The Nature Foundation has three permanent staff members and occasionally a project chair. Our board members jointly oversee the activities of our organization. The local team is strengthened by (often remote) skilled researchers, enthusiastic interns, and a large community of volunteers.


Our staff members all live on St. Maarten and share a passion for nature conservation and educational outreach. Combined, the Nature Foundation staff represents a wide range of qualifications, ranging from boat handling and maintenance to commercial dive experience, as well as backgrounds in ecology, park law, and policing.

  • Manager: Melanie Meijer zu Schlochtern (M.S. Marine Biology and Ecology; commercial diving)
  • Educational Outreach Officer: Leslie Hickerson (B.S. Sustainable Tourism; commercial diving, education)
  • Ranger: Star Peterson (Field work technician, commercial diving, maritime sector)
  • Project Officer: Alice Manley (B.Sc. Animal Behaviour; Monkey Management and In-No-Plastic chair)
  • Intern: Sabrine Brismeur (B.A. Environmental Studies candidate; research and ranger assistant)


The Nature Foundation has a permanent board of seven directors who oversee the organization’s activities and direct overall policy and strategy. Elected Board members have additional responsibilities in accordance with respective positions. Board meetings are called monthly and minutes are circulated to the Board. Meetings between the manager and Board representatives take place as necessary.

  • Board Chairman: Jan Beaujon (Financial sector and council of advice)
  • Board Secretary: Rikke Bachmann-Speetjens (Marine biologist)
  • Board Treasurer: Paul Ellinger (Marine industry)
  • Regular Member: Marie-Louise Carty-Vialenc (Media sector)
  • Regular Member: Jesse Peterson (Yachting industry)
  • Regular Member: Frank Boekhout (Education and biologist)
  • Regular Member: Beverly Mae Nisbeth (Education biology and environmental science)