Staff

Alexandra Hoeneisen – Project Manager

As an educator herself, Alexandra fully understands the inherent power of experiential learning. Thus, she organizes and manages volunteer and tourist activities to ensure their experiences at La Hesperia are informative and memorable. She also writes proposals for grants through international conservation organizations to gain funding for projects carried out at the reserve. She attended Universidad San Francisco de Quito and graduated in natural resources management. Before working at La Hesperia, Alexandra guided in the Amazon basin for Kapawi Eco-Lodge and Reserve. Given her extensive work experience and educational background, Alexandra possesses a great wealth of information regarding a number of topics surrounding not only the ecology of the cloud forest as well as other ecosystems found throughout Ecuador, but also history, natural medicine, and anthropology.

Carmen Játiva – Office Manager 

Carmen works in La Hesperia’s office in Quito. She is responsible for all correspondence with volunteers and receives volunteers in Quito to provide orientation information before they arrive at the reserve. She attended Universidad Católica and graduated in foreign languages and international relations. Before joining La Hesperia, she worked in the Cultural Department of the French Embassy. In addition to Spanish, she speaks French, English, and Italian.

Diego Pullugando – Administrator of Personnel and Coffee Production

Diego was born in and now lives in Tandapi, a town near La Hesperia, but his family is originally from Baños, located in the province of Tungurahua. In 2013, Diego worked in an office position at the Toachi-Pilatón Hydroelectric Project, but he left that position the same year to work at La Hesperia. Diego loves being surrounded by natural landscapes and working outdoors, so his work at La Hesperia suits him perfectly. As a gregarious and outgoing individual, he also enjoys his position at La Hesperia because it offers him the opportunity to meet and befriend people from all over the world on an almost weekly basis, a unique experience that not many have the privilege to have.

Milton Silva —Administrator of Cattle and Agricultural Production

Descended from a family of cattle raisers, Milton works primarily with cattle on the reserve, but he has a great deal of knowledge about and experience with other domesticated farm animals as well as with cultivated food plants. Milton grew up in Santo Domingo and received his certification as an Agricultural Technician from the Instituto Superior Calazacon there. He then worked for 9 years in the Ecuadorian government under the Ministerio de Agricultura, Ganadería, Acuacultura, y Pesca within the Departamento de Agricocalidad prior to coming to La Hesperia.  Aside from his inherited passion for raising cattle, Milton also enjoys learning about and discussing the history, politics, and culture of Ecuador. 

Elsa Vergara – Cook

For Elsa, cooking is an art and a true joy. Her passion for cooking manifests easily through the delectable meals and treats she prepares. Between her food and excellent sense of humor, Elsa has been winning the affection of many volunteers since 2004, the year she first began working at the reserve. She began cooking at just 13 years old, and from then on, cooking became a welcome and major part of her life. Elsa was born in Empalme in the southern province of Guayas and now lives in the city of Santo Domingo.  However, she prefers living in the countryside and thus cherishes the time she gets to spend in the tranquility and verdant scenery that define La Hesperia.

Mónica Merchán – Housekeeper

Mónica resides in the small town of La Esperie, located about 1.5 kilometers down the hill from the reserve. Mónica has worked at La Hesperia since the year 2012, and she is always happy to share funny, fascinating stories about her time working on the reserve as well as experiences she had well before coming to La Hesperia. But not only is Mónica a captivating storyteller, she is also a talented cook! Her own personal favorite meal is fried fish served with rice and salad. 

Fredy Parra – Maintenance and construction

Fredy was born in La Hesperia in 1979, as his father Carlos was one of the first residents of the local town. A talented artisan and constructor, Fredy carries out our eco-construction projects, primarily with bamboo and paja toquilla, with elegant results. Additionally, Fredy is the most familiar with the forest of the Reserve, and he identifies with great ease various medicinal and edible plants.  

Vinicio Quishpe - Assistant

Vinicio is part of the third generation of the Quishpe family to work in La Hesperia. Thus, he has inherited a great deal of knowledge from his grandparents’ past years of experience here at the Reserve. Vinicio works on various projects ranging between anything from construction to animal care throughout the Reserve. 

Fido, Leo, and Amber – Public Relations Managers

La Hesperia’s friendly dogs (all three boxers) provide entertainment (e.g., attempting to bite the wheels of moving vehicles, occupying the laps of unsuspecting volunteers, attacking small rocks, etc.) and make sure the volunteers are safe and happy.

Amber, Leo, and Fido in front of volunteer house