Meet Our Staff

Kent Weber, Co-Founder and Executive Director

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Photo by Annie White

Kent has spent the past three decades as an experiential educator working to provide a home for rescued animals. His patience and skill as a teacher have benefited thousands of volunteers and visitors over the years. He is the main spokesperson for the traveling and on-site Ambassador Wolf programs, and has inspired compassion and understanding in countless visitors. Kent has profound architectural knowledge from his background in construction management, and he applies this knowledge to make the sanctuary sustainable through solar power and passive solar design. Kent wears many different hats at the sanctuary: You might find him in our tool shop, teaching new volunteers how to build something for the first time, talking about group psychology to high school students, or explaining wolf-dog regulations to someone on the phone. During the summer, the one hat you can count on him wearing almost every day is his cowboy hat.

Tracy Ane Brooks, Co-Founder and Director

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Photo by Shevaun Williams

With over two decades of experience working with wolves and horses, Tracy understands animal behavior and has developed gentle handling techniques that are truly her own. Tracy teaches interested Mission: Wolf staff how to use body language to communicate with wolves and horses. She has also developed successful handling techniques for the captive Ambassador wolves to help them feel calm and happy in public, unnatural, and new environments. Tracy is currently developing a wolf/horse body language teaching program at the sanctuary, using positive interactions between people and animals as an educational and therapeutic tool. She published a book about her work, entitled A Walk in Connection. An accomplished artist, Tracy has raised money for the sanctuary from sales of her artwork.


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Photo by Elisa Behzadi

Mike Gaarde, Animal & Refuge Caretaker

Mike is a self-proclaimed happy hippie who just loves wolves. He came to Mission: Wolf in September 2013 and has worked hard for the sanctuary in his many years with us. Mike’s charisma and excitement for our mission makes him a driving force on our staff. When he’s not working with the wolves, Mike can be found helping out with construction, being artsy fartsy, or eating his strict diet of ketchup, cheese, and tortillas. In his free time, Mike likes to ride his dirt bike, be silly, wear pink, and go snowboarding. Much like the wolf, Mike is always striving to be mindful, aware, and knowledgeable of the world around him.

 

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Photo by Elisa Behzadi

Austin Hoffman, Education Caretaker

Austin arrived at Mission: Wolf in the summer of 2016, and has made serious headway in our attempts to revamp the education programs at the sanctuary. Spreading knowledge about the wolf and its vital role in our ecosystem brings him great joy, along with creating a cohesive environment among the staff. Austin’s passions include advocating for worker’s rights, being a lover of basketball, an enthusiast of odd reptiles, and a man of books. He has degrees in sociology and philosophy, and he plans to attend graduate school to study the relationship between modern society and wildness.

 

 

Megan Seidel, Operations Caretaker

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Photo by Austin Hoffman

Megan came to Mission: Wolf for the first time as part of a service group from Rice University. She fell in love with our wolves, our mountains, and our sustainability efforts, and returned as long-term staff in the spring of 2017. Megan’s strong organizational skills and attention to detail help keep everything running smoothly at the sanctuary. You can usually find her in the office tending to the finances and handling correspondence, or outside working with groups and educating visitors.

 

 

 

 

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Photo by Pele Cannon

Laura McGehee, Outreach Caretaker

Laura discovered Mission: Wolf as part of a service group from Northwestern University, and she returned as a short-term volunteer for a few weeks during a summer to devote her time and energy to helping the sanctuary. After graduating from school and hiking the Appalachian Trail, Laura finally joined us as full-time staff in the fall of 2017. She currently assists with all things outreach, spending her days making videos about the sanctuary and the wolves, and her nights snuggling with resident wolf-dog, Minigan. She built this website and has designed a flaw in the thermal exhaust port that will almost certainly cause a deadly explosion.

 

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Photo by Claire Tellekson-Flash

 

Charles Mandemaker, Sustainability Caretaker

Charles’ dry wit and impeccable comedic timing make him a delightful conversation partner, especially when discussing the greenhouses and sustainability practices that he manages. He brings a calm, confident, respectful energy to every task he tackles. His creative spirit brings the community together for many movie nights and philosophical discussions. He came to Mission: Wolf after three years of teaching Special Education in the neighboring town of Gardner, and he hopes to grow and evolve as an educator through his experiences here.


 

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Photo by Laura McGehee

Jake Menzies, Meat Caretaker

Jake’s infectious love and puppy-like energy combined with his serious commitment to these animals makes him a force to be reckoned with. He manages the feeding schedules and meat processing for our resident wolves, and can usually be found speed-walking around the sanctuary with an expansive grin across his face. Extra points if you can guess where his accent is from (hint: he’s not Australian).

 

 

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Photo by Claire Tellekson-Flash

Tricia LePore, Assistant Staff

Tricia has rejoined Mission: Wolf full-time after spending the summer of 2017 working for the wolves and the community. She can usually be found wearing vibrant patterns, brazenly learning a new skill in the tool shop, or yelling kind words of encouragement to fellow staff members and strangers alike. She helps to keep our wolves fed and our refuge running, and always does so with a charming laugh and witty comment.