Board of Directors

President - Daryle Hamlin is a retired middle school art teacher. She has also served as President, Secretary, and Historian for a local garden club, and President and Secretary of a local artist organization. She is a lifelong garden enthusiast. Daryle is also the official Wild Paws Historian.

Vice President - Christine Dietsche has years of experience working in the nonprofit sector, currently as Operations Manager at a Twin Cities nonprofit and previously as Programs and Volunteer Manager for a wild animal sanctuary, where she coordinated various programs and fundraising events, produced marketing materials, and managed the hiring, orientation, and scheduling of volunteers.

Secretary - Holly Whitney has experience working in nonprofit development, fundraising, and event planning at an exotic animal sanctuary where she was also on the Crisis and Safety Team. She has training in veterinary technology and firearm safety, and volunteer experience constructing wild animal habitats and leading outreach events.

Treasurer - Elizabeth Gray has a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science and Math and a Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership. She studied ethical decision making and the complex issue of keeping wild animals in captivity, and has a strong interest in legislation that puts limits on the personal and commercial use of captive wild animals.

Trista Fischer has a degree in Ecology, Evolution and Behavior. She is currently a keeper at a well-renowned zoo and was a Lead Keeper at an exotic animal sanctuary for 10 years. She is trained in chemical immobilization and firearm safety, and led a Crisis and Safety team.

Terri Uglem has degrees in Journalism and Education and is currently a Senior Project Manager at UnitedHealthcare. She has served as Secretary and is currently serving as Vice President of a homeowners association. She also has volunteer experience in fundraising, volunteer coordination, and outreach and events for another non-profit.

DeeDee Welles is a Professional Organizer. She has a BS degree in Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior. She has worked for numerous animal welfare non-profits and her volunteer experience includes volunteer recruitment and training, coordinating and directing spay/neuter/vaccination clinics, fundraising, event planning, and grant-writing. 


Notable Contributors

Founding President - Myk Hamlin had a degree and a lifetime of experience in business and accounting. He also served as President and Treasurer of the Anoka Area Gardeners and was a founding member of the Minnesota Hosta Society. He also volunteered for over 10 years at another wild animal sanctuary where he headed the maintenance department. Read Myk's memorial here.

Medical Director - Dr. Noemi Plantz is a licensed veterinarian who works at Cedar Pet Clinic in Lake Elmo, MN. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin Madison School of Veterinary Medicine in 2009.  She has years of experience working with a wide variety of species ranging from pet dogs, cats, guinea pigs, rabbits, birds, and reptiles.  She has also worked extensively with exotic feline species such as lions and tigers, as well as all native species of wild cats.