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Our Staff

The Amazing Team

Letrecia “Trish” Nichols

Executive Director

Executive Director of Black Pine Animal Sanctuary since 2019

Extensive experience in the nonprofit sector and business management

Past roles include Executive Director for the Animal Welfare League of Kosciusko County, president of the Boys & Girls Club, Director of Operations for Superior Landscape Products and Excavation and Councilwoman at large for her community.

Currently serves on the Steering Committee & Finance Committee of the Big Cat Sanctuary Alliance and is a member of Warsaw Breakfast Optimist Club

Kelsi Nicholson

Senior Lead Keeper

Volunteered and worked at Indianapolis Zoo

Attended University of Louisville, majored in Biology and Psychology

Has worked as a Veterinary Assistant, Lead Kennel Attendant, and Daycare Chaperone

Volunteered for a Wildlife Rehabber

Was an Intern at Black Pine Animal Sanctuary in 2014

Joined the BPAS team in 2017 as a Lead Keeper

Promoted to Senior Keeper in 2021

Kaitlyn Pfefferkorn

Lead Keeper / Commissary Manager

Graduated from Ball State University with a bachelor’s degree in biology/concentration in zoology.

Interned at ARF Animal Shelter Spring of 2020

Interned at BