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Lemur Conservation Foundation

The LCF Conservation Team

Executive Director & CEO:

Lee Nesler

Lee Nesler joined the Lemur Conservation Foundation staff as Executive Director and CEO in September 2011. Ms. Nesler came to LCF after an extensive search to fill this critical executive position. After earning a degree in Animal Science, with a specialization in animal behavior from the University of Illinois Champagne Urbana. Ms. Nesler completed a 2 year internship at the Lincoln park Zoo in her home town of Chicago. Her career includes participation in field studies around the world from Siberia, Costa Rica, India, Mexico, and Africa among other wild and exotic destinations.

Ms. Nesler brings a range of zoological experience to LCF. As General Curator at the Pittsburgh Zoo and Aquarium Lee implemented enrichment and operant conditioning programs for all 3,000 of the zoos animals, sand served on the design and building team for several mufti-million dollar projects. She worked with the AZA as the institutional representative for accreditation and certification, co-chaired the AZA Ape Advisory Group, Coordinated the Gibbon Species Survival Plan, and was the institutional representative for all mammal SSPs.

In addition to SSP’s and extensive work with AZA programs, Lee developed special expertise by working with the New World Primate TAG group, and the Bush Meat Crisis Task Force, as well as hosting and organizing several meetings including an AZA Annual Conference. She has published several times on topics from animal behavior to population management.

Along with impressive zoological and scientific credentials and experience, Lee has unique insights into the animal and human bond both through years of striving to understand animals on their own terms, and working to educate communities about the animals they directly or indirectly share their lives with. While serving as Executive Director of the Western Pennsylvania Humane Society Ms. Nesler received the Animal Behavior Management Alliance’s (ABMA) 2010 Trainer’s Choice Award for innovation and training of shelter pets. She also developed and implemented programs, and presented papers detailing results including ‘WPHS Shuman Program-shelter pets interacting with juvenile delinquents fostering a respect for life’ and ‘Share the Love- WPHS therapy dog teams in the greater Pittsburgh region.’ She has published several times on topics from field studies, collaborative models and strategic alliances, and integrating emerging technologies and techniques in animal welfare teams.

Since arriving in Myakka City Ms. Nesler has attended the Madagascar Fauna Group meeting in Zurich, and spent 3 weeks in Madagascar working with the Tampolo Protected Area team. As the Lemur Conservation Foundation moves into our second decade, Ms. Nesler’s experience and leadership will provide the vision to meet the challenges faced as LCF expands our success breeding lemurs and managing our growing colony, and engages with communities near the Tampolo Protected Area, our sister reserve in Madagascar.

Chairman Of The Board: Scott Riviere

Mr. Riviere is a passionate student and animal advocate, Scott attended Millbrook School in New York, home to Trevor Zoo.  At the teaching zoo, he learned animal husbandry and falconry, inspiring a lifelong fascination with birds. Later, he participated in field trips with renowned scientists, Dr. Thomas Lovejoy among them. Scott assisted Dr. Lovejoy in Brazil in his research on birds in the Lower Amazon and interned with him at World Wildlife Fund.

The first non-UK citizen employed at the Jersey Wildlife Preservation Trust (now Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust), Scott was responsible for care and maintenance of the captive lemur population and helped develop a conservation training program for international field workers.   Through Friends of the National Zoo in Washington, DC, Scott coordinated education outreach programs. He also worked with Florida aviculturists and veterinarians who helped pioneer conservation aviculture and captive breeding and went on to establish his own breeding facility for the conservation of endangered parrots.

Scott serves on the boards of Hitchcock Woods Foundation in Aiken, SC (the largest urban forest in the US) and Asheville Green Works, an environmental citizen action group in Asheville, NC. In Deschapelles, Haiti, he serves as a volunteer facilitator, bridging the needs of Hôpital Albert Schweitzer and the community.

Vice-Chair: Penelope Bodry-Sanders

Ms. Bodry-Sanders retired as Executive Director of LCF in 2010, but continues as vice-chairman of LCF's Board of Directors. In 1999, she retired from New York’s American Museum of Natural History where she served for over 18 years in a number of capacities. From 1988-1999 she was the Education Coordinator for the Museum’s study/travel program, directing all educational aspects from hiring and managing staff to researching and securing educational literature for over 50 study programs a year. She is also Field Associate in the Museum’s Division of Anthropology. Previously, she served alternately as Manager of Special Collections – Archives, Photographs, Films and Art/Realia, Film Archivist and conservationist in the Museum’s Department of Library Services, and as colony manager for a breeding colony of zebra finches in the Museum’s Department of Ornithology.

African Obsession: the Life and Legacy of Carl Akeley, about the legendary hunter-turned-conservationist who saved the mountain gorilla from extinction, was well received and lauded as an enormous contribution to the body of conservation literature. Ms. Bodry-Sanders is Research Associate of Duke University Primate Center and served as Council member of the African Wildlife Foundation from 1988-1991. She is a member of the American Association of Zoological Parks and Aquariums, a Fellow of the Explorers Club and the Royal Geographic Society in London, and is a frequent lecturer on conservation issues in the United States, Africa, and India.

Treasurer: Charlene Heiser Wolff

Ms. Heiser-Wolf is currently founder & CEO of Tria Publications International, LLC and Tria Consulting.  Tria Publications is a firm specializing in low tech critical knowledge tools in the areas of environmental, health, and security topics.  Tria Consulting is a financial consulting group specializing in asset management, estate planning, business succession planning and planned giving.  Charlene Wolff brings a long history and understanding of the financial services business. Ms. Wolff was a co-founder and Managing Director of Wood Asset Management, Inc., an SEC registered investment advisory firm.  Her previous financial affiliations were with the Bank of Boston-Florida, NA, Cohane Rafferty Securities, Inc. and as a co-founder of Empire Financial Corporation. Prior to her financial career, she spent five years in medical research, having worked at the Dana Farber Cancer Center in Boston, Ma and Montefiore Hospital and Medical Center in NY.

Ms. Wolff holds a B.A. from Boston University in Biology and a M.B.A. in Taxation from Pace University.  She is currently a founding board member of Sabal Palm Bank in Sarasota, Fl and serves on the Endowment Committee of the YMCA Foundation of Sarasota, FL.  She has served on numerous charitable committees throughout her 20 years in Sarasota, with much of her time currently devoted to the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Research Institute.  She has also devoted her efforts to Habit for Humanity. Additional fundraising efforts have focused on New College Foundation and the Child Protection Center.  She is a former Trustee of Pine Manor College in Chestnut Hill, MA and a former member of the Board of Directors of Goldie Feldman Academy, the Humane Society of Sarasota County, and the Consortium for Children and Youth of Sarasota County.

Secretary: Kate Lippincott

Ms. Lippincott is a graduate of Centre College of Kentucky with a Master's in Library and Information Science from the University of South Florida. She has worked atLCF since 2006 in a variety of roles. She is now serving on the Board and continuing as librarian in a part-time capacity to continue building the Anne and Walter Bladstrom Library, a library of all things lemur.  


John Alexander

Mr. Alexander is an accomplished and well-respected photographer whose photographs, taken in remote regions around the globe, commemorate at once the biodiversity and fragility of life on the planet. Originally, he recorded mountain climbing expeditions before focusing his attention on the vast variety of the natural world. His pictures appear in many prestigious natural history arenas, including Chicago's John G. Shedd Aquarium, The Center for Marine Conservation, The Lincoln Park Zoo, The World Wildlife Fund, and Wild Bird magazine. His work is also represented in many private collections throughout Europe, Australia, and North America.

Mr. Alexander spent his professional life in the world of investment and finance, acting as Director of Research for a New York Stock Exchange member firm and, for nearly 20 years, as an officer and consultant to The Harris Trust and Savings Bank in Chicago where his primary responsibilities were for dissemination of trust and investment strategies and implementation. In addition, he served as Treasurer of the Copley Healthcare Foundation in Aurora, Illinois, and as the Illinois State Director for the Nature Conservancy. It is his passion for the living world and his willingness to share his experience and expertise to advance the mission of LCF that brought John Alexander to the lemur project.

Mark Braunstein

Mr. Braunstein is a resident of Ulster County, New York, is the founder of, a specialized manufacturer and distributor of technology products for film, television and theater.

