Think Wild Team
Michelle van Hilten
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.
Think Wild Board
Dr. Jaime Thurk, DVM
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.
Karon's education includes a BS and MS in Science, and a J.D. in Law from the University of Oregon. She spent 37 years as a criminal prosecutor, 13 years as Deputy District Attorney for Multnomah County, 25 years as an Assistant U.S. Attorney, for the Districts of Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands. She has been a Sierra Club member since 1983, is also member of the Nature Conservancy, World Wildlife Fund, Environmental Defense Fund, National Wildlife Federation and more - she is passionate about the welfare of wildlife.
In Guam Karon wrote the animal cruelty, dog fighting and euthanasia technician laws for this island state, secured the management of the animal shelter for Guam Animals In Need, the Guam Humane Society.
Her specialties including prosecuting environmental and wildlife crimes, including shark finning, drift netting, turtle poaching, fruit bat poaching, and CITES treaty violations.
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 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.
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’ 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.