Our Team

Think Wild Staff

Sally Compton, Executive Director

Sally leads operations, community outreach, fundraising, conservation, and key relationship and partnership initiatives for Think Wild. She is the recent recipient of the Bend Chamber's "Emerging Leader Award" and also serves as a board member for the National Wildlife Rehabilitation Association.

Sally has a diverse background working in conservation and the non-profit sector, both internationally and locally. She holds a degree in evolutionary biology from Cornell University, and her experience prior to Think Wild includes leading PR & marketing for the Oregon Coast Aquarium, supporting conservation education at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, and contributing to endangered species research in upstate New York, the Philippines and South Africa.

In her free time, Sally enjoys taking advantage of all of the incredible outdoor activities that Bend has to offer, including skiing, mountain biking and backpacking with her Siberian Husky. She is grateful to her heroes, Steve Irwin and Jane Goodall, for inspiring her love and passion for wildlife conservation.

Contact Sally at [email protected] or (541) 933-5437

Pauline Hice, Director of Wildlife Rehabilitation
Pauline leads the Think Wild Wildlife Hospital and is the main ODFW and USFWS Wildlife Rehabilitation Permit Holder. She also serves as the Vice President of the Oregon Wildlife Rehabilitators Association.

Pauline Hice, a Pacific Northwest native, has always been passionate about the natural world and the integral part humans play in it. She completed her B.S. in Fisheries and Wildlife Sciences from Oregon State University in 2015. Post graduation, Pauline found an opportunity to work at a wildlife rehabilitation center as a wildlife technician in Southern California. Excited to utilize the skills developed while earning her degree, it was there she found her affinity for wildlife rehabilitation. In Fall of 2017, she began working full time as the Wildlife Rehabilitation Coordinator at Wildlife Center of the North Coast in Astoria, Oregon. She has moved from the beautiful Oregon Coast to an equally breathtaking Central Oregon to fulfill her passion of wildlife rehab as the Director of Rehabilitation at Think Wild.

In her free time, Pauline enjoys exploring the great outdoors with her dog, Wally, and her partner, Trenton.

Contact Pauline at [email protected] or (541) 241-8680

Dr. Laura Acevedo, DVM, Wildlife Veterinarian

Dr. Acevedo was born in New York City and received her Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine from North Carolina State University. She first discovered her love for zoo, exotics, and wildlife while in undergraduate at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and while working as a zookeeper for four years at the Turtle Back Zoo in West Orange, NJ. She has a broad range and experience in exotic and zoo medicine and has a passion for all things wild. Besides wildlife, her areas of interest include stress free handling, internal medicine, soft tissue surgery, and advocating for diversity and inclusion in the veterinary field.

While not at Think Wild, Dr. Acevedo can be found exploring the west coast through hiking, rock climbing, eating, and exploring local microbreweries. She lives with her (fat) cat, Gizmo and her mud turtle, Lentil and looks forward to taking care of wildlife and nature in Central Oregon.

Contact Dr. Acevedo at [email protected].

Sadie Pollock, MS, Education and Volunteer Manager

Sadie manages the education and volunteer programs for Think Wild. She relocated to Bend from Boise, Idaho, where she earned her B.S. in Biology in 2019, and her M.S. in Raptor Biology in 2022 at Boise State University studying American kestrel migration. Sadie has diverse experience in designing and leading education and outreach programs, and has a deep passion for teaching and inspiring others to get involved in wildlife conservation. In her free time, you can find Sadie at the rock climbing gym, or on the local hiking trails with her husband, Tanner, and rescue pups Layla and Otis.

Contact Sadie at [email protected] or (541) 316-8294.

Molly Honea, MA, Development and Communications Coordinator

Molly grew up in Sacramento, California and developed a love for nature and the outdoors. Molly studied biology at the University of Oregon, where she also discovered a passion for teaching. She spent several years in the San Francisco Bay Area as an outdoor educator and sea kayak guide before moving to Central Oregon in 2015. Here, she has worked as a middle school science teacher and education coordinator for the Children's Forest of Central Oregon, fostering a sense of wonder and stewardship among local students. 

