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Our History

Canopy Watch International was born in the tropical rainforests of Honduras, Central America in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s.

While climbing tall trees to conduct research on forest birds, David was struck by the raw emotional power in the forest canopy that is made from a recipe of dizzying height, spectacular natural beauty, and a feeling of accomplishment after reaching the forest summit.


Wanting to share this experience with others, while realizing that few people have the technical skill to climb tall trees, David founded Canopy Watch as a way to teach tree climbing to as many people as possible.




Board Members



David L. Anderson, Ph.D.

Co-Founder and Executive Director

David is an ornithologist (bird scientist!) who specializes in the diversity of life living in the forest canopy. He earned his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees studying birds in the canopies of tropical rainforests of Honduras. He has lived and worked in Latin America since the 1990's and admits to a lifelong love affair with the people and nature Central and South America.

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Jamz has taken a new journey and lives in our hearts while we fulfill his legacy of changing lives one tree at a time.

Jamz Luce - Co-Founder

and Municipal Arborist (deceased)

Jamz is our mentor, teacher, and spirit guide. He was our Lead Instructor for our first 4 International Climber Trainings, bringing over 30 years of experience as a professional arborist, climbing instructor, and research aid. Jamz had a way with people. He was loved and admired by thousands of people around the world.

Board Members

Ellen Wilson – Director & Interim Board Chair

2020 – present

Ellen was born and raised in the Boise, Idaho. She has a bachelor’s degree in Sociology from Boise State University with additional studies in arbitration/mediation. Ellen is also an artist and enjoys using her creative energy to help the organizations she is involved with. Ellen has over 15 years of experience producing local events, fundraising, and creating opportunities for local artists.

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Janina Fuller – Director and Board Secretary

2020 – present

An avid birder since childhood, Janina discovered a particular passion for feathers during a high school biology class. After graduating from Oregon State University with a B.S. in Zoology (1978), two years of Peace Corps service as a community health worker in the Philippines sparked Janina’s interest in the influence of cultural differences on productivity and in what motivates volunteers to develop themselves as leaders. Janina earned an M.S. in Biology from Portland State University (2004), a Master of Natural Science degree from Louisiana State University (2009), and graduated from LSU in 2012 with a Ph.D. in Human Resource Education and Workforce Development. 

Max Adams

2024 – present

Max is a professor at Vanier College, Montreal, Canada, in the departments of Biology and Environmental Wildlife Management. He earned his PhD working on insect ecology, specifically exploring patterns of diversity of arboreal ants living in tree crowns. He has over 15 years of experience training people in the climbing techniques used in canopy ecology.

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Elliot "Li" Bearden

2024 – present

Li is an AI Engineer with a passion for conservation. He uses code to connect people with the outdoors, blending technology with nature for a better world. As an avid technologist, outdoor guide, and trail athlete, he draws from personal and professional experiences to create solutions that enhance outdoor experiences for all.

Nick Bonner

2022 – present

Nick is the General Manager of TreeStuff. With a small team, he manages all the branding and marketing for, the world’s largest direct-to-consumer arborist sales channel. As part of the Notch Equipment product development group, Nick influences many of the arborist products on the market today and is the listed inventor on multiple current U.S. patents. Nick has been an avid climber both professionally and recreationally for most of his adult life. As a rock climber, tower hand, and professional arborist, he has experience climbing the tallest trees, cliffs, and man-made structures in America.

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Nicolás Reyes

2022 – present

Nicolás is the Curator of the Mammal Collection of the Instituto Alexander von Humboldt (IAvH-M) in Colombia. He obtained his undergraduate degree in biology from the Universidad Industrial de Santander (UIS) in Colombia and his PhD. in Biological Sciences from the Universidad Nacional de Córdoba (UNC) in Argentina. As a mammalogist, his active research lines are evolutionary developmental biology, functional morphology and evolution of small mammals, as well as ecology and conservation of the Andean bear (Tremarctos ornatus). Nico brings tremendous potential for networking with scientists in Colombia and throughout South America.

Kieran Hunt

2023 – present

Kieran is the Manager of Operational Analytics with Asplundh Digital Innovation. He is responsible for working with internal and customer field leadership to interpret, strategize, and find value in operational data. Asplundh Digital Innovation utilizes modern technology to greatly enhance the effectiveness and cost efficiency of utility vegetation management programs. Hunt has a background in municipal and utility tree management, GIS, and urban forestry. He is an ISA Certified Arborist Utility Specialist and New Jersey Licensed Tree Expert with a Bachelor of Science degree in ecology from Rutgers University.

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Noel Rodriguez

2023 – present

Noel is the owner of Gaea Tree Service located in Seattle, Washington. A native of Mexico, he brings bilingual Spanish-English abilities to the Canopy Watch Team. Noel is a competitor, judge, instructor, and champion at national and international tree climbing competitions. He has been an instructor of our international training program Discovering the Canopy since 2022 and is a naturally gifted instructor.

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Great nonprofits flourish from the labor of their volunteers.

We are growing our volunteer corps. Join us if you dare!

Carlos Funes

Education Advisor

Carlos is the producer of our educational video content. A native of El Salvador, Carlos organized our 2018 International Climber Training in Honduras, and was a junior instructor at our 2019 International Climber Training in Colombia. Carlos works tirelessly to produce our videos, is always ready with good advice on what to create, and his sense of humor make everything better around here. ¡Gracias Carlos!

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Amy Siedenstrang

Art Director

Amy is the exceptional talent who designs our tree-shirts, flyers, and is the creator of our beautiful logo — our brand. Amy, so that you know, is also keenly intelligent about life and people, has wonderful instincts, and is an all-around excellent advisor. She is the mind and personality behind much of what the public sees in Canopy Watch.

Cherie Cassel

Member Database Management

Cherie’s work for Canopy Watch centers around managing the database and our generous donors. She has spent her career helping wildlife and domestic animals and she brings to Canopy Watch her professional background and training in hardware, software, and databases. Cherie lives in Colorado with her husband Ray, 4 horses, 2 dogs, and 2 cats. “I have a lifelong passion for wildlife. I strive to help wherever I can to ensure the health, humane treatment, survival, and future of the world's wildlife.”

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