Meet the Oiled Wildlife Response Team

Meet the  Wildlife Center of Texas Oiled Wildlife Response Team

Managers

Sharon Schmalz

For 26 years, Ms. Schmalz has maintained the multiple state and federal permits necessary to care for injured, orphaned, endangered, educational and oiled wildlife. A founding member of the WR&E Oiled Wildlife Response Team, which has updated its name to the Wildlife Center of Texas, she has acted as the director for 25 years. The team responds to oiled wildlife in both inland and coastal areas of the Gulf Coast.

Ms. Schmalz is 40 hr. HAZWOPER (Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response) certified and ICS (Incident Command System) trained to care for oil-contaminated wildlife. She maintains a TWIC (Transportation Worker Identification Card) card to allow for the collection of oiled wildlife in locations sensitive to Homeland Security such as ship channels and ports.

She was involved in the development of the “Best Practices for Migratory Bird Care During Oil Spill Response” document in Anchorage, Alaska in 2001. For 11 years, Ms. Schmalz has coordinated oiled wildlife response workshops for the Texas General Land Office and for industry and maintained the resulting database of potential volunteers for response.

Sharon Schmalz is executive director of the Wildlife Center of Texas in Houston, TX. The Wildlife Center cares for approximately 8000 wild animals each year and educates over 10,000 adults and children about wildlife, conservation and the environment.

The Wildlife Center also works closely with the Texas A&M University School of Veterinary Medicine professors and students. Ms. Schmalz is the representative for the Wildlife Center of Texas on the advisory council for the Texas State Animal Resource Team (TXSART), a program of the Texas Veterinary Medical Foundation that coordinates preparedness, response and recovery efforts for animals affected by disasters in the state of Texas.

 

Margaret Pickell

Ms. Pickell is one of the founding members of the Oiled Wildlife Response Team where she helped to develop the original oiled wildlife training seminars.  She has maintained the multiple state and federal permits necessary to care for injured, orphaned, endangered, educational and oiled wildlife for over 19 years. This team responds to spills in the Gulf Coast area, aiding impacted wildlife.

Ms. Pickell is 40 hour HAZWOPER (Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response) certified and ICS (Incident Command System) trained to care for oil-contaminated wildlife. She has applied for a TWIC (Transportation Worker Identification Card) card to allow for the collection of oiled wildlife in locations sensitive to Homeland Security such as ship channels and ports.

Ms. Pickell keeps current with issues by her attendance at Clean Gulf Conferences, national wildlife symposiums, and individualized research. For the past twenty years, Margaret has combined her respect for wildlife along with her passion for teaching children to educate thousands of children on the subject of environmental education.

 

Debbie Mitchell

Ms. Mitchell has been a state and federally permitted rehabilitator for 10 years and has been on the oiled wildlife response team for 7 years.  She has completed the 24 hour HAZWOPER (Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response) certified and ICS (Incident Command System) trained to care for oil-contaminated wildlife.

Ms. Mitchell maintains a TWIC (Transportation Worker Identification Card) card to allow for the collection of oiled wildlife in locations sensitive to Homeland Security such as ship channels and ports. She is an integral member of the Oiled Wildlife Response Workshop instructor team and attends the Clean Gulf Conferences and the National Wildlife Rehabilitator Symposiums.

Ms. Mitchell has been an Operations Manager at the Wildlife Center since it opened in 2007. In addition to responsibilities that encompass all aspects of wildlife care, she is responsible for the ordering and distribution of all food, supplies and medications.

 

     Leesa Young

Ms Young has had Federal and State Permits to care for injured, orphaned, endangered, educational and oiled wildlife since 2001. She typically handles over 250 animals per year and has been a member of the Oiled Wildlife Response Team since 2001.

Ms Young is 40 hr. HAZWOPER (Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response) certified and ICS (Incident Command System) 100, 200, and 300 trained to care for oil-contaminated wildlife. She maintains a TWIC (Transportation Worker Identification Card) card to allow for the collection of oiled wildlife in locations sensitive to Homeland Security such as ship channels and ports.

Ms Young is United States Coast Guard Licensed, as a U.S. Merchant Marine Officer since 1985, to operate vessels up to 100 tons and 65 passengers. Her boating experience includes living aboard a sailboat for over 15 years on the Texas Gulf Coast.

Ms Young has a degree in Marine Biology from Texas A&M Galveston and uses her Science background to manage a school’s grade-level Science Program as a Teacher in the Clear Creek Independent School District. She has taught Science classes for over 15 years bringing wildlife and environmental responsibility to the classroom. She has also been a Certified SCUBA diver since 1997.

 

     Leslie Lattimore

Leslie Lattimore has a long record of success in both rehabilitation and professional lives. Ms. Lattimore has been a permitted rehabilitator since 1993. She is Executive Director of the Wings of Hope Wildlife Sanctuary in Livingston Louisiana since  its inception in 2003.