Molly joined Think Wild in 2022 and has worked as the wildlife hotline coordinator and development and communications coordinator, writing grants, planning events, and leading fundraising efforts for the organization. 

In her spare time, Molly plays ice hockey at the Bend Pavilion, goes hiking, swimming, and paddleboarding with her dog, bakes sourdough bread, and loves to garden.

Contact Molly at [email protected] or call ‪(541) 668-6165.

 

Maureen Thompson, PhD, Beaver Works Program Manager

Maureen has a diverse background having worked broadly in the field of ecology for government agencies, non-profits, and consultancies around the US and abroad. She has worked with taxa from leatherbacks to lichens, but nothing has held her interest like beavers. Maureen attended The Evergreen State College in Washington State and received a B.S. in 2009. She then spent several years as an itinerant field biologist before conducting a meta-analysis of bat mortality at wind farms across the US for a MS at Oklahoma State University in 2015. She completed her PhD at the University of New South Wales studying frog ecology using citizen science data in 2023. Delighted to learn Think Wild was expanding, she swiftly returned to Oregon as the Beaver Works Program Manager. She is excited to build relationships and resolve complex issues with the team at Beaver Works. Originally from a big family in Connecticut, Maureen enjoys making piñatas, running, baking pies, eating pies, and playing with her rat, Bubba.

Contact Maureen at [email protected] or (541) 699-1606

 

Savanna Scheiner, Wildlife Technician

Savanna grew up in California wine country, and became a Bend local in 2016. She grew up with a love for animals and the outdoors, and has always been passionate about wildlife conservation. Graduating from Oregon State University in 2021 with a B.S. in Natural Resources, Savanna began volunteering with Think Wild in 2020 before interning in the wildlife hospital. Now a member of the Think Wild team, she is very excited to help Think Wild with their mission, and to try to decrease some of the impacts human urbanization has on our local wildlife.

Contact Savanna at [email protected] or (541) 241-8680.

Alex Muller, Wildlife Technician

Alex grew up in Bend and has spent much of his life outdoors among all the nature Central Oregon has to offer. He began volunteering in the wildlife hospital in the summer of 2021 and returned to complete an internship in the summer of 2022. During his internship, Alex was collecting data on cases of lead toxicity in raptor species that he later used and analyzed to complete his senior thesis. He completed his Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Studies-Biology from Whitman College in May of 2023 and had multiple opportunities to present his research to a wide variety of audiences. In his free time, he enjoys spending time engaged with the environment and surrounded by friends, family, and pets. He is excited to continue working with Think Wild to help mitigate the impacts of human activities on Central Oregon’s native wildlife.

 

Becca LiPuma, Wildlife Educator

Becca grew up in Fort Collins, Colorado where she first discovered her passion for wildlife and conservation. She then moved to Phoenix, Arizona where she earned a B.S. in Environmental Science at Grand Canyon University. Becca discovered a love for education while working at the Phoenix Zoo as a Camp Zoo Facilitator. She moved back to Fort Collins in 2021 to start her art and photography business and continued her passion for the natural world as she worked and volunteered with several wildlife rehab centers. In January, she relocated to Bend, OR where she began pursuing conservation photography. In her free time, Becca loves to hike, paddle board, draw, go rock climbing and dance!

Contact Becca at [email protected]

 

Jake Sandler, Wildlife Services Coordinator

Jake received his Bachelor’s Degree in Environmental Studies with an emphasis on Natural History and Conservation from U.C. Santa Cruz, inspired by a childhood spent exploring the redwood forests, mountains, and shorelines of Northern California. After leaving California he spent a few years living and working in Alaska, finally settling in Bend in 2017. He joined Think Wild as the Wildlife Services Coordinator in November of 2023 and is thrilled about the unique opportunity to help facilitate wildlife conflict mitigation and habitat management with his local community and neighbors. In his free time Jake can be found mountain biking, skiing, playing guitar and relaxing by any of Central Oregon’s stunning lakes or rivers with his wife and two dogs.

You can contact Jake at [email protected].

