Ellyn Weisel, Executive Director

Ellyn comes with considerable experience in the type of organizations WildCare appreciates and admires. With a Bachelor of Arts degree in History and American Studies from Colby College, Ellyn began her career as Vice President, Corporate Consulting with International Management Group (IMG) in the San Francisco Bay Area. She then served as a Development Consultant for the Boys and Girls Clubs of San Francisco, and first as Director of Outreach and Philanthropy, then as Vice President of Development at Common Sense Media in San Francisco.

Ellyn was previously the Director of Development at WildCare and stepped in as Interim Executive Director for six months before taking the position of Executive Director in September 2019. Before her arrival at WildCare, she served as Chief Development Officer of 10,000 Degrees in San Rafael, California, a nonprofit helping disadvantaged students further their education, which led her to a post as Foundation Director of the DripDrop Foundation, an organization that works to prevent dehydration worldwide. Ellyn’s experience helping mission-driven organizations design and execute a comprehensive and sustainable fundraising strategy is precisely what is needed at WildCare. Her involvement and management in strategic planning, major gifts campaigns, board relations and development, budget creation, and oversight comprise her work at WildCare.


Lacey Babnik, Director of Development

Lacey was previously WildCare’s Associate Director of Foundations and Corporate Giving. She has been with WildCare since 2013 after leaving a career track in archaeology to return to her passion for wildlife medicine and rehabilitation that began six years prior with her first rescue of an injured Canada Goose during undergrad. Lacey has been promoted to various development roles and has been instrumental to the growth of the Development Department. When not at WildCare, Lacey can be found hiking in the Oakland hills with her partner Nash and their two dogs Mia and Willa.


Marian Eschen, Director of Facilities and Events

Marian has worked at WildCare since 2000. She graduated with a degree in English from the University of California at Santa Barbara and worked as a veterinary assistant before coming to WildCare. In her capacity as Director of Administration, Marian kept the lights on and the bills paid. Now she is putting her extensive organizational skills to work coordinating WildCare’s events, including Dining for Wildlife which she has run single-handedly for over a decade, and keeping our facility running.

In a volunteer capacity Marian consults with the Bat Foster Care Team. When she’s not at WildCare, she enjoys dining, travel, and time with her two dogs Tucker and Tallulah.


Alison Hermance, Director of Communications and Marketing

Alison attended the University of Utah for a degree in English Literature with a Minor in Italian Language. When she moved to the San Francisco Bay Area, she worked as a Concierge at several of the city’s finest hotels, including the Stanford Court and The Ritz-Carlton San Francisco. Her extensive customer service background served her well when she came to WildCare as both a volunteer and a part-time Assistant Volunteer Coordinator.

Alison has been at WildCare for 16 years. She has served as Major Gifts Officer, Volunteer Manager, Web Manager and Director of Communications and Marketing. In 2005 she took over the creation and maintenance of WildCare’s website, and continues to be responsible for all website content.

In her current role as Director of Communications and Marketing, she is responsible for media and public relations for WildCare, and oversees all outward-facing communications from the organization. She does outreach presentations to groups large and small, and frequent television and radio appearances representing the organization. She edits WildCare’s newsletter and also writes extensively about wildlife and the injured and orphaned patients admitted to WildCare’s Wildlife Hospital for various publications. Her experience at WildCare gives her a unique perspective on wildlife and the impact of human behavior on the animals with which we share our habitat.

In a volunteer capacity at WildCare, Alison is on the Squirrel Foster Care Team and the Baby Raptor Reunite Team. In her spare time she enjoys travel, reading, and off-road motorcycling.


Eileen Jones, Director of Education

Eileen has been in the environmental education world for the last 40 years. She has been a naturalist and outdoor leader on both coasts. These adventures include being a naturalist with Santa Clara County’s Outdoor Science School, an outdoor leader for inner New York City youth at the Manice Education Center and a State Park Interpretive Ranger in Massachusetts. She was the Director of the Clem Miller Environmental Education Center in Point Reyes National Seashore and lived and worked at the Marin County Outdoor School for 9 years as the Naturalist Supervisor and then as the Interim Outdoor School Manager. She is a graduate of the University of Massachusetts with a degree in Environmental Science and is a nature geek at heart.


Kelle Kacmarcik, Director of Volunteer Services and Advocacy

Kelle Kacmarcik has been a lifelong advocate for animals. She volunteered at WildCare as a Clinic Supervisor from October of 2004 until December 2017. Prior to becoming staff, she worked for 12 years as the Development Department Manager for a worldwide animal protection organization.

