Conservation Ecologist, Conservation Ecology Center, Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute
Melissa Songer is a Conservation Biologist leading international conservation programs at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute (SCBI) in Front Royal, VA. She has over 15 years of experience in developing and implementing international conservation projects for SCBI and SI, among them the Smithsonian Myanmar Initiative, the Scimitar-Horned Oryx Reintroduction Project in Chad, and Giant Panda Conservation & Capacity Building Program in China. All of these projects focus on leveraging Smithsonian expertise and resources in conservation science to advance the conservation of species, ecosystems and critical biodiversity hotspots globally. Melissa’s own research integrates ecological field work with community-based conservation efforts to restore and maintain conservation-dependent species, such as Przewalski’s horses, Asian elephants, and giant pandas. Melissa is also a leader in expanding SCBI’s capacity-building programs in conservation. She has successfully developed and implemented capacity building programs through mentoring, training and workshops in the U.S. and abroad, resulting in the training of > 1,000 conservation practitioners from over 40 countries.