Project Leadership












The Borneo Project Director and Steering Committee (Left to Right): Wick Pancoast, Judith Mayer, Jessica Lawrence, Anna Goldstein, Liz Varnhagen, Brihannala Morgan, and Joe Lamb. (Tara Holmes not pictured).

Brihannala Morgan (Director): Brihannala Morgan has been working on forest and climate issues for over a decade, most recently completing her master’s degree from the University of Michigan, focusing community-level impacts of REDD plantations. Before that, she worked with the Rainforest Action Network, focusing on palm oil plantation expansion, and the Center for International Forestry Research, supporting community-based land rights. She has lived and worked in Indonesia for nine years.

Our Penan Preschool Program is run by an incredible group of teachers and coordinators: Click here to meet our Borneo-based Penan Preschool Staff

Steering Committee:

Joe Lamb (Founder): Joe Lamb is an arborist, writer, educator, and activist. He holds degrees in biology, ecology and filmmaking. His writing has been featured in Maxine Hong-Kingston’s Veterans of War, Veterans of Peace; in The Rag and Bone Shop of the Heart; and in numerous journals. Joe worked as hospital corpsman during the Vietnam War, built passive solar homes in New Mexico in the 1970’s, taught field ecology to grade school kids from Mexico City, and worked as a field organizer on the Nuclear Weapons Freeze Campaign. Joe founded the Borneo Project in 1991 to bring attention to the plight of Borneo’s indigenous peoples and to the importance of their native customary land rights in the preservation of rainforests. Joe was featured as an “environmental hero” on the KQED program, Green Means.

Jessica Lawrence (Director 2004- 2007): Jessica Lawrence is a conservation biologist who has worked for 18 years in rainforest ecology research and advocacy for local community management of forests. As director of the Borneo Project from 2004-2007, she supported Penan community initiatives for citizenship documentation, reforestation, gardening, and literacy development, including indigenous language children’s books and the establishment of three Penan community preschools. She now lives in Oakland, works for Earthjustice, and continues to coordinate the Borneo Project’s ongoing support for the preschools.

Judith Mayer (Director 2007- 2011): A Borneo Project founding member, Judith has worked with NGOs and communities in Borneo since 1987. She focuses on issues related to land rights and natural resource planning. A practicing environmental planner with extensive experience in the United States and Southeast Asia, Judith has taught at Humboldt State University and Virginia Tech, balancing community action at home and abroad. Judith holds a PhD in City and Regional Planning from the University of California, Berkeley. Recent research focuses on social causes and impacts of fires in Kalimantan, and links between environmental conservation and community rights related to climate change. Judith lives in Arcata, California.

Wick Pancoast (Director, 1996-2003): Executive Director of the Borneo Project from 1996-2001, Wick has a B.A. in Environmental Politics from the College of Wooster. He has worked in the fields of indigenous rights, environmental protection and rural development in Southeast Asia for over 12 years. Prior to the Borneo Project, he collaborated on a community reforestation initiative and experimental organic farm in Southern Laos. Under his leadership at the Borneo Project, Wick spearheaded the development of community-based GIS mapping; established the Micro-hydro Program; promoted community resource management, and significantly increased international awareness and support for Borneo communities and NGOs. Wick owns and operates a residential construction company in Berkeley, California.

Anna Goldstein: Anna is an organizational expert and has extensive experience in progressive organizing. She promotes international climate activism with at their global headquarters in Berkeley. Anna holds degrees in development studies from American University.

Liz Varnhagen: Liz is a longstanding supporter of The Borneo Project. Liz has a Masters Degree in Ecology from UC Davis, and a professional career administering US environmental laws working for the Army Corps of Engineers, Environmental Protection Agency, and currently the National Park Service. Liz served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Borneo and loves returning to Malaysia. She has volunteered with orangutan conservation organizations, and takes a keen interest in helping to protect the natural forests and unique cultures of Borneo.