He is one of the largest employers in his region and is known for his tremendous philanthropic efforts supporting hunger and the arts. He was named Business Person of The Year for 2007 in Ulster County and has received numerous awards for his charitable contributions. Mark had his start at the Long Wharf Theater in New Haven, Connecticut as a theater technician and carried that inspiration for theater technology to create one of the largest companies of its kind.

He is married to Katharine McKenna, daughter of Malcolm McKenna, LCF Trustee, and has three children. His home is in Woodstock, New York and he spends most of the summer in the mountains of Colorado.

Mark is well known in his area as the proud owner of a 1964 red Amphicar boat car that he drives from his house in Woodstock directly into the Hudson River - without stopping.

"I like to call lemurs furry old souls, and I find them fascinating creatures. The energy of the reserve and the wonderful people associated with it that I have met, create a valuable opportunity for me to be a part of the lemur legacy."

Blair Brown

Ms. Brown has had a long and successful career in television, motion pictures and theater. She has a feature role in the current hit sci/fi drama Fringe. She is perhaps best know for her starring role in the television series, The Days and Nights of Molly Dodd, for which she received three Emmy nominations. She also starred, as a primatologist, in Ken Russell’s classic Altered States, and as an ornithologist/conservationist, with co-star John Belushi in Continental Divide. Winner of the Tony award for her Performance in Copenhagen, she also starred in James Joyce’s The Dead, Tom Stoppard’s hit drama, Arcadia, the award-winning production of Cabaret. These are but a few highlights in Ms. Brown’s career.

Of more importance to LCF, Blair Brown has been a political activist and spokeswoman for various causes close to her heart. In her position as Co-Director of Creative Coalition, with actor Christopher Reeve, Ms. Brown spoke out on such issues as gun control, reproductive rights, government support of the arts, the war against hunger and campaign finance reform. She passionately continues her efforts on behalf of these last two causes.

What brings Blair Brown to LCF is her fascination with the study of lemurs and what it can teach us about our own very ancient history. We are proud that she has joined us in our efforts to conserve lemurs and to promote their study and promulgation.

Gail Erickson

Ms. Erickson received her degrees from Stanford University (BA 1955 summa, Phi Beta Kappa) and Harvard Law School (JD 1958 cum laude) and is a retired member of the New York bar. She served as General Counsel of W.R. Grace & Co., a diversified international company with chemical, health care, natural resources and other interests. Her areas of legal expertise were securities regulation and stockholder relations matters, financings, corporate acquisitions and dispositions and corporate secretarial matters.

Ms. Erickson is currently serving as a Vice Chairman of Citizens Union, a New York City good government group, a director of Appleseed Foundation, which has established a network of regional public interest law and justice centers, and a trustee of Brooklyn Youth Chorus Academy. Ms. Erickson brings a wide range of talent and experience to the LCF to help direct strategic planning for the future of the Foundation so that we may better preserve and conserve these endangered prosimians.

Anne Essner

Anne Essner has lived in Sarasota since 2008. She is a board member of the Lemur Conservation Foundation and the Lido Shores Property Owners Association, where she serves as President. Anne is also an active volunteer for Mote Marine Laboratory and the Sarasota Orchestra. Sculling and tennis occupy much of her free time.

Prior to moving to Sarasota, Anne lived in the Philadelphia suburbs and the Metro New York region. While living in Villanova, Pennsylvania, Anne served on The Women's Board of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, where she chaired its fine arts fair, USArtists. Anne also served as a Trustee for The Gladwyne Montessori School. After her family's move to Morristown, New Jersey, Anne worked with several organizations, including Newark Academy; Deirdre's House, a center for abused and neglected children; and she served as Chair of The Great Swamp Watershed Association, which protects and improves regional water resources.

Anne is a graduate of Skidmore College and received her MBA from Columbia University. She has worked in publishing and the pharmaceutical industry. She and her husband, Bob, divide their time between Sarasota and New York City. They have children and grandchildren in New York and Boston.

John Freeman

John A. Freeman is a Financial Advisor at Raymond James, a national financial services firm serving individuals and businesses in Sarasota- Bradenton, Florida. Prior to his current position, he was with Morgan Stanley Smith Barney and has held various positions with IBM and Archer Daniels Midland Company while often working overseas in South America and Asia-Pacific.

