Meet the Team

Our hive is made up of passionate and talented individuals dedicated to protecting pollinators and their habitat.

The Bee Conservancy Staff

Guillermo Fernandez

Guillermo Fernandez

Founder and Executive Director

A Master Beekeeper candidate and an urban beekeeper for a decade, Guillermo is our organization’s founder and Executive Director. He brings years of marketing experience to us from his time at brands such as Vanity Fair and Vogue. Having grown up in a food desert, he believes bees are the key to transforming our food system and ensuring that everyone has access to healthy, local foods. When he’s not at the apiary or speaking at an event, Guillermo is hiking or traveling.

Rebecca Louie

Rebecca Louie

Managing Director

Rebecca is a Catskills beekeeper and certified Master Composter. A lifelong storyteller, she has written for numerous news and lifestyle publications, authored the book Compost City: Practical Composting Know-How for Small-Space Living, and founded The Compostess blog. A former brand strategist and creative director, she has worked with marketing, product, and technology teams to build global businesses. She splits her time between the mountains and city with her dog, Max.

Ryan Davenport

Ryan Davenport

Operations Manager

Joey Rodriguez

Joey Rodriguez

Director of Development & Communications

Joey Rodriguez is passionate about conserving nature and helping creatures of all kinds through fundraising and design. With a background in film production, graphic design, development, and operations management, his almost 20-year career has taken him from New York to Florida, Illinois, Maryland, Oregon, and many places in between. He is the author of four novels and two novellas and creates intergalactic art and music in his spare time.

Nick Hoefly

Nick Hoefly

Apiary Manager

Nick is a certified Master Beekeeper and co-owner of one of NYC’s premiere urban farms, Astor Apiaries. He shares his passion for honey bees and pollinators through teaching and public events/tours at his apiaries. A veteran of the TV/Film industry, Nick discovered honey bees when he took up beekeeping with two hobby hives. Since then his apiaries have grown to over 50 hives in multiple locations all over New York City.
Cecily Jackson-Zapata

Cecily Jackson-Zapata

General Counsel

Cecily Jackson-Zapata is an attorney representing nonprofits and social enterprises. She serves on the Board of Directors of Social Enterprise Alliance and Social and Environmental Entrepreneurs (SEE), Inc. and is the founder of Social Innovatus, a nonprofit that helps innovative nonprofits and social enterprises execute their missions and increase their impact. Cecily is a graduate of Stanford Law School the University of Southern California.

Ethan Sacks

Ethan Sacks

Writer

A long-time journalist, Ethan Sacks now writes comics for Marvel (“Star Wars”) and AWA Studios (“Covid Chronicles.”) He also keeps one foot in media as a reporter for NBC News, covering pop culture, obituaries, and Covid-19. Previously, Ethan reported on news and entertainment over a 20-year run at the New York Daily News. There, he was part of a team that won awards from the Society of Silurians and the New York Press Club.

Karen Muguku

Karen Muguku

Community & Administrative Specialist

Karen is passionate about optimizing communication to create and maintain relationships both professionally and personally. With a background in Communication and IT, she thrives in knowledge and information management and the use of technology to make data accessible for learning and creating solutions. When not organizing knowledge, Karen can be found discovering new places and cultures through food, travel and reading.

Sanctuary Beekeepers

Our team of beekeepers care for the hives in our Bee Sanctuaries across New York City. Each season, they perform ongoing beekeeping tasks such as installations, inspections, troubleshooting, protecting against pests and disease, and harvesting honey. Many are graduates from our Beekeeping Apprenticeship program.

Elizabeth Davis

Elizabeth Davis

IRC New Roots Farm

Liz Davis is a lifelong bee enthusiast and beekeeper since 2016, when she graduated from our Beekeeping Apprenticeship. She cares for three hives with her father in Upstate New York, as well as two hives in the Bronx. Liz earned her Master’s in Urban Studies at Fordham University and recently began her Sustainable MBA degree with Unity College. 

Linda & Carmine Feola

Linda & Carmine Feola

Staten Island Zoo Apiary

Linda, a retired registered nurse, and her husband Carmine, a security director, have always been interested in the intelligence of the honeybee. They love to pass on their knowledge to zoo visitors through informational lectures and gatherings. They have been beekeeping since 2018.

Alec McKinley

Alec McKinley

Prospect Park Zoo

Alec grew up on an island farm off the Seattle coast, and hails from hive generations of beekeepers. He studied Zoology and Entomology at the University of Wisconsin Madison, a natural extension of his heritage. By training in our Beekeeping Apprenticeship, he’s been able to participate in a hobby that has long held his attention and interest.

xtian "Cristian" Ivan Mejia

xtian "Cristian" Ivan Mejia

Beekeeping Training Technician, Queens Zoo, Prospect Park Zoo

xtian is a born and bred NewYorker with family lineage from Taino lands—Quisqueya. He is a graduate of our Beekeeping Apprenticeship and a Masters candidate in Apiculture. Professionally trained as an artist and printmaker, his fortes are drawing and painting. Beekeeping propels xtian’s instincts in unifying art and science.

Sarah Lagenbach

Sarah Lagenbach

BeeVillage at The Battery, Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) Apiary

Sarah, a graduate of our Beekeeping Apprenticeship program, is a co-founder of the bee education initiative at FIT, aimed at increasing bee awareness within the college community. An FIT alumna, she keeps bees on campus and with the team at BeeVillage at The Battery. When not beekeeping, Sarah is a skincare product developer at a leading beauty company.

Donald Laghezza

Donald Laghezza

Queens Zoo

A Queens native, Donald graduated Adelphi University in 1971 with a BA in History and earned his Masters from the University of Massachusetts in 1981. Between his degrees, he moved abroad and lived in Kyoto, Japan. After 35 years of working in the international trade field, he is now retired and after graduating our Beekeeping Apprenticeship now helps tend the hives at our Training Apiary.

Lhana Ormenyi

Lhana Ormenyi

IRC New Roots Farm

Lhana is a hobby beekeeper and Bee Apprenticeship grad, community gardener, environmental educator, program manager, theatrical designer and technician, and proud cat parent. Urban environmental justice is foundational to her work, especially as Education Coordinator at Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy and a board member of the Manhattan Land Trust.  

Ian Skarlsky

Ian Skarlsky

Hells Kitchen Farm Project, Governors Island Bee Sanctuary

Ian Sklarsky has loved insects since he was a child, and a few years ago he decided to devote his life to educating people on native and honey bees. A Brooklyn-based artist, Ian works in blind contour (using a single line without looking at the paper), and has made a following with his portraits and murals.

Kristen Tauer

Kristen Tauer

Queens Zoo

Kristen participated in our Beekeeping Apprenticeship program in 2019, and looks forward to continuing her bee education with the organization in seasons to come. A native of the Finger Lakes region of Upstate New York, she currently resides in Queens and works as an arts and culture journalist. 

Nicole Toutounji

Nicole Toutounji

BeeVillage at The Battery, St. John the Divine

As a young girl in Egypt, Nicole was fascinated by the bees on her family’s farm. A former photographer and photo editor at UNICEF, Nicole eventually took beekeeping classes, joined an urban beekeeping organization, and apprenticed to refine her skills. As head beekeeper at St. John the Divine, and a founding member of BeeVillage, she hosts events sharing the value of bees.