The Caribbean Conservation Trust, Inc. (CCT) is committed to the conservation of native and migratory birds and their habitats in the greater Caribbean region, specifically in Cuba and Puerto Rico, and including all islands within the Caribbean basin.
CCT Founder Executive Director
CCT Founder Executive Director, Gary Markowski, first traveled to Cuba in the mid-1990s to meet with staff at Cuba’s National Museum of Natural History to investigate ways to become involved with conservation initiatives in Cuba. A fledgling group of authorized U.S. citizens arrived the next winter. Since then, the bird survey program has involved hundreds of ‘citizen scientists’, as well as dozens of U.S. and Cuban ornithologists, field biologists, and educators who have contributed to this effort. Gary’s 30 years of experience in the fields of environmental and experiential education, outdoor leadership and adventure travel provide the foundation for CCT’s success in Cuba. CCT’s long history in Cuba is founded upon experience and trust. Over the years, we have cultivated deep friendships and professional relationships with some of Cuba’s finest conservation-oriented individuals and institutions. Our Cuban staff is highly-educated, experienced, personable, and devoted to making your experience in Cuba — extraordinary.
C. Colston Burrell is an acclaimed lecturer, garden designer, award-winning author and photographer. A certified chlorophyll addict, Cole is an avid and lifelong plantsman, gardener and naturalist.read more
Nils is author and illustrator of ENDEMIC BIRDS OF CUBA A Comprehensive Field Guide, which will be included in the program cost to all participants for trips he co-leads for CCT.read more
Dr. Luis M. Diaz is curator of herpetology at the Cuban National Museum of Natural History in Havana since 1998. He earned his PhD from the University of Havana in 2009. Dr. Diaz has published more than 60 papers about the systematics, natural history and conservation of Cuban amphibians and reptiles, including new species descriptions.read more
Dr. Giraldo Alayon is well known in the Caribbean region as the foremost expert on spiders of the West Indies and Central America. He has published more than 100 papers on the systematics and biogeography of spiders and other insects in the region.read more
Michael Good has been involved with our Cuba programs since 2002, and is our U.S. leader for this program. Michael has over 25 years experience studying the birds of North America, and brings a wealth of knowledge and passion for neotropical migrants and the avifauna of the Eastern United States. Michael has traveled extensively in the US, Alaska, Europe, Australia, South America and Cuba.read more
David Sibley is the author of and illustrator for the best selling Sibley Guide to Birds, Second Edition, Sibley’s Birding Basics,the Sibley Guide to Trees, guides to birds of eastern and western North America, and other books. He writes the column “ID...read more
Pete Dunne is an acclaimed birder and author, and is a contributing writer for Bird Watching Magazine, and founder of the World Series of Birding, and is the former director of Cape May Bird Observatory, and vice president of the New Jersey Audubon Society. Since 1976...read more
Noah Strycker is Associate Editor of Birding magazine, the author of three well-regarded books about birds, and a regular contributor of photography and articles to all major bird magazines as well as other media. Strycker set a world Big Year record in 2015, and his...read more
Jeff Lemm is a zoo-based herpetologist from Southern California. His studies primarily focus on the conservation of the herpetofauna of the southwestern United States and on the critically endangered rock iguanas (Cyclura sp.) of the Caribbean. An avid field herper...read more
Orlando Garrido is Cuba’s greatest living naturalist, with more than 60 years of service and contribution to the continued development of the study of the natural sciences in Cuba. Senor Garrido is a retired and venerable former curator of birds at the National Museum...read more
Our Cuban Field Leaders
In Cuba, we hire bi-lingual curators from the Museo Nacional de Historia de Cuba (The National Museum of Natural History of Cuba) as primary Cuban biologists and naturalists, each with a strong scientific understanding of birds and habitat, and or herpetology, invertebrate biology, and native flora, as well as with world class field identification and group handling skills. Our local naturalists in Cuba are employed by the following agencies, with which we have excellent relations:
- Ministerio de Ciencia, Tecnologia, y Medio Ambiente (CITMA – Ministry of Science, Technology and the Environment);
- Empresa Nacional para la Proteccion de la Flora y Fauna (National Company for the Protection of the Flora and Fauna);
Local Naturalists – In addition to our primary Cuban field leader, we work with regional naturalists from the national parks and biosphere reserves that we visit around the country. These talented professionals know their local bird habitats well, and provide invaluable assistance in locating birds as well as imparting specific information relative to the flora, fauna, geology and other natural features of the environments we visit. A Bilingual Cuban Guide is at your service from the time of arrival at the airport in Havana, throughout the end of the program. Along with a professional driver, he or she will be with the group each day to tell us about Cuban history, culture, arts and lifestyle. He/she will also deal with logistics, meals, translation, and other nuts-and-bolts aspects of the travel experience. Our guides are highly educated, experienced, and personable, and look after every travel detail with great care and patience. Our Cuban staff also includes a local program coordinator in Havana who looks after every detail prior to each group’s arrival. In addition, Gary is in Cuba for some or all of every program. Our pre-trip preparation and on site program management assures that each traveler is fully informed of practical and legal aspects of the Cuban experience from the American perspective. We assure that your arrival in Cuba and return to the US is as seamless as possible.
Contact Us @
Caribbean Conservation Trust
353 West Todd Street
Hamden, CT 06518