Meet Our Team
Stephanie Ellis – Executive Director and Wildlife Rehabilitator
Stephanie is our Executive Director as of March 2016. Stephanie has an enormous wealth of knowledge and passion for avian rehabilitation, conservation, and nonprofit fundraising on both coasts. She has a special affinity for birds. She was the Animal Care Coordinator of the Wildlife Center of Silicon Valley fromm 2010-2012. She also served as Executive Director of the Santa Clara Valley Audubon Society in the bustling technology hub of Cupertino, CA, and she spent 6 months as Interim Executive Director at the San Francisco Bay Bird Observatory. She is most at home in her homeland habitat of Massachusetts. In her free time she can be found catching a sunset, dancing, and exploring Cape Cod’s natural beauty and wonder.
Jennifer Taylor is originally from Rockland County, New York. Her family moved to the Cape in 1970. Through countless trips to visit relatives in Brewster as a young child, she fell in love with the grasshoppers, field mice, red squirrels, foxes, bob-whites, gulls and goldfinches. After graduating from Nauset Regional High School, she pursued a career in art, studying at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, Castle Hill and privately with other artists. She worked as a printmaker for several years in Provincetown and Wellfleet.
She considers her life’s masterpiece to be her family and she worked hard to juggle many kinds of jobs to fit into a mother’s schedule; ranging from landscape machine mechanic to estate management, along with years of volunteering in the Brewster’s elementary schools. After raising four children, the “empty nest syndrome” began to kick in and in 2002 a friend led her to Wild Care, where she participated in the baby bird program, was enchanted by the avian orphans and never left.
She received her wildlife rehabilitator permit in 2007 and became part of the Wild Care staff, and eventually accepted her current position as Animal Care Coordinator in 2013. Nurturing the orphan squirrels are admittedly her favorite part of the job, although returning a gannet back to the sea is a close second. She finds it a joy and a privilege to share in the lives of the animals who so enchanted her as a child, and doing her part to tend to the injured and orphaned wildlife of Cape Cod has become her passion.
Kerry Reid – Office Administrator and Wildlife Rehabilitator
Kerry “washed ashore” in 1983, at first in Centerville, then moving to Eastham in 1986. She and her husband Paul Lothrop, whose family roots on the Cape go back centuries, owned and operated Aattaboy Septic for 27 years, before he passed away in 2013.
In 1992 after finding a crow in distress in her backyard, Kerry met Karen Von den Deale (Wild Care’s founder) and started volunteering in her home clinic.
In 1993, Wild Care was formed and Kerry with other volunteers under Karen’s tutelage, became a licensed rehabilitator. When Karen gave her the opportunity to care for a juvenile crow at home, she was hooked on all things Corvid, and has cared for and released many Crows and Blue Jays over the years. “I am very grateful for all the experiences I’ve had and people I’ve met being a part of Wild Care, I look forward to helping the organization, in a new way, as Office Administrator.”
Leah Myrbeck – Wildlife Rehabilitator
Throughout all of her childhood on Cape Cod, Leah held a deep interest in and love for all animals. Many hours of her young life were spent reading about or drawing pictures of various creatures, spending time with the ones she shared her home with, or out in the woods among the wild ones. When she reached the age where she was able to understand the negative impact humans could have on the much revered animal world, she was compelled to lessen it in any way she could. She pursued her interests in art and animals into adulthood. Upon moving to Boston, she began working at Angell Memorial Animal Hospital. Here, she received a powerful introduction to animal healthcare and the many challenges and rewards that come with it.
She later moved to Watkins Glen, New York to work at Farm Sanctuary, an organization dedicated to spreading compassion for animals to those typically seen as food. There, she was part of a small team of caregivers for hundreds of rescued farm animals, including cows, pigs, sheep, goats, turkeys, chickens, ducks, geese, and rabbits. From there she moved to Seattle, where she worked at Seattle Humane Society, a high volume, progressive shelter for companion animals. As part of the veterinary services team, she was responsible for medical check-ins of new animals, assisting with spays/neuters and other surgeries, and making sure any health concerns for resident animals was addressed by a DVM.
Although she loved Seattle, and all of the west coast, Leah found herself wanting to return to the land from whence she came. She moved back to Cape Cod and started attending the Community College with a focus on art and life sciences, her two interests from the very beginning. At the same time, she started volunteering at Wild Care, in order to fulfill her need to work with animals in some capacity. Having taken care of and been fascinated by a wide variety of domestic animals, she was keen to get experience with animals that live wild, and also get a better understanding of the native wildlife that shared the land that she considered her home. All along her journey while caring for domesticated animals, times arose where there was wildlife in need, and although she felt a strong urge to help, Leah knew only rehabbers had the knowledge needed to do what was best for them.
