Francisco J. Abarca
Arizona Game and Fish Department
Phoenix, Arizona

Mr. Francisco J. Abarca received a BS in aquatic ecology and zoology from the National University of Mexico in Mexico City. He graduated from Arizona State University with an MS in zoology.

As the Borderland Projects Manager with the Arizona Game and Fish Department, Mr. Abarca collaborates with a spectrum of partners to promote binational and trinational wildlife and wetland collaboration. In 1996, Mr. Abarca helped create the Veracruz Model, a capacity building and outreach program for wetland conservation in Mexico. This program has provided conservation training to and promoted partnerships among more than 250 people from various agencies in Mexico, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the international Ramsar Convention on Wetlands. Mexico’s Secretary of the Environment and Natural Resources recognized the model with an Outstanding Wetlands Conservation Award in 2006.

Mr. Abarca, who also has produced wetland-themed TV, radio, and print media programs, recently launched a series of nature workshops targeted to minority students in the Phoenix metropolitan area. During its first year, the program inspired more than 200 young scholars from the Hispanic community to get involved in wetland conservation. Whether at a local or international scale, Mr. Abarca has consistently demonstrated professionalism, diplomacy, and passion in the conservation of wetland resources in North America.