provides a one-in-a-lifetime experience for marine biology students who visit ETC’s research projects. Surfari del Mar.