Deputy Director of Conservation
Valerie joined the PEC staff in January of 2022 and has over 20 years of experience in conservation and land use planning, ranging from large landscape conservation initiatives in the Peruvian Amazon to master planning for mixed-use, transit-oriented development in the DC region.
Most recently, she was the deputy director at the Amazon Conservation Association, where she supported the development of the organization’s first strategic plan, and managed grants for projects in the Andes-Amazon region that established hundreds of thousands of acres of new protected areas, strengthened sustainable livelihoods, increased capacity in Indigenous communities to monitor and protect their lands, and trained future stewards of conservation at three field stations in Peru.
Prior to her work in the Amazon, she was an urban planner in Alexandria, Virginia where she led master planning efforts, oversaw the permit process for special uses and supported economic development strategies in neighborhood commercial districts. Her planning career began in San Jose, California where she coordinated the development of neighborhood investment strategies and assisted in developing a burrowing owl conservation strategy. Her first “real” job was as a researcher for the National Geographic Society.
Valerie received a B.A. in Geography, with a certificate in Environmental Studies, from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and a Master of Urban and Regional Planning from Virginia Tech.
She enjoys spending time outdoors with her daughter and husband and gained her love of nature in the forests, farms, lakes and rivers of the Midwest where she grew up.