Karen Leavelle MSc – President

Karen is the founder and current director of Osa Birds: Research and Conservation. Karen has an MSc degree in Avian Ecology and Natural Resources from the University of Nebraska at Lincoln and has worked in the field of avian research and conservation for over 15 years.  She has dedicated her career to the study and conservation of threatened and/or endangered birds throughout the US and tropical America, and has a particular interest in Neotropical migratory birds and the factors that limit migrant populations while on their wintering grounds.  Her graduate research took her to Cuba to work with endangered endemic bird populations to include the Blue-headed Quail Dove through the University of Nebraska, the Platte River Whooping Crane Trust and the Empresa Nacional de la Flora y la Fauna of Cuba.  More recently she has spent time as the ornithologist for Osa Conservation tracking the Yellow-billed Cotinga to determine seasonal movements and spatial distribution on the Osa Peninsula.  Karen is a member of the PIF V: Gulf-Slope Mexico & Central America/Eastern Deciduous Forest Working Group and the Yellow-billed Cotinga Working group.  Costa Rica is the place that originally sparked her interest in birds many years ago, and has now become the place where she is entirely dedicated to avian research, education and conservation. CV


Andrea Johnson – Vice President

Bio coming soon…

Carissa Cox – Secretary

Bio coming soon…

Janina Schan – Vocal

Janina’s background is in Environmental Studies and Biology – she has a Masters in Environmental Studies from York University, Toronto, Canada and a Bachelor of Science from Bielefeld University, Germany. In her Master’s research, she focused on tropical ecology and conservation and studied for 6 months in Costa Rica, and wrote her Master’s thesis on the impact of hunting and pet trade on wildlife.  She decided to stay in Costa Rica to make a difference in 2011 working in the Costa Rican tourism and volunteer industry.  This inspired her to start her own volunteer company Green Life Volunteers at the beginning of 2012. She has been supporting Osa Birds with volunteers since around 2015.  Janina works also full time as a website developer and has been doing frequent redesigns and website updates to Osa Birds website.  She is also on an advisory committee for social media and publicity.

Dionisio Paniagua Castro – Vocal

Nito is a professional Naturalist and Tourism Guide locally known for his unsurpassed knowledge in all Costa Rican fauna, especially birds.  At a very young age, he developed an interest in insects, especially for army ants. Such was his passion and obsession for ants that his brothers and friends began to call him “oso hormiguero”, which is Spanish for “anteater”.  He took his passion seriously and in the year 2000, he received a degree in nature tourism from the Colegio Universitario de Alajuela.  In 2003, he worked for Stanford University on an avian research study bird species composition in coffee plantations which took place in his hometown of San Vito, Costa Rica which sparked in him a new interest and passion for birds.  Since then, he has worked as a Nature Guide with an emphasis on bird watching on the Osa Peninsula.  Whenever possible, he travels to other countries in order to increase his knowledge of all flora and fauna.  In his home community, Nito has dedicated himself to environmental education, working with area schools and colleges, giving talks that focus on bird preservation and environmental conservation.  He shares his enthusiasm and knowledge of the natural world with others, and hopes to inspire in them a love and respect for nature.

Nina Koch – Vocal

Bio coming soon…