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Meet the Funga Team: Ian Ware

Get to know the Funga crew with this newest installment of our "Meet the Team" series. Come back monthly to meet more team members, hear about their journey to Funga, and understand their vital role in our community.

Ian white water rafting with his daughter in their home state of Montana.

We’re big fans of the “Today I get to….” mentality. So, what do you get to do every day at Funga?

I joined Funga in June 2022 as the first full-time employee. Every day I get to translate our science through real world forestry and restoration projects. I get to engage with and learn from land partners, foresters, academic researchers, and conservation organizations to understand how we can all work together to make meaningful impacts for forest health, biodiversity, and carbon sequestration.

If you had to explain what Funga does to a third grader, what would you say?

All forests on earth clean our air, protect our water, and are home to so many plants, animals, AND microbes. We put microbes from healthy forests into young forests to help them become healthy and strong to continue protecting our planet.

Ian hiking with his youngest daughter.

Tell us a little bit about your life. How did it lead you to Funga?

I’ve always been fixated on the natural world, its many mysteries, and my place in the ecosystems I inhabit. This led to a career as a professional scientist, also spelled “professional learner.” I have spent the last 12 years at the intersection of forest ecology, microbiology, and climate science, researching how forest ecosystems adapt to climate change. Ultimately joining Funga to translate this science into real-world outcomes.

What is your favorite part of the job?

I love pushing the limits of scientific knowledge, asking questions to advance the edge of what we know about how ecosystems function, and how we can apply that knowledge to have large-scale impacts. My favorite part of all of this is working with Funga’s incredible team of problem solvers and a growing network of external partners to help bring new technology to regenerative forestry to fight the climate and biodiversity crises.

What is one workflow/productivity tool or trick that you can’t live without?

My favorite way to balance and maintain my productivity is by lacing up my running shoes or hopping on a bike and heading into the mountains. Nothing helps me focus quite like pushing the body and brain up a steep, windy ridge!

What trivia round would you know every answer to?

Migratory Animals or Toddler Literature for 500, Alex.

Can you share a favorite memory of/with the Funga team?

So many memories already in the young Funga-verse! The team we are building is brilliant, funny, empathetic, and incredibly resourceful.

At a recent team off-site at our headquarters in Austin, Texas, the science team was leading a session on data collection and management for the whole company. We split into teams to play a game to highlight how ‘noise’ and inaccuracies can enter data sets throughout the data collection process. This game peaks when our two loudest employees were tasked with yelling the data across a large room, with people talking and heavy metal music playing in the background (yes, you read that correctly), in hopes it correctly found the ears of their data-recording teammate on the other side. In the end, BOTH teams had an accurate dataset and successfully passed the test to end the game. If you need game suggestions, music recommendations, or a good listener, get in touch with your local Funga team member!

Ian hiking a trail in Santa Fe.

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