Unudelgerekh Batkhuu is the Founder and Director of Mongol Ecology Center. Before founding the Mongol Ecology Center (MEC) in 2009, Ono worked with various development and environmental projects in Mongolia. She was committed to taking action after witnessing impacts of mining, climate change and irresponsible decision making in the environmental sector of her native country. As a graduate in International Relations and Economic Development from the California State University, Ono recognized that economic development, through the extractive industry, became a needed reality for Mongolia. Therefore, she wondered how this development could be balanced with the preservation of the most valued natural and cultural heritage, which ensures Mongolia’s future. She quickly realized that the “best international practice” was through a national system of parks and protected areas.
This journey has led the Mongol Ecology Center to work in Lake Hovsgol National Park and the establishment of the Lake Hovsgol Conservancy in 2012, which now assists all four protected areas of Hovsgol province. Since 2012, MEC raised more than 800 thousand dollars to strengthen the management of the protected areas and initiated various programs to advance conservation and education skills of the park staff, promote environmental leadership among youth, rehabilitate and expand park facilities, support tourism-related workforce development for local community members and build collaborative bridges between Mongolia, Europe and America.
Ono is also a co-founder and director of Mongolian Academy of Sustainable Development and co-founder “Ger” Youth Center, a non-profit organization that serves Mongolian children in the San Francisco Bay Area. She is an alumna of the Executive Leadership Program of the National Parks Institute, the collaboration between Yosemite National Park, University of California Merced, and the United States National Park Service national office. She is also a Certified Interpretive Guide Trainer by the National Association for Interpretation of the United States.