From 2011 until 2018, Kelle managed WildCare’s Solutions Program to educate people about how to humanely resolve conflicts with wildlife. Her work for WildCare’s Advocacy Department includes managing the Rodenticide Diagnostics and Advocacy Program, presenting at conferences, and representing WildCare in support or opposition of regulations, and state and federal legislation affecting wildlife.

Kelle is a trained disaster responder and holds several certificates in disaster response–both human and animal (wildlife, domestics and farmed animals), and has volunteered during several response efforts over the last 15 years. She has extensive training and experience in animal rescue and handling.

As the Director of Volunteer Services, Kelle manages WildCare’s 300+ active volunteers, she organizes and implements a complete volunteer service program including recruitment, training and ensuring achievement of annual requirements and departmental goals.


Robert Kendall, Director of Finance

Bob was the Chief Financial Officer of a not-for-profit art school in West Palm Beach, Florida, for the last 9 years and a Florida CPA for 35 years. Prior to that he was CFO of several SEC reporting companies including a company on the NASDAQ. He was an auditor with the international CPA firm of Laventhol & Horwath. He is a graduate of UC Berkeley.


Kara Kutina, Education Specialist

One of Kara’s favorite pastimes as a child was watching nature documentaries and still continues to be; along with classical fencing, volunteering at the Cal Academy, and drinking tea at any time in the day. In her professional life she has worked at the San Diego Zoo, the Bay Area Discovery Museum, and the San Francisco Zoo. All of the experience and her interests have led her to WildCare, including her time studying at Humboldt State among the beautiful redwoods. As an Education Specialist it has been and continues to be, awesome.


Jacqueline Lewis, Wildlife Technician II

Jacqueline grew up visiting WildCare as a child and began volunteering here in at the age of eighteen. In 2015 she completed our hospital internship program and upon completion, was hired to work as a seasonal Wildlife Assistant. Since then Jacqueline has continued to work her way up the ranks and is now a Wildlife Technician II. She is the manager our Hospital Internship program as well as the rodent foster care team lead.

Kate Lynch, Education Program Coordinator

Kate grew up in Marin County and was a regular visitor to WildCare as a child. She began volunteering in 1998 when she was still in high school. When she went off to college, she had to discontinue her Saturday morning shift, but regularly used the skills and knowledge she had learned at WildCare when she went on to work as a Vet Assistant.

When the Costco Busan oil spill created a state of emergency in our bay, Kate was inspired to carve out time in her schedule to volunteer at WildCare again. She began volunteering in the hospital and with the Wildlife Ambassador Program in early 2009, and quickly started picking up as many extra shifts as she could manage. In 2011, Kate was hired to work as a Wildlife Services Representative at WildCare’s Front Desk. That same year, Kate began volunteering on the Opossum Foster Care Team. Kate grew to become one of WildCare’s primary opossum foster care providers, sometimes caring for almost a hundred orphaned or injured baby opossums in a year. In 2017, Kate was promoted to Education Program Coordinator.

When Kate isn’t busy caring for baby opossums, you can find her talking about opossums. When not totally consumed by her love for opossums, Kate enjoys cuddles with her cat Cleo, being outside in nature, and going to the movies and Giants games.


Brittany Morse, Clinic Manager

Brittany Morse is a Bay Area native who has been rescuing and rehabilitating both marine and urban wildlife across the U.S. since 2009. She began her wildlife work at The Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito while taking graduate classes focused on research and neuroscience. In 2012 she moved the Massachusetts where she worked for the Cape Wildlife Center as a Senor Wildlife Rehabilitation Technician and volunteered with many other local wildlife rescue and welfare organizations including the Marine Life Center, International Fund for Animal Welfare, and the Woods Hole Science Aquarium. While living on the East Coast Brittany also received licensures in wildlife rehabilitation from The Massachusetts Department of Fish and Wildlife and the International Wildlife Rehabilitation Council.

In 2016 Brittany returned to the North Bay and began her journey with WildCare as a Research Assistant working on a rodenticide study funded by the Environmental Protection Agency. Later that year she accepted the Clinic Hospital Manager position and took on the bat and skunk foster care teams. In 2019 she took the opportunity t to manage her favorite foster care species by taking over the opossum team.

