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Conservation through Communication
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Governing Board  

Penny Patterson Penny Patterson, PhD.   Board President
Founder President and Director of Research, The Gorilla Foundation

Dr. Penny Patterson received her Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology from Stanford University where, as a graduate student in 1972, she began working with one-year-old Koko, a western lowland gorilla, thus beginning the longest ongoing interspecies communication study ever undertaken. For 30 years, Dr. Patterson has worked with Koko, who has advanced further with sign language than any nonhuman. Able to reveal her thoughts and feelings through the use of 1,000 gestural words, Koko provides unique insight into the mind of a gorilla.

In 1976, Dr. Patterson, Dr. Ronald Cohn, and the late Barbara F. Hiller established the Gorilla Foundation to benefit gorillas living in captivity and those struggling to survive in the rapidly disappearing African rainforest. Dedicated to the preservation, protection and propagation of gorillas and other endangered primates, the Foundation disseminates information about animal intelligence, gorilla behavior and psychobiology through its website (www.gorilla.org), journal, and scientific meetings and articles, and is currently developing a 70-acre gorilla sanctuary on the island of Maui, Hawaii.

The author of more than 40 publications including The Education of Koko with Eugene Linden, and the award-winning children’s books, Koko’s Kitten and Koko’s Story, Dr. Patterson has earned numerous awards and honors — including National Geographic Society grants and the Rolex Award for Enterprise — for her work with Koko and fellow gorillas, Michael and Ndume.

Ron Cohn Ronald Cohn, PhD   Board Treasurer
Founder, Vice President and Photo-Documentarian, The Gorilla Foundation


Dr. Ron Cohn has been with the project from its inception and shares Dr. Patterson's life-long commitment to the gorillas. Ron serves as an authority figure for Koko and his presence is an integral part of their daily routine. His award winning pictures and films of the gorillas have helped to make the Gorilla Foundation a well known organization around the world.

Prior to co-founding TGF/Koko.org, Dr. Cohn received a PhD from the University of Illinois. He was a cell biologist at the Stanford Departments of Medicine and Pediatrics and did much of the initial ground breaking research in genetic engineering and membrane structure. He also discovered that adult cells make hyaluronic acid from glucosamine and led the way for glucosamine treatment for arthritis.
Maizie Sanford Mary C. Sanford    Board Secretary
Director Emeritus÷Maui Land & Pineapple Company, Ltd
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Mrs. Mary C. Sanford (Maizie) comes from a family with a long-standing background in Maui agriculture. Her grandfather, H.A. Baldwin, was head of the Maui Agricultural Co. and descendant of Protestant missionaries from New England in 1830. Her father, J. Walter Cameron, was head of Maui Pineapple Co., Ltd. Maizie graduated from Dana Hall School in 1948, and Smith College in 1952. Maizie has served on the Board of Maui Land & Pineapple Co. for 25 years, and is currently Director Emeritus. Additional board service includes: Haleakala Ranch Co., and these non-profit organizations: J. Walter Cameron Center, Fred Baldwin Memorial Foundation, Hawaiian Mission Childrenâs Society, and the Gorilla Foundation. Currently Maizie writes two columns for the Maui Newsâ monthly employee newsletter and is also writing a bi-monthly column in the Maui News for its centennial year. The Maui News was a family-owned daily, founded in 1900. It was sold in February 2000 to Ogden Newspapers, West Virginia. Maizie has made possible the donation of 70 acres of land from Maui Land & Pineapple Co. for the Gorilla Foundation's Maui Ape Preserve (MAP). This gift is made in memory of her son, Allan G. Sanford, and the MAP Sanctuary is dedicated to Mr. Sanford.
AVery Chumbley Vint Cerf
Vice President and Chief Internet Evangelist Google

Vinton G. Cerf is vice president and chief Internet evangelist for Google. Widely known as one of the "Fathers of the Internet," Cerf is the co-designer of the TCP/IP protocols and the architecture of the Internet. With his colleague, Robert Kahn, Cerf received the U.S. National Medal of Technology in 1997 for co-founding and developing the Internet. In 1994 and 1998 respectively, Kahn and Cerf were honored as Marconi Fellows. They received the ACM Alan M. Turing award in 2004 for their work on the Internet protocols. In November 2005 they received the Presidential Medal of Freedom. In 2008 they received the Japan Prize. Vint Cerf served as chairman of the board of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) from 2000-2007 and is a Fellow of the IEEE, ACM, and American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Philosophical Society, the International Engineering Consortium, the Computer History Museum and a member of the National Academy of Engineering. Cerf holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics from Stanford University and Master of Science and Ph.D. degrees in Computer Science from UCLA. He also holds honorary Doctorate degrees from 18 universities.
AVery Chumbley Avery B. Chumbley
Former Hawaii State Senator

