History of EcoLogic

EcoLogic has been around for twenty years, and we’ve grown from a little two-person operation helping one community, to an international team working at eight project sites in four countries. Please see below for highlights from our last twenty years, and please join us as we move forward into the next twenty!

1992 | 1993 | 1994 | 1995 | 1996 | 1998 | 1999 | 2000 | 2002 | 2003 | 2004 | 2005 | 2006 | 2007 | 2008 | 2009 | 2010 | 2011 | 2012 | 2013


  • 1992 EcoLogic founded


    In Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, during the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (also known as the Earth Summit) cofounders Russell Byers, Jr., and Shaun Paul realize that many conventional conservation organizations are not taking into account the needs, opinions, and abilities of the local peoples living in and near threatened ecosystems. The two decide to found a conservation non-profit that will collaborate with local peoples to restore and protect important natural habitats. EcoLogic Development Fund is born.

  • 1993 EcoLogic incorporated


    With Russell Byers as chairman of the board and Shaun Paul as executive director, EcoLogic incorporates as a nonprofit organization. Headquarters is established in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

  • 1993 EcoLogic awards first grant

    Punta de Manabique

    EcoLogic awards $30,000 to the Mario Dary Foundation in Punta de Manabique, Guatemala. The money goes to helping the local community meet urgent needs for healthcare and education and promoting natural resource conservation.

  • 1994 Work begins in Peten, Guatemala


    We begin our second project, in Peten, Guatemala, with the Bio Itza Association. The project aims to diminish pressure on the rainforest by providing economic alternatives for the local people through ecotourism. Walking paths are built, and training is given for planning and budgeting.

  • 1995 EcoLogic partners with indigenous peoples coalition


    EcoLogic begins a project to provide multiyear support for economic self-determination and natural resource management in thirty indigenous villages in northern Guatemala. A partnership with the Maya Forestry Action Plan (PAF-Maya) is formalized, leading to the establishment of four community groups focused on improving sustainable agriculture and forestry management practices to reduce slash and burn activities.

    This marks the beginning of what would become our Indigenous Peoples for Thriving Ecosystems project.

  • 1996 Beginning of SATIIM in Belize


    In the Toledo district of Belize, EcoLogic provides technical assistance to the Sarstoon Temash National Park Steering Committee (STNPSC) for the creation of what would become the Sarstoon Temash Institute for Indigenous Management (SATIIM).

  • 1998 EcoLogic Enterprise Ventures begins

    William “Willy” Foote begins developing EcoLogic Enterprise Ventures (EEV) at EcoLogic. EEV, incorporated as a subsidiary in 1999, is a green loan fund that offers credit to small- and medium-sized enterprises in Latin America and Mexico. EEV is guided by EcoLogic’s mission, financing economic projects that benefit both local people and the environment.

  • 1998 Hurricane Mitch and Pico Bonito National Park


    Hurricane Mitch hits Honduras and wreaks havoc.  In response to a request from the Pico Bonito National Park Foundation (FUPNAPIB), EcoLogic provides support and supplies.

    This marks the beginning of our work in the area and what is to become our Communities Organizing for Watersheds project.

  • 1999 Regional office in Guatemala opens

    We open our regional office in Quetzaltenango, Guatemala, from which all Latin American programs are managed. 

  • 2000 Mexico work begins


    EcoLogic expands into Mexico and begins a three-year partnership with the Sierra Madre Alliance in the northwestern state of Chihuahua.

  • 2002 Agroforestry activities begin

    FUPNAPIB agroforestry

    With partner FUPNAPIB, EcoLogic supports a community nursery and vegetable garden, which show how households can enrich their diets and improve food security. The nursery has native trees as well, including Inga (Inga edulis). This begins EcoLogic’s exploration of agroforestry techniques using Inga.

  • 2003 AJAASSPIB founded


    We help found the Associ-ation of Water Committees of the Southern Sector of Pico Bonito National Park (AJAASSPIB) in the buffer zone of Pico Bonito National Park. It becomes our new partner at our Communities Organizing for Watersheds project.

  • 2004 Pico Bonito Forests

    Pico Bonito Forests

    With FUPNAPIB, we begin setup of the for-profit entity Pico Bonito Forests, LLC, a carbon offset and sustainable development pilot project involving native tree reforestation.

  • 2005 MFN founded


    With technical assistance and support from EcoLogic, the Northern Border Municipalities Alliance (MFN) is established. This becomes our primary local partner on our Indigenous Peoples for Thriving Ecosystems project.

  • 2005 Hurricane Stan relief

    EcoLogic and EcoLogic Finance (formerly EcoLogic Enterprise Ventures) rally support from current donors and also from Green Mountain Coffee, Newman’s Own Organics, and Whole Foods Market International to channel funds to coffee farmer cooperatives in Guatemala and Mexico that were severely impacted by Hurricane Stan.

  • 2006 Campaign for oil impact assessment

    EcoLogic and SATIIM wage a successful campaign that halts oil exploration activities in the Sarstoon Temash National Park of Belize until an environmental impact assessment can be conducted.

