IWRC Board of Directors
Working for a Stronger Future
Our Board of Directors is dedicated and hardworking because, like our members, our work helps wildlife now and in the future. We believe in IWRC’s mission to provide education and resources for wildlife conservation worldwide. No pay, long hours, vital responsibilities and the requirement to personally cover board-related expenses such as travel. Such is the commitment of the IWRC Board of Directors.
President: Susan Wylie CWR
Susan Wylie is Executive Director of Le Nichoir, a wild bird conservation centre that delivers its mission through: professional and compassionate care of injured and orphaned wild birds and the development and delivery of environmental education programs for children and adults. Le Nichoir admits over 1500 birds annually representing over 100 species found in Quebec, Canada. Susan has been rehabilitating songbirds and aquatic birds since 2003 with her passion being the rehabilitation of insectivorous birds, especially Chimney swifts.
As Director, Susan is responsible for overseeing the Centre’s operations including establishing bird care protocols, organizing fundraising events and development planning, managing the Centre’s education coordinator, 6 bird care staff and 130 volunteers. Susan graduated from McGill University with a Bachelor’s degree in Wildlife Biology, and is an environmental management technician. She feels strongly about promoting professionalism and integrating science into wildlife rehabilitation. Susan joined the IWRC board in 2008 and chairs the development committee.
Vice President: Adam Grogan
Adam joined IWRC's Board of Directors in 2011. Since 2000, Adam has been working for the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) in the UK as their Wildlife Rehabilitation Co-ordinator. In this capacity he advises on policy with regards to casualty wildlife and facilitates research into methods of rehabilitating wild animals and how these methods can be improved to aid survival of these casualties. The RSPCA has conducted a number of studies on the survival of such animals using methods such as radio-tracking and ringing to monitor the animals after release. He has a strong research background and has undertaken projects covering a range of species. These include a critique of available methods for monitoring rabbit populations and investigating the effectiveness of mitigation used to prevent otter (Lutra lutra), and other mammalian, road casualties. He has experience in surveying and radio-tracking a number of mammal species, including badgers (Meles meles) polecats (Mustela putorius), mink (Neovison vison) and water voles (Arvicola terrestris). Adam’s background therefore is based in mammals and his favourite mammals are otters. Adam is also Vice Chair of The Mammal Society for Britain and Ireland having previously served as Honorary Secretary and also sits on the Executive Committee of the British Council for Wildlife Rehabilitation (BWRC). BSc (Hons) MIEEM
Secretary: Brenda Harms
Brenda Harms is a retired attorney from Pelham, NY who has studied Fundraising at New York University. She is celebrating her own recently acquired “empty nest” by changing careers and becoming a licensed wildlife rehabilitator. Brenda currently serves on IWRC’s Executive Committee as Secretary to the Board of Directors as well as being actively involved in the Fundraising and States & Providences Committees. She hosts the Board’s annual retreat and two-day Board meeting at her Shelter Island, NY second home.
Treasurer: Dani Nicholson
Dani was trained in bookkeeping and accounting in 1977. She has worked in wildlife rehabilitation since 2001. In addition, through her non-profit whose mission is education and advocacy for wildlife, she serves on an ad-hoc committee to modify the fish cleaning station in Avila Beach, as well as working on another committee to do the same in Morro Bay. Dani maintains an active 24 hour Hazwoper with OWCN and has worked on a few oil spills, and she is also on the Pacific Wildlife Care (PWC) Wash Team. Over the years, Dani's washed hundreds of birds.
Dani has held multiple board positions at PWC and is now President of Willow Tree Wildlife. She currently serves on the Marine Mammal Center (Sausalito) Volunteer Council as the San Luis Obispo Satellite facility representative. She works with the Lafeber Company as a liaison to the wildlife community and travels to conferences several times per year, visiting wildlife groups while traveling. She also take every bit of education she can.