Ms. Lattimore maintains her 24 hour HAZWOPER training and has over 10 years experience with oil spill response.

Ms. Lattimore is the only professionally-trained bat rehabilitator in the state of Louisiana. She trains future rehabilitators and actively educates the public statewide.

She is the founder and past president of the Louisiana Wildlife Rehabilitators Association (LAWRA). At the national level, Ms. Lattimore is on the board of the National Wildlife Rehabilitators Association (NWRA).

 

     Sherry Brinkley

Ms. Brinkley has maintained the state and federal permits necessary to care for injured, orphaned and oiled wildlife for over 9 years. She has been with the Oiled Wildlife Response Team for 4 years. She continues to satisfy the requirement of the 24 hour HAZWOPER certificate. 

     Cyndi Bohannon  

Ms. Bohannon has maintained the state and federal permits necessary to care for injured, orphaned and oiled wildlife for over8 years. She has been with the Oiled Wildlife Response Team for 5 years. Ms. Bohannon continues to satisfy the requirement of the 24 hour HAZWOPER certificate.

 

Safety Officers

Jan Koehn

Ms. Koehn is an EH&S (Environment Health and Saftey)Trainer and Safety resource for the Oil Spill Response Team.  She has over twenty-five years of experience in Industrial Hygiene and Safety as well as asbestos abatement, technical surveillance and project management consulting work.  She is licensed by the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS).

A consultant since 1993 and maintains the state of Texas Mold Assessment Consultant license obtained in 2004. She is President of JK, Inc., a full service industrial hygiene and indoor air quality consulting company, which has been in business within Texas and throughout the United States for over twenty years.   She is a Certified Industrial Hygienist (CIH) by the American Board of Industrial Hygiene (ABIH) in Comprehensive Practice since 1987 and maintains required Certification Maintenance (CM).

Ms. Koehn has performed audits in various facilities for environmental issues including asbestos, indoor air quality, noise, and industrial hygiene surveys including representative monitoring for various chemical, physical, and biological hazards in a variety of manufacturing, industrial, and field work sites.   Ms. Koehn provided course instruction for the Principles of Professional Safety and also Industrial Hygiene sampling and analysis course at the University of Houston-Clear Lake during 1997 to 2000 and also 2008, respectively.

Ms. Koehn provides Toxicology and field-work hazard recognition training annually in the HAZWOPER (Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response) courses for the WR&E Oil Spill Response Team.

She currently teaches an Industrial Hygiene Instrumentation course for the University of Houston – Downtown Safety and Fire Engineering Technology program from 2004 to present.    Ms. Koehn has a Bachelor of Science degree from Texas A & M University in Microbiology, and a Master of Science degree from the University of Texas School of Public Health in Environmental Sciences, Industrial Hygiene/Toxicology.   Ms. Koehn is  certified by the Women Business Enterprise Alliance, the City of Houston, the Houston Independent School District, and the state of Texas as a Historically Underutilized Business (HUB).

      William Young

Mr. Young is the Environmental  Health and Safety Trainer and Safety resource for the Oiled Wildlife Response Team. He has over 28 years experience in the chemical industry with 19 years experience in Industrial Hygiene, Safety, and Emergency Response. He provides initial 40-hr and 24-hr HAZWOPER training along with annual 8-hr refresher training for the Oiled Wildlife Response Team and has regularly taught a course on Personal Protective Equipment at the University of Houston Clear Lake as an Adjunct Professor since 1995. Mr. Young is a Board Certified Safety Professional and a Certified Industrial Hygienist. He a member of the Hurricane Ride-Out Team and supports a spill response team in his current position as QSH&E (Quality Safety Health and Environment) Manager.

Mr. Young is also USCG Licensed since 1985, as a U.S. Merchant Marine Officer, to operate vessels up to 100 tons and 65 passengers. His boating experience includes living aboard for over 15 years on the Texas Gulf Coast, sailing to Key West, and Veracruz. He regularly sails the family ketch in the Harvest Moon Regatta and enters the prize-winning the Wildlife Center of Texas Sponsored Boat in the Kemah Christmas Boat Parade.

Mr. Young, and Mr. Schmalz, also support the Wildlife Center of Texas with their rehab animal, flight-cage, and mew-building experience. Mr. Young has been a Federal and State Sub-Permittee for injured, orphaned, endangered and educational animals since 2001.

Mr. Young has a Master of Science in Environmental Science from the University of Texas School of Public Health, Houston and ICS (Incident Command System) 100, 200, and 300 trained. He has extensive training and experience in ICS and has supported Command as a Safety Officer in several industrial events.

Mr. Young maintains a TWIC (Transportation Worker Identification Card) card to support responses of oiled wildlife in locations sensitive to Homeland Security such as ship channels and ports. He has also been a Certified SCUBA diver since 1969.

 

Public Information Officer

Stacy Fox