MacArthur Foundation has named Steve Cornelius Program Officer in the Foundations Conservation and Sustainable Development area.
In this position, Cornelius will be responsible for helping to conserve biodiversity in Latin American and the Caribbean. His work will contribute to the Foundations goal of helping to preserve ecosystems located at key points in the region and to support local institutions and their international allies for the long-term protection of the regions biodiversity. The Foundation makes grants for conservation and sustainable development work in key areas within Latin America and the Caribbean, Asia and the Pacific Rim, and Africa.
With his broad range of field experience and scientific perspective, Steve Cornelius brings a strong understanding of the challenges involved in balancing conservation with the needs of local communities who depend on their natural resources to survive, said Michael Wright, Director of the Foundations Conservation and Sustainable Development area.
Cornelius joins MacArthur after seven years as Director of the Sonoran Desert Program for the Sonoran Institute, an organization that focuses on cross-border collaboration between U.S. and Mexican resource managers, residents and nongovernmental organizations. For eight years prior to this, he managed World Wildlife Funds conservation program in Central America, Mexico and the Caribbean. As WWFs regional coordinator, he assisted with the founding of the first graduate program in wildlife management in Latin America at the National University in Costa Rica in 1985 and got his initial experience in Latin America as a Peace Corps Volunteer where he helped in the establishment of the Costa Rica National Parks System in 1970.
Cornelius received his Bachelor of Science in wildlife and fisheries biology from Iowa State University and a Master of Science in wildlife science from Texas A&M, and conducted field research on waterfowl, sea turtles, and marine fisheries.
MacArthur's Conservation and Sustainable Development grantmaking focuses on preserving the biodiversity of living organisms and maintaining tropical ecosystems, which are home to some of the worlds most diverse natural communities and critically endangered species. The Foundation provides support to help create and manage parks and marine areas, increase the skills of local governmental and non-governmental institutions and individuals, and strengthen environmental law and policy. In addition to traditional conservation focused on protected areas, the Foundation seeks to address both economic and conservation needs by promoting the sustainable use of natural resources and helping the local population manage the biodiversity on which they depend for their livelihoods.