How We Are Run


All the real and personal property of the Asa Wright Nature Centre and the assets of the Trust are vested in three (3) Trustees.  The Trustees, who serve pro bono, hold the financial and legal responsibility for everything the AWNC does and are guided by the Board of Management

Fyard Hosein, SC

Akilah Jaramogi

Ruben McSween

Board of Management

The Board of Management oversees the strategic direction of the Asa Wright Nature Centre in its quest to achieve our objectives and the management of its business affairs. The Board consists of local and international volunteers who are elected triennially in accordance with the Rules governing the AWNC. Click on the images below to learn more.

Judith Gobin

Marina Narinesingh

Graham White

Lystra Fletcher-Paul

Vijai Gosein

David Oehler

Analissa Rasheed

Louis Lee Sing

Robert Thomas

Leonard Weakley

Honorary Life Members

Honourary Life Members are elected by the Board and are reserved for persons who have made outstanding contributions to the Asa Wright Nature Centre. These members continue to volunteer their services and advice to the Board. Click on the images below to learn more.

E. Julian Duncan

Carol James

Ian Lambie

Ray Mendez

Peter O'Connor

Christine Toppin-Allahar


Prof. Judith Gobin became a member of the Board of the AWNC in 2005 and served as Chair of the AWNC Board from November 2010 to February 2015. She has returned as Chair in November 2020. Prof. Gobin is a Marine Biologist with tremendous environmental and ecological experience in the marine and coastal areas of Trinidad and Tobago. She holds a Ph.D (1994) in the field of Marine Biodiversity (Univ. of Exeter/Plymouth Marine Laboratory, U.K.) and an M.Phil. (1988) in the field of Marine Biology/ Pollution Ecology (Univ. of the West Indies, St. Augustine, Trinidad).

Professor Gobin is a Marine Biologist who teaches Marine Biology and Coastal Ecosystems Management amongst other courses. Prof. Gobin also supervises students pursuing postgraduate degrees in Marine Sciences and she is also the Head of the Department of Life Sciences at the University of the West Indies.
She has published widely in scientific areas in international scholarly refereed journals and is engaged in a number of global marine initiatives.

Prof. Gobin previously worked (16yrs) in the Environmental Quality Research (EQR) Group at the Institute of Marine Affairs (IMA), Trinidad. She also works as an Environmental Consultant throughout the Caribbean in the fields of Marine & Environmental Science and Environmental Law. Prof. Gobin continues to work on a number of environmental projects (terrestrial and coastal) with local, regional and international agencies and also in other Caribbean territories. She is presently working on an International Community-University Research Alliance (ICURA) project, Managing Adaptation to Environmental Change in Coastal Communities: Canada and the Caribbean, that links community members and university researchers from Canada with members of the Caribbean community. The project is in support of research on coastal adaptation to environmental change including the impacts of storm surge and sea-level rise on susceptible coastal communities.


Marina was elected to the role of a Vice Chair in 2020. Marina formed an early passion for the environment growing up in her family home in the hills of Lopinot, an unspoilt area of tropical forest. In 2001, she obtained a joint honours degree in Environment and Resource Studies and Biology from the University of Waterloo in Canada. Convinced that through the practice of law she could better serve as a guardian for the environment, Marina read for a degree in law obtaining her Bachelor of Laws in 2004. She was called to the Bar in 2006. Marina maintains a private practice as an attorney at law and an environmental auditor. Marina has also completed mediation training at the Hugh Wooding Law School and obtained O.S.H.A. 29 CFR 1910 General Industry Certification.

Marina’s litigation practice has achieved a number of environmental milestones in Trinidad and Tobago. She appeared in the first direct private party action under the Environmental Management Act as well as the first successful challenge to the environmental regulator in approving the establishment of an aluminum smelter. She most recently successfully challenged the water pollution rules as being in conflict with the polluter pays principle. Much of her practice is dedicated to public interest litigation on environmental and planning matters.


Graham White is a biologist and a consultant ecologist who served as the Board Chair from March 2015 to September 2020.

