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 – Animal Care Coordinator and Wildlife Rehabilitator
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.
Niki Walley – Wildlife Rehabilitator and Volunteer Coordinator
Niki Howes lives just off Cape, in Middleborough, MA. She was born and raised in Brewster, attending Nauset Regional High School, and always had a love and appreciation of animals and nature. She attended Bridgewater State University, where she studied environmental biology, including classes on wetland animals and marine biology. In 2012, Niki graduated Magna Cum Laude status, with a Bachelor’s Degree in environmental biology.
Niki interned at Wild Care from May through October 2013. She ended up falling in love with the field of wildlife rehabilitation, as well as the people and the animals at Wild Care, and when her internship ended in the Fall, she stayed on as a Volunteer twice a week. On her own, Niki studied for the Massachusetts Wildlife Rehabilitation Exam. In February 2014, she passed the exam and received her certification. The following month, Niki was hired as a permitted Wildlife Rehabilitator at Wild Care, and eventually became the Volunteer Coordinator as well.
At Wild Care, Niki’s favorite jobs include feeding baby squirrels and baby possums. Niki’s other passions in her spare time include going to concerts to see her favorite bands, watching Patriots, Red Sox and Bruins games, playing with her dogs, and cooking.
Kerry Reid – Office Administrator
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!
Kate Rollenhagen Diggs – Wildlife Rehabilitator
Kate started helping wild animals at a young age – turning horseshoe crabs back upright on the beach at age 4 to start – but didn’t get involved with wildlife rehabilitation until 1997, when she started volunteering at the Pennsylvania Wildlife Center in Pittsburgh (after graduating from college with a completely unrelated degree in creative writing). She was soon hired as staff and then as Animal Care Coordinator.
This experience inspired Kate to pursue more education to improve the care she could provide – she ended up at Blue Ridge Community College in Virginia for the veterinary technology program and did her externship at Tufts Univ. Wildlife Clinic. After graduation, she worked in the veterinary field in emergency and day practice with dogs and cats (though still also volunteering with the Wildlife Center of Virginia). In 2011 Kate had the opportunity to move to the Cape to work as the vet tech at the Cape Wildlife Center for a couple years.
Kate enjoys working with all types of wild animals, no matter how small or big or feisty. She has a soft spot for pigeons and great horned owls. She currently also works at Brewster Veterinary Hospital one day per week as a vet tech, and is super excited to be a Wildlife Rehabilitator with Wild Care!
Heather Arrascue – Marketing and Events Assistant
Heather grew up in Milford, Mass and moved to Cape Cod in 2004, as a “washashore” it took time for her to fall in love with living on Cape Cod, now she can’t help but love every season on this beautiful island.
Heather joins Wild Care Cape Cod with experience in all aspects of marketing spanning more than 20+ years. Her diverse marketing experience includes public and private sectors, as well as non-profit and small business. She has a vast amount of fundraising experience and coordinating, planning and running events is truly exciting to her. Her passion for animals is the best part of working with Wild Care, enabling her to work toward a cause she truly loves.
Heather is also a professional photographer, and looks forward to taking and sharing adorable pictures of Wild Care’s healing patients
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
Blown Off-Course, Dovekies Find Helping Hands
Wild Care received six dovekies late last week. A sea-faring species, the birds were blown inland due to high northeast winds from a cold front that swept Cape Cod and much of Massachusetts Dec. 17. Two of the birds survived and were released Dec. 2READ 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!