John currently resides in Lakewood Ranch, Florida, where he met his wife, Dr. Jennifer L. Swanson MD, a local Ob/Gyn. They have two young children in Pre-School.

John received his bachelors at Wake Forest University and masters at Louisiana State University. He is completing his Doctorate in Environmental Science at the University of South Florida (USF) and is an Adjunct Professor in Environmental Science & Policy. He is responsible for teaching Environmental Science, Ethics, Law, and Policy courses at the USF Sarasota-Manatee campus.

John is active in local and international leadership and community service initiatives. He is a past Board member for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Association and VP of Business Development for the Sarasota Sister Cities Association. John is a 2006 graduate of the Leadership Sarasota County program and a recent 2014 graduate of the Manatee County Leadership program. He currently serves as Treasurer of the Crowley Museum and Nature Center and participates on the ShelterBox USA Finance Committee. John is a ShelterBox Response Team member, having responded to flooding disasters in Niger, Africa and flooding and landslides in Peru, South America. When not working and volunteering, he enjoys international travel, reading, fly-fishing, boating, and playing tennis.

Charlotte "Mopsy" Lovejoy

 (1942-2013) Obituary  

Michael T. Martin

 (1941-2010) Obituary  

Elizabeth Moore

Elizabeth Moore is an active supporter of scientific, natural history, and educational institutions. She is married to Stuart Moore, and the mother of 5 children. Elizabeth and her husband live in Bradenton, Florida.

Elizabeth earned an M.A. International Affairs from American University, 1986, and a B.A. Economics & French Literature from Denison University, 1983.

She serves on several boards, including St. Stephen's Episcopal School in Bradenton, Florida, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Manatee County, the South Florida Museum in Bradenton, the Museum of Science in Boston, the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Massachusetts, and the Museum of the Rockies in Bozeman, Montana.

Elizabeth's interests include tennis,gardening,skiing, scuba diving, ballroom dancing, amateur paleontology,conservation, and reading books on evolution and anthropology.

Patrice Connolly Pantello

Ms.Pantello recently retired from her decades-long career in book publishing. She worked at Meredith Corporation’s Better Homes and Gardens before moving to Doubleday as Managing Editor of two of their divisions. In 1990, Ms. Pantello established Connolly and Associates to serve the marketing needs of publishers, book clubs and direct marketers. Her clients included Readers Digest, HarperCollins, Hachette and Simon & Schuster.

A graduate of Marist College, Poughkeepsie, NY, Ms. Pantello currently serves on their Board of Trustees. She is Vice-President of Country Club Shores Association III on Longboat Key, FL where she resides with her husband, Ron Pantello, a retired advertising executive. Since arriving in the Sarasota area, Ms. Pantello has been an active participant with Habitat for Humanity and numerous other volunteer organizations

Ms. Pantello has been enthralled by the inquisitive nature of lemurs since her first visit to LCF and hopes to further showcase their fragile existence in every way possible.

Judy Rasmuson

Ms. Rasmuson was born and reared in Alaska, coming east to attend Smith College. For 26 years, she lived in New York and Connecticut, working primarily as a lighting designer for Broadway musicals (Annie), rock n roll legends (Emerson,Lake and Palmer), and regional theatre (Long Wharf in New Haven and Center Stage in Baltimore). In 1994, Judy retired from lighting design to train Golden Retrievers full time, a passion and avocation begun as a youth in Alaska and avidly continued through the 1980s. While field training at the local and national level, she has developed an extraordinary roster of champions. Judy has been a director of the Golden Retriever Foundation since its inception in 1997. She is also a director of the Rasmuson Foundation, a family foundation that makes grants to improve the quality of life in Alaska. She and her husband, Ron Wallace, live in Wilsall, Montana, and Madison, Florida.

Razia Said

Singer and songwriter Razia Said’s nomadic life has taken her across Africa to France, Italy, Ibiza, Bali and New York City, but despite these wanderings her heart and soul remains inexorably tethered to Madagascar, the land of her birth.

Her musical explorations have also been wide ranging, and over the years Razia has experimented with French chanson, rock, jazz and even smooth Sade style R&B. But it took reaching back to her cultural roots for Razia to uncover her true artistic calling as one of African music’s most promising talents and in February 2007 Razia returned to Madagascar to reconnect with the land she left as an eleven year-old child.