He majored in Zoology and Botany for a BSc from UWI and an MSc in Ecology from the University College of North Wales Bangor. After graduating he joined the Department of Life Sciences at UWI St Augustine for two years, first as a teaching assistant and then as assistant lecturer. He subsequently spent 14 years in at the Caroni Research Station where he worked on ecological pest management, primarily on rice and citrus. His career shifted towards project management and business processes and he is currently Director of Quality Assurance at a private tertiary level institution. He still however provides ecological consultancy services.

He has extensive practical knowledge of the biodiversity of Trinidad and Tobago, is an avid birder and a member of the Trinidad and Tobago Rarities Committee. He is a member to the Trinidad and Tobago Field Naturalists’ Club (TTFNC), Neotropical Bird Club and Caribbean Ornithological Society. He serves as the Assistant Editor of the Living World Journal published by the TTFNC.

Graham brings a pragmatic approach to conservation based on ecological principles, practical land management and a process approach to all management.


Dr. Fletcher-Paul holds a Bachelor of Science degree, First Class Honours, in Agriculture from the University of the West Indies, St Augustine, Trinidad and a Ph.D in Biometrics and Plant Science from the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada. She has over thirty years of experience working in the agriculture sector, mainly across Latin America and the Caribbean but also in South-East Asia and East Africa.

In the Caribbean she has worked with the Agricultural Development Bank, the University of the West Indies, the Interamerican Institute for Cooperation in Agriculture (in Trinidad and Costa Rica), the Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute in St Lucia and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations in Italy, Barbados, Guyana and Trinidad and Tobago.

Her most recent position at FAO was Subregional Coordinator for the Caribbean. On retirement from the FAO in 2018, Dr. Fletcher-Paul returned to the Faculty of Food and Agriculture of UWI where she currently serves as lecturer in Biometrics


Vijai is an industry specialist in the area of sustainable food production and marketing and has more than 21 years’ experience in the agriculture sector, having served in both public and private sector companies. He currently serves on the Board of Management of the AWNC as one of the agri-industry experts.  

He has a strong background in agri-business development and agronomy having managed several mega-farm type operations and community-based projects throughout Trinidad and Tobago. He has also done development work throughout the Caribbean with farmers and distribution companies for agricultural commodities. Some of his accomplishments include the establishment and operation of several large agricultural enterprises including fruit and vegetable production, apiculture (honey production), livestock production and agro processing.  One of his goals is to contribute towards the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals which aspire to end hunger, achieve food security and food nutrition whilst promoting sustainable food production.

Vijai utilises his positive energy to influence his colleagues in the workspace, youth in the communities and encourage others to work hard to succeed. He believes in his alma mater’s belief of through perseverance comes success.

Vijai is the holder of both a diploma which he obtained from the Eastern Caribbean Institute of Agriculture and Forestry (ECIAF) and a BSc. in Agriculture, as well as a MSc. in Project Management which he also obtained from the University of the West Indies.


” I am truly honored to be a member of the board of the Asa Wright Nature Centre. My familiarity with Asa Wright stems from my very first visit, as a teenager, which left an indelibly impression onto my memory. Viewing oilbirds, toucans and the incredible array of bat taxa are just a few of those positive memories. It is truly humbling to be following in the footsteps of such notable persons as William Beebe and William Conway, from WCS in their support of the fantastic work being conducted at the Centre.”

As the Vice President at the Nashville Zoo at Grassmere, David A. Oehler oversees the living animal conservation management programs, as well as facets of the operations of the Zoo, and training and development of the staff involved in these processes. For David, being an advocate for wildlife and wild places is a very rewarding role.

Previously, he served as the Curator of Ornithology for the Wildlife Conservation Society, Bronx Zoo. His efforts at the WCS organization involve building on the strong commitment of animal care and conservation that has become synonymous with the WCS. A vital focus is being placed on conservation programs and imparting the importance of these programs within the WCS facilities, which include stemming the illegal trade of Congo African Grey Parrots, assessing Andean Condor populations throughout South America, conservation of endangered flamingo taxa, and others. David is embracing new technologies that will be incorporated into these husbandry and conservation efforts to improve the management of future programs.

