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About Us

Bray Beltrán

Bray Beltrán

Director, Ocean Justice
Washington, DC

Bray was born on the Caribbean shores of northern Colombia. At a young age his family moved to Bogotá, 9,000 feet above sea level in the Andean Cordillera. He lived there until 2000 when he moved to the United States. However, the Caribbean is his culture, his heart, his people, his place. It was in the shores of his native Santa Marta where seeing subsistence fishermen struggle to make ends meet where Bray first wondered how fishermen could always catch enough fish to provide for their families while also making sure there will always be fish to catch.

Bray’s questions were shaped by his Abuela’s stories about fish so big that women in her village made roses out of their scales to sell at the market. When Bray asked Mama Dany why they didn’t make the roses anymore she said there weren’t enough fish and when caught, they were too small for the scales to be used. Wanting to know what drove the changes during Abuela’s lifetime drove Bray to pursue degrees in biology and environmental science. Finding the answers to these questions drove him to conservation.

Seeing through his Abuela’s experience how people’s quality of life can be affected by the conditions of their surroundings Bray developed a conservation ethic that centers people as integral and involved stewards of their surroundings. Here, in its purest form, conservation is a practice where we not only protect the spaces around us for non-human species but where we re-create, restore, and maintain a relationship of nourishment and reciprocity with our surroundings. To Bray nature is not a space but rather the relationship we hold with our surroundings.

After obtaining his graduate degrees, Bray spent ten years living in the Northern Rocky Mountains protecting their iconic landscapes. In fall 2023, Bray and his family moved to the mid-Atlantic where they are (re)learning to enjoy city living, rain and big trees. Camping and cooking are two activities the family centers their joy around. They continue to enjoy cooking, but are still trying to figure out camping on the east coast.

In the mid-Atlantic, Bray has found community, a renewed sense of purpose in conservation, and luckily a reconnection with the Ocean through ocean conservation.

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