Impact Investing to 
Reduce Deforestation

A collaboration between the Regional Government of San Martin, Peru and the Governors’ Climate and Forests Task Force to stimulate public and private investment for sustainable, deforestation-free agriculture products while reducing deforestation

Our Work

The Impact Investing to Reduce Deforestation project supports the San Martin government in slowing deforestation in the northern Peruvian Amazon rainforest while simultaneously increasing the production and export of prioritized agricultural products. To this end, we have taken significant steps to facilitate the creation of an investment strategy pitch book by local experts.

We are highlighting the regional government’s conservation platform and highlighting their notable progress in sustainable development and forest governance to international buyers and investors who may purchase certified sustainable products from the San Martin region or invest in on-the-ground programs aligned with the region’s sustainability goals.

Our Team

Meet the cross-specialization team of graduate students from the University of Colorado Boulder’s Masters of the Environment Program

Mikkela Blanton

Mikkela Blanton is an experienced writer and editor-turned environmental professional who is interested in climate policy, corporate accountability, and food system solutions. Throughout her experience as a graduate student, she has collaborated on a number of timely projects, including acting as the lead author on an essential worker briefing booklet in collaboration with Johns Hopkins University’s Berman Institute of Bioethics, as well as editing ‘Food Waste: Ethical Imperatives & Complexities’ published in Physiology and Behavior.

Currently, Mikkela sits on 350 Colorado’s regenerative agriculture and local food systems, newsletter, and COGCC rule-making committees, where she actively advocates for meaningful climate action and climate justice. Mikkela anticipates graduating from the University of Colorado, Boulder with a Masters of the Environment degree with a specialization in sustainable food systems in December 2020.

Vasco Chavez-Molina

Born and raised in Lima, Peru, Vasco Chavez-Molina moved to the United States when he was 18 to attend College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts. He graduated with a double major in environmental studies and anthropology and a concentration in African studies.

Before pursuing a master’s degree in environmental policy at the University of Colorado Boulder, Vasco worked as an international conservation associate for Defenders of Wildlife in Washington D.C. focusing on topics in illegal wildlife trade, the Convention in International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna (CITES), and international environmental policy. Throughout his conservation career, Vasco has conducted extensive research in the Amazon rainforest and East Africa. His most recent article, “Long term persistence of wildlife populations in a pastoral area” was published in the Ecology and Evolution Journal in August 2020. As Vasco is finishing his master’s degree, he is conducting research for Dr. Cassandra Brooks and the “AntarcticaNow” project, a multinational project aiming to create a Marine Protected Area in the Antarctic Peninsula.

Ashley Lane

Ashley Lane is a food system professional working at the nexus of food production and the next economy in Denver, Colorado. She has spent the last ten years working up and down the food chain, from local farms and restaurants to corporate retailers. Her passion for improving the livelihoods of food system workers and a realization of the climate change mitigation potential of agriculture led her to pursue her master’s degree in sustainable food systems from the University of Colorado, Boulder.

Her previous education includes degrees in business management and culinary arts. While completing her master’s at CU, she has worked as a virtual project manager and graduate assistant for Bruce Goldstein, supporting the Transformations Community and Netweaver Network. Her work focuses on fostering networks and learning communities among systems change professionals.

Marissa Miller

A lifelong passion for exploring new perspectives of the agriculture system began for Marissa on her family farm in Western Ohio. As an experienced communications professional, she believes that marketing and branding play essential roles in the support of sustainability projects in the agriculture sector and beyond.

Marissa has called beautiful Boulder, Colorado home for over eight years. She launched her professional career by interning with the Brewers Association and then spent three growth filled years as Marketing Manager at the Downtown Boulder Partnership. At DBP, she told the story of Boulder’s vibrant downtown district to generate revenue and traffic for small businesses. She held the role of Communications and Outreach Specialist for the MENV program throughout graduate school.

As an alumni of the University of Colorado Boulder (Communications, ’16), Marissa was eager to pursue a Masters of the Environment at her alma mater with a focus in Sustainable Food Systems. She will be graduating with her masters degree in December 2020. 

Alyssa Withrow

Alyssa Withrow is an experienced ocean policy and conservation researcher based in Washington, DC. She began SCUBA diving when she was 13 years old and has since become acutely aware of the threats to our oceans. This insight was beneficial when conducting research in East Africa for her senior undergraduate thesis, which focused on Tanzanian marine environments and included interviews and observations about illegal fishing in the region. In 2019, Alyssa was selected as a Fulbright Research Grant semifinalist to study the efficacy of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) in TZ.

During her graduate studies as an environmental policy and sustainability student at the University of Colorado Boulder, she has excelled in courses focused on climate change policy, stakeholder engagement and facilitation, and policy development. Her current work and research include writing a policy brief for the establishment of an MPA in the Western Antarctic Peninsula for presentation at the Convention for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) and conducting research for Dr. Cassandra Brooks on a campaign called “Antarctica Now” to promote the MPA proposals brought forward to CCAMLR.

Project Partners

The Masters of the Environment (MENV) team thanks our partners at the GCF Task Force, specifically Luke Pritchard and Delilah Cupp; and our advisor at MENV, Nicole Civita

A special thank you to our wonderful partners in Peru: Daniel Coronel, Milagritos Rios, Mitchel Guevara, and many others.