Before moving to New York, David worked as Director of Animal Collections at the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden. During that period, he successfully launched a transformation in the Animal Division; with increased engagement and empowerment of the staff interacting with zoo visitors. During his tenure in Cincinnati, David also successfully served as the very first Curator of Birds for twelve years prior to his role as Director of Collections. He had a significant impact on the exhibits at the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden, spearheading the “Dragons” exhibit, featuring Varanoid taxa, the Wings of the World Exhibit, Night Hunters, revamping the displays and activities within the Children’s Zoo and creating walk through interactive displays involving avian and Testudine taxa. David has also consulted on additional projects including exhibit and conservation programs in New Zealand’s Antarctic Centre and other zoos and aquariums in the United States.

In addition to his work at zoos, he serves as President of Feather Link, Inc., a non-profit organization connecting birds and people through education and conservation. Through this program, he conducts field research in Chile to garner a better understanding of the Rockhopper, King and Macaroni Penguin populations and to develop conservation strategies for these seabirds in concert with the Chilean Government. His current programs include the launching of a comprehensive Neotropical bat survey in Trinidad utilizing acoustic recordings. David has published a number of popular and peer-reviewed articles involving wildlife conservation and husbandry, along with visitor behavior studies. He has also served as a consultant on several productions, including “In the Womb: Animals” and NOVA’s “Evolution of Laughter” along with appearing on Animal Planet’s “The Zoo”.


Analissa joined the AWNC’s Board of Management in November 2019 and played a significant role in steering the organisation through the COVID-19 pandemic and applying for grants to support the work of the Trust. Analissa is an environmental and sustainability management professional with 15+ years’ experience implementing publicly, privately and donor funded projects to promote sustainable practices in the region and the UK, especially in the sphere of plastic and chemicals pollution management. Analissa has provided technical assistance to numerous national and regional organisations including Government agencies, CARICOM and UNEP (Jamaica sub-regional office) in support of the various global multi-lateral environmental agreements.

Analissa is an avid bird watcher, scuba diver and all-round nature lover. In addition to volunteering with the AWNC, she is a friend of her local Rotary club, supporting social and education causes. She strongly believes in the motto ‘service to society’. 

Analissa holds a Bachelor of Science degree (UWI) in Chemistry and a Master of Science (Bournemouth University) in Coastal Zone Management.  She is a Chartered Scientist accredited by the Science Council UK, a Project Management Professional (PMI) and a Member of Institute of Marine Engineering, Science and Technology (UK).


LOUIS LEE SING is a past Mayor of Port of Spain. He served as Mayor of the Capital City of Trinidad and Tobago during the period July 2010 to November 2013. As Mayor, he initiated a wide platform of change inclusive of the rehabilitation of street dwellers, enforcement of parking regulations and existing noise pollution regulations, as well as improvements in critical performance areas of the most developed city of the Southern Caribbean.

Mayor Lee Sing brought his unique passion for professionalism and excellence to the assignment, which is characteristic of his life’s work both within the public and private sectors. He has consistently demonstrated the ability to effectively operate within the corridors of both sectors. In pursuit of excellence within his City, he successfully confronted the Central Government in the Courts on a number of fundamental matters.

Louis J.E. Lee Sing # 1 Louis Lee Sing is undeniably a person who has positively influenced modern Trinidad and Tobago and the wider Caribbean.

Beginning as a ‘cub’ reporter, and recognizing the written and spoken word to be a force of social and political change, he subsequently became involved in the Business of Media. Through his various interests, including a bookshop and publishing company, he seeks to make valuable contributions to building his beloved nation state.

Mr. Lee Sing has similarly left indelible prints on the Credit Union movement in Trinidad and Tobago, as President of Eastern Credit Union between 1981 and 1993. His contributions built a single-door operation of near one thousand (1,000) members with a share capital of One Million Dollars ($1,000,000.00) into a fully automated organization with multiple branches, membership of thirty-five thousand plus, share capital of Two Hundred and Five Million Dollars ($205,000,000.00), encompassing a fully diversified slate of business and social activities.

Mr. Lee Sing also served as Chairman of the National Lotteries Control Board, and the Managing Director of the International Communications Network (State Media), Mayor Lee Sing brought a renewed spirit of enterprise to these state agencies. He turned both organizations into efficient, highly profitable entities within notably short periods.