Senator Chumbley has been a State Senator since 1994, representing the 6th District, South and East Maui-North Shore Kauai. In the Senate, he has served as the Vice President of the Hawaii State Senate, 1999 to present; Co-Chair, Senate Judiciary Committee, 1996 to present; State House 1992 to 1994; appointed Commissioner & Hawaii Steering Committee Member, Education Commission of the States (ECS); Directorate of Public Policies, World Sustainable Agriculture (WSAA); appointed Maui Representative, Hawaii State Board of Agriculture; appointed Maui Historic Commission. He is also President of the Wailuku Agribusiness Co., Inc. & General Manager at the Maui Tropical Plantation. Averyâs community involvement includes: President, Maui County Fair Association; Board Member, Maui Economic DeveloKoko.Orgpment Board; Board Member, Maui Visitors Bureau; Board Member, Maui Community Arts & Cultural Center; and Member, American Cancer Society
AVery Chumbley Betty White Ludden
Actress and Animal Welfare Advocate

Betty White, American actress, comedian, and former game show host, is known for her television roles on The Mary Tyler Moore Show and The Golden Girls, and more recently on Boston Legal and Hot in Cleveland. Her career has spanned over 70 years, during which she has won seven Emmy Awards and received 20 Emmy nominations. She is also the first woman ever to receive an Emmy for game show hosting. She is recognized for her affiliation with animal charities such as "Actors and Others for Animals" and the Morris Animal Foundation. Koko and Ms. White have become good friends, mutual fans and powerful partners for helping the great apes.
Peter Roberts Peter Roberts
Vice President of Human Resources, Harbor Freight Tools

Peter Roberts, previously Vice President of North American Human Resources for Pioneer Electronics and Vice President of International Human Resources for Office Depot and Viking International, has extensive experience in operations management and Human Resources in the corporate world. He has been in his present position since 2006 and is responsible for all Human Resources activities for Harbor Freight Tools, a national retailer with over three hundred (300) stores as well as catalog and e-commerce operations
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Scientific Board  
Ron CohnRon CohnPeter H. Fries, Ph.D. and Nan Fries
Professor Emeritus of English and Linguistics at Central Michigan University

Peter Fries received his BA in German from the University of Michigan in 1959, and his Ph.D. in linguistics from the University of Pennsylvania in 1964. Fries taught first at the University of Wisconsin, and then at Central Michigan University, where he retired in January 2004 after more than thirty years there.

Nan Fries was a founding member of the governing board of International Wives and taught English in their programs at Madison, WI, and in Mount Pleasant, MI.

The Fries' have taught and lectured in 17 countries—on topics such as English grammar and discourse analysis. Their interests in discourse also include investigating ape communication using sign language and other mediums for communication. The Fries' served together on the Advisory Board and as Secretary of Apenet (which has evolved into the Interspecies Internet).
H. S. Robert Glaser, Ph.D. Professor of Biology, Justus Liebig University, Giessen, Germany
AVery ChumbleyAnthony L. Rose, Ph.D.
Executive Director, the Biosynergy Institute; Director of Conservation, the Gorilla Foundation


Dr. Rose is an applied social psychologist and organization developer. He has studied macaques, humans, and other apes, and advised government agencies and private foundations on issues of forest management, military diplomacy, religious community development, educational innovation, and health care quality assurance. Dr. Rose heads up the Gorilla Foundation's Wildlife Protectors Fund (WPF), which is the foundation's primary conservation program. WPF has been active since 1999, working to apply 30 years of interspecies communication research with Koko and Michael, and 15 years of biosynergy exploration, to help save the great apes and improve the lives of their human neighbors in Africa.

