Who We Are2020-12-04T08:12:11-07:00

Our Mission

Conservify seeks to empower conservationists and communities by lowering the barriers to entry for effective conservation. Through providing the appropriate platforms, apps, and connected conservation devices, we can democratize the data and action around the protection of a species or reserve.

We no longer have to feel helpless when it comes to conservation. The tools and technologies sit at our fingertips and we can make use of them to make a difference. Join us in harnessing the exponential growth in technology and connectivity to change the way we currently do things. Conservify is working to build an “open conservation” community within conservation technology and create the tools and innovation pipeline to make this a reality.

Shah Selbe

Shah Selbe is the founder of ​Conservify​ and a National Geographic Explorer and Fellow. He is an engineer and conservation technologist that works with communities, NGOs, and developing countries to identify and deploy technologies that can help with their greatest conservation challenges. His projects have integrated crowdsourcing, smartphone apps, drones, satellite data, and sensors to address such conservation issues as illegal poaching and the monitoring of protected areas. This includes low-cost observation platforms (conservation drones, acoustic sensors, open source sensors, satellite imagery, etc) and better methods to share and manage the data gathered (using mobile technologies, crowdsourcing, data visualization, etc). He founded the first solely conservation technology makerspace and nonprofit prototyping lab called ​Conservify​, which uses open source technology to empower local communities to bring innovative tools into how we change our planet’s future. Over the last few years, ​Conservify​ has built open source hardware for use in the field on National Geographic expeditions and through our network of scientists and conservationists. Our work has included water quality characterization in Peru’s Boiling River, biodiversity protection in Botswana’s Okavango Delta, tracking glacial melt in Canada’s Banff National Park, understanding the behaviors of ​Congo​’s lowland gorillas, helping citizen scientists monitor water in the Amazon Rainforest, drone-based monitoring of Sri Lanka’s blue whales, and many more diverse activities across the globe. This work has been honored as a 2010 Boeing Exceptional Service Award, 2011 Buckminster Fuller Challenge Semi-Finalist, a 2011 Ocean Exchange Gulfstream Navigator Finalist, 2011 Katerva Award Nominee, 2013 National Geographic Society Explorer Award, 2014 UCR Outstanding Alumnus Service Award, 2015 PopTech Social Innovation Award, 2016 Rolex Award Finalist, and a National Geographic Society Fellowship (2016-2019) and many grants.

Jacob Lewallen

Jacob began developing and selling software in high school and has had a love for technology and all things making ever since. During college he worked for the University of California at Riverside as a System Administrator, helping to automate and improve the engineering department’s computer infrastructure. After graduating, he joined the e-learning startup, Eleutian Technology and was pivotal in the creation of the initial software and hardware architecture of the company’s formative years. After Eleutian, Jacob joined the consulting company SolutionStream Inc where he had the opportunity to apply and grow his software knowledge in solving a diverse set of problems in fields from education to insurance. Prior to joining Conservify in early 2017 Jacob volunteered his time and knowledge towards a number of Conservify projects, developing a passion for the company’s goals and ideals. Since joining Conservify he has had the chance to do field and lab work that required applying and gaining knowledge to solve engineering problems of all kinds in a variety of exotic places with their own unique challenges. In his free time Jacob has a voracious appetite for maker culture. He contributes to local Makerspaces and mentors friends in software as well as evangelizing the benefits of hand tool woodworking and traditional methods, one of his passionate hobbies.