Meet Our Staff
Louise Shimmel, Executive Director
Louise founded and manages the day-to-day operations of CRC. A state and federally licensed rehabilitator since 1985, Louise has substantial experience in wildlife rehabilitation, has participated in all the Skills Seminars offered by the International Wildlife Rehabilitation Council (IWRC), done short externships at the Raptor Center at the University of Minnesota School of Veterinary Medicine, completed the radiographic certification class required by the state, and worked closely with local veterinarians on wildlife cases.
She has substantial non-profit administration experience, including four years as president and/or executive director of a general wildlife rehabilitation organization which, during her tenure, saw a 15-fold increase in average annual income, an increase in annual patient load from 100 to 2000 animals, and established a central care facility. Ms. Shimmel has nearly 30 years experience in presenting educational programs for all age groups.
Her BA (Stanford) in Drama & English and an MBA (University of Chicago Graduate School of Business) in finance and accounting have both helped in her non-profit work. She also has several years of business experience including four years as an international commercial banking officer for one of the nation's largest banks; as well as substantial writing and editing experience.
Louise served for seven years on the board of directors (two as president) of IWRC, the primary professional association in the field; served for fifteen years as the assistant or an associate editor of The Journal of Wildlife Rehabilitation, for five years been an instructor of IWRC's Basic Skills class, teaching classes in the western US and Canada; and has presented conference papers and authored articles on emaciation protocol for raptors, blood transfusions, and other topics; and authored a chapter on raising neonate hawks and vultures in Hand-Rearing Birds edited by Laurie Gage, DVM, and Rebecca Duerr, DVM. Locally, Ms. Shimmel was co-founder and first president of Oregon Wildlife Rehabilitation Association, and assisted the state Department of Fish & Wildlife to improve standards for wildlife care by re-writing the state licensing exam. Louise started and manages RaptorCare, an email listerv for raptor rehabilitators worldwide, with some 500 participants from 23 countries. She was awarded the 2011 Lifetime Achievement Award by the National Wildlife Rehabilitators Association.
Kit Lacy, Education Director & Bird Curator
Kit was born and raised in Madison, Wisconsin. After attending university in Wisconsin, she headed west to Oregon. She enrolled at the University of Oregon and began working with an animal behavior field team. She completed a master's degree in biology, publishing papers on communication and social behavior of iguanas. Kit began volunteering at Cascades Raptor Center in January of 2002, has wildlife rehabilitation training, and has been part of the CRC Education Team since its beginning. Kit also taught college biology at Lane Community College for many years. She especially loves training the birds to be ambassadors for their species and also enjoys sharing her love of all things wild with raptor center visitors of all ages. Kit is passionate about improving the quality of life for all birds in human care.
Kit has also become a videographer, creating funny or endearing pieces for Facebook and programs. Her skill in training volunteers and birds culminated in capturing a natural behavior ('kiting' by our White-tailed Kites), putting that unique foraging behavior on cue for programs, and the video she made of that process won the Cascades Raptor Center the 'Show Behavior of the Year' award at the 2012 conference of the International Association of Avian Trainers and Educators in Minnesota. Kit has been a board member of the International Association of Avian Trainers and Educators (IAATE) since 2013. She has presented papers on the photo studio work she has done with Raptor Center resident birds and our criteria for selection of non-releasable birds for ambassadors at IAATE conferences; she presented at International Wildlife Rehabilitation Council conference and the Raptor Research Foundation on the use of raptors in age-appropriate education; and at the American Federation of Aviculture she presented on the Raptor Center holistic wellness program for residents.
Carrie Sigloh, Operations & Volunteer Coordinator
Carrie is a native Eugenian, having grown up at the Eugene Saturday Market and attending South Eugene High School. She moved to Corvallis and graduated from Oregon State University with a Bachelor's degree in Zoology in 2008. That August she began volunteering at Cascades Raptor Center and has been hooked ever since.
In October of 2009 she traveled to South Africa where she volunteered for three months at C.A.R.E., a baboon sanctuary in the African bush. Though she always dreamed about working with primates, while in South Africa Carrie found herself continually looking up in the sky and wondering about the raptors she saw there. She knew then that raptors had become her calling. Upon returning, she joined CRC's education team, completed IWRC's two-day basic wildlife rehabilitation course and began volunteering around 20 hours a week.
As an employee, Carrie wears many hats, both education and rehabilitation, and has completed the radiographic certification class required by the state so she can take x-rays. Carrie brings to CRC her passion for animals, personable attitude, dedication, hard work and willingness and eagerness to always learn and to share her knowledge with others.
Brian Schug, Facilities Manager
Brian was born in the small town of Sandwich, Illinois, but spent much of his formative years in the Southwestern US. He studied voice (gorgeous voice! And great at mimicking owl calls…) at Arizona Western College. He became a plumber in 1993 and taught plumbing at Lane Community College for several years. He started at CRC as a dedicated volunteer, contributing over 1000 hours annually since 2007: on our Animal Care Team, taking our raptor rehabilitation intensive class, being shift supervisor, and doing rescues; on the Education Team, handling birds and doing presentations; and as 'Staff Support' giving staff a day off.
