Renée Larison, North America Keeper, Oregon Zoo
Renee has worked with a variety of animals at the Oregon Zoo for over 20 years, 
including NAROs and Sea Otters. Since 2014 she has cared for the NAROs along with Mt goats, bobcats, black bears, beavers, ringtails, cougars, and Visayan Warty Pigs.  She has had the opportunity to successfully introduce an orphaned NARO to the Oregon Zoo's otter pair and to participate in the NARO breeding program.  Tilly and BC have had three successful litters at the zoo.

Julie Christie
, North America Keeper, Oregon Zoo
Julie has worked with several species of otters throughout her animal care career, including ASCO, NARO and Sea Otters.  She has been lucky enough to have had a variety of experience with otters, some of which include hand rearing, transports, establishing training and enrichment programs and most recently being part of a successful NARO breeding program at the Oregon Zoo since 2013.    Julie is currently the lead keeper over all of the mammals in the Great Northwest area and has always had a special passion for otters and bears.

Amy Cutting, Animal CuratorOregon Zoo 
Amy is an Animal Curator at the Oregon Zoo who oversees the North America, Marine Life, and Herp/Fish departments.  She has been at the zoo since 2002 and has had the opportunity to work with NARO, sea otters and giant river otters in her zoo career.  She is thrilled to be the management sponsor for the Oregon Zoo OKWS hosting committee and looks forward to welcoming attendees to Portland in 2018.


Traci Belting, Curator of Mammals and Birds, Seattle Aquarium
Traci is the AZA SSP Coordinator and Studbook Keeper for Northern and Southern sea otters and has been a member of the Steering committee for AZA’s Marine Mammal Taxon Advisory Group for 10 years. Traci has been training and caring for aquatic mammals and birds for the last 37 years; working directly with sea otters for the last 21 years and with NARO’s for 12.  "Our hosts, the Oregon Zoo, have an amazing sea otter program so it will be fun to add sea otters to the list of otter species highlighted in this year’s workshop!"

Andrea Dougall, Senior Keeper, Oakland Zoo

Andrea has worked with NARO since 2004, first at CuriOdyssey and then at Oakland Zoo.  Oakland has had three litters bor nsnce 2011 with the pups going to zoos across the country.  Andrea has also been working with a non-profit group called the River Otter Ecology Project as a field volunteer since the summer of 2012. The Project’s aim is to learn more about the conservation status and ecology of the North American river otter and the ecosystems they inhabit in the San Francisco Bay Area. Andrea had a great time attending the Otter Keeper Workshop in Oakland (2008) and Cincinnati (2010) and is otter-ly excited to be back for another workshop as an instructor.

Sarah Duncan, Mesker Park Zoo
Sarah Duncan started her career wanting to be a dolphin trainer, only to discover a love of otters while interning at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium in Florida. In 2004 she began working at the Newport Aquarium with Asian Small-clawed otters (Aonyx cinerea). During her years there, she worked with nearly 30 ASC otters, including the 19 offspring of one breeding pair. Sarah is the international studbook keeper for this species and works with the SSP to advise other institutions on breeding, pup rearing, social dynamics and other behavior issues/questions as they arise. She also works with the PMC and the SSP to master plan for this species. Currently Sarah is a keeper at the Mesker Park Zoo in Indiana. Sarah has been the International Studbook Keeper for Asian small-clawed otters since 2007 and served on the OZ Task Force since 2008. She was an attendee in 2006 and has served as an instructor each time since 2008.

David Hamilton, General Curator, Seneca Park Zoo
David serves as the Species Survival Plan (SSP) Coordinator for the North American river otter, as NARO Studboook Keeper and as Small Carnivore TAG vice-chair. He has maintained the North American River Otter Studbook for the last nineteen years. He is also a member of the IUCN Otter Specialist Group and its OZ Task Force.  He has been an instructor and/or an organizer for each of the previous Otter Keeper Workshops. He is the General Curator at the Seneca Park Zoo in Rochester, NY where among many other animals they have three North American river otters. David is also an Adjunct Instructor at the Rochester Institute of Technology where he teaches General Biology Lab and Zoo Internship.

Barbara Henry, Curator of Nutrition, Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden
Barbara has been in Cincinnati since mid-2005 and prior to that the Brookfield Zoo for 10 ½ years. She has been one of the Small Carnivore TAG /otter nutrition advisors since 1999. In her current position she has the responsibility for developing, implementing and supervising all aspects of a comprehensive zoo animal nutrition program. This includes management of the commissary, food safety/handling, quality control, diet formulation, diet records and continual assessment of animal condition. At CZBG she supervises procurement of their local browse program to fulfill nutrition and enrichment needs of the collection while managing the commissary budget. Finally, she is responsible for the education of zoo staff, volunteers and visitors about their role at the zoo and the importance of animal nutrition.

Dane Jorgensen, Senior Keeper, Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo
Dane is a Senior Keeper at the Omaha Zoo working with African spotted-necked and Asian small-clawed otters. He has a strong interest in behavior modification techniques and animal management programs. He has represented giant otters for the Otter Specialist Group, at the 1st International Giant Otter Workshop, Birmingham Zoo’s PiCA conservation grant program, and with a Husbandry Training award at the 2016 IMATA Conference. Dane attended the OKWS in 2014, and returned as an Instructor in 2016. 