Dr. Rose's articles also appear in the African Update section of Koko.org, and on his own website, the Biosynergy Institute. Dr. Rose's oversight of Gorilla Foundation projects in Cameroon and other countries in Africa has made it possible for the Foundation's unique empathy-building approach to conservation to take root. Applying his organizational development and action research skills, Dr. Rose enables development of best practices in synergistic community conservation to be replicated strategically across the critically endangered gorillas' homelands.
AVery ChumbleyH. Dieter Steklis, Ph.D.
Professor of Psychology, University of Arizona, Prof. Emeritus of Primatology, Rutgers University, Affiliate Scientist and former VP of Science & Conservation, The Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International.

Dr. H. Dieter Steklis is a world-renowned great ape researcher, conservationist and professor. His research interests include the behavior and ecology of African apes in the wild, including the mountain gorillas of Rwanda. Along with his wife and frequent collaborator, Netzin Steklis, his aim has been to better understand the connections between biology, behavior, and ecology, and to explore how this understanding might better guide conservation programs. In recognition of their conservation work, in 2002, he and his wife received the Explorers Club "Champions of Wildlife Award."

Currently, Dr. Steklis is collaborating with the Gorilla Foundation on the interpretation of gorilla vocalizations and the recognition by gorillas of facial expressions. "We could observe free-living gorillas for a hundred years and not even guess at the presence of abilities Koko has demonstrated. We can only imagine what we'll learn through Koko's interactions with a baby."

You can learn more about Dr. Steklis and his work here: arizona.edu and wild-minds.org.
AVery ChumbleyNetzin Steklis, MA
Adjunct Research Specialist & Instructor, Dept. of Family Studies & Human Development, University of Arizona; Affiliate Scientist and former Director of Scientific Resources, The Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International.

For more than 15 years, Ms. Steklis has served the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International (DFGFI) as Director Scientific Information Resources and Affiliate Scientist. Her research experience includes work at the Karisoke Research Center in Rwanda on the vocalizations and social organization of mountain gorillas. Further research focused on mountain gorilla life history, population size and density, distribution and vital statistics and the application of GIS technology to gorilla behavior and conservation. In addition to her own research interests, she is a frequent collaborator with her husband, Dieter, on projects concerning mountain gorilla personality, behavior, biology and conservation, with whom she received the 2002 Explorers Club "Champions of Wildlife" Award.

Currently, Ms. Steklis collaborates with the Gorilla Foundation on the interpretation of gorilla vocalizations and the recognition by gorillas of facial expressions. "As a mother, I connect with Koko. We once had a "discussion" about my children. It's remarkable that I could have a conversation with a gorilla about kids. This makes me wonder if the wild gorillas I study have unspoken dreams yet unrealized."

You can learn more about Ms. Steklis and her work at: arizona.edu and wild-minds.org.
Larry TeslerPeter G. Veit, Ph.D.
Project Manager for the Equity, Povety, and Environment Initiative, World Resources Institute, Washington, DC


Dr. Veit's recent work has focused on a range of environmental governance matters, particularly environment/democracy and environment/human rights links. For more than 15 years, he has conducted research and written on community-based natural resource management, environmental decentralization, environmental advocacy, and other environmental accountability matters. He has undertaken long-term field research in a number of African countries, including in Sierra Leone as a Fulbright Scholar, where he conducted research on household variability in agricultural strategies and practices; and, in Rwanda as Director of the Karisoke Mountain Gorilla Research Center, where in the 1970s he studied the reproductive practices of mountain gorillas. He has also held a range of research and teaching positions at the University of California campuses at Santa Cruz and Davis.
Larry TeslerRichard Wrangham, Ph.D.
Professor of Biological Anthropology, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA

Dr. Wrangham's research group is part of the Department of Human Evolutionary Biology. He is co-director of the Kibale Chimpanzee Project, the long-term study of the Kanyawara chimpanzees in Kibale National Park, Uganda. His research culminates in the study of human evolution in which he draws conclusions based on the behavioural ecology of apes. Dr. Wrangham is the co-ar of the book Demonic Males: Apes and the Origins of Human Violence with Dale Peterson, and : Catching Fire, How Cooking Made us Human. As a graduate student, Wrangham studied under Robert Hinde and Jane Goodall. Wrangham helped to introduce the concept of zoopharmacognosy. and he is considered "one of the pioneers of the study of chimp self-medication".

