Staff

We are a small team of talented professionals with a wide range of skills and experience. We love what we do, and we do it with passion. We look forward to working with you.

Tracy Leaver

Tracy Leaver

Executive Director

Tracy is founder and Executive Director of Woodlands Wildlife Refuge, Inc. Finally giving in to her lifelong passion for wildlife, she left her former profession and started Woodlands in 1986. Woodlands began with the care of two raccoons and now cares for close to 2000 animals annually.

Her accomplishments on behalf of Woodlands Wildlife Refuge include the following: implementing the first black bear rehabilitation and release program in New Jersey resulting in the care and release of over 100 bears. The program’s success has gained national and international interest. She also implemented the first bobcat rehabilitation and release program in New Jersey resulting in the care and release of over 35 bobcats. As the Executive Director she serves on the Board of Trustees.

Tracy was a founding member, served on the board for many years, and is currently an advisor to the New Jersey Association of Wildlife Rehabilitators.

She served as a Board Member and Chair of the Standards Committee of the National Wildlife Rehabilitator’s Association.

Tracy was recognized in the publication: “Notable Women Throughout the History of Hunterdon County” by the Hunterdon County Cultural and Heritage Commission for her work with Woodlands Wildlife Refuge.

She was appointed to the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection’s Wildlife Rehabilitator’s Advisory Committee and currently serves on that committee.

Tracy has received the Women in Wildlife Inspiration Award from New Jersey’s Conserve Wildlife Foundation.

Tracy has attended and presented at national and international wildlife conferences. In her free time Tracy enjoys being a hot air balloon pilot. She also enjoys gardening and working in the dirt.

Melissa Anahory

Program and Operations Assistant

Melissa Anahory is currently the Program and Operations Assistant at Woodlands Wildlife Refuge. She visited her first wildlife rehabilitation facility at a young age and fell in love with the profession as a teenager. She has been in the field of wildlife rehabilitation for several years. Melissa graduated in 2009 with a Bachelor of Science degree from Rutgers University in Natural Resource Management and Ecology, and has always had a passion for wildlife rehabilitation. She became involved with Woodlands when she was an intern at the refuge in the summer of 2008, and has consistently been involved with the refuge ever since. In her free time she enjoys the hobby of geocaching and gaming.

Heather Freeman

Wildlife Care and Volunteer Supervisor

Heather Freeman is the Wildlife Care and Volunteer Supervisor and one of the center’s licensed wildlife rehabilitators. Heather began in the field of wildlife rehabilitation in 2006 as a volunteer for Woodlands while earning her Bachelor Degree in Biology and finishing her military service.  In 2011, Heather joined the staff team at Woodlands and became licensed in 2013. In her spare time, Heather enjoys nature, house plants, and spending time with her children.

Amy Shivers

Wildlife Care Assistant

Amy Shivers is the Wildlife Care Assistant at Woodlands Wildlife Refuge. After receiving her Bachelors in Environmental Studies in 2013, she knew she wanted to work in the field of nature conservation. A longtime lover of animals and the outdoors, she started as an intern at Woodlands in May 2015. She fell in love with the world of wildlife rehabilitation and was lucky enough to receive a staff position at the end of her internship in September 2015. Amy is currently in the process of getting licensed as a wildlife rehabilitator. Outside of Woodlands, she enjoys video games and rock climbing.

Ferris Harrison

Wildlife Caregiver

Ferris Harrison is the Wildlife Caregiver at Woodlands Wildlife Refuge. He completed his Bachelor’s in Biology from Syracuse University in 2018 and a Master’s in Biomedical Sciences from Rutgers University in 2021. Ferris began his wildlife experience as an intern with Woodlands in 2021 and continued to his current position shortly after. It was through both completing his internship and adopting his rescue dog that he discovered his passion for animal care. Outside of work he enjoys playing guitar, traveling, and watching a variety of sports.