who we are

Atsika is the dream of the first two Peace Corps Volunteers in the Antsaravibe / southern Ankarana region:

Julia Nelson
Julia brings international non-profit experience and a background in biology to Atsika. Julia has worked training teachers on sanitation and hygiene curricula in various countries around the world and has experience managing international development projects. She was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Madagascar in 2008-2009, where she lived in the community of Ampotsehy in Northwestern Madagascar.  Prior to Peace Corps she studied kit foxes, wolves, and coyotes and taught sixth grade students in an outdoor science school.


Christi Turner
Christi is a specialist in community-based sustainable development, conservation, and innovative education.  Her work in Madagascar began in 2004; she worked for four years as a Peace Corps Volunteer with the Ankarana community to found a locally-managed protected area, create community-based ecotourism infrastructure, and build the first solar-powered community radio station on the island.  After the Ankarana, Christi worked for a project creating educational radio programs for schools and communities in Madagascar.  Last year, she worked as overseas studies program coordinator in Kenya and Tanzania, teaching 14 university students about conservation, community development, and cross-cultural adaptation.  As a freelance photographer, Christi focuses on the nexus of conservation, education, and community development.  Currently manager of the Blue Ventures Education and Outreach program, she addresses these same issues, prioritizing access to education as a key to successful community-based conservation.


The founders work in partnership with two of the foremost researchers of the Ankarana region, professors of Anthropology at the University of Western Ontario, and the field study course they lead:

Andrew Walsh
Associate Professor of Anthropology, UWO

Ian Colquhoun
Chair, Masters in Environment and Sustainability (MES) Program, The Centre for Environment and Sustainability at UWO

Madagascar Field Course: a University of Western Ontario overseas studies program focused on northern Madagascar, in partnership with the Ankarana community that Atsika seeks to benefit.

Ampotsehy, the heart of the Ankarana region



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