About Us

Least tern chick
BiodiversityWorks is a 501c3 non-profit, established in 2011


Director/Wildlife Biologist:
Luanne Johnson

I founded BiodiversityWorks because I saw a need for a conservation organization focused specifically on wildlife monitoring and research across the entire island of Martha’s Vineyard. I envisioned a collaborative organization that promoted biodiversity conservation through participation. An organization that works with conservation groups, private landowners, federal and state agencies, citizens, students and scientists to ask questions and find answers together. I was fortunate to find accomplished professionals in conservation, science, and education to become board members and join me in making this vision a reality.

I have a B.S. in Zoology from Butler University and over 20 years of experience as a conservation biologist working to protect and restore endangered birds (Atlantic coast beach-nesting birds and endangered Hawaiian honeycreepers).  I am a doctoral candidate at Antioch University New England and will defend my dissertation in Fall 2015 on the Behavioral Ecology of Coastal Striped Skunks on Martha’s Vineyard.

Assistant Director/Wildlife Biologist:
Liz Baldwin (clerk/secretary on the board)

Growing up on Martha’s Vineyard, I always wanted to work with a wildlife biologist and gain experience in the field, but that experience was not available then.  As a professional wildlife biologist, I wanted to provide interested young people with the opportunity I missed in high school and college. Co-founding BiodiversityWorks was a way to fulfill this wish as well as allow me to do work I am passionate about in a place I love.

I have a B.S. in Wildlife Management from the University of New Hampshire and an M.S. in Conservation Biology from Antioch University New England. My thesis was on the Activity Patterns, Behavior, and Population Status of North American River Otters (Lontra canadensis) in a Northeast Coastal Environment.

Board of Directors: 

David Faber – President 

My motivation for joining the board in 2011:
I was asked to be a member by Luanne, as she was conceptualizing and originally putting together the organization. I remember being honored and very thrilled to be part of something new and so important. As an educator, I was especially excited about the potential in mentoring young people in this line of work.

My day job:
7th and 8th grade science teacher at the Edgartown School, where I have proudly taught since 1986.

Sharon Pearson – Treasurer

My motivation for joining the board in 2013:
I had the opportunity to volunteer for BWorks for about a year and really enjoyed working with Luanne and Liz. The mentoring both of them did with interns and high school students was very impressive and they even invited volunteers to be part of the naturalist training they offered. When they invited me to become part of the board, and put my accounting and bookkeeping skills to work as Treasurer, it was an opportunity to be of use to an organization and people who work very hard in wildlife biology and are committed to mentoring students.

My day job:
I’m retired

Thomas Chase

My motivation for joining the board in 2011:
We live in a time when the conservation ethic preaches a “hands-off” approach. As a result, the public has a disconnected and vague appreciation for what wildlife actually needs to survive in the wild – and less of an intellectual and ethical reason to advocate for habitat, which provides those needs. BiodiversityWorks’ “mentoring, monitoring and research” bridges people’s instinctive need to connect to wildlife, and for wildlife to benefit in return.

My day job:
Director of Conservation Lands for the Massachusetts Chapter of The Nature Conservancy

Christopher Neill, PhD

My motivation for joining the board in 2011:
I enthusiastically support engaging the public in ecological science and conservation biology and I think that the projects that BWorks does are a great opportunity for combining hands-on experiences with projects that meet real and meaningful conservation priorities.

My day job:
Director of The Ecosystems Center at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole.

Debra Swanson

My motivation for joining the board in 2011:
I joined the board because I enthusiastically support both the conservation projects that BiodiversityWorks engages in and their goal of connecting people to their local environment and involving them in its protection. I also support their goal of mentoring high school and college students through internships on their projects.

My day job:
Earth Science and Physics teacher at the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School.

Sharon Britton

My motivation for joining the board in 2014:

Karyn Franzen

My motivation for joining the board in 2014:

I first got to know BiodiversityWorks like most people: meeting the staff. As a plover monitoring volunteer I was inspired by the deeply local mission of the organization, and by experiencing first hand how participation in the work gave me a connection to Martha’s Vineyard and people who are actively engaged with its natural habitats. Joining the board was a way to continue my learning, and contribute a unique perspective as this dynamic organization grows.

My day job: Independent market research consultant to the pharmaceutical and biotech industry.


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Contact Us


Mailing address: 
PO Box 557
Edgartown, MA 02539

(800) 690-0993




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