Mr. Lee Sing as Mayor was known for his unflinching drive to enforce law and order within the city, whilst respecting the various needs of its residents and users. As with all capital cities, Port of Spain is daily host to many more visitors than permanent burgesses. With tremendous foresight and strategic intent, Mayor Lee Sing employed the wealth of his experience in state enterprise, finance and media to ensure that the city continued to adequately serve users from within and across the Caribbean and beyond.

On a personal level, Mayor Lee Sing is Chairman of the professional football club Caledonia ‘AIA’. Staying true to its mission ‘Athletes in Action’, he works with the team to create professional balance and personal growth for all.

Louis Lee Sing has a strong interest in the literary development of the youth of Trinidad and Tobago. Towards this end, he initiated a schoolbook project within two of Port of Spain’s more depressed secondary schools to encourage students to become familiar with the “African presence in Trinidad and Tobago”. The goal was to encourage a heightened awareness of the contributions of people of African descent to the development of Trinidad and Tobago. He takes every opportunity within the city of Port of Spain and across the nation to encourage reading and writing.


Louis Lee Sing – Author

Louis Lee Sing following his term in office as Mayor of his capital city researched and documented his time in office. This document is not just a narrative of his thirty-nine months as Mayor, but digs deeper in addressing the weaknesses of the system of local government and offers some recommendations to the invention of new and workable model for local government within Trinidad.

He penned his second book: “I Used to Live in Heaven: Letters to My Granddaughters,” where he narrates to his five granddaughters life’s little lessons. He paints Trinidad and Tobago as he remembered it, and envisions a futuristic Trinidad and Tobago with the positive input of civicminded sons and daughters of the soil.


Dr. Robert A. Thomas is an academician, a business/environmental community liaison, a media source for environmental news, and a family man. He was Founding Director of the Louisiana Nature Center, where he served as the liaison for the community in information pertaining to science education, environmental issues, and natural history.

Dr. Thomas is professor of Mass Communication, holds the Loyola Chair in Environmental Communication, is adjunct professor of Biological Sciences, sits on the Environmental Sciences Faculty, and is the Founding Director of the Center for Environmental Communication at Loyola University New Orleans. He is the recipient of the 2011 Dux Academicus award at Loyola.

Dr. Thomas received his Ph.D. in Vertebrate Zoology from Texas A&M University and has held adjunct professorships at the University of New Orleans, Tulane University, and Louisiana State University. He is the past President of the Association of Nature Center Administrators and is a member/chair of several academic, business, and civic boards (such as the Louisiana Children’s Museum, New Orleans Botanical Gardens Foundation, and Louisiana Master Naturalists of Greater New Orleans) and committees. He served on the Accreditation Commission of the American Association of Museums and as Chair of the Environmental Advisory Committee for the Strategic Petroleum Reserve.

The top two honors accorded nature center administrators have been received by Dr. Thomas: The Elsie Naumburg Award (1983, Natural Science for Youth Foundation) and the Professional Leadership Award (2001, the Association for Nature Center Administrators). He was also named Conservation Educator of the Year (1986, Louisiana Wildlife Federation), awarded the Margaret Douglas Medal for Conservation Education (1994, The Garden Club of America), and named Diplomat of the Year (New Orleans Diplomacy Council, 2008).

Dr. Thomas’s activities at Loyola include an active teaching program in environmental communication and biology, many activities relating to coastal issues communication, working in the realm of environmental intervention where industry and communities collide, environmental communication programs in tropical areas (principally Belize, Trinidad, Guatemala, and the eastern Caribbean), nature-based tourism, and environmental education and landscaping.

He has published many papers in the fields of herpetology (reptiles and amphibians; specializing in the Neotropical snake fauna) and nature center administration. As mentioned, his most avid interests are in environmental communication, restoring America’s WETLAND (Louisiana’s coastal wetlands), tropical natural history/interpretation, and nature center-based environmental education. Along with his wife and other colleagues in the Department of Special Education and Habilitative Services at the University of New Orleans, Bob has contributed actively in the field of curriculum development for environmental education.

Bob fervently believes that environmental solutions will be the result of open and honest communication, coupled with trust and integrity, among stakeholders.


Len’s firm practice for 40 years with Rendigs, Fry, Kiely & Dennis focused on construction litigation, with an emphasis on architect and engineer liability and construction project disputes. He has extensive trial experience in the representation of architects and engineers, owners, and contractors in construction disputes, defect claims, delay claims, drafting and negotiating construction contracts, contractual disputes, and insurance coverage.