Christine Montgomery, Assistant Curator of Mammals, Birds and Program Animals, Downtown Aquarium
Christine has been at the Downtown Aquarium for six years.  She works with a wide variety of animals including tigers, otters, parrots, porcupine, serval and sloth.  She is very interested in enrichment and the effects it can have on animals' behavior, especially in curbing stereotypical behaviors.  She is currently conducting a study on behavioral expression and stereotypy reduction in otters.  Christine was a participant in the 2012 Otter Keeper Workshop, a Host and Instructor in 2014 and Instructor again in 2016. 

Gwen Myers DVM, Zoo Miami
Dr. Myers is highly involved in the national zoological medical 
community. She is the Veterinary Advisor for the North American river otter. She has a passion for conservation research and fieldwork and serves as a Volunteer Veterinarian for the United States Geological Survey in Alaska.  Dr. Myers was an Adjunct Professor at the Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine and a guest lecturer for the College’s Preventative Medicine program. She is a frequent presenter at the annual American Association of Zoo Veterinarians conference.

Carrie Pratt, , Columbus Zoo and Aquarium
Carrie Pratt has worked at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium since 2002. As Curator of the North America region at the Columbus Zoo, Carrie oversees the animal husbandry and care for a variety of mammal species native to North America from NARO to Polar Bears.  Before moving to the North America Region, Carrie spent 15 years working in Aquatics.  Carrie began her career as an intern at the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago, Illinois and then moved to the Aquarium at Moody Gardens in Galveston, Texas. Carrie graduated from Denison University in Granville, Ohio with a Bachelor’s of Science in Biology. She attended Nova Southeastern University’s Oceanographic Center in Dania, Florida where she received a Master of Science in Ocean Science with joint specialization in Marine Biology and Coastal Zone Management.  While in graduate school she focused on endangered species field research, specifically nesting sea turtles, manatee and coral reef development.

Andrea Scherrens, Children’s Zoo Keeper, Birmingham Zoo 
Andrea cares for North American river otters, a red fox, gray foxes, black bears, native raptors and domestics.  Her specialties are North American river otters and gray/red foxes. Her recent training accomplishments include training the North American river otters for voluntary ultrasounds, voluntary blood draws, and voluntary radiographs. At the Otter Keeper Workshop in 2014, she shared her training journey for these behaviors in hopes to inspire other otter keepers to follow suit. Her passion for training carries with her outside of work. In her spare time she enjoys training and competing with her dogs in a sport known as flyball.

Tammy Schmidt, Assistant Director, Niabi Zoo
Tammy has been privileged to be part of multiple zoological teams throughout the United States. She has worked with North American river otter, giant otters and Asian small clawed otters. Tammy has served as an instructor/presenter for the Otter Keeper Workshop for the last four workshops and contributes as an administrator to the OKWS Facebook Page. She has also been a contributor to the Summary of Husbandry Guidelines for Giant Otters In Zoos, Aquariums, and Wildlife Sanctuaries for IUCN/SSC Otter Specialist Group, OZ Task Force. In 2017 Tammy was invited to participate in the 1st International Giant Otter Workshop in Cali, Colombia. Tammy has also had the honor to be accepted to participate as a member of the IUCN Species Survival Commission/IUCN SSC Otter Specialist Group.  Although Tammy loves all otters, giant otters are her favorite.

Teresa Shepard, Lied Jungle Supervisor,  Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo
Teresa is the supervisor of the Lied Jungle which houses a wide variety of mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and fish. Among those animals are two species of otters, Asian small-clawed and African spotted-necked. She has worked at Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo for 18 years. Teresa attended the 2010 Otter Keeper Workshop and was an Instructor in 2012, 2014 & 2016.

Sara Sullivan, Coordinator of Training, Species Conservation, Species Conservation Toolkit Initiative
Sara serves as a scientific advisor for the Association of Zoos and Aquariums' (AZA) cooperatively managed animal populations.  She formerly worked for the Population Management Center (PMC) where she was responsible for conducting genetic and demographic analyses and preparing breeding and transfer plans for nearly 600 species managed in more than 200 AZA-accredited zoos.  Now she serves as an Adjunct Advisor to the PMC and helps in the management of a few select species including all four of the otter species.
She is a closet thrill-seeker and holds the records for loudest scream and longest scream on Disney Animal KIngdom's Expedition Everest.

Aubrey Theiss, Seattle Aquarium
 For the past four years, Aubrey has been working in animal care with a variety of marine mammal and bird species including NARO and sea otters. She is the 
aquarium’s program lead for NARO. Several times a year, she joins the aquarium’s conservation research team and travels to collect data on activity budgets of sea otters as well as assisting with the annual Washington State sea otter census. Aubrey has aided in the rehabilitation of several orphaned sea otter pups. Aubrey attended the OKWS in 2016 and is excited to participate in this year’s workshop.