For six weeks Razia and her band travelled around the island, and discovered along the way the environmental damage taking place as the result of unfettered slash and burn agricultture, illigal logging and climate change. Zebu Nation released on Cumbancha Discovery in February 2010, was the outcome of this journey and Razia’s longing to protect and preserve the environmental and cultural heritage of her homeland permeates the songs on the album, giving it a powerful, real-world significance.

Razia is preparing for the release of her next album Akory which will be available this fall in Europe and February 2015 in the USA.

For more information:

Biographie de Razia Said

La vie nomade de la chanteuse et compositeur Razia Said l'a amenée, à travers l'Afrique, vers la France, l'Italie, Ibiza, Bali et New York. Cependant, malgré cette errance, son cœur et son âme sont restés profondément attachés à Madagascar, le pays de son enfance.

Ses explorations musicales ont été multiples et, au fil des ans, Razia a touché aussi bien à la chanson française qu’au rock, au jazz ou encore au smooth R&B style Sade. Mais c'est en se rapprochant de ses racines culturelles que Razia a découvert sa voie artistique. Aujourd’hui, elle s’affirme comme l’un des talents les plus prometteurs de la musique africaine. En février 2007, Razia est retournée à Madagascar pour se reconnecter avec son pays d'origine, qu'elle avait quitté a l'âge de 11 ans.

Pendant six semaines, elle et son groupe ont voyagé à l’intérieur de l'île et y ont découvert les dégâts causés par la culture sur brulis, la déforestation et le changement climatique.

Zebu Nation, qui est sorti sous le label Cumbancha Discovery en février 2010, fut l’aboutissement de ce voyage et du désir de Razia de protéger l’héritage environnemental et culturel de son pays d’origine. Ceux-ci se retrouvent transparaissent puissamment dans les chansons de l'album et lui confèrent toute sa tonalité World.

Razia prepare la sortie de son album Akory qui devrait etre dans les bacs en Europe en novembre 2014 et aux USA en fevrier 2015 Elle presentera pour la premiere fois ce dernier opus au sein du festival Angaredona le 19 septembre 2014.

Pour plus d’information:

Advisory Council:

Dr. George Amato

Dr. Amato is Director,Sackler Institute for Comparative Genomics, American Museum of Natural History (AMNH). Prior to his work at the AMNH, he served as Director, Genetics Research, and Senior Conservation Biologist at the Wildlife Conservation Society – Bronx Zoo. He has been an invaluable advisor to the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) through his continued counsel to a number of Taxon Advisory Groups (TAGs) including the prosimian TAG. Dr. Amato’s research focuses on ameliorating threats to endangered species by combining field and laboratory based research. Using technologies from molecular biology and genomics, he examines genetic threats to species at a landscape level and uses this information to design applied conservation strategies.

Dr. Kenneth E. Glander

Dr. Glander is Professor of Evolutionary Anthropology at Duke University. His research focuses on understanding how plant-produced chemicals affect mammalian feeding as well as the role these chemicals have on social organization. His long-term field project in Costa Rica of over 40 years evaluates plant-primate interaction from an ethnobotanical perspective, the evolutionary development of optimal group size and composition, the relationship between food quality and quantity and body size, the factors affecting short and long-term demographic changes in established groups, and the role of regenerating forests on primate density. He also is involved in efforts to manage wild populations of primates by capturing individuals for genetic studies to determine how inbred isolated populations are and to what degree individuals need to be moved between these isolated populations by translocation or reintroduction.

Andrea Katz

Andrea Katz is Curator of the Animal Collection at the Duke University Lemur Center. She is responsible for collection and breeding management of the Center's 225 lemurs, lorises and bushbabies. She assists with strategic planning for the Center's conservation programs in Madagascar, and serves as institutional representative for the Madagascar Fauna Group. During her 17-year sojourn in Madagascar, Andrea and her husband Charlie Welch were responsible for the planning, development, implementation and management of the Parc Ivoloina and Betampona Reserve conservation projects. These efforts focused on endangered lemurs and their habitats, captive management and reintroduction, eco-tourism development, environmental education programs, and the training of Malagasy staff. In 2004, she was awarded the highest honor from the Malagasy Government – the "Chevalier de l'Ordre National" - in recognition of her contributions to conservation.