Currently Len has taken a position as General Counsel at Jedson Engineering, Inc. in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Len is a lifelong resident of Cincinnati and has a passion for exploration which led him to get involved with David Oehler, Asa Wright’s Board member, in the studies of Rockhopper penguins in southern Chile for over 10 years; searching for the Ivory-billed Woodpecker in the Choctawhatchee River Basin in Florida; Auklet and Puffin studies and collection work on Baby Island and St. Lawrence Island in Alaska and most recently the geo tagging and tracking of Oilbirds on the AWNC property. The Rockhopper and Macaroni penguin work is published in the Wilson Journal of Ornithology including “Crested Penguin Population between Isla Terhaltan & Isla Recalada,” the “Status of Penguin populations in Three Islands in Southern Chile” and “Rockhopper & Macaroni penguin colonies Absent from Isla Recalada, Chile.” Len is also a member of the nationally acclaimed Explorer’s Club and has prepared multiple reports on the “Ecological Survey of the Penguins of Isla Noir, Chile” for the Explorer’s Club as well as a report for “The Oilbirds of the Asa Wright Nature Center.”

Len received his undergraduate and master’s degree from the University of Cincinnati and his law degree from Salmon P. Chase, College of Law. After Len’s first visit to AWNC he fell in love with the Center and is dedicated to see what he can do to assist in growing and preserving this spectacular nature preserve


Edgar Julian Duncan is a Professor Emeritus in Plant Science, of the St. Augustine campus (Trinidad) of The University of the West Indies from which he retired 15 years ago. He obtained his undergraduate degree (majoring in Botany and Zoology) in 1960, from the then University College of the West Indies (external college of London University) in Jamaica, and proceeded to the University of St. Andrews (Scotland) where he obtained his doctorate in Fungal cytology and genetics in 1963. He was appointed a lecturer in Botany at the St. Augustine campus in 1963 and rose through the ranks to the position of Professor.

In 1975 he attended the Freie Universitat in Berlin Germany on a Deutsche Akademische Austauschdienst Dienst (DAAD) Fellowship, where he developed an expertise in Plant Tissue Culture, which became his special field for the remainder of his University career, and for which he was given a Lifetime Achievement Award, by the National Institute of Higher Education (Science, research and Technology ) NIHERST in 2002.

He sat on the Board of the Asa Wright Nature Centre for a number of years and was Chair of their Education Programme for some time. Subsequent to his retirement from the Board, he was named an Honorary Life Member.


Dr. James is a biologist and policy specialist of international renown with thirty-nine years of professional experience in several Caribbean, African and Pacific countries. She headed for ten years, Trinidad and Tobago’s Wildlife Section of the Forestry Division and subsequently had the signal honor of being selected by the United Nations Development Programme to work as the world’s first, of forty-one, Global Sustainable Development Advisors agreed at the 1992 Rio Conference on Environment and Development. Her work in this capacity covered the Caribbean region for eight years. She is a married mother of five successful university graduates, and a grandmother of eleven. Dr. James is currently Chairman of the Guardian Life Wildlife Trust (GLWT), Life Member of the Board of the Asa Wright Nature Centre (AWNC) which she chaired between 2003-2009 and Board Member of the Bishop Anstey High School /Trinity College East (BATCE).

Early retirement from formal work at age 51, in October 2001, enabled Dr. James to continue pursuing more directly, her passion for assisting people and communities in pursuing their individual and collective forms of development. Her efforts focused mainly on continuing the work she initiated during the late 1980s in east and north coast beaches of Trinidad on sustainable turtle conservation, using nest viewing as a basis for eco-tourism, while enhancing other forms of rural development. These included expanding community linkages in the work of the AWNC and facilitating the building of rural capacity for saving the unique Trinidad Piping Guan or Pawi through the GLWT. Some rural communities in north and east Trinidad have become self-sustaining and therefore economically viable, as a result of seminal efforts to stimulate ecotourism and other entrepreneurial activities initiated by Carol and her teams of colleagues more than two decades ago.

