Jonathan leads PBR collaborations building on 25+ years of international bamboo and related social, economic, ecological,…Read more
Dr. Jonathan ScherchFounder and Executive Director
Jonathan leads PBR collaborations building on 25+ years of international bamboo and related social, economic, ecological, and technological contexts. His personal, professional, and service / volunteer experience spans 20 countries, reflecting a track record of education, practical innovation, and entrepreneurship, and consultations with individuals, teams, and groups.
Formerly a professor and Dean, his interdisciplinary teaching, research and leadership service spanned multiple US and international appointments. In complement to bamboo interests, his research and field work continue to intersect with innovations of sustainable agriculture and food systems, appropriate technologies and vanguard engineering applications, and ecological design tactics for realizing resilient communities and economies.
In 2016, he was the recipient of a Fulbright Scholar Specialist award in Social Work, and collaborated with faculty at Makerere University, in Kampala, Uganda, focusing on new social work graduate program and regional professional development initiatives. While there, he encouraged new conversations about practical bamboo resources to address critical issues of poverty, unemployment, refugee relief, and social welfare across Uganda and East Africa — interdisciplinary initiatives that have become the programs of Bamboo for Good (B4G).
A returned U.S. Peace Corps Volunteer (Jamaica, 1991-93), his diverse personal and professional experiences have resulted in opportunities for teaching and presenting. For example, in 2007, following an academic sabbatical in China, he was a Foreign Expert Keynote Speaker for the International Bamboo Workshop, convened at Zhejiang Agricultural & Forestry University in Lin’an, China. Earlier, he gained International Training Certification on Bamboo Industrial Processing Technologies and Machines. In 2012, Jonathan co-presented “Bamboo and Opportunities in the State of Alabama” for the National Science Foundation Workshop on Emerging Technologies for Sustainable Green Materials & Products, hosted by the University of Alabama – Birmingham and Tuskegee University.
He currently serves on the Alternative Natural Fiber Technical Committee for the Rainforest Alliance. Similar to how Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification collaboratively safeguards the sustainability of forests, this effort aims to inform responsible management of alternative natural fibers (including bamboo) in collaboration with industries and businesses using these materials, while seeking verification and support for globally respected social, economic and environmental criteria. Offering leadership to many for-profit and non-profit ventures over the years, he is a co-founder of Resource Fiber, LLC, a founding Board Member of Climate Solutions, and served as Program Vice President for the Northwest Chapter of the Society for Ecological Restoration, among others. He is also a member of the International Federation of Social Workers (IFSW).
Jonathan has been an avid amateur radio operator for over 25 years, holding an Extra Class license (call signs of KK7PW in the USA; 5X1O in Uganda; 9X0SS in Rwanda; JO4FND in Japan), and connecting with people across the region and around the world. He volunteers with the Disaster Communications Team of the American Red Cross serving King, Kitsap & North Mason Counties, and with the Auxiliary Communications Service within the City of Seattle’s Department of Emergency Management. And, as an ARRL-accredited Volunteer Examiner, he has collaboratively designed and delivered license training courses for new generations of radio operators. His station and household electrical loads are powered by a solar photovoltaic energy system which he designed and installed in 2006.
Visit Jonathan’s LinkedIn page.
Smitha RaoResearch Liaison
Smitha Rao, MA, MSc
Research Liaison (2015 – Present)
Smitha brings a multidisciplinary background of urban and rural community development as well as social science research and has spent more than a decade working in academic and not-for-profit sectors in India, and more recently in North America.
In rural Maharashtra, India, she worked with communities on advancing women’s political empowerment and creation of livelihood programs for disenfranchised women. She led post disaster reconstruction and rehabilitation projects in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands in the Bay of Bengal focussed on rebuilding tribal leadership lost as a result of the Tsunami. As a member of Greenpeace India, she worked on strategy and design for international environmental campaigns ranging from climate change, lobbying with industry to phase out toxics, to promotion of sustainable agriculture practices. She has taught Geography at Portland State University and designed curricula at her alma mater, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, in Mumbai, India.
