Tessa Buchin

Writer and Registered Veterinary Technician

Tessa Buchin is an awarded nature writer and journalist whose work rehabilitating South American species and California wildlife—particularly canids, marine mammals, and raptors—inspires her to promote conservation efforts in creative media. As a registered veterinary technician, she gained clinical experience as a small animal surgical anesthetist in perioperative clinical procedures and advanced anesthesia in orthopedic, emergency, and soft tissue surgery, endoscopy, arthroscopy, and CT. 


Tessa has volunteered for the internally recognized Bolivian organization, Comunidad Inti Wara Yassi (Parque Ambue Ari), a large cat sanctuary caring for injured, abused, and mistreated rescued wildlife, and joined the Marine Mammal Center of Sausalito, California in advanced medical rehabilitation and advanced stranding and rescue. As a medical intern, she rehabilitated predatory mammals and raptors at the Wildlife Center of Silicon Valley in San Jose, California, and completed coursework in coyote and fox rehabilitation and release, bat and hummingbird rehabilitation, and performed advanced triage and medical procedures.

Jasmine Bagha

Teacher and Registered Veterinary Technician

Jasmine is a credentialed teacher with a Master's in Education who has worked with youth in elementary, middle, and high-school classrooms. She has created science curriculum around California State Standards, NGSS, and after school programs.  


In addition, she earned her vet tech degree while gaining experience by working in numerous small animal clinics and hospitals. Her passion for conservation and wildlife rehabilitation led her to complete the RVT internship at The Marine Mammal Center.  She has also worked with many injured wildlife at the Wildlife Center of Silicon Valley.  


As an advocate for environmental conservation and equal education for low-income communities, Jasmine works on curriculum that provide youth exposure to the animal-health field and eco-conscious living. 

Katie Schuler

Filmmaker and Conservationist

Katie Schuler is a wildlife filmmaker and global advocate for conservation. Her short film, Pangolin, which has proven to be an important tool to counter wildlife trafficking, has won five best short film awards while reaching a global audience of over 25 million people. Katie has worked in over 26 countries across six continents while documenting wildlife and their habitats.


As an artist and producer, she has led outreach efforts to vulnerable communities and undereducated youth at home and abroad. Katie is the Co-Founder and Head of Production of Coral & Oak Studios, a production company dedicated to telling stories that educate and inspire audiences to engage with the creatures, people and world around them. Katie continues to improve her craft by adapting to new media strategies and being an early adopter of high-speed imaging, animated graphics and 3D virtual reality.


A recipient of the Henry Luce Fellowship, a graduate of the Corcoran College of Art and Design, and a recipient of the prestigious Koenig Trust Scholarship. Her clients include Condition One VR, National Geographic, The Smithsonian Institute, Conservation International, HBO, Woods Hole Oceanographicand PBS. She is an Emerging League Photographer with the International League of Conservation Photographers (iLCP), and currently lives in Washington DC.

Dr. Doug Mader

Douglas R. Mader, MS, DVM, Diplomate ABVP (Canine/Feline), Diplomate, ABVP (Reptile/Amphibian), Diplomate, ECZM (Herpetology), Fellow, Royal Society of Medicine

Dr. Mader received his DVM from the University of California, Davis in 1986.  In addition, he completed a Residency in Primate and Zoo animal medicine. He is the co-owner the Marathon Veterinary Hospital, a 24-hour Emergency/referral hospital in the Conch Republic. He is the consulting veterinarian for the Everglades Alligator Farm, the Monroe County Sheriff's Zoo, the Key West Aquarium and the Theater of the Sea.  


Dr. Mader is an internationally acclaimed lecturer and is on the review boards of several scientific journals.  He has published numerous articles in scientific and veterinary journals, national magazines, and, is the author/editor and co-editor of three textbooks on Reptile Medicine and Surgery.­­

Dr. Tim Tristan

DVM Diplomate ABVP (Reptile/Amphibian)

Dr. Tristan received his DVM from Texas A&M University in 1999.  After spending 2 years practicing in the Florida Keys, he returned to Texas and completed an internship in exotic animal medicine and surgery at Gulf Coast Veterinary Specialist.  Since that time he has worked in private practice and consults for numerous zoos and aquariums around Texas. In 2013 he founded and opened the Texas Sealife Center, a nonprofit 501c3 shorebird and sea turtle hospital.


He is currently the President-Elect of the Association of Reptile and Amphibian Veterinarians and Past President of the Horned Lizard Conservation Society.  He has published articles on Fibropapillomatosis in green sea turtles and Mycoplasmosis in Texas tortoises as well as a chapter in the recently released Sea Turtle Health and Rehabilitation textbook. 

Kristin Hettermann

Photographer and Conservationist

Kristin Hettermann is recognized for her underwater and adventure travel photography and creating awareness about important environmental and social causes. Based between Maui and Manhattan her work and travels have taken her on adventures around the world with a keen eye toward ocean conservation and distant cultures.


Her passion for photography started in high school when the camera was a tool to help her truly “see” the world and revel in all of its beautiful details. Nature and photography remained partnered in a role that encouraged her through the decades to be more present- body, mind and spirit in the natural environment around her. Once she received her call to sea, it was a mermaid’s life to be.

Sarah Ridgway

Photographer, Producer, and Conservationist

Sarah Ridgway obtained her undergraduate degree in Marine Science from the University of Miami. Her early work focused on bottlenose dolphin population studies in both Biscayne and Florida Bay. She was an active member of the Marine Mammal Stranding Team and assisted with the rescue and rehabilitation of ocean wildlife. Sarah has volunteered with sea turtle conservation and research programs along the South Florida coast performing nest monitoring and hatchling care and release. Her professional work has taken her up the Eastern Seaboard and also out to the Oregon Coast before settling into a role performing wetlands restoration research throughout the Florida Everglades watershed.


Sarah’s passion for conservation and photographic storytelling led her to Bristol, England, to obtain her Master’s Degree in Film and Television Production. Since then she has worked as a producer, photographer, and editor for various projects around the Carolinas.

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