Sharon Schmalz – Executive Director
Sharon Schmalz is executive director of the Wildlife Center of Texas in Houston, Texas. The Wildlife Center cares for approximately 10,000 wild animals each year and educates over 50,000 adults and children about wildlife, conservation and the environment.
The Wildlife Center works closely with the Texas A&M University School of Veterinary Medicine professors and students. Ms. Schmalz is the representative for the Wildlife Center of Texas on the advisory council for the Texas State Animal Resource Team (TXSART), a program of the Texas Veterinary Medical Foundation that coordinates preparedness, response and recovery efforts for animals affected by disasters in the state of Texas.
For 32 years, Ms. Schmalz has maintained the multiple state and federal permits necessary to care for injured, orphaned, endangered, educational and oiled wildlife. A founding member of the Wildlife Center of Texas Oiled Wildlife Response Team, she has acted as the director for 25 years. The team responds to oiled wildlife in both inland and coastal areas of the Gulf Coast.
Ms. Schmalz is 40 hr. HAZWOPER (Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response) certified and ICS (Incident Command System) trained to care for oil-contaminated wildlife. She maintains a TWIC (Transportation Worker Identification Card) card to allow for the collection of oiled wildlife in locations sensitive to Homeland Security such as ship channels and ports.
She was involved in the development of the “Best Practices for Migratory Bird Care During Oil Spill Response” document in Anchorage, Alaska in 2001. For 11 years, Ms. Schmalz has coordinated oiled wildlife response workshops for the Texas General Land Office and for industry and maintained the resulting database of potential volunteers for response.
Margaret Pickell – Operations Manager
Margaret Pickell is one of the Operations Managers at the Wildlife Center of Texas in Houston. She is responsible for the training and coordination of over 500 volunteers. The center takes in over 10,000 animals a year where Margaret oversees their feeding, medications and housing needs.
Margaret has been a state and federally permitted wildlife rehabilitator for 30 years. She specializes in birds with an emphasis on water birds, songbirds and raptors.
She has been a certified Texas Master Naturalist for over 20 years.
For the past twenty years, Margaret has combined her respect for wildlife along with her passion to educate thousands of children on the subject of environmental education.
Debbie Mitchell – Operations Manager
Debbie Mitchell is one of the Operations Managers at the Wildlife Center of Texas in Houston. She is responsible for the purchase and distribution of all food, supplies and medications necessary to run a rehabilitation facility of this size. She also oversees the feeding, medications and housing needs of the over 9000 animals that come through the door each year.
Debbie has been a state and federally permitted rehabilitator for 20 years and has been on the oiled wildlife response team for 13 years. She has completed the 24 hour HAZWOPER training and ICS 100,200,300,400, 700 and 800. She has a TWIC card.
Debbie is an integral member of the Oiled Wildlife Response workshop instructors and attends the Clean Gulf Conferences.
Anni Ranck – Wildlife Rehabilitation Team Lead
Anni Ranck has been working with native and exotic wildlife for over 9 years and brings a lot of variety to our team.
She pursued her degree in organismal biology and graduated with a Bachelors of Science in wildlife biology and management. She has worked previously for The National Park Service, Reelfoot Lake state park, The National Tiger Sanctuary, Walden’s Puddle Wildlife Rehabilitation and Education Center, The International Exotic Animal Sanctuary, The Houston SPCA, and now The Wildlife Center of Texas.
Anni is involved with education and outreach programs, volunteer coordination, Facebook publications, and of course, medical and supportive animal care. Anni initially came to the WCT by way of an internship program funded through ExxonMobil which included courses in networking, etiquette, and solving problems non-profits frequently face. She was then asked back for a full time position and uses all that she learned in her internship everyday here at the Wildlife Center of Texas.
Brooke Yahney – Wildlife Rehabilitation Staff
Brooke started at the Wildlife Center of Texas in September of 2014. She is involved with customer service and administrative tasks at the center, along with general animal care and triage.
After graduating with distinction in University Honors from New Mexico State University, where she received a Bachelor’s of Science in Music Education, Brooke realized another lifelong passion of working with animals. After a brief teaching career, she completed an internship at Wolf Hollow Wildlife Rehabilitation Center in Friday Harbor, WA and at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Kanab, UT in the summer of 2013. Brooke moved to Houston in January of 2014 and briefly worked with the Houston SPCA’s Client Care team before joining the Wildlife Center of Texas.
Brooke loves working with such a large variety of species here at the center and is frequently inspired by how much people can care about life and the natural world.
Sheryl Rogers has been closely involved with wildlife rehabilitation for over 12 years and has been fully permitted at the federal and state level for over 7 years. She attends continuing education conferences to keep on the cutting edge of wildlife care and rehabilitation best practices.
One of the Wildlife Center’s most dedicated volunteers, Sheryl routinely takes full responsibility for the operation of the Wildlife Center during her shift.
Sheryl helps with Oil Spill Workshops several times a year and assumes management of the Wildlife Center when oil spills require the entire Oil Spill Response Team.