Who are we?


Fundación MERI is a non-profit organization whose purpose is to protect the Melimoyu Nature Reserve, strengthening research and education for the conservation and sustainable management of terrestrial, freshwater, marine and cultural heritage of the northern Patagonia. To do so, it focuses on the areas of science, education and knowledge dissemination.

It supports and leads scientific research to enable it to understand the current conditions of the ecosystem in the Melimoyu Nature Reserve in order to educate and preserve Patagonia.

In education, human capital formation is promoted through courses, internships and research. It also develops initiatives of valuation of environmental assets for the local and school community, especially in the Aysén region.

In order to create sensibility and conservation awareness, it generates events, exhibitions, lectures and other open experiences to the public so as to share the richness of our ecosystems with the community as a whole.

The Foundation is part of the philanthropy model of the Cortés Solari family, whose social investment focuses on three areas - education, conservation and cultural heritage - inspired by a deep feeling of LOVE FOR CHILE: Love for its people, its landscapes and its traditions.

Currently, Fundación MERI is administered by a board chaired by Maria Francisca Cortés Solari and composed of her brother Juan Carlos Cortés Solari, Michael Grasty Cousino, Elizabeth Lehmann Cosoi, Alvaro Bofill Genzsch and Rodrigo Arze Safian.



Nestled in the fjords of Patagonia, surrounded by volcanoes and ancient forests, the Melimoyu Nature Reserve was the great motivation to create Fundación MERI in 2012. Fundación MERI started out aiming to protect the 16 thousand hectares of this remote nature reserve, and thus understand its fragile terrestrial and marine ecosystems.

Initially, it was created from private domestic and international efforts. Since 2013, Fundación MERI is the philanthropy area of the Cortes Solari family as its board of directors, who have continued to provide support emphasizing on MERI's research work and collaborative networks both in Chile and abroad. During its first years, it directed its work to terrestrial and marine research, thus giving rise to the iconic research project on the blue whale (Balaenoptera musculus), which uses the Corcovado Gulf waters to feed and socialize. Along these short years, MERI has included several other research topics thus extending conservation projects.

Why conserve?


MERI works to conserve the environment in which we are inserted and of which we are a part. We mainly focus on the northern Patagonia, through the generation of knowledge, promoting education and appreciation of our heritage within a sound scientific background. Conservation is therefore an active science development work with the community promoting the appreciation and care for the ecosystem. This is a broader view than just preservation which keeps a territory without any kind of intervention, or link with the community.

Collaboration is the basis of our work, not only with academic and / or research institutions, but also with local communities and other public and private organizations, generating a positive synergy for the conservation of different ecosystems in Patagonia, for the planet and our future generations.

Biodiversity is the variety and variability of life in its various dimensions. Today, the planet is facing various short- and long-term environmental crisis. As an example, we are facing a scenario of climate change, the acidification of the oceans, water shortage and pollution, loss of protected areas and biodiversity.

The Melimoyu Nature Reserve belongs to the Valdivian-Chiloe ecoregion, the link between the southern boundary of the Valdivian temperate forest and the northern end of Subantarctic Patagonian forest. The Reserve is composed of large extensions of native forest represented by two predominant vegetation levels, the temperate evergreen forest and the temperate resinous Guaitecas cypress and Tepú forest. As for its fauna, the area hosts a great variety of terrestrial and marine species; such as pumas, Darwin frogs, pudús, Chilean dolphin, Peale's dolphin, Magellanic penguins, Southern fur seal, an incredible variety of land and sea birds, and the blue whales among other cetaceans.

It is important to mention the high degree of endemism in the sector, i.e., species that coexist in a limited sector and which naturally are not found anywhere else in the world: 55% of freshwater fish, 50% of vascular plants, 63% of reptiles and 65% of amphibians are endemic.

Mission and Vision

Our Vision

Through a socially inclusive private initiative, we yearn to inspire and promote the conservation of biodiversity, the natural and cultural heritage of northern Patagonia.

Our Mission

In order to protect the Melimoyu Nature Reserve and strengthen research and education for the conservation and sustainable management of the terrestrial, freshwater, marine and cultural heritage of northern Patagonia.


María Francisca Cortés Solari


Juan Carlos Cortés Solari

Vice chairman

Michael Grasty Cousiño


Álvaro Bofill Genzsch


Rodrigo Arze Safian


Elizabeth Lehman Cosoi


Fundación MERI Team


María Francisca Cortés Solari



Ana María Molina

Directora Ejecutiva


Gustavo Chiang

Scientific Director - Fundación MERI


Paulina Bahamonde

Research Associate


Gloria Howes

Head of Educational and Ecotourism Programs


Fabian Caro

Head of Administrative and Social Management


Esteban Tapia Brunet

Manager of the Melimoyu Nature Reserve


Catalina Valencia

Asistente de Educación Ambiental


Sonia Español-Jiménez

Investigadora Asociada

Melimoyu Nature Reserve Team


Cecilia Verónica Delgado Timmermann


Isabel Cabezas Valdebenito


Belarmino Bórquez Mansilla


José AIvarado García


Alex Machuca Carvajal


Carlos Mansilla Andrade


As of our vision and mission to integrate, inspire, protect, strengthen research and education for biodiversity conservation, sustainable management of ecosystems and natural and cultural heritage of the Northern Patagonia, we want to promote transparency. That's why we offer all the information of each one of the annual activities of our foundation so that it is accessible to all.

Since 2012, MERI Foundation and the Melimoyu Nature Reserve have been carrying out important work of conservation and protection of freshwater, marine and terrestrial ecosystems in Melimoyu, establishing a triangle of sustainability that considers social, economic and environmental scopes.

Learn about Meri Foundation's 2015 Report. Click here. You can also see it in our latest? ISSUE.