Sue was born in England and immigrated to Canada in 1964, after training as a Registered Nurse and doing some globe-trotting. She started wildlife rehabilitating by accident one day about 15 years ago, when the local humane society asked her to take in some orphaned raccoons. She and her husband started cage-building, and as fast as they built, the animals came. Build it and they will come! Sue herself is a full time volunteer. As she would say, “No one could afford to pay me for the hours I put in here. But it is my passion, and I enjoy every minute I spend caring for wildlife.”
Leah is a Registered Veterinary Technologist (St. Lawrence College 2002 Alumini). She worked at a domestic and exotic animal practice for three years in Kingston after graduation. In 2005, she became SPWC’s first full-time employee. At that point her dedication to SPWC’s work became a huge part of her life. In March of 2005 she was awarded OWREN’s first Scholarship for Most Promising Contribution to Wildlife Rehabilitation in Ontario. As a Registered Vet Tech Leah manages the patient care in our new wildlife hospital. She loves spending time ensuring the patients have environmental enrichment materials in their enclosures, and monitoring patient medical improvements. She also spends a lot of her time teaching our interns and volunteers about wildlife care.
She is also a part time professor at St. Lawrence College teaching wildlife care and exotic pet medicine to the Vet Assistant and Vet Tech students. It is her lifetime goal to improve the care wildlife receive when they are in need of help, as well as while they are in the care of veterinary practices. She writes a column in the local bimonthly paper The Scoop about her experiences working with wildlife.
Julia has grown up surrounded by a variety of animals. When not working at SPWC, most of her time is spent on the farm helping her parents with their commercial sheep flock and dairy goat herd. When she inquired several years ago on how to become involved in wildlife rehabilitation, Sue explained that the first step to working at the Centre was to complete the Vet Assistant or Vet Tech program. Julia’s interest was further peaked by a presentation in her Exotic Animal Husbandry class, taught by Leah, describing the Centre and the amazing work accomplished by staff and dedicated volunteers. Her passion, desire, and hard work allowed her a placement spot in the Spring of 2007, and upon completion, became a member of the SPWC team. Julia works in all areas of the Centre, however her main focus is the pre-release cages which house animals soon to be released back to the wild.
Jess Pelow, OCT: Education Coordinator
Jess is an Ontario Certified Teacher who specializes in teaching outdoor and environmental education. She has a Masters in Environmental Studies and has worked as an outdoor educator for over a decade in the Kingston and Toronto regions. She joined the SPWC team in 2019 and coordinates the education program, which aims to teach our community how to offer empathy and compassion to wild animals. Much of her time is spent teaching school groups alongside Janet Fenton, and in-between classes she develops lesson plans, mentors teacher candidates, and writes grants. Jess is deeply committed to creating relevant presentations and resources, and is almost always taking a workshop or course on mindfulness, child development, natural history, or environmental justice, in order to develop the most meaningful programming.
Janet Fenton: Wildlife Educator
Janet has a Fish and Wildlife and Ecosystem Management diploma from Sir Sandford Fleming College. She has been working for Ontario Parks in the Education department and with the Cataraqui Conservation Area presenting evening hikes and helping during Maple madness. Janet began volunteering with us over 10 years ago; when it was clear she had a passion for educating others about wildlife. Janet shares her love, enthusiasm, and passion of wildlife through the presentations, helping to build connections with wildlife and students. She enjoys demonstrating how every plant and animal is important from the least to the most loved.