Dr. Thomas E. Lovejoy

Thomas E. Lovejoy became the 􀃠rst recipient of The Heinz Center Biodiversity Chair in August 2008. Previously he served as President of the Heinz Center effective May 2002. Before coming to The Heinz Center, he was the World Bank’s Chief Biodiversity Advisor and Lead Specialist for Environment for Latin America and the Caribbean and Senior Advisor to the President of the United Nations Foundation.

Dr. Lovejoy has been Assistant Secretary and Counselor to the Secretary at the Smithsonian Institution, Science Advisor to the Secretary of the Interior, and Executive Vice President of the World Wildlife Fund–U.S. He conceived the idea for the Minimum Critical Size of Ecosystems project (a joint project between the Smithsonian and Brazil’s INPA),originated the concept of debt-for-nature swaps and is the founder of the public television series Nature.

In 2001 he was awarded the prestigious Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement. Dr. Lovejoy served on science and environmental councils or committees under the Reagan, Bush and Clinton administrations. He received his B.S. and Ph.D. (biology) degrees from Yale University. For nearly 30 years, Tom has operated the Amazon Basin Camp 41, a facility in Brazil that has provided critical baseline information on the state of this critical environmental resource.

Dr. Erik R. Patel

Dr. Patel is a primatologist who has been working in Madagascar every year since 2000, where he has been studying the behavioral biology and conservation of one of the most critically endangered primates in the world, the silky sifaka lemur (Propithecus candidus). He has earned his PhD from Cornell University and his Masters degree from the University of California at Berkeley. He is also the Madagascar country field representative for the international environmental organization Seacology ( and recently started the non-profit organization SIMPONA ( which engages local communities to protect and study the silky sifaka and its remaining habitat. Beginning January 2011, he will be the Post Doctoral Project Manager for Duke University Lemur Center's conservation initiatives in the SAVA region of northeastern Madagascar.

Dr. Elwyn L. Simons

Dr. Simons is Scientific Director of Duke University Primate Center. An expert in the biology and behavior of living and fossil primates, he has contributed substantially to our understanding of primate history. Dr. Simons is especially interested in anthropoid origins, interpreting the radiation of Miocene-Pliocene apes, and the appearance of bipedalism and what it implies for the origin of Hominidae. Much of his recent research has dealt with the description, classification, behavior, reproduction and captive conservation of living prosimians, primarily lemurs.

Dr. Robert Wald Sussman

Dr. Sussman is Professor, Physical Anthropology, at Washington University at St. Louis and served as Editor of American Anthropologist. He is currently conducting a long-term study of the demography, ecology and social organization of the ring-tailed lemur at the Beza Mahafaly Reserve in southwest Madagascar, of which he is Co-founder. There, Dr. Sussman participates in a cooperative program of research, conservation, education, and development, working closely with botanists, geologists, and social anthropologists on this and other conservation/development projects. Using satellite images, they are also attempting to monitor deforestation and to determine its causes. Dr. Sussman has recently begun research in Central and South America as well.

Dr. Ian Tattersall

Dr. Tattersall is Curator in the Division of Anthropology, American Museum of Natural History. An expert in paleoanthropology, primatology, evolutionary biology and evolutionary theory, Dr. Tattersall is an authority in the biology and evolution of the primates of Madagascar. There is a lemur named for him, Propithicus tattersalli.

Dr. Linda Taylor

Dr. Taylor is Associate Professor of Anthropology at the University of Miami and the Section Chair for Anthropology, Florida Academy of Sciences. Her research focuses on the social behavior of captive lemurs, having conducted research in several zoos and at the Duke Primate Center. Her current interests include behavioral gerontology in lemurs and long-term colony management. She is especially interested in the ways in which kinship relates to reproductive success in captivity. She also teaches field research methods and scientific writing for undergraduates and has received the University of Miami Excellence in Teaching Award.

