A couple years ago, I made the decision to work in Animal Conservation. I didn’t have much background but thought I’d just take it one step at a time. I always had loved psychology and mental well-being, but also felt intensely drawn to the Animal care field, especially Elephants, and wanted to spend my time primarily of help to them. When I read Gay’s research regarding PTSD in Elephants, as well as the discovery of practicing trauma informed care for Animals, I became ecstatic. It made me realize not only the possibility of combining the fields I was dearly in love with, but how it was necessary in order to truly see how everything is interconnected and is essential to understanding the whole. However, it was when I reached out to Gay that I felt my journey had truly started. I decided to take part in the Kerulos Animal Being Internship. It was very different from anything I had experienced before. The more I became involved, the more I got this immense connection and alignment in values I never felt before. What drew me especially wasn’t just the work, but the kindness, understanding, and wisdom I received from Gay and the entire sangha. They provided knowledge that explained my experiences with non-human Animals and the natural world in a way I couldn’t before. I hope to spread this feeling of belonging, compassion, and connections for all living beings – where everything fits very naturally and there’s always room to grow and explore. I am very grateful for this perspective, home, and sangha.
Robin Bjork, PhD
Robin Bjork is a conservation biologist with over thirty years experience in North and Latin America in avian ecology and conservation. She holds a doctorate in wildlife science and a master’s degree in coastal ecology. Robin began working with wild psittacines in 1994 when she directed development of the first radio tracking device to withstand the force of Macaw bills and used the device to track the movements of Great Green Macaws in Costa Rica. Her dissertation research identified the migration of Mealy Parrots across Guatemalan lowlands, the first detailed documentation of such a pattern in psittacines.
She continues conservation research with wild Parrots and Macaws and is currently directing a program to reintroduce Scarlet Macaws to El Salvador and protect endangered Yellow-naped Amazon Parrots. In addition to her work with Parrots she has documented spatial patterns of regional migrant tropical Birds with a goal of providing guidance to regional conservation planning.
Jeff Borchers, MS, PhD, LPC
Jeff is a licensed professional counselor with a background in research, teaching, training, policy analysis, and organizational development. Over the past 35 years, he has worked in academia, government, and the private sector on issues of social, ecological, and psychological significance. His interests include the use of ecotherapy to improve psychological well-being and to foster a mindfulness approach to caring for Animals and the land.
As an employee assistance professional, Jeff provided consultations, group trainings, and coaching, and is certified in mediation and conflict management. In all his work, Jeff draws from his background in research, teaching, training, policy analysis, and organizational development to facilitate lasting change.
Jeff’s education includes a PhD in ecology from Oregon State University, a master’s degree in counseling from Capella University, and a master’s degree from Yale University. He also has taught traditional martial arts for most of his life, holding the rank of nidan in Shotokan karate-dō. Jeff has a private practice where he works with individuals, couples, families, and groups, and provides training and interventions for organizations.
Lee Ann McIndoo
Lee Ann has spent all her life surrounded by nature, trees, lakes, rocks and other-beings. She has been involved in campaigning for Animal Rights, including Elephant liberation and self-determination, and the end of factory farms, circuses, zoos, and trophy hunting.
Being a voice for those in need has been Lee Ann’s central goal. “The dignity of non-humans is as important as our own.” Having spent 37 years supporting humans with intellectual and physical challenges, Lee Ann is now focusing on nonhuman rights and wellness.
Joseph Daniel Mitchell, MS
Joseph is a full-blood citizen of the Creek Nation and a member of the Muskogee Indian Community. For the past 26 years, he has worked in environmental sciences and conservation on tribal and federal lands with the tribes, the USDA Forest Service, Washington, DC, and Bureau of Indian Affairs. He was Senior Executive Fellow at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, and has worked with more than 200 tribes across the nation.
Joe consults with tribal governments and communities on Indian law and treaties and advocates for tribes to exercise treaty rights on federal lands, and implement traditional practices. He has also been involved in the evolution of several of the 26 tribal colleges throughout the country and has assisted many with establishing traditional ecological knowledge programs.