As Facilities Manager, Brian focuses on CRC's ongoing construction, renovation, repair and site improvement needs/goals. In addition, he organizes and manages our team of Special Projects volunteers, as well as continuing to supervise Animal Care volunteers and helping with Education. Our sincere gratitude to the Kinsman Foundation for funding this position for the first two years.
Zachary Zeneberg, Training & Education Coordinator
Originally from Michigan, Zach has been "Hooked-on-Raptors" since he saw his first outreach program in the second grade. His love of nature and working with animals led him to study Environmental Science at the University of Michigan. After graduation, he worked at the University as Teaching Assistant for a Wetland Ecology field course, discovering that the one thing he likes more than the natural world is teaching others about it! Zach spent his free time hand-rearing songbirds and cleaning raptor enclosures as a volunteer with local rehabilitation organizations, eventually gaining his first exposure to working with Birds of Prey and earning his environmental education chops by doing hundreds of outreach programs for school-aged kids as a Raptor Educator at the Leslie Science and Nature Center in Ann Arbor, MI. In 2011, Zach moved to Florida to work for Steve Martin's Natural Encounters as an Avian Trainer at Disney's Animal Kingdom. There he learned to train and care for a variety of new species, including parrots, corvids, and hornbills. He also had the opportunity to study Applied Behavioral Analysis and Operant Conditioning with some of the best animal trainers in the world in a hands-on setting. These experiences helped him earn his professional designation in 2012, when he became a Certified Professional Bird Trainer (CPBT-KA.) Zach joined the Cascades Raptor Center team in May of 2015 as the Training and Education Coordinator, bringing to the Pacific Northwest (his favorite place!) his enthusiasm for environmental education and his passion for empowering animals living under human care.
Dr. Ulrike Streicher DVM, Wildlife Veterinarian
Ulrike Streicher knew from early childhood she wanted to be a veterinarian. After graduating with her DVM from the University of Berlin in Germany, she worked for four years as a veterinarian with horses and small animals before following her dream to work with wildlife. In 1997, she took up her first project as veterinarian and zoological advisor to a newly established governmental rescue center near Hanoi in Vietnam. After one year this project ended and she became the veterinarian of the Endangered Primate Rescue Center at Cuc Phuong National Park, Vietnam, where she worked for the following eight years taking care of the center’s unique primate collection. She was then offered a position as veterinarian at Phnom Tamao wildlife rescue center in neighboring Cambodia, home to more than 100 animals from birds to elephants. From there she was hired to embark on one of her biggest adventures – wildlife translocation for the Nam Theun 2 Hydropower Project in Laos. She was in charge of the capture, translocation and post-release monitoring of wildlife stranded on islands which formed during the inundation of the Nakai Plateau in Khammouane Province, Laos. After project completion, Ulrike returned to Vietnam as an independent wildlife veterinarian. She again provided veterinary services to the Endangered Primate Rescue Center, but also for the Endangered Species Rescue Center in Cat Tien National Park in south Vietnam. She also consulted at several other nature reserves and conservation organizations in the handling and rehabilitation of confiscated wildlife, and started her own small conservation project for douc langurs in central Vietnam. From 2011 to 2013 she managed the Vietnam Primate Conservation Programme of Fauna and Flora International. In 2014 she followed her husband, an American primatologist, to Oregon and in June 2015, started to volunteer for Cascades Raptor Center as a veterinarian. In addition to her veterinary degree, Ulrike has obtained a PHD in veterinary medicine from the University of Munich, is a member of the IUCN Reintroduction Specialist Group and Primate Specialist Group, has published over 60 scientific papers, and works as subject editor for several peer reviewed journals. In summer 2016 she obtained her Oregon Wildlife Rehabilitator’s permit, and is a certified wildlife rehabilitator through the International Wildlife Rehabilitation Council. Ulrike brings to the Raptor Center not only veterinary experience but also a global perspective of wildlife rehabilitation and conservation, research and publishing experience. In her spare time Ulrike and her husband enjoy watching wildlife anywhere on this globe, near or far. Dr. Steicher joined the team in October 2016.
Karen Hall, Associate Director
Karen was raised in Western North Carolina, playing often in nearby Great Smoky Mountains National Park. While in NC, Eastern Screech Owls and Whippoorwills were her nightly fix, sitting on the porch with grandparents and parents. Her formal education includes degrees in biology (B.S.), botany (M.S.) and plant physiology (Ph.D.). Her dissertation studies focused on ethnobotany, working with Cherokee people in NC and OK. She is also an excellent naturalist, working to know nature and to let nature know her in her new home, the Pacific NW. Building on these connections, Karen also works as an artist, creating hand dyed goods with natural dyes – an excellent extension of her plant chemistry expertise. Having set up the Master Naturalist program for SC, Karen comes to us with significant experience in organizing, managing and growing adult education programs. Karen serves as Associate Director for the center, assisting with day-to-day operation of the office, HR, accounting, spreadsheet guru, and scheduling and purchasing for the Visitor's Center.