Dr. James was honored in 2011 by the University of Trinidad and Tobago (UTT) as one of its Honorary Distinguished Fellows and also by the University of the West Indies (UWI) in 2011, as one of its 50 Distinguished Alumni, both for her contributions towards people-centered environmental management and sustainable development in Trinidad and Tobago.


Following a long and distinguished volunteer career as the Secretary of the Trinidad & Tobago Field Naturalist Club, Ian Lambie was nominated and subsequently elected to membership of the Board of Management of the Asa Wright Nature Centre by one of the Centre’s founders, Dr. Joseph Copeland.

Ian served as the Secretary to the Board in 1976 and at the Annual General Meeting of 1977 he was unanimously elected to the post of President on the nomination of the out-going President, Dr.Copeland. His nomination was then seconded by the famous wildlife artist and another founder of the Centre, Don Eckleberry.

Over the course of his leadership at the Centre, Ian brought great value to the Centre in transforming it into one of the most desireable destinations for naturalists and birdwatchers from throughout the world. In the October 1999 Issue of Audubon magazine the Asa Wright Nature Centre was identified as one of the finest Eco-Lodges in the world. The Asa Wright Nature Centre was also selected as the model for a UNDP funded case study on “Eco-tourism as a Strategy for Sustainable Development.”

In January 1989, Ian was appointed Executive President and later, in November 1998, he left the board to be appointed to the newly created post of President/CEO of the organization, a post that he held until his retirement in 2001.

Ian has been the recipient of many awards including, in 1995, a National Award of Trinidad and Tobago, “The Hummingbird Medal – Gold “ in recognition of his work in Environmental Conservation.


Raymond A. Mendez II was born in 1947 and raised on the East Side of New York City. He founded his firm Work As Play (WAP) in 1980 after spending 14 years at the American Museum of Natural History as a taxonomist in the department of Entomology and then senior principal artist in Exhibits. His work includes participation in the Ocean Life Hall, Plains Indian Hall, Man in Africa Hall, Invertebrate Hall, Reptile Hall, Peoples of Asia Hall as well as innumerable temporary exhibits. One of his fondest memories is of his first visit to Trinidad where he spent three weeks living at Simla, exploring the jungle and learning techniques for the capture and transportation of a full size army ant nest. Thus began his love affair with Trinidad, its wildlife and people. He designed and collected the first colony of army ants to be shown live in the US at the AMNH. The colony was exhibited in honor of that year’s Nobel Prize award for the study of animal behavior.

When he first established WAP, Ray focused his attention on the photography and publication of wildlife stories, motivating Natural History magazine to publish four articles that promoted the wildlife of Trinidad and as a result the AWNC. His other work projects were heavily weighted towards the communication industries. Having created the special effects or wrangled (he coined the term “insect wrangler”) critters in over 200 television commercials and hundreds of still ads, including the creation of such iconic images as the Ronald McDonald happy meals toys that later became know as the Hamburgler and Ronald McDonald, the egg for the movie poster Alien (he coined the term “In Space No One Can Hear You Scream”) and the Absolute vodka fish campaign. Many TT residents should remember this ad as it was prominent for several years at the entrance to main lounge at the Piarco airport. His skills also lead him to be hired as project principal in movies such as Silence of the Lambs, Joe’s Apartment and Creepshow.

Ray was asked to return to museum design work by the director of the Museum of the Hudson Highlands. That project, incorporating traditional museum quality design, advertising message delivery systems and movie storytelling techniques, was such a hit that he was asked to design the first two garbage museums in the US. This was quiet a challenge as he had to encourage guests to be excited over things they had just put in the trash. Totally by accident, his love of mole-rats (he had done several magazine articles on them) propelled him to work in zoos. His interest in conservation mixed into storytelling has led him to work on dozens of significant projects including Disney’s Animal Kingdom in Florida (where he continues to serve as an adviser to the company), Trail of the Elephants at the Melbourne Zoo in Australia and the Kid’s Zone at the Tacoma Zoo in the state of Washington

Ray’s philosophy at Work As Play focuses on creating teaching environments unique to the institutions he serves. His teams perform their work within a framework of designers, architects, artists, and educators who work closely with an institution’s staff and other consultants to create exhibits that not only serve the public, but also are fun, visually exciting, informative, and easy to maintain. His forte is in creating environments that teach in a casual, friendly atmosphere. As he feels the ultimate client is the always the visitor, his goal is to design exhibits that motivate people to ask questions, to change their own behavior and attitudes and to help prepare them to understand areas of future concern. He has, during his entire tenure on the board of the AWNC, tried to bring these ideas and ways of working to the forefront of the decision making process.