  • 2006 Pico Bonito Forests starts operation

    EcoLogic and FUPNAPIB officially incorporate and launch Pico Bonito Forests, and the first trees are planted.

  • 2006 World Water Forum

    We bring a group of our partners to participate in the fourth World Water Forum in Mexico. Ulew Che’ Ja, one of our Guatemalan partners, is recognized as a top ten finalist for the Kyoto Water Prize.

  • 2006 Root Capital becomes independent


    After successfully incubating at EcoLogic, EcoLogic Finance “fledges” and becomes an independent organization, led by William “Willy” Foote.  The organization changes its name to Root Capital.

  • 2007 Start of Towns for Environmental Corridors


    The Towns for Environ-mental Corridors project begins with local partner Municipalities of the Central Atlantida Department (MAMUCA).

  • 2007 APROSARSTUN founded


    The Mayan Asso-ciation for Well-Being in the Sarstun Region (APROSARSTUN) is legally established by Ak’Tenamit students and becomes our official partner.

  • 2008 Partnership with 48 Cantons starts


    EcoLogic transitions from working with Ulew Che’ Ja to working directly with the 48 Cantons and their natural resources council.

  • 2008 China pilot project begins

    EcoLogic undertakes a pilot project in China: a payment for environmental services program in the Sichuan and Xinjiang provinces of China to prevent the release of greenhouse gases.

  • 2008 Panama work begins

    Cashew seeds in tray

    EcoLogic begins working with The Nature Founda-tion of Panama to protect mangroves in the Gulf of San Miguel in Panama.

  • 2009 CarbonPlus program begins

    EcoLogic launches its CarbonPlus program and hires Dr. Bryan Foster to lead it.

  • 2010 China pilot project ends

    The last phase of EcoLogic’s involvement in the China pilot project wraps up, resulting in 972,000 tons of greenhouse gases sequestered. This exceeds the carbon-offset goal for the project by more than fifty percent. Project activities included installing drip irrigation systems in farmers’ fields, planting trees in areas prone to desertification, and building methane-powered stoves using human waste as fuel. The Sichuan and Xinjiang provincial governments continue to put these practices into place.

  • 2010 CarbonPlus activities in Mexico begin

    EcoLogic identifies a forest carbon project in Chiapas, Mexico, and begins data collection and analysis for what becomes our CarbonPlus for Community-Led Rainforest Management project.

  • 2011 EcoLogic wins Swiss Re award


    We place second in the Swiss Re ReSource award competition for exceptional programs that “raise awareness of the ecological, social, and economic significance of water sources and watersheds in developing and emerging countries” and receive a $50,000 award for our Communities Organizing for Watersheds project in Honduras.

  • 2011 Rainforest2Reef joins EcoLogic

    Rainforest2Reef (R2R), a nonprofit founded by David Leventhal and Sandra Kahn, ceases to operate as an independent organization and becomes a part of EcoLogic.

  • 2012 Agroforestry study begins

    Antonio Chipel, an EcoLogic field technician in Guatemala, shows how the natural compost of decaying Inga leaves helps retain moisture in the soil.

    EcoLogic begins a compre-hensive baseline study of its agroforestry plots as part of an expansion of its agroforestry program.

  • 2012 Community collaborator wins innovation award


    Salvador Toc, long-time collabor-ator with EcoLogic and local partner MFN, receives Heifer International’s Golden Talent Award for innovation in his community.

  • 2012 Shaun Paul exits EcoLogic

    In March, after nearly twenty years at the helm, cofounder Shaun Paul steps down as executive director of EcoLogic Development Fund. The board of directors appoints Barbara Vallarino as interim executive director.

  • 2012 AJAASSPIB wins UN prize


    Our Honduran partner AJAASSPIB is among 25 organizations worldwide honored with the UN Development Program’s Equator Prize. The prize is meant to “recognize and advance local sustainable development solutions for people, nature, and resilient communities.” Chris Patterson of Ecologic and Doña Zumilda Duarte of AJAASSPIB travel to Rio+20 to accept the prize and meet the other winners.

  • 2012 Barbara Vallarino named executive director

    In September, Barbara Vallarino is officially appointed as the new executive director for EcoLogic Development Fund.

  • 2013 Project development begins in Chinantla, Mexico


    We sign a formal agreement with community represen-tatives and local partner the Regional Environmental Fund (FARCO) to begin a project in Chinantla, Mexico. Project development gets underway.

  • 2013 EcoLogic recognized as innovator

    Antonio and Salvador Toc

    EcoLogic is chosen as one of the hundred “Next Century Innovators” in a worldwide contest hosted by the Rockefeller Foundation. EcoLogic is recognized for its collaborative approach to promoting sustainable agroforestry practices—the planting of food with trees—by helping local farmers establish demonstration plots and then use the plots to teach the practice to their own communities.

  • 2013 New stoves chosen for testing

    Responding to the results of a stove study undertaken in 2010 by the Fuel-Efficient Stoves Certification Center of Zamorano University in Honduras, EcoLogic chooses two new stove models to build as part of a pilot in Guatemala. Twenty-five of each model are to be built in 2013.