Born in Spain, Manuel is an anthropologist and archaeologist interested in the protection of cultural and biological diversity. He has been working with environmental non-profit organizations for more than 25 years in Europe, Central, and South America and the United States.
He was the founder of the TUVA Foundation, (United Lands of Neighbors for the Environment) and acted as its Executive Director for 11 years, from 1990 to 2001. As a local nonprofit headquartered in the town of Puerto Jimenez, TUVA launched collaborative community-conservation initiatives in a highly conflictive area that in 1989 had the highest deforestation rate in the world, finally saving over 5 million trees in a 20,000-acre buffer zone around Corcovado National Park, in southern Costa Rica.
Since 2013, Manuel has served as Executive Director for Earth Team, an East Bay organization dedicated to empowering urban youth to become lifelong environmental stewards through experiential education, skills development, and the building of community connections.