Our volunteers . . .

Black Pine's volunteer program provides opportunities in animal care, housekeeping, maintenance, public relations, fundraising, and more.  Those who make a routine contribution to these efforts contribute an average of 200 hours of service each week to help carry out the mission!  They include:

Level 4 & 5 Senior Animal Keepers and Managing Staff

These staff members bring nearly 100 years of combined experience from a variety of professional backgrounds to Black Pine.  Their tenures as staff range from one year to over 20 years, having contributed thousands of combined hours of service to the mission.  Their long-term commitment has earned them the privilege of fulfilling the roles of senior management at this organization.  They support and back-up the paid staff routinely to keep things running smoothly.

Barb Smith, Fundraising Committee Chairperson
Brenda Cureton, education/special events
Cassie Cox, RVT/senior keeper (former intern)
Cris Hensley, veterinary assistant
Jim Blomberg, senior keeper
Karen Hoag, founder/emergency responder
Katie Boyd, senior keeper
Kim Lauer, telecommunications
LaMont Tipple, senior keeper
Mark Thaler, senior keeper
Nathan Shelton, senior keeper
Renee Runkle, senior keeper
Ron Oetting, docent
Ryan Rothenbuhler, DVM
Scott Taylor, DVM
Terry Reyes, customer relations

Level 3 Animal Keepers

Level 3 animal keepers are those authorized to move and work in close proximity with small cats, lesser primates, small canines, large reptiles, and others that are cared for through protected contact only.  These keepers complete hundreds of hours of training before assuming such responsibility and have proven safety records that qualify them to carry out core animal care needs, under the supervision of paid staff and senior animal keepers.  All have a minimum of 500 hours of on-the-job experience in their roles at Black Pine, and many have several thousand hours of experience and service.

Ambrose Krouse
Amy Belcher (former intern)
Amy Kreg
Anne Lawson
Becca Esterline (former intern)
Brendan Widner (former intern)
Cassi Crane
Cody Litzenberg
Ed Campbell
Haley Bryan
James Greer
John Kitzmiller
Kalley Nicely
Kathryn Peters (former intern)
Linda Kratzat
Mariah Meadows (former intern)
Robin Schindler (former intern)
Samantha Hartman (former intern)
Sandy Beck

Level 1 & 2 Animal Keepers

These animal keepers carry out animal care for resident birds, grazing animals, small reptiles, and other non-dangerous animals, and assist level 3-5 keepers with other animal care needs. They often assist with preparing diets, interact with guests, and help at fund raising events and with outreach programs as well.

Angela Buzzard
Anna Atsinger (active intern)
Brad Staats
Gay Hickman
Jherome "Joe" Hardman
Kim Raupfer
Leslie Pettit
Logan Handshoe (active intern)
Sarah Cox
Troy Dial
Wendy Riddle

Other volunteers include community service workers, the offender crew from Chain O' Lakes Department of Corrections, area civic organizations, and more!  Black Pine simply could not exist without the generosity and talents of volunteers.  We thank them all!

Interested in Volunteering?


Volunteers at Black Pine Animal Sanctuary must:

  • Be at least 16 years of age and have reliable transportation
  • Be reliable, mature, and trustworthy
  • Be willing to commit to a routine work schedule of at least four hours per month
  • Be self-motivated and able to follow written and verbal instructions
  • Be respectful of property, policies, and the animals
  • Be able to multi-task and work where they are most needed
  • Be aware of and support the sanctuary's non-profit mission

To learn more, or to apply, click here.