Our Team - Ohio Bird Sanctuary

Our Team



The knowledgeable staff at the Ohio Bird Sanctuary bring extensive and varied credentials in both bird care and nature/science education to our non-profit’s mission. Meet our team! 




Julie Schwartz - Executive Director
Julie Schwartz holds Bachelors degrees in Biology and Education from the University of Toledo and a Masters degree in Educational Leadership from the Ohio State University. She has been involved with the Sanctuary since 2016 and has a true passion for nature and environmental education. Julie proudly leads us in our mission and believes in the vital role non-profits play in our community. 







Emily Tackett — Director of Operations
 Emily Tackett has a Bachelors degree in  Environmental Biology from Mount Vernon Nazarene University. She began her career at OBS as an intern and after two years as the Program Coordinator, has taken on the role of Director of Operations. Emily oversees daily operations, the Educational Team, and the Junior Naturalist Program. 





Abby Bramlage — Preschool Program Development Coordinator

OBS’s many youth education programs are provided by a team of dedicated professionals. Abby has been a part of the OBS family for more than a decade. She has a degree in Environmental Education and Interpretation from The Ohio State University. Abby has also worked at the Cincinnati and Columbus Zoos in education programs and animal presentations. Abby assists with all programs and coordinates our Preschool programs. 




Abby Yates - Program Development Coordinator

Abby started her career with the Sanctuary by fulfilling the position of Education Intern in the summer of 2022. She is a 2023 graduate from Otterbein University with a double major in Zoo and Conservation Science and Biology. Abby assists in the development and implementation of our educational programs and camps. 






Amanda Vanderford — Curator of Animals
Amanda is a licensed veterinary technician with 10 years experience in the care and training of birds. She began her career at OBS as an intern and continued to building her expertise through careers at specialty veterinary hospitals and the Columbus Zoo. Amanda oversees the excellent care of our animals as well as visitor experiences.






Stephanie Lewis — Animal Care Specialist
Stephanie began her career at OBS as a volunteer.  She has over 15 years of experience in the care and training of birds and has become a professional in the field of avian care. Stephanie's role at the Sanctuary is to provide excellent care for birds in rehabilitative care and to assist our Curator of Animals in maintaining the highest standard of care for all of our animals.






Sarah Evans- Animal Care Specialist 

 Sarah started her career at the Ohio Bird Sanctuary in the Spring of 2023. Driven by her deep love of animals, she made a recent switch from the Criminal Justice field. She works with the Curator of Animals to provide outstanding care to all of the animals in our collection and is also working to train several of our Educational Ambassadors. 



Founder, Gail Laux

 Ohio Bird Sanctuary was founded in 1988. (originally entitled the Richland County Raptor Rehabilitation Center.) The Sanctuary was originally operated from the private farm of Chris & Gail Laux. Gail served as the Executive Director from 1988 to 2023.


Board of Trustees

The Ohio Bird Sanctuary is governed by a volunteer Board of Trustees.


President : Preston Boyd (ESB Wealth)

Treasurer : Zachary Bramlage (Nationwide Insurance)    

Secretary:  Val Ashcraft (RFME Insurance)



Phil Chatman (Cardinal Health)

Donnie Clark (Elzy Milling & Trade) 

 Nicole Lewis (Vinyl Marketing)

Sarah Exten (LPA)

Dave Siebold (Retired) 

Candance Singh (Hospice of North Central Ohio) 



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