Smitha began work on the PBR project, Morethana Farm, in 2012 and helped organize several on and off-farm workshops, classes and farming initiatives that led to connections in the Sammamish Valley Agricultural District and beyond. She served on the board of Seattle Biochar Working Group.
Smitha continues to involve herself in socio-environmental research and has published several independent and collaborative pieces in international publications. She believes in a greener future and is particularly interested in the social justice aspects of agro-forestry and bamboo research, and in bamboo as a strategic crop for a sustainable world.
Visit Smitha’s LinkedIn Page
Lance Rasmussen, MBA
Technology (2017 – Present)
Lance has spent his career working in a niche field where software and technology meet the world of sports and currently serves as President for CDE Software, a Seattle based company.
Lance grew up in the Pacific Northwest in a small town of Port Angeles, WA. The area is known for its views of the Olympic Mountains and rich with hiking and diverse beauty. He began working with computers just prior to Apple and IBM releasing their first personal computers and self studied to began creating various programs on those platforms. Later on, he helped bring a pre-Internet means of email communication called FIDO-NET to the Olympic Peninsula, which led to building websites and then joining the company that he’s now become President. During this time Lance also attended graduate school to earn his MBA and also has served as an adjunct professor teaching computer sciences.
One of Lance’s passion is photography, which the Pacific Northwest provides unlimited opportunities for subject matter. He also greatly enjoys cooking and is involved in various cooking groups around the area. He also is a certified BBQ judge through the nation’s two largest BBQ associations and serves as a volunteer for their technology needs. Another more recent passion is amateur radio operations, where he holds an Extra Class license (call sign K7LER).
Lance met Jonathan at the West Seattle Amateur Radio Club and have served together as board members for the group. He also volunteers with the Auxiliary Communications Service within the City of Seattle’s Department of Emergency Management. He is an ARRL-accredited Volunteer Examiner as part of testing teams administering FCC amateur radio tests as well as an ARRL Volunteer Examiner Test Coordinator supervising testing sessions to new radio operators as well as operators seeking higher class levels.
He’s always been fascinated with bamboo in his younger days and even more so, with the expansion and recognition of bamboo having a great future and what it provides in its sustainability and diverse usage.
Sarah HamannSocial Media
Social Media (2017 – Present)
Sara brings an interdisciplinary background in environmental science, conservation governance, research and education. She has 5 years of experience working in non-for-profit organizations in Mexico, England and the USA.
Sara has an MSc in Biodiversity, Conservation and Management from the University of Oxford, with a specialization in religion and conservation. In the Biodiversity Institute at the University of Oxford, she researched Eastern Orthodox church forests in the Northern Gondor region of Ethiopia to measure their ecological importance in an agricultural landscape. She also studied the effects of habit fragmentation on endangered hedgehogs in England and their resilience in different agricultural settings.
Sara began working with PBR in 2017 directing their social media outreach. She is particularly interested in sustainable development, human-wildlife conflict, illegal wildlife trade, responsible sourcing and climate change adaptation.
Shamini ThiagarajanGrant Management
Grant Management (2017 – Present)
Shamini has a unique background in biotechnology and entrepreneurship. She has acquired 5 years of experience working as a business manager for a life sciences market research firm and a project assistant in a biopharma company. Having studied and worked in India, England and the USA, she has earned a good exposure to different cultures and loves to explore.
With Masters degrees in Biotechnology and Project Management from reputed universities in England and the USA, Shamini has the passion to contribute to multiple causes. Her undergraduate degree in India was focused on multiple disciplines in Biotechnology and her research was focused on Molecular Biology. Her under graduation led her to pursue a Masters in Biotech and Entrepreneurship at the University of Exeter, UK. Soon after graduation she had the opportunity to work with a life sciences market intelligence company where she learnt the ropes of running a small business and making it successful. This eventually translated into her moving to the US to further her career and create newer opportunities.