 

Taylor Dimmick, Wildlife Technician

Taylor Dimmick is a Wildlife Technician for the Think Wild Hospital since Summer 2021. Her time with Think Wild began by Volunteering, and then leading River Neighbor Walks through the summer and fall of 2020.  Taylor received a B.S. in wildlife and conservation biology from Ohio University in 2012. Starting as a volunteer with the Ohio Wildlife Center in Columbus Ohio, Taylor was hired on permanently and held multiple positions within the organization over the years; from Education to Mitigation. She moved out to Central Oregon in spring of 2018 to work at many of the wildlife based nonprofits Bend supports, and is excited to be back at Think Wild.

Contact Taylor at [email protected].

 

Karla Garcia

Karla Garcia, Wildlife Technician

Karla Garcia is a dedicated wildlife conservationist with extensive experience in animal care with a B.S. in Fisheries and Wildlife Sciences from Oregon State University. Karla's journey with wildlife rehabilitation began when she volunteered at Chintimini Wildlife Center in Corvallis, Oregon,  where she helped care for injured and orphaned wildlife as well as train and care for their ambassador raptors. Later, as an apprentice at Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation Inc., in Kendalia, Texas, she further honed her skills, learning advanced techniques in animal care and rehabilitation. She has since cared for a diverse range of species at renowned animal sanctuaries such as Chimp Haven, Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge, and Farm Sanctuary.  

Passionate about education and outreach, Karla has led educational talks and engaged with diverse audiences to raise awareness about wildlife conservation issues. Now, as a Wildlife Technician at Think Wild, she is excited to continue her conservation efforts and contribute to Think Wild's mission of inspiring the community to care for and protect native wildlife. Outside of work, Karla enjoys hiking, photography, and exploring the natural beauty of Central Oregon with her 3 rescued dogs. 

Contact Karla at [email protected].

 

Christina LaRue

Christina LaRue, Operations Coordinator

Christina is a Florida native, moving to Bend in the fall of 2005 and falling in love with the amazing outdoor lifestyle here. Although working within the craft beer industry for over fifteen years, her love for animals sparked her interest in working for Think Wild, joining the team this past May as the Operations Coordinator, primarily focused on administrative support for the organization. 
 
Outside of work, her time is spent being a mom to her daughter, two cats, and one bearded dragon, as well as getting outside as much as possible. She loves hiking, paddle boarding, camping, snowshoeing, and cross country skiing. 
 
Contact Christina at [email protected].

 

 

Board of Directors

Sue Dougherty, DVM, Board President

Sue Dougherty is joining Think Wild’s Board after decades of work as a Veterinarian, wildlife enthusiast and more recently as a professional wildlife photographer (Offleash photography). Sue worked in wildlife rehabilitation many years ago and then was inspired to get her BS degree in Wildlife Management from Humboldt State University, then went on to get a Masters Degree in Biology working with Marine Mammals through the California Marine Mammal Center. Shortly thereafter she went to veterinary school and graduated from UC Davis. From there she did an internship and a residency in internal medicine at Cornell University and became Board certified by ACVIM in Small Animal Internal Medicine.

She has practiced referral, specialty veterinary medicine for the past 30 years. She has owned/part owned specialty and ER practices and brings a wealth of experience in that regard as well as medical expertise. Presently she is working as a consultant (Offleash Veterinary Internal Medicine). For the past 12 years she has traveled extensively, photographing wildlife around the world. She hopes to bring awareness of the amazing animals that share our world with us to emphasize their crucial importance in the global ecosystem. Her photography has won awards and been published in Audubon Magazine, Wild Planet Photo magazine, NANPA expressions, as well as local periodicals. She shows her work at Red Chair Gallery in downtown Bend. Sue and her husband Mark Parchman have been integral in the Bend veterinary community for the past 17 years. They have two twenty-something children, 2 rescue dogs and a guinea pig.

Jennifer Lair, Board Director, Treasurer
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.”​

Debra Merskin, PhD, Board Director, Secretary

Deb was born in Western Michigan, growing up in the forests, dunes, and beaches of Lake Michigan. From a very young age she advocated for animals, being quick to find the strays, the orphaned, or the hungry four-footed and winged friends.

