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Matthew Shepherd, Director of Communications & Outreach
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PORTLAND, Ore.; Tuesday, April 20, 2021---The Xerces Society is welcoming two members to its board of directors to help meet the big challenges of biodiversity loss, climate change, and more.

Betsy López-Wagner is Principal and Chief Strategist at López-Wagner Strategies, an equitable communications agency working with mission-driven individuals, organizations, and companies to develop—and execute—equitable and inclusive strategies and enhance their communications abilities to strengthen collective impact for social good. Her expertise is in environmental, bilingual, and equitable communications, media relations and campaigns, as well as inclusive grantmaking with a racial justice lens. She is a DEI practitioner and facilitator. Additionally, she serves as the strategic communications partner for ALRAS Digital.

López-Wagner has worked alongside attorneys, lobbyists, and coalition partners to safeguard the health of communities, protect clean air and water, fight arctic drilling, and protect the ocean’s resources. And she's co-devised strategies alongside advocates and grassroots activists to ensure their power is seen, heard, and felt from regional to national levels by developing a culture of storytelling that elevates authentic personal narratives to emotionally connect with audiences and inspire action. 

She is the parent of a six-year-old lepidopterist and climate activist, and the partner of a stay-at-home dad, gardener, and environmental education advocate; together they farm. Their family hosts Amigos for Monarchs, an annual pollinator project providing seed kits to loved ones and perfect strangers across the nation every spring.

“The Xerces Society, as an international science-based nonprofit, plays a vital role on behalf of the natural world—one that supports the advancement of conservation to safeguard our mighty pollinators, fosters stewardship and welcomes new generations into this labor of love. I look forward to continuing to protect the natural world, and in turn people, by connecting this work through the lens of climate justice," said Betsy Lopez-Wagner, incoming Xerces Society Board of Directors member.

Jay Withgott is a science writer with a background in research and teaching, and authors leading textbooks in environmental science. With college-level books in their sixth and seventh editions and other versions for high-school, international, and digital audiences, Withgott works to keep pace with a rapidly changing field and constantly seeks to develop new and better ways to help students learn about the world around them. To make science accessible and engaging for all readers, Jay draws on his academic experience in ecology and evolutionary biology, his professional grounding as a reporter and editor for daily newspapers, and his personal passion as a naturalist. A lifelong birder, his love of insects was sparked in early childhood by raising monarchs and black swallowtails from his family’s garden. He holds degrees from Yale University, the University of Arkansas, and the University of Arizona. He and his wife live in Portland, Oregon, where the Xerces pollinator habitat sign in their front yard has inspired many conversations and perhaps a few conversions.

“Now, more than ever, we need broad public awareness of the biodiversity crisis and urgent action to conserve and restore habitats and populations—especially of the invertebrates that buttress our food webs, support our agriculture, and furnish so much of the planet’s diversity,” said Jay Withgott, incoming Xerces Society Board of Directors member. “The growing recognition of insect declines, in particular, inspired me to offer what I can to the Xerces Society. It’s no exaggeration to say that this dynamic organization is playing a hugely important role at this key moment in Earth’s history."

“Throughout its history, the Xerces Society has been fortunate to have remarkable people serve on its board of directors. The current board is no exception,” said Scott Black, executive director of the Xerces Society. “I am excited that Betsy and Jay are joining us and adding their considerable depth of experience and knowledge to our work.”




Betsy López-Wagner


Jay Withgott




The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation protects the natural world by conserving invertebrates and their habitat. Established in 1971, the Society is a trusted source for science-based information and advice and plays a leading role in protecting pollinators and many other invertebrates. Our team draws together experts from the fields of habitat restoration, entomology, plant ecology, education, community engagement, pesticides, farming and conservation biology with a single passion: Protecting the life that sustains us. To learn more, visit or follow us @xercessociety on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.