Kaija Ollikainen, Education Specialist

Kaija is passionate about igniting sparks of curiosity and excitement about the Earth by continuing the education, conservation, and community participation work championed by local eco-heroes and volunteers at WildCare. Born and raised in the Bay Area, she developed a deep reverence for the cycles and critters of local ecosystems, which she became more familiar with through volunteering at Wildlife Rescue in Palo Alto throughout high school, and later through natural history coursework while majoring in environmental sciences at UC Berkeley. She strengthened her educator specialties while working as a Naturalist in Marin at Point Bonita YMCA, NatureBridge, and Slide Ranch and in Washington state at YMCA Camp Orkila, and the Pacific Science Center. In her free time she can be found hiking at slug speed, stopping every few feet to admire each mushroom, search for the softest moss, and greet every butterfly. Her superpower is expanding time to create a sense of spaciousness that allows for discovery and appreciation of the natural wonders that surround us. She is grateful for the opportunity to share her passion for inspiring care and connection to our environment and to work alongside dedicated individuals with a shared commitment to the wellbeing of our planet and community.


Melanie Piazza, Director of Animal Care

Licensed by both the U.S. and California Departments of Fish and Wildlife, Melanie Piazza has served as the Director of Animal Care of WildCare’s Wildlife Hospital since 2002. Frustrated by the number of orphans brought into the hospital because of the actions of trappers and also discouraged by the number of wildlife patients that were the victims of entanglement with fishing line and hooks, Melanie founded both WildCare’s Wildlife Solutions program and Marin Municipal Water District’s fishing line recycling program. She is currently also the foster care team co-lead for the squirrel team and manages after-hours intake of critical patients.

Prior to her arrival at WildCare she was the manager of the Animal Protection Society’s Wildlife Rehabilitation Center in Mebane, NC for four years. She is a graduate of Elon University. Melanie’s other passion is animal rescue during times of disaster. She is an active member of Oiled Wildlife Care Network, San Francisco’s Disaster Animal Response Team and Marin County’s Community Emergency Response Team.

Melanie was a volunteer at the Marine Mammal Center for nine years and currently fosters kittens for various rescue groups. Any free time is spent running


Juliana Sorem, DVM, Staff Veterinarian

Dr. Juliana Sorem started her association with WildCare as a Hospital Volunteer in 1997 and completed WildCare’s internship program in 2000, before leaving for veterinary school. After graduating from U.C. Davis School of Veterinary Medicine she completed an internship at the Pet Emergency and Specialty Center of Marin, and then spent eleven years working in companion animal medicine and surgery in Oakland.

Dr. Sorem returned to WildCare as a Hospital Volunteer from 2012 to 2017 and was hired as WildCare’s first ever full-time veterinarian in 2017 for both our Hospital patients and our resident Ambassador animals. She is also foster care team lead for the raccoon team.


Lucy Stevenot, Birdroom Manager

Lucy Stevenot was hired as the Songbird Hospital Manager at WildCare in 2016. She got her start in wildlife rehabilitation in 2010 as a volunteer at The Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito while also attending Academy of Art University. Her time spent at TMMC caused Lucy to change colleges and pursue a degree in biology so she could continue to work with wildlife. She graduated from Smith College with a BA in Biodiversity, Ecology and Conservation.

In addition to TMMC, Lucy has worked with several different organizations and wildlife hospitals in the area including The Bird Rescue Center (Santa Rosa) and Native Songbird Care & Conservation (Sebastopol). Lucy has also worked at the San Francisco Zoo, Pet Emergency and Specialty Center of Marin and The Wildlife Project (Sacramento). It was at Native Songbird Care & Conservation that Lucy fell in love with songbirds and decided to specialize in the care of the amazing and diverse species that fall under this name. While her first love is songbirds, Lucy is also currently the foster care team lead for rabbits and hares and is also co-team lead for the skunk team.


Nicole Trautsch, Stewardship Manager

Following a long-held desire for her work to help animals, Nicole began at WildCare at the Front Desk as a Wildlife Services Representative, answering the Wildlife Hotline and admitting hospital patients. Her previous professional background is in luxury retail business management at companies such as Chanel and Gucci, helping them increase business through client relationship building and perfecting customer service. Nicole holds an MBA in Design Strategy from California College of the Arts. She is a lifelong lover of animals, and has volunteered at animal organizations such as The Randall Junior Museum, SFSPCA and Giant Steps Therapeutic Equestrian Center. Nicole grew up in San Francisco and has many fond memories of school field trips with Mrs. Terwilliger, where her love and appreciation for wildlife blossomed. She is currently a member of WildCare’s Squirrel Foster Care Team, and is the proud mother of another animal lover, her son Emmett.