Julie Collins, Partnership Coordinator
Julie was born and raised in Milwaukie, OR, and lived in Eugene in the late 90’s. She and her husband relocated to Arizona in 2003. Julie was Community Liaison for a local hospital, where she was responsible for community outreach and public relations. In December 2016, Julie and her husband, Nathan, followed their hearts and moved back to Eugene with their son and daughter. She enjoys creativity, hiking and experiencing the local food scene.
Prior to joining the staff of the Raptor Center, Julie volunteered as an animal care team member, assisting in the care and feeding of our many resident raptors – as well as helping organize several of the Raptor Center events during 2016. She brings her vibrant personality and creative thinking to the Raptor Center to positively affect our donors, sponsors and events.
Laura Farah, Education Assistant
Born in the Midwest but raised in Eugene, Laura has always been a lover of animals. When she was just three years old, she fell in love with the forests of the Pacific Northwest on the extended camping trips her family would take each summer. Laura's love of nature and wildlife led her to begin volunteering at the Raptor Center in 2010. Over the years, she has steadily worked animal care shifts, joined the education team as a docent and greeter, completed the basic and intermediate raptor rehabilitation courses, and began bird handling in 2014. In the fall of 2016, Laura completed an 8-week intensive online course on Applied Behavior Analysis taught by Dr. Susan Friedman of Utah State University, getting her one step closer to her goal of becoming a certified bird trainer. Beyond her work at the Raptor Center, Laura has worked locally as a gluten-free baker and is a licensed massage therapist.
As the Raptor Center's Education Assistant, Laura works with our resident birds and helps provide educational experiences to visitors. And, as with most of our staff, she wears many hats - also assisting in the rehabilitation clinic and with volunteer management.
Allison Beard Vion, Adoption and Program Coordinator
Allison began volunteering with Cascades Raptor Center in 2009 and transitioned to being on staff in 2017. With a Master's in Zoology, Allison has spent field seasons studying raptor migration, Bald Eagle nesting behavior, Golden Eagle habitat and nest-sites, and Aplomado Falcons. Her studies have taken her around the world; examining cultural relationships with nature, avian ecology, and ways of being that can restore equilibrium on this planet. She is a lover of all-things-wild and believes strongly in the Cascades Raptor Center mission to help our human community learn to value, understand and honor the role of wildlife in the Pacific Northwest (and all over the world).
Allison wears many hats across three departments! She is our educational event coordinator, organizing our Family Nature Discovery Days and Raptor Camp activities; works in fund- and friend-raising outreach; in visitor services; and, as adoption coordinator, Allison supports adoptive parents of our avian ambassadors by sending our adoption packets and reminders, and keeping acknowledgments up to date on our website and on bird enclosures. She is also responsible for connecting directly with adoptive "parents" -- without whom we could not do this important work.
Victoria Willson, Rehabilitation Assistant
Born and raised in Oregon, Victoria moved to Eugene in 2013 to study biology and environmental science at the University of Oregon. Victoria has worked with animals in different capacities since she was young, ranging from chickens and goats to large reptiles and parrots. Her interest in raptors was sparked after seeing two of the Raptor Center's avian ambassadors at an outreach program in 2017. Shortly after, she began volunteering. In addition to animal care shifts and volunteering in the clinic, she soon assisted the education team with presentations and events. This ultimately included training and care of resident raptors. As a volunteer, she logged more than 3000 hours in two years. Her volunteerism with rehabilitation inspired her to complete the International Wildlife Rehabilitation Council's basic wildlife rehabilitation course. She became Rehabilitation Assistant in May, 2019.
Cascades Raptor Center's Board of Directors
President - Stephanie Hand, Sales, Self-employed
Secretary - Clara Rigmaiden, Judge, Lane County Circuit Court
Treasurer - Pamela Whyte, CPA, Emge & Whyte
Director - David Goeres
Director - Matt Lawless
Director - Bill Philpot, IT manager, King Estate Winery
Director - Dan Kruse
Cascades Raptor Center is a member of the following organizations:
ANCA - Association of Nature Center Administrators
AZA - Association of Zoos and Aquariums
EEAO - Environmental Educators Association of Oregon
IAATE - International Association of Avian Trainers and Educators
IWRC - International Wildlife Rehabilitation Council
MUSE – Museums of Springfield and Eugene
NAO - Non-Profit Association of Oregon
NWRA - National Wildlife Rehabilitators Association
RRF - Raptor Research Foundation
We are Gold Level on Guidestar!