Finally being in the position to be able to care for and help wild animals is something she has been dreaming about for a long time. After volunteering for a year, she jumped at the opportunity to be hired as an assistant while studying for the licensing exam. She adores all the animals that pass through Wild Care’s doors, and nothing makes her feel better than seeing them regain their health and return to their homes. In June 2016, Leah passed her rehab exam and is extremely excited to have entered the world of rehabbers!
Rebecca Banas, Director of Outreach, Marketing and Events
Rebecca joins our team as the new Director of Outreach, Marketing & Events. She grew up in Orleans and truly loves the Cape. Having worked in both the for-profit and not-for-profit sectors she brings with her over 18 years of experience! Rebecca is a passionate supporter of animals, local businesses and the arts; she helps run a gallery in Dennis Port and has been onstage in local theaters for over 30 years! Rebecca works with many local nonprofits and she currently resides on the Lower Cape with her family and 2 gorgeous cats.
Rachel Wojciak, Wildlife Rehabilitation Assistant and Acting Volunteer Coordinator
Rachel has been visiting the Cape since she was an infant. As a child she spent a lot of time outside and was surrounded by a variety of wildlife living in rural, woodsy Connecticut. Her father taught her what he knew about the woodland creatures at home and did the same with Cape wildlife when they would vacation in the summer.
After struggling to find her path in college she switched majors and schools several times. She finished at Northwestern Connecticut Community College with an associate degree in Arts and Science in May of 2020, but still felt incredibly lost.
That spring Wild Care reached out to Rachel and asked her to return that summer to work as a seasonal rehabilitation assistant again. She quickly realized how well this job married her interests of learning about wildlife and helping out animals in need, and wished to commit fully to it.
Rachel has been studying for her own wildlife rehabilitation license and is extremely excited to take the exam in a few months!
Gionet Hasson, Wildlife Rehabilitation Assistant.
Gionet is a Wildlife Rehabilitation Assistant. She’s been back three times! In 2018 and 2019, she was an Intern with Wild Care. We like her so much, we hired her as seasonal staff in 2020 to help us through the busy season! Gionet is originally from California and is living in Eastham. She graduated from Wheaton College in Norton, MA in 2020, with a degree in Biology. She came back to Wild Care because she enjoyed her time with us. Some of her Wild Care highlights are that she “loves learning new things”, “helping with rescues and caring for baby birds”.
Karen Eldridge, Wildlife Rehabilitator
Karen Eldridge is originally from Newton, Massachusetts and currently lives in East Sandwich near Sandy Neck beach, a special “nature place” she has been visiting all her life.
Karen has explored several career directions over the years, earning a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of New Hampshire and a carpentry certificate at the North Bennet Street School in Boston, where she met her future husband. Their honeymoon, a nine-week cross country road trip, inspired Karen to pursue a career in environmental and wildlife advocacy. She began working at Mass Audubon headquarters in Lincoln as a member of the Advocacy (then known as Public Policy) department for several years until her two sons arrived.
With parenthood came the joys of introducing her children to the world of nature and wildlife, but unforeseen challenges ultimately led Karen to explore a career in human therapeutic rehabilitation. She went back to school and earned her Master’s degree in Occupational Therapy at Boston University. She worked as an OT, primarily with older adults in their homes, most recently on Cape Cod.
Karen continued to pursue her interest in wildlife through sea turtle rescue and as a transport volunteer for Mass Audubon Wellfleet. She recently became a member of IFAW’s marine mammal response team and for the last three years has been an animal care volunteer at Cape Wildlife Center in Barnstable. It was there that a young common tern captured her heart, and she was soon inspired to work toward her wildlife rehabilitator permit, which she received in March of 2020. Shortly afterward a rehabilitator position at Wild Care became available, and much to her joy and surprise, she was hired, and began working here in May.
Occupational therapists help humans heal, adapt and regain independence after injury, illness or other setbacks, and Karen finds she can apply some of her OT skills to wildlife rehabilitation here at Wildcare. Karen finds it a joy to be among the animals here, helping them get back to their wild and beautiful selves.
If you have an animal in distress, please call our Helpline at 508-240-2255.
If you find an animal in
Our helpline and our facility
An Uncooperative Loon
Adventures of a Volunteer By Amy Sanders It’s March 28, and I’m arriving home from a bunch of errands, when I spot the answering machine light blinking. It’s Wild Care, asking if I can get a loon in a driveway in North Truro. The call came a coREAD ALL NEWS
DID YOU KNOW??
Wild Care has a state-of-the-art seabird therapy pool, which allows seabirds and waterfowl to exercise on running water. This will help our bird friends recover more quickly so they can get back to their watery habitats!