EECO believes that local stakeholder engagement is the key to creating sustainable conservation strategies... the challenge is facilitating that engagement.
Engagement can only be grown, not ordered ready-made, and requires special ingredients to blossom: the richness of firsthand experience, the confidence of self-understanding, and the expansion of mind and heart generated by empathetic dialogue with peers. Knowing the challenge of the task ahead, EECO decided to harness the power of experiential education- learning through experience- to connect communities to nature and each other. From connection, rises care.
Meet The Founders
Jackie Dodd and Julia Herbolsheimer founded EECO in September 2016, after six years of working on marine conservation projects around the world. They spent the last three of those years in the Philippines, where their involvement in local community-based environmental initiatives sowed the seeds for EECO’s mission and philosophy.
BA in Anthropology and Dance PADI SCUBA Instructor
Jackie has channeled her passion for people and nature into many different endeavors: teaching modern dance, creating arts/ecology workshops, conducting youth empowerment programs, and eventually becoming a researcher, SCUBA instructor, and project development officer on community-based coral reef conservation projects. She has worked in the Caribbean, Central America, the Middle East, and Southeast Asia. Jackie is continually inspired by the power of experiential education to build community and agency- two ingredients she believes are essential to conservation. Her dream is that EECO will uplift communities that are striving toward environmental and social sustainability. She is a PADI Open Water SCUBA Instructor, and currently facilitates experiential education programs for the JUMP! Foundation in Asia and Southeast Asia.
MSc in Marine Biology
PADI Divemaster and Reef Check EcoDiver Instructor
Julia left Germany to work abroad in 2011, after earning her Masters degree in Fisheries Science, and she never looked back. She has since worked on marine conservation projects in the Mediterranean, Southeast Asia, and the Caribbean as a science officer, marine park ranger, and research coordinator. The more she traveled, the more concerned she became about the health of the world's coral reefs and the communities that depend on them. This rising concern- and her admiration of community-based projects which create locally sustainable conservation strategies- eventually led her to found EECO with Jackie. She is a PADI Divemaster and a Reef Check EcoDiver Trainer.