Sarah Otterstrom is the executive director of Paso Pacifico, a nonprofit that restores and protects diverse ecosystems in Mexico and Central America. Otterstrom, who has a doctorate in ecology, founded the nonprofit in 2005 after seeing local governments and international NGOs fail to protect species, such as endangered sea turtles. Her organization focuses on finding solutions that work for both people and the environment. To convince local farmers to protect bats, she brought the farmers into a study and asked them to help collect data on the pests that bats eat, giving them firsthand evidence of the benefits of the animal. To protect sea turtles that nest on Central American beaches, her team designed a fake, GPS-implanted turtle egg that can follow the path of poachers, helping law enforcement focus on the criminal networks behind the poaching rather than the community members collecting the eggs.
Otterstrom is also an Ashoka Fellow and served as an advisor to the Clinton Global Initiative.