My name is Peter Shaun Taaffe-O’Connor, but I just use O’Connor as my surname. Born 15 March 1938, in Vessigny, South Trinidad, citizen of Trinidad & Tobago. Married, grown children.
University of Houston, Texas, Bachelor of Business Administration, 1967.
Career history: Petroleum Industry Trinidad 1956-1963. Sabbatical for University 1964-1967. Construction Industry, Trinidad 1968-2003. Football (soccer) Administration, Trinidad 2003-2006. Asa Wright Nature Centre 2008-present, as Projects Advisor.
Interests: Writing (columnist for Sunday Newsday, Trinidad), Camping/ Hiking Trinidad’s forests, Activism, especially Environmental issues, Sports fan.

Joined Asa Wright Nature Centre on November 1st 2008, to supervise the construction of proposed Jonnie Fisk Conference Facility. Project stalled on world economic collapse, so was re-assigned to other areas, including coordinating Sustainability initiatives. Represented AWNC Team in trying to improve quarrying practices in Arima Valley, land identification issues, re-forestation at Aripo, coffee and cocoa rehabilitation, and general maintenance. While departing the Board, Peter has continued to be a key player in all of the issue areas noted above and remains an exceptionally valuable asset to the Centre!


Christine Toppin-Allahar is an Attorney-at-Law, specialising in environmental, planning and land law, with qualifications and experience in legislative drafting. Prior to qualifying as a lawyer, she held a degree in Geography and Economics, with postgraduate qualifications in Geography and Planning, as well as a Certificate in Integrated Surveys for Natural Resources Development. She has over 35 years experience in the field of planning and environmental management in the public and private sectors, and over 20 years experience as a practicing attorney and international consultant on environmental, planning and land law, policy and institutional arrangements.

In the field of planning, she spent ten years in the public service, with the Town & Country Planning Division of the Ministry of Planning and Development in Trinidad & Tobago, and with the Ministry of Housing, Lands and the Environment in Barbados. In the private sector she has worked in Trinidad & Tobago with Trintoplan Consultants Ltd., Alpha Engineering and Design Ltd., and Rapid Environmental Assessments Ltd. She is a professional member of the Trinidad & Tobago Society of Planners (TTSP) and an affiliate member of the Association of Professional Engineers of Trinidad & Tobago (APETT).

As a lawyer, Christine has worked in the Attorney General’s Department, Trinidad and Tobago, and in private practice. She is a member of the IUCN Commission on Environmental Law and has served as a consultant on planning, environmental management, institutional strengthening and legislative drafting to various international organizations, including the World Bank, IADB, CDB, UNDP, UNCHS, UNECLAC, PAHO/WHO, FAO, OAS, DFID and the EU and has worked in every Commonwealth Caribbean country, as well as several non-English speaking countries in the region, as well as outside of the Caribbean. She has also engaged in voluntary work as a member of various environmental NGOs. In this capacity she has served as an executive member of Caribbean Conservation Association (CCA), and is an Honorary Life Member of the Board of Directors of the Asa Wright Nature Centre (AWNC) in Trinidad & Tobago.
She has participated in many international seminars and conferences on planning and environmental law and has several published works on planning, environmental and land law.

During the academic year 2010-2011 she served as Course Coordinator and Lecturer in International and Caribbean Environmental Law at the Faculty of Law, UWI Cave Hill Campus, Barbados. Previously, she served for several years as a part-time lecturer in planning, land and environmental law in the post-graduate programmes in Planning & Development, Land Administration and Environmental Engineering in the Faculty of Engineering at the University of the West Indies, St. Augustine Campus, and also lectured in Environmental Law and Policy in the Masters Programme in Environmental Science & Management at the University of Trinidad & Tobago. She has also served as an External Examiner for the Masters Programme in Legislative Drafting at the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus and a guest lecturer for McGill University and Santa Clara University.