Shamini moved to Seattle in April 2017 and was very keen to network and carve a niche for herself in the area. Her interests in regulatory affairs, sustainable development and healthy living caught the works of PBR.
Jasmin MunozGrant Management
Grant Management (2017 – Present)
Jasmin Munoz graduated with a B.A. in Political Science from the University of California, Berkeley in May 2017.
While interning at a non-for-profit organization in Dublin, Ireland this past Spring, she not only developed a new passion for non profit management, but also an interest in environmental conservation. Ready to take on new experiences and challenges, Jasmin began to research for volunteer experience in grant writing and research in order to gain the necessary skills in working for non-for-profit organizations.
She brings ample research, writing, and communication skills from her coursework and campus work from university as well as from her international experiences, such as teaching English in Japan and studying abroad in Ireland.
Jasmin began working with PBR in 2017 as a grant writer/researcher. She is particularly interested in wildlife conservation, indigenous land rights, human-wildlife conflict, international development, climate change adaptation, wildlife crime, and non-for-profit management.
Outside of school, she enjoys traveling, hiking, playing with her dogs, talking all things Harry Potter, spending time with family, eating Mediterranean food, and playing pranks on her little sister.
Research | Writer (2017 – Present)
needs and address ecological issues through its cultivation and processing. She was first introduced to
the plant in 1999 at a permaculture bamboo farm in Dominical, Costa Rica. She sustained her love for
bamboo throughout a journey in academic education at the University of Cape Town and WITS
university in Johannesburg. She developed a specialised interest in environmental anthropology and
graduated with a PhD in social anthropology. Whilst applying herself to research and theory, Kruger
grew her knowledge and experience around sustainable practices including permaculture design,
natural building and sustainable and transformational events production. She continues to pursue
knowledge about bamboo in her home-base in South Africa, and across the globe.
Lubdha KamatDesign & Animation
Design & Animation (2017 – Present)
Lubdha is a versatile designer, animator and illustrator with 5 years of experience working for a broad range of clients ranging from the non-profit, branding, advertising, gaming to the creative marketing industries giving her a wide exposure to various design mediums. It is this never-ending learning curve which excites her the most.
Originally from the hustling bustling city streets of Mumbai, Lubdha’s journey began when she moved to the quaint historic town of Savannah to pursue her MFA in Animation at the Savannah College of Art and Design. Ever since, Lubdha has traveled extensively for academic and professional pursuits – San Diego, New York, Los Angeles and London where she studied for an MA in Graphic Design at the Kingston University. More recently, moving to the picturesque mountainous landscape of Seattle has been a truly fascinating and eventful experience thus far.
Lubdha finds herself fully immersed in the dynamic world of graphic and motion design, illustrative style frames, typography and hand-lettering. She has a passion for seamlessly integrating varied mediums into a cohesive work of design. She is truly amazed by the power of design and media to educate, influence, inspire and bring about a change.
Fred YikiiForestry Education / Field Research
Forestry Education / Field Research (2017 – Present)
Fred Yikii is an Assistant Lecturer (since 2011) in the Department of Environmental Management – School of Forestry, Environmental and Geographical Sciences, Makerere University. He holds a Bachelor of Community Forestry and a MSc. in Agroforestry of Makerere University. He was a fellow of Land Restoration and Sustainable Land management at the Agricultural University of Iceland in 2009.
Fred has over 10 years of teaching experience spanning fields like Environmental Communication, Landscaping and Urban Forestry, Conflict Resolution in Natural Resources Management, and Food Security. He has participated in several exhibitions showcasing forestry innovations and products to various audiences on behalf of the school and as part of his role in community outreach. His current research activities are on food security and wetland policy. Fred also has interest in Landcare activities for sustainable land management and community development.