Fred joined Sahara Conservation as the U.S. Board Chair in 2019. He has worked in conservation in Africa for 20 years. He has lived and worked on the ground with Maasai communities in Tanzania, designed and led conservation policy research in Africa, and defines himself as a "conservation entrepreneur." He leads the Maliasili organization, which he founded in 2010, to support local conservation organizations through partnerships and networking to achieve their goals. He is a former Doris Duke Conservation Fellow and Henry Arnhold Conservation Fellow and a graduate of Cornell University and the University of Michigan.
FRED NELSON - BOARD CHAIR
BILL HOUSTON - VICE-CHAIR
Bill has been an active member of the Sahelo-Saharan Interest Group (SSIG) since its inception, and a founding member of the US Board of Sahara Conservation; he currently serves as its Vice President. Bill has dedicated 30 years of his life to captive breeding and conservation of antelope species at the St. Louis Zoo. He currently serves as Assistant General Curator and Director of the Sahelo-Saharan Wildlife Conservation Center at the Saint Louis Zoo. In addition to his duties at the Saint Louis Zoo, Bill serves on several AZA conservation committees in the Americas, including a role as species coordinator for the AZA Species Survival Plan (SSP).
KOENRAAD DE SMET - SECRETARY
Koen joined the American Board of Sahara Conservation as secretary in 2004. He is an agricultural engineer by training and retired from the Flemish Ministry of the Environment, where he was Director of Nature. His career started in the Sahel, at the Comité Permanent Inter-États de Lutte contre la Sécheresse dans le Sahel (CILSS) in Ouagadougou. Later, he spent 10 years in Algeria where he taught nature conservation at the National Agronomic Institute, getting involved in the management of protected areas in Tunisia and Algeria. His PhD was on the distribution and conservation of large mammals in Algeria. He still collaborates episodically with his Algerian and Burkinabe colleagues.
KAREN SAUSMAN - TREASURER
Although she grew up in Chicago, Illinois, Karen soon discovered that deserts spoke to her like no other environment. She moved to California to study their ecology. In 1970, she was chosen to be the director and founder of Living Desert, a zoological and botanical garden dedicated to the deserts of the world. In 2007, Living Desert played a key role in the creation of the Sahara Conservation. Also active in the Association of Zoos & Aquaria (AZA) Antelope Taxonomy Advisory Group (TAG), Karen created and managed pedigree records for a variety of endangered desert antelopes, including Arabian Oryx, Leptoceran Gazelle and Mhorr's Gazelle, as well as sand cats. Now retired, she continues to be involved in desert ecosystem conservation as Treasurer of Sahara Conservation in the United States.
ROSELINE BEUDELS-JAMAR - ACTIVE MEMBER
Roseline has been a member of the American Board since 2004. Roseline was born and raised in Congo (DRC). She holds a PhD from the Catholic University of Louvain and is a conservation biologist at the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences in Brussels. She has 38 years of field experience acquired in many countries, notably in Southeast Asia and Africa, with several international organizations such as WWF, FAO, UNDP and the EU. She is also a member of the Board of Directors of WWF-International and Noé Conservation. She is also a member of the IUCN Species Survival Commission. As "Scientific Councillor for Terrestrial Mammals", Roseline plays an active role in the work of the Scientific Council of the UN Convention on Migratory Species (CMS), in particular in the development of the Sahelo-Saharan Megafauna Concerted Action, one of the most important programs of CMS. In 2017, she became president of the Board of Directors of WWF-Belgium.
TIM WOODFINE - ACTIVE MEMBER
Tim is a founding board member of Sahara Conservation, with over 25 years of experience leading conservation programmes in the region and other parts of the world. This includes long-term involvement in the reintroduction of scimitar-horned oryx and addax, aridland ecosystem restoration, protected area management and capacity building. Tim has a PhD in Biodiversity Management, is a visiting academic at the University of Southampton (UK) and a member of the International Union for Conservation of Nature's (IUCN) Species Survival Commission, and Commission on Education and Communication.
JULIE CRENN - ACTIVE MEMBER
Julie joined the Board of Sahara Conservation in 2020. In parallel, she currently holds the position of Administrative and Financial Director at Agronomes et Vétérinaires Sans Frontières (AVSF). With extensive experience in various French NGOs such as Première Urgence and Médecins Sans Frontières, Julie joined the Board to help ensure the organization's financial and administrative compliance.
FRANCOIS LAMARQUE - ACTIVE MEMBER
François has served has been part of Sahara Conservation's Board of Directors since 2017. He holds a PhD from the Veterinary School of Maisons-Alfort and has extensive experience both in Africa, where he taught, and in France, where he advised, directed, and managed numerous biodiversity monitoring and nature protection initiatives with prestigious national institutions. He is currently in charge of international and European conventions and programs - wildlife at the French Ministry of Ecological and Solidarity Transition.