For college she moved to the Tampa Bay area where she obtained her undergraduate and master’s degrees in journalism and liberal arts. She was active with the Clearwater Marine Science Center its earliest days. From there she moved to Syracuse, New York where she earned her PhD in Public Communication from the Newhouse School. In 1993 she moved to Eugene, OR where she has been a professor of media studies in the School of Journalism & Communication until her retirement in 2022.

In 2018 Deb moved to Powell Butte to experience its unique ecosystem and help our native wildlife. Her research and teaching focus on marginalized communities—human and other than human animals and the intersections of our lives.  Her second graduate degree is in ecological psychology from Pacifica Graduate Institute in Santa Barbara, CA where she focused on human projections on predator species with particular emphasis on cougar behavior. S

he has been a volunteer at Think Wild since the doors opened for volunteers in early 2020 ranging from hospital help, hotline coverage, transport and rescue, and tabling at events. Her article about Think Wild appeared in the April 2022 issue of Ruralite.  Her third book, Seeing Species: Re-presentations of Animals in Media & Popular Culture was published in 2018 and she is co-creator of the style guide for journalists, photographers, and those who story-tell about animals: animalsandmedia.org. She is also on the boards of Fawn Hills Animal Care and Sanctuary Farm and VegNet Bend, as well as on the advisory boards  The Kimmela Center for Scholarship-Based Animal Advocacy and Predator Defense. In her spare time, Deb is a yoga and fitness instructor.

James MacAfee, JD, 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, CVT, 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.

Contact Caroline at [email protected].

Amanda Cardenas, JD, Board Director
Amanda comes to Think Wild with a diverse background in many areas, including environmental and human/social service NGOs, private law firms, startups, and now with a publicly traded company. Amanda serves as in-house counsel for Tilt Holdings Inc.

Her education includes a B.S. in Natural Resources, from Cornell University, an M.S. from the UW-Madison’s Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies and a J.D. from the University of Washington with a concentration in Environmental Law.

She also served a stint as a development director/major donor officer for a homeless mission in Seattle.

Amanda spent many years in her youth volunteering with Oregon-based wildlife rehabilitation organization Wildlife Images, and looks forward to again serve wildlife through Think Wild to help rehabilitate, enhance, and protect the wildlife and environment in our own backyards.

In her spare time, Amanda is often found (or not!) trekking around mountains and remote high desert plateaus, canyons, and river corridors.

Megan West, LPC, MS, Board Director

Megan is a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) and Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor (CADC III), currently in private practice. She holds a BA in Psychology (OSU Corvallis) and an MS in Community Counseling (OSU Cascades), and has worked in community mental health for over 15 years, specializing in trauma and addictions.

Megan has loved and called Bend home since 1989, and has always been passionate about the conservation of Oregon’s native wildlife and habitats, as she’s watched Central Oregon grow and change over the years. Megan began volunteering with Think Wild in 2020 assisting with wildlife transport, then within the Think Wild hospital in 2022, and is now incredibly honored to also be a member of the Think Wild Board of Directors.

In her free time, Megan can be found with her two sons escaping to the mountains and lakes, out East exploring the Badlands, paddle boarding through the Old Mill, enjoying local restaurants, or out running around town with her rescue pup, Rocket.

Victoria Wang, Board Director

Victoria grew up on the East Coast in the garden state where she fed birds, sang to deer, built dirt mansions for worms and bugs, and rescued dogs. From a young age, Victoria's family only fear was that she would wander off away from home after following a lost dog too far. Victoria is an experienced human resource executive, most recently consulting for non-profit organizations and tech start-ups. She holds a master's in Human Resource Management and Business Administration. Victoria has been trained and certified as a crisis responder and child advocate. Beyond mentorship and teaching, Victoria is passionate about animal rescue through Pet Evacuation Team and environmental sustainability solutions. Victoria enjoys taking long walks with her German Shepherd Husky and both fell in love with Bend's outdoor activities.

“Bend has been my dream neighborhood to live in. I was raised in a safe, close community that valued and respected the outdoors and its animal neighbors. I wanted to make an impactful contribution to building the same environment where I settled down. I hope at Think Wild to focus on community connection and service engagement.”