Dr. Jeff Wyatt

Dr. Wyatt is Director of Animal Health and Conservation Seneca Park Zoo, Rochester NY Associate Professor and Attending Veterinarian University of Rochester School of Medicine & Dentistry. He is specialty board certified by the American College of Laboratory Animal Medicine (ACLAM), licensed to practice veterinary medicine in New York State and is accredited by the NYS Division of Animal Industry. Dr. Wyatt earned his DVM from The Ohio State University in 1982, completed a residency in laboratory animal medicine at the University of Rochester in 1986 and earned his MPH from the University of Rochester School of Medicine in 1995. Dr. Wyatt is a member of AAALAC,International Council and has twenty-eight years of experience in laboratory animal medicine. Dr. Wyatt is responsible for all aspects of the animal care program at the University of Rochester.

Dr. Natalie Vasey

Dr. Vasey is Associate Professor of Biological Anthropology at Portland State University. Prior to arriving in Portland, she was a faculty member in the Howard University College of Medicine and a Research Associate at Pennsylvania State University. She earned an undergraduate degree from the University of California, Berkeley and a Ph.D. from Washington University in St. Louis.

Dr. Vasey is an accomplished scientist and educator and a dedicated conservationist. Her research explores the behavioral ecology, life history adaptations, and evolution of primates with a focus on the endangered and recently extinct primates of Madagascar. She has authored over 30 publications and co-edits two monograph series, “Cambridge Field Studies in Primatology” (Cambridge University Press, forthcoming) and “Primate Field Studies” (Prentice Hall, 2004-2009). Her research on variegated and white-fronted brown lemurs of the Masoala Peninsula, northeastern Madagascar began in 1993 and is among the only multi-decade studies of rain forest lemurs in eastern Madagascar.

Dr. Vasey has been affiliated with the Lemur Conservation Foundation since 2006 when she piloted a field school at the Foundation’s Myakka City Lemur Reserve. Since 2009 she has directed and taught a field training course at the Reserve every year, introducing talented students to field-based primatology. In 2009 she began visually documenting the lives of lemurs from the rain forest canopy. Future plans involve bringing attention to vulnerable rain forest canopies in northeastern Madagascar through documenting canopy biodiversity at large.


Dr. David Holifield

Dr. Holifield earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Microbiology from Mississippi State University. He then earned his DVM from Mississippi State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine in 1990. He moved to Sarasota, FL fifteen years ago with his wife, Donna, and son, Coyt. His practice has encompassed animals large and small, domestic and exotic. He has worked for the past four years in the field of emergency veterinary medicine. In addition to providing veterinary care for the lemur colony at the Myakka City Lemur Reserve, Dr. Holifield is a vet and co-owner at the Animal Emergency Room of University Parkway, LLC.

Dr. Cathy V. Williams

Dr. Williams is Staff Veterinarian and the Director of Animal Health and Nutrition at Duke Lemur Center and serves as consulting veterinarian for LCF.  Cathy received her undergraduate degree in Nutrition Sciences and her veterinary degree at the University of California at Davis. Following graduation from veterinary school, she completed a one year internship in small animal internal medicine and surgery at the North Carolina State University College of Veterinary Medicine. Cathy practiced small animal medicine for 10 years before deciding to pursue her passion of working with endangered species.  She started working with the Duke Lemur Center (previously the Duke University Primate Center) in 1996.  "Over the years I have grown to appreciate how complicated their medical and nutritional needs are in captivity and how much still remains to be learned about these amazing members of the primate family."

LCF Staff:

Curator of Primates & Conservation:

Alison Grand, Ph.D.

Dr. Alison Grand comes to the Lemur Conservation Foundation with over 15 years of experience in primate husbandry, research, and conservation. She began her career as a primatologist studying the social behavior of lemurs at St. Catherines Island and the Duke Lemur Center. Alison was a primate keeper at the Greater Baton Rouge Zoo, where she cared for a diverse collection of primates including Eulemur macaco and Varecia variegata.

In addition to her background in primate care, Alison has an extensive background in research and conservation. She received her master’s and doctorate degrees in Neuroscience and Behavior from the University of Georgia and completed a Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Wake Forest Primate Center. Her primary areas of research include primate behavior, with a focus on maternal behavior and aggression, stress regulation, and cognition. While a researcher at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, she conducted behavioral studies with a variety of species, including western lowland gorillas, marabou storks, and eastern box turtles and developed and managed conservation projects for the Jane Goodall Institute, Pan African Sanctuary Alliance, and the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International.