Francisca Astorga MV
Francisca Astorga is a veterinarian and naturalist from Chile. Based on a love for animals, she pursued a Bachelor’s degree in Natural Science and then graduated from Vet School. Now, she has an MSc and a PhD in Conservation Medicine. She has participated for more than 7 years in different projects concerning wild animal’s rehabilitation, management, research and conservation. Since 2004, she has being contributing to the Cascada de las Animas Wild Animal Refuge (www.refugioanimalcascada.cl), located in Central Chile, where she supports mainly veterinary activities, management and fundraising. Her research experience has focused on the impact of free-ranging dogs on wildlife, particularly on sympatric carnivores, including spatial segregation, competition and potential infectious disease transmission.
Lloyd Brown CWR
Lloyd has served IWRC as a State Representative, a regional representative and then as a board member. He served as the membership director and conducted surveys of rehabilitators from around the world (asking what rehabilitators wanted IWRC to be for them and what IWRC could do to make them more likely to join). Lloyd developed and taught the first disaster preparedness class specifically for rehabbers and developed a database to assist rescuers in helping rehabbers after a disaster. Lloyd served in the US Army as a Paratrooper and is currently serving as a fire fighter, technical rescue technician and paramedic. He also has worked around the world on animal rescue and disaster relief projects for Vier Pfoten, IFAW, HSUS, HSI, Code 3 associates, and ASPCA. Lloyd feels that IWRC should be the leader in providing education and advocacy for rehabilitators around the world. Where there are currently no rehab operations, local people should be helped and educated to understand the value of native wildlife and to develop rehabilitation programs appropriate to their regions and the problems they face. Lloyd is currently a State and Federally permitted wildlife rehabilitator and runs a small rehabilitation operation in South Florida. He has been working as a rehabber for 18 years and rehabilitates native birds, terrestrial mammals and marine mammals (dolphins, whales and otters).
Kelly is currently Bear Manager at Animal’s Asia’s Vietnam Bear Rescue Center in northern Vietnam. Located in Tam Dao National Park, VBRC cares for nearly 150 Asiatic black bears and Malayan sun bears rescued from illegal trafficking and bear bile farms, providing them with quality lifetime care. Before moving to the forests of Vietnam with her cat, Kelly worked as the Wildlife Rescue Program Officer for the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), based at the international headquarters on Cape Cod, Massachusetts. There, she worked on rescue projects spanning the globe including Amur tiger rehabilitation in Russia’s Far East, raptor rehabilitation in China, and rescue and sanctuary placement of displaced big cats in the U.S. Kelly holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from the University of Arizona and a Master’s of Science in Conservation Medicine from the Tufts Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine. During her graduate studies, she completed a case study on the health and conservation concerns of international wildlife trade and investigated zoonotic disease risks at U.S exotic animal auctions. In the U.S., she has been involved with wildlife rehabilitation and care in Arizona, Florida, and New England.
Kristen Heitman CWR
Kristen’s passionate connection to this field began in 1999. In 2002 she founded the non-profit, Providence Wildlife Rehabilitation, Inc. In addition to her position as Executive Director, Kristen is fully immersed in patient care as a State and Federally licensed rehabilitator, specializes in waterfowl, and assists with the center’s conservation-based education outreach programs. Kristen attained CWR status in 2007 and has been an IWRC board member since 2013. She is current chair of the States and Provinces committee, former Symposium committee chair, and Membership committee participant. She was a founding board member, Communications Director, newsletter editor, and Education committee member of the former Indiana Wildlife Rehabilitators and Educators Network (IWREN).
Laurin is the Rehabilitation Director of Cascades Raptor Center, a wildlife hospital and nature education center specializing in birds of prey in Eugene, Oregon. She has worked full time as a wildlife rehabilitator since 2002, and as a volunteer for two years prior. Laurin is focused on individualized patient care and developing treatment plans that address stress reduction, force-free physical therapy, and pre-release conditioning through operant learning methods. She was fortunate to be selected to assist with oiled bird care in several of the Gulf state response centers during the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill of 2010.
