Education, Outreach and Wildlife Hospital Team


Michelle van Hilten

Executive Director

Michelle leads operations, community outreach, education, conservation, and key relationship and partnership initiatives for Think Wild.

“I am passionate about the Think Wild mission! Conservation education and community cooperation around prevention and awareness bring real impact and results, as our regional growth encroaches on habitats and pressures to wildlife and natural areas increase. Helping people understand how their everyday choices might harm, or could help wildlife is what I look forward to each day.”

Michelle is a native Central Oregonian and graduate of OSU-Cascades with a Bachelor of Science in Outdoor Leadership and Tourism, specializing in international ecotourism, and a Spanish Minor. Michelle has a background working in conservation and the nonprofit sector, both internationally and locally, having worked on endangered species research in Cambodia, social innovation in Eastern Africa, and elementary education in Spain.


Max Lipman, CWR

Director of Wildlife Rehabilitation

Max Lipman is a Certified Wildlife Rehabilitator through the International Wildlife Rehabilitators Council. He has spent the past 4 years full-time treating and caring for native animal species of all types in California and Colorado. Max comes to Think Wild in March 2019 from Lindsay Wildlife Museum in Walnut Creek, California – where almost 6,000 injured and sick wildlife patients are admitted annually.

Max has specialized most recently in the care of hummingbirds and raccoons, and emergency and critical care in the clinic, as well as the training of volunteers and staff.

‘I’m looking forward to building Think Wild’s wildlife rehabilitation hospital, providing the best possible care to each patient, and progressing the field of wildlife rehabilitation. I’m really excited for the opportunity to help build Think Wild as a hub for conservation and wildlife rehabilitation in Central Oregon.’


Caroline Read Mullins, CVT

Wildlife Veterinary Technician

A recent graduate of COCC’s Veterinary Technician program and passionate about using her skills to help local area wildlife. Caroline brings 8 cumulative years of wildlife rehabilitation experience to Think Wild, volunteering working full time as a Live Collection staff member at the Lindsay Wildlife Museum in California. A graduate from University of Puget Sound.

Board of Directors


Dr. Jaime Thurk, Board President

Dr. Thurk was born in rural Wisconsin and grew up on a Dairy farm where her love of animals has grown into her life-long dream of becoming a Veterinarian. Dr. Thurk received her Bachelor of Science degree in Marine biology at Texas A&M University and her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from Ross University in 2009. She completed her one year clinical rotation at Washington State University.

Dr. Thurk’s areas of interest are preventive medicine, natural nutrition and supplementation, avian/exotic medicine, surgery and dentistry. Her priority is to maintain the highest ethical and medical standards at her veterinary practice East Bend Animal Hospital, in Bend.


Terri Libert, Board ​Treasurer

Terri serves as the Budget Development and Reporting Manager at OSU-Cascades where she’s responsible for institutional research, data analysis, and budgeting for the institution’s Education & General funds, Foundation accounts, and capital projects. She has an MBA and over 20 years of experience with financial planning & analysis in both higher education and corporate environments.

Previously Terri was a Financial Analyst for North American facilities operations and capital construction at Symantec Corporation and was the Finance Manager at University of Oregon School of Law.

She has a passion for animals and finds being of service to them through volunteering extremely rewarding.


Reese Mercer, Board Director

Reese has served in different volunteer and non-profit board member capacities in Central Oregon since 2002. With Think Wild she’s excited to serve and help build Think Wild programs around prevention, conservation and increasing wildlife habitat.

Reese’s background in finance, marketing, technology and corporate real estate with large corporations and small startups brings a well-rounded, thoughtful approach to serving Think Wild’s organizational needs.


Jennifer Lair, Board Director

Jen grew up in Michigan, but her annual camping trips out west instilled in her a love of the wildlife and landscapes of the west. She received a BS in Biology at the University of Michigan, then continued with a MS in Wildlife Biology at the University of Montana. In 2000, she and her husband had the opportunity to move to Bend and own the Wild Birds Unlimited store.

​Jen has shared her love of wildlife with many people as a naturalist at the Sunriver Nature Center and Observatory, before settling back to focusing on the store while raising two boys. “There is such a critical need for Think Wild. As Bend has grown, we have seen the increase of calls and questions we get at the store. More people lead to more potential conflicts with wildlife. Luckily, Think Wild is growing with that need, providing education to mitigate conflicts, and rehabilitation to help when wildlife has already been affected. I’m glad to join with Think Wild and help them grow to meet the needs to keep Central Oregon a special place both for people and the native wildlife.”​


James MacAfee, Board Director

James’ education includes a BA and a JD. He has had a private law practice since 1979 and is actively involved in campaign and election law. He is a member of the International Wolf Center, Defenders of Wildlife and the Sierra Club.

James has provided legal advice to a statewide ballot measure committee to restrict leg hold traps, which included consulting with the Oregon Secretary of State and providing representation before the Oregon Supreme Court. He has also advised a Congressional campaign, consulting with state agencies as well as the Federal Election Commission.

He is passionate about wildlife rescue and animal welfare, and has spent 20-plus years volunteering with and representing Golden Bond Rescue, an Oregon-based Golden Retriever breed-specific rescue organization.


Caroline Read Mullins, Board Director

A graduate of COCC’s Veterinary Technician program and passionate about using her skills to help local area wildlife. Caroline brings 8 cumulative years of wildlife rehabilitation experience to Think Wild, volunteering working full time as a Live Collection staff member at the Lindsay Wildlife Museum in California. A graduate from University of Puget Sound.


Kody Osborne, Board Director

Kody Osborne has nearly a decade of experience as a leader in environmental education, wildlife rehabilitation and non-profit management in Central Oregon. Kody currently holds the position as “Director of Environmental Affairs at the Worthy Garden Club, but is best known for his 8 years of work as “Lead Naturalist” with the Sunriver Nature Center. Kody also serves as Vice President of the Board of Directors at the Oregon Wildlife Rehabilitation Association and is a regular contributor to Bend Magazine, writing about hiking and nature viewing destinations.