The Center for Plant Conservation Selects New President and CEO
The Center for Plant Conservation (CPC) is pleased to announce Carlos L. de la Rosa has been selected as the organization’s new President and CEO. Dr. de la Rosa—who comes to CPC with broad experience in nonprofit conservation leadership, research, and practice—assumed the role on January 2, 2023.
“I am honored to join the Center for Plant Conservation and accept the role of leading this organization and supporting its efforts to save plants from extinction,” said Dr. de la Rosa. “Plants are the matrix on which biodiversity and humans thrive—we would not survive without plants. CPC and its network of Participating Institutions have already made a huge impact on protecting rare and endangered plants across North America, and I am thrilled to contribute to its critical conservation mission.”
Dr. de la Rosa replaces Dr. Joyce Maschinski, who retired in July 2022 after serving as CPC’s President and CEO for three years, as its VP of Science and Conservation for the prior three years, and, for more than 20 years as a leading scientist at The Arboretum at Flagstaff and Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, two of CPC’s Participation Institutions.
“CPC’s Board was profoundly impressed by Dr. de la Rosa on many levels,” shared CPC Board Chair, Dr. Barbara Millen. “Dr. de la Rosa brings a strong scientific background in ecology, plant conservation, and habitat restoration; experiences leading conservation programs and initiatives throughout the world; the ability to articulate a clear vision of the central role of plant conservation in climate change responsiveness and sustainable ecosystems; and skills and enthusiasm that inspire diverse communities to engage in conservation. The Board was unanimous in electing Dr. de la Rosa as CPC’s new President and CEO and looks forward to many exciting years ahead.”
Dr. de la Rosa has over 30 years of experience in research, professional and community education, and conservation leadership including work in the United States, Central and South America, and southern Africa. He previously served as Executive Director of the Lindsay Wildlife Experience in the San Francisco Bay area; Chef Conservation and Education Officer for the Catalina Island Conservancy in Los Angeles County; Director of the La Selva Research Station of the Organization for Tropical Studies in Costa Rica; Director of the Nature Conservancy’s Disney Wilderness Preserve and the Riverwoods Field Laboratory, both within Florida’s Kissimmee River/Lake Okeechobbee/Everglades system; and Director of the Environmental Management Office for US AID in Costa Rica, among other leadership experiences. Linking all these organizations and projects is Dr. de la Rosa’s extensive involvement in and commitment to the protection of biodiversity by establishing sustainable ecosystems through rare and endangered plant and animal conservation and habitat restoration, and working with communities and governments to improve natural resources management systems.
Dr. de la Rosa serves on the boards of three small NGOs that cover ocean conservation, nature programming in school systems in California, and regenerative development in indigenous communities in Guatemala. He is passionate about photography and writing, which intersects with and enhances his management of nonprofit organizations. He publications include several books, over 70 scientific papers on aquatic ecology, research, and education in conservation, and many general-audience articles and blogs on natural history and biodiversity protection.
Dr. de la Rosa’s appointment is the culmination of a comprehensive nationwide search process that was facilitated by the Potrero Group, an executive search firm based in San Rafael, California, and involved input from internal and wide-ranging external stakeholders of the Center for Plant Conservation.