In addition to providing health and medical care for CRC's hospital patients, she partnered with CRC's Education Director to develop the Resident Bird Wellness Program. This program focuses on quality of life through preventative medicine, nutrition, physical health, mental health, enrichment, and also includes specialized geriatric care, and benefits all of CRC's Exhibit and Program birds.
Laurin has an eclectic background, growing up in the Washington DC area and on the island of Kauai. She attended the Savannah College of Art and Design, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and the Oregon College of Arts and Crafts in Portland, studying primarily textile design and print making. Her creative background prepared her in many ways for the demands and needs of a small non-profit, from graphic design and marketing to outside-the-box brainstorming and problem solving. She lives in a rural community outside of the Eugene/Springfield area with her husband and indoor cats, enjoys roller derby, and repurposes discarded materials, turning them into new works of functional art.
Amanda currently resides in Wausau, Wisconsin where she serves as the wildlife rehabilitation/captive wildlife liaison for the State of Wisconsin. She has a Bachelor’s of Science in Biology with minors in Captive Wildlife Management and Conservation Biology and a Master’s degree in Wildlife from the University of Wisconsin Stevens Point. Amanda discovered wildlife rehabilitation as an undergraduate student, and since then she has found numerous ways to stay involved in this field. She started as an intern one summer, which led to future internships, volunteering, and other employment opportunities in wildlife rehabilitation. In addition to wildlife rehabilitation, Amanda is particularly interested in studying wildlife health and disease. She strives to work within the wildlife rehabilitation community to promote networking and collaboration, encourage continuing education, and support research opportunities. She believes teamwork is an important key to success, and aspires to be a part of that team and encourage others to also promote and protect wildlife conservation. Amanda brings to the IWRC board her experience working with both a state agency and wildlife rehabilitators, and she will continue to encourage and support this collaboration.
Dr Ashraf NVK is the Senior Director & Chief Veterinarian at the Wildlife Trust of India (WTI) which runs in partnership with the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW). He is a member of the IUCN’s Conservation Breeding Specialist Group, Bear Specialist Group, Reintroduction Specialist Group, and Wildlife Health Specialist group. As part of WTI, he has worked with the Environment Public Authority (EPA) of the State of Kuwait in 2003 to prepare a schematic design plan for a wildlife rescue centre meant for accommodating confiscated animals and was part of IFAW's five-member team commissioned to renovate the Baghdad Zoo in 2003.
Ashraf played a major role in the creation of IFAW-WTI's wildlife rehabilitation centres as well as overseeing the rehabilitation projects associated with them. Under his leadership and supervision, for the first time in India, hand-raised rhino calves have been rehabilitated (and reproduced in the wild), Asiatic black bear orphans are being rehabilitated every year with 85% post-release survival success, demonstrated for the first time in Asia that clouded leopards can be put back the wild (now a National Geographic film), and stranded Eastern hoolock gibbons can be safely captured and translocated to safer areas in Arunachal Pradesh, India.
On the IWRC Board, Ashraf will be working towards bringing into focus the wildlife rehabilitation efforts of tropical Asian countries and acting as an ambassador to bridge the gap between rehabilitators of Indian subcontinent and the west.
Kimberly Poisson CWR
Kimberly Poisson is the executive director of A2 Raptor Rescue, a non-profit 501(c)3 organization in Michigan. Kimberly has been working with wildlife since 1994 and holds state and federal permits for mammal and raptor rehabilitation as well as education. In 2011 she founded A2 Raptor Rescue, an non-profit organization focused solely on raptor rehabilitation, with a strong emphasis on public education. As part of A2′s educational programing, a pilot program was started aimed at young children. Wings for Literacy began as a test project to see if first-graders would have any interest in reading to the resident screech owls, much like the reading assistance dogs that provide similar services. The program was a huge success and is now growing steadily. In 2009 Kimberly was awarded her CWR by IWRC. Having long been a steadfast believer in IWRC’s mission to develop and provide quality courses and materials to rehabilitators internationally, she chairs the IWRC course development committee, which works to peer review, edit and keep current all the IWRC curriculum and courses.