In addition to her responsibilties at LCF, Dr. Grand is the stud book manager for the ring-tailed lemur Species Survival Plan and Secretary of the Prosimian Taxon Advisory Group.

Zoological Manager:

Felicia Spector

Felicia has over ten years of experience working closely with animals. Growing up in Long Island, New York, she worked at a domestic animal hospital for five years as a veterinary assistant and volunteered at an animal adoption center. She graduated with a B.S. in Biological Sciences from Union College in Schenectady, NY and spent the summer after graduation living in South Africa working hands on with lions at a private reserve, acting as an integral component to their breeding and reintroduction program. Felicia later completed a Master’s degree in Conservation Biology from Columbia University in New York City, where she focused on mammalogy and the practical implementation of wildlife conservation tactics. Felicia gained further caretaker experience with exotic animals at Cleveland Amory Black Beauty Ranch in Murchison, Texas as their Vet-tech intern, working with a wide range of species such as chimpanzees, gibbons, tigers and other large to small carnivores, camels, reptiles, and over five hundred free roaming horses and donkeys. She also learned more about conservation management while interning with the Conservation Department at the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.


Caitlin Kenney

Caitlin is from North Attleboro, Massachusetts. She recently earned her B.S. in Conservation and Wildlife Management from Delaware Valley College. Caitlin was an Animal Care Intern at Buttonwood Park Zoo where she worked in the ‘North America West’ section and completed a training project with the Canadian Lynx. Caitlin came to LCF because it offers a chance to not only work with animals in a more natural setting, but to work in a setting with a high research focus. “I’m excited for my time here to not only learn about various research techniques and studies, but to have the opportunity to be a part of them as well.”

Animal Husbandry Intern:

Tiffany Hudson

Tiffany comes to LCF from Catawba, North Carolina. She graduated from Lees-McRae College in North Carolina with a Bachelor degree in Wildlife Rehabilitation. She developed a great animal care skill set while interning at the Riverbanks Zoo and Gardens in South Carolina with their gorillas and small mammals, as well as her through her work as a Direct Autumn Release Intern, raising and releasing whooping crane chicks at the International Crane Foundation in Wisconsin. She has loved lemurs ever since having the opportunity to work with them at Riverbanks and she is very glad to have a more focused experience with them. Tiffany was drawn to the husbandry internship here at LCF because she loved the idea of the free-ranging habitats and getting a unique chance to really see how the different lemurs interact with one another and their environment, much as they would in Madagascar.

Animal Husbandry Intern:

Jennifer Schumacher

Jennifer hails from Centreville, Virginia, but found her way to Florida to study at the University of Central Florida. She graduated with a Bachelor degree in Environmental Studies, a program offering a Zoo and Aquarium Management course with Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Jennifer’s background is in marine wildlife, and she has worked as a research intern with the UCF Marine Turtle Research Group as well as an animal care and training intern at Dolphins Plus in Key Largo. She is a member of IMATA, the International Marine Animal Trainer’s Association and even had the opportunity to attend the 2014 Annual IMATA conference held alongside the AZA Annual Conference in Orlando. Jennifer was interested in the LCF Husbandry Internship because she is looking to expand her animal care experience and cultivate her skills as an animal trainer and caretaker. She also liked that LCF is an AZA Certified Related Facility.

Office Manager:

Nancy Hendrickson

In the 1990s Ms. Hendrickson worked as Senior Bookkeeper at Meals on Wheels of Central Maryland. She has over 20 years of experience in the health insurance industry, with her last position as head of the Enrollment Department at BenefitMall, a TPA, in Towson, MD. In 2012 Nancy graduated summa cum laude from Meridian College in Sarasota, FL with a diploma in Medical Insurance Billing and Coding.


Paul 'Pete' Shover

Mr. Shover retired from his job as an ASE master mechanic and has worn many hats during his career – electrician, carpenter, and owner of a house painting business. His passion is restoring motorcycles. He completes any task set to him with alacrity and good humor and says he is happy on the Reserve because he enjoys the staff and loves being around the lemurs.


Association of Zoos & Aquariums                                     
P.O. Box 249, Myakka City, Florida 34251 | 941-322-8494 | copyright ©2009 Lemur Conservation Foundation                                                              
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