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Advisory Board  
Ron CohnStewart Cheifet
Media and Technology Consultant, TV Host and Author, San Francisco, CA

Mr. Chefeit is probably best known for his work presenting and producing Computer Chronicles and Net Cafe. He has also worked in other reporting positions for, among others, PBS and ABC. Raised in Philadelphia, he attended Central High School and graduated from Harvard Law School, and University of Southern California with a degree in communications law and technology journalism.

He now teaches journalism classes at the Reynolds School of Journalism at the University of Nevada, Reno, and is President and CEO of Stewart Cheifet Productions, where he consults, writes and does talent work at the interface between technology and media.
AVery ChumbleyBarry Munitz, Ph.D.
Education and Art Consultant, Los Angeles, CA

Dr. Munitz is Trustee Professor of California State University, Los Angeles and president of the Cotsen Family Foundations. He is founding chair of California's P-16 Council, a group of education, business and community leaders charged with developing strategies to improve education for preschool through college. Munitz also chairs the President's Advisory Committee of the Woodrow Wilson Foundation and led the board of trustees of Sierra Nevada College. He is chancellor emeritus of The California State University, the largest system of senior education in the country, and served previously as president and CEO of the J. Paul Getty Trust.

Dr. Munitz is a governor of the Broad Family Foundations, a corporate director at Sallie Mae, chairs the Prospect Global Resources Board and is a former chair of the American Council of Education Board. Munitz was chancellor of the University of Houston and academic vice president of the University of Illinois system. He received a Ph.D. in comparative literature from Princeton University.
AVery ChumbleyMichael Sack
Certified Public Accountant, San Francisco, CA

Mr. Sack has been The Gorilla Foundation's C.P.A. since 1977 and has been a practicing certified public accountant since 1961. A native of Jacksonville, Florida and a graduate of Cornell University, he moved to San Francisco in 1967 and worked for eight years at the international firm Deloitte, Haskins & Sells. His accounting career was interrupted briefly in the 1970s when he served as business manager of the San Francisco Opera. His first encounter with Koko was in 1978 as a fellow passenger in Penny's Volkswagen beetle during a drive around the Stanford campus. Koko, dressed in a baseball jacket and cap, attracted a few stares along the way.

Over the years, Michael has served on various non-profit organization boards, including Young Audiences, San Francisco Performances, Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, San Francisco Ceramic Circle, Transferware Collectors Club, and the Wallis Foundation. His hobby is collecting early nineteenth century English ceramics, and he has lectured widely on the subject. He has also published a book titled India on Transferware, which illustrates scenes of India printed on ceramics as well as the prints from which the patterns were derived.
Larry TeslerJon Steel
Advertising Executive, Dalkeith, WA, Australia; former Vice Chairman at Goodby Silverstein & Partners

Mr. Steel began his career in advertising as a 21-year-old account planner with the English agency Boase Massimi Pollitt. By the age of 26, he was appointed to BMP's board of directors. In 1989 he left the United Kingdom to become the first Director of Account Planning, and later Vice Chairman, at Goodby, Silverstein & Partners (e.g., "got milk") in San Francisco. Mr. Steel later became the Director of WPP's Marketing Fellowship Programme. He has been profiled by Adweek as "West Coast Executive of the Year," by Advertising Age as an "Agency Innovator," and by San Francisco Focus as one of the 100 smartest people in the Bay Area. In 1995, Jon Steel was inducted into the American Advertising Federation's Hall of Achievement for executives under 40. He is the author of "Truth, Lies & Advertising" and "Perfect Pitch."

While at Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, Mr. Steel supervised Koko's first public service announcement (PSA), and an extended mini-documentary, much of which became the basis for the award-winning PBS documentary, "A Conversation with Koko." Recently, Mr. Steel facilitated and helped craft some of the core themes for a a second Koko video production by Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, which focuses on Koko's quest — and the rest of the world's need for Koko — to have a family.
Larry TeslerJames and Elinor Wheeler
Media Archival Consultants, Oceano, CA

Jim is a
pioneer in audio-video technology, and has unique expertise in the preservation of magnetic media. Retired from Apex, Jim is still active with media preservation and identification initiatives, and has been a great resource to the Gorilla Foundation for planning it's media preservation efforts.

Jim and his wife live in Oceano, California after many years residing in the San Francisco Bay area, and with relatives still in the Bay area Jim and his wife have been kind enough to visit the Gorilla Foundation whenever necessary to help advance our "KokoArc" (research media archival) initiative.

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