Mike Ziccardi, DVM, MPVM, PhD
Mike received his veterinary degree, as well as his masters and doctorate in epidemiology, from UC Davis. Since 1996, Mike has acted as an oil spill response veterinarian and coordinator during more than 50 spills nationally and internationally. He has been a contract veterinarian for the California Department of Fish and Game as well as program coordinator, senior wildlife veterinarian, Assistant Director and now Director for California’s Oiled Wildlife Care Network. Mike also serves as an Co-Director of the Karen C. Drayer Wildlife Health Center, School of Veterinary Medicine, UC Davis. During spills, Mike often works as the Deputy Wildlife Branch Director at the Command Post, as a Group Supervisor where the need is greatest, or clinical veterinarian at the rehabilitation facility.
Deputy Director: Animal Care Operations
Curt came to OWCN after more than 20 years with International Bird Rescue, most recently as that organization’s Preparedness Director. His involvement in oiled wildlife response started as a volunteer in 1984 when a spill occurred near the wildlife rehabilitation center he founded outside Seattle, Washington. Since then, he has responded to spills around the world such as the Exxon Valdez, the American Trader, the Apollo Sea in South Africa, the Erika, the Pallas and the Prestige in Europe, the Nahodka in Japan, the Jessica in the Galapagos and the Rena in New Zealand. For these spills and others, Curt worked in a variety of roles within the wildlife response. He has collaborated globally on rehabilitation and response trainings with colleagues in Azerbaijan, Brazil, Georgia, Turkey, Russia, Europe, Japan, New Zealand and the US. During spills his focus will be making sure OWCN’s animal care team is a well-oiled machine.
Kyra Mills, MSc
Deputy Director: Field Operations
Kyra earned her Masters degree from UC Irvine, where she studied the foraging ecology of seabirds in the inshore waters of the Galapagos Islands. As a staff biologist for PRBO Conservation Science’s Marine Division, Kyra edited the California Current Marine Bird Conservation Plan, served as lead seabird biologist on the Farallon Islands, and was a member of PRBO’s cadre of trained Wildlife Processing Unit personnel for oil spill response. She worked for the Farallon Institute for Advanced Ecosystem Research from 2008-2010, and before joining the OWCN in 2010 she was a member of the biology faculty at the University of New Mexico. During spill response, Kyra ensures that field response, including hazing and recovery, is a well-oiled machine.
Duane Tom, DVM
Duane received his veterinary degree from The Ohio State University. Duane has a clinical background in wildlife medicine, spending 12 years at California Wildlife Center. He has also volunteered and continues to consult on cases with organizations such as Belize Bird Rescue, The Belize Zoo, Hawaii Wildlife Center, Portland Audubon and Wildlife Center of the North Coast. Duane is dedicated in doing his best in helping oil-affected wildlife during their field stabilization needs.
Danene Birtell, LVT
Danene earned her B.S in Biology and Marine Sciences from Rutgers University. She also earned an A.S. in Veterinary Technology and is a Licensed Veterinary Technician. She has over fifteen years of spill response experience, including the M/V Treasure in South Africa, San Mateo Mystery Spill/Lukenbach in California, the T/V Athos 1 on the Delaware River, the Texas City “Y” response, and the Wolfsnare Creek Incident in Virginia Beach, Va. In addition, Danene spent seven months on the Deepwater Horizon Incident where she held multiple leadership roles in the Louisiana facilities. She has contributed to multiple spill response exercises, training workshops, and response plans. Danene has also held positions as a wildlife rehabilitator, veterinary technician, and as a department head at a college for Veterinary Technicians. Most recently, Danene was the Oil Programs Director at Tri-State Bird Rescue & Research, Inc where she was responsible for the direction of the program and ensuring its readiness to response to incidents in New England and the Mid-Atlantic.
Lorraine Thompson-Barbosa, DVM, MPVM, Dipl. ACVPM
Lorraine first entered the wildlife field as a research assistant at the Long Marine Lab while completing a bachelor’s degree in marine biology at UC Santa Cruz. She then obtained her veterinary degree and a Masters of Preventive Veterinary Medicine at UC Davis. Following a small animal internship at PetCare and then a marine mammal medicine and pathology internship at The Marine Mammal Center, Lorraine has spent her time working with both small animals and wildlife. As a veterinarian at the California Wildlife Center, she provided clinical, surgical, and rehabilitative care for a variety of avian, terrestrial, and marine mammal species. In addition to clinical work, Lorraine has also enjoyed collaborating on several marine mammal field research projects in Central and South America. In 2017 she became certified as a Diplomate of the American College of Preventive Veterinary Medicine.
Scott is a California native who became enamored with the states biodiversity while living in Southern, Central and Northern regions of the state. He received his bachelor’s degree in Marine Biology from UCLA, and spent the next decade working for nonprofit organizations in support of environmental conservation. During his time at Heal the Bay, Scott focused his efforts on water quality and conservation, and specifically led the volunteer and public programs at Heal the Bay’s educational outreach facility, the Santa Monica Pier Aquarium. During his six years at The Marine Mammal Center, he filled various roles during that time (including Marine Mammal Stranding Coordinator, Volunteer Coordinator, and Volunteer Resources Manager) in support of marine mammal rehabilitation and conservation. Scott joined the OWCN team in 2015 as a Wildlife Response Specialist and, in 2018, moved over to the Responder Specialist position, where he supports readiness activities and staff/volunteer efforts during spills.
Sam has a degree in Wildlife Conservation from the University of Delaware. She began her wildlife career at Tri-State Bird Rescue and Research in Delaware where she held positions as an intern, clinic supervisor, and senior coordinator of the oil program. She then worked on the Big Island as the rehabilitation manager of the Hawaii Wildlife Center and founded the Oahu Seabird Aid Program in 2017 to provide rescue and rehab to shearwater fledglings during their annual fallout season. In 2019 she joined the OWCN as wildlife care specialist. During a response, Sam can be found overseeing animal care at the primary care facility.
Tim began working for the Department of Fish and Game at the Wildlife Investigations Lab in 1989. He transferred to the DFG Office of Spill Prevention and Response to oversee construction of the Marine Wildlife Veterinary Care and Research Center, and contributed to the completion of the Los Angeles Oiled Bird Care and Education Center. Tim served as a manager for DFG Wildlife Areas in Del Norte, Humboldt, and Butte Counties from 2001 to 2011, and then returned to oil spill response with the OWCN. He has a wealth of experience in engineering, construction, and equipment operation, as well as animal capture and handling. During spill response, Tim manages the rehabilitation facility and serves as the Safety Officer.
Field Operations Specialist
Jennie received her B.S. in Fish, Wildlife and Conservation Biology from Colorado State University. Over the past several years, she has worked on a variety of research projects involving different species and multiple agencies. She spent three seasons with the USDA in Colorado working on a grassland bird nest survival study. Determined to expand her horizons, she branched out from the USDA to the USGS, where she helped capture, radio collar, and track wild horses and burros through the mountains of Wyoming, Utah, and Arizona. Wanting to switch things up further, she moved to northern Idaho where she worked with the Idaho Fish and Game Department to PIT tag juvenile salmon and steelhead trout. Jennie then moved to south eastern Idaho to work with the BLM on a variety of projects including sage grouse nest survival, botany surveys, and stream ecology. She joined the OWCN in 2019 as the Field Operations Specialist and has loved the challenges associated with inland response, especially all the opportunities it provides for innovation and creativity in hazing and recovery of wildlife
Wendy joined the OWCN staff in 2018 after more than 25 years with International Bird Rescue. Her career has been marked by a willingness to take on just about anything. She has filled management rolls within the Incident Command System; headed hazing, reconnaissance, capture, and transportation teams in the field; provided care in rehabilitation facilities, and designed, built, and managed those care facilities. Wendy has worked closely with the OWCN since it was founded. She has responded to more than 120 spills nationally and internationally, including the Ventura Oiled Bird Incident, Deep Water Horizon, Rena in New Zealand, the Estonia spill and the Cosco Busan in the San Francisco Bay.
3 thoughts on “About the OWCN Bloggers”
I’m glad to have found this blog. I live in New Orleans and could likely be of use to you all. Please see my profile to see my credentials. Briefly, I have been through oiled wildlife response training have extensive animal care experience (wild and domestic) and am well networked. 504-952-7052.
I am a second and third grade teacher and we would LOVE to help! What is the best way we can extend a helping hand without physically volunteering? Please let me know!:)
Thank you for this blog!