Trustees

Being a charity, Whale Wise has a board of trustees to ensure that we meet our charitable goals and run in a sustainable way. On a day-to-day basis, Whale Wise is run by a team of volunteers. In contrast, the trustees make high-level decisions regarding our work, structure and finances. Fortunately, we have a fantastic board with diverse experience, skills and knowledge.
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Dr Michelle Fournet
President
Michelle Fournet is an acoustic ecologist who studies marine animal communication and anthropogenic impacts with an emphasis on Arctic and sub-Arctic marine mammals. Dr. Fournet received her MS and PhD from Oregon State University, where she worked with NOAA and the National Park Service studying the impact of vessel noise on Southeast Alaskan humpback whales. She spent four years as a postdoctoral researcher with Cornell University’s K. Lisa Yang Center for Conservation Bioacoustics. In 2022, she accepted a position with the University of New Hampshire’s Center for Acoustics Research and Education. Additionally, she is the co-founder and director of the Sound Science Research Collective, a Southeast Alaskan based conservation non-profit.
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Natalie Barefoot
Treasurer
Natalie is an international oceans attorney who believes that legal protections should be earth-oriented, community-inspired, and respect all living beings. By focusing legal strategies through the lens of keystone species, such as sharks and cetaceans (whales, dolphins and porpoises), Natalie advances protections for wildlife and their ocean habitats. She currently tackles international ocean issues as an attorney with Earthjustice and as a volunteer with Cet Law. Her previous work has taken her to five continents as an attorney with the United Nations Environment Program, University of Miami School of Law, Hogan Lovells, and as finance specialist with Pact, Inc. Natalie loves to spend time with her clients diving, swimming, paddling in or on the water.
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Garðar Þröstur Einarsson
Garðar has always been in love with the sea and the creatures that inhabit it. He grew up in a small fishing village with a whale watching captain for a father, and often went on whale watching trips as a kid. He later grew up to be a whale watching guide, educating travellers about the local wildlife for many years. Garðar also has a fascination for the skeletal remains of animals, and is an avid skull collector. When a chance to work at the Húsavík Whale Museum presented itself, he jumped at the opportunity. He now works there full time, combining his interest for skeletons, and his love for the ocean and the whales.
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Eva Björk Káradóttir
Eva grew up on the east coast of Iceland in a town called Neskaupstaður. As a child, Eva used to sail around the fjords with her grandfather, enjoying nature, catching fish and occasionally seeing whales. The experience of seeing whales up close felt special and exciting, as it still does today. Eva moved to Reykjavík in 2009 to study art theory and later on cultural management. She has been living in Húsavík since 2017 and is currently working as the director of Húsavík Whale Museum.
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Ronnie Mackie
Ronnie lives in Kinghorn, Scotland. After leaving school at 16, he trained as an Analytical Chemist, then as a Biochemist. After 5 years of working in laboratories, he spent a few years travelling around Europe, working through the winter to provide money for exploring. At age 40 he went to the University of Edinburgh and qualified with a BSc Hons in Ecology. In his Honours year Ronnie began developing The Ecology Centre (TEC), a community-based charity specialising in Environmental Education and Community Participation. It is still in existence 25 years later.
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Eva Prendergast
Eva is a whale biologist, wildlife guide and freelance photographer. From the earliest opportunity, she has travelled the world in search of cetaceans, guiding and research opportunities, and has volunteered for various whale-related charities. In 2019, Eva, studied blue whale genetics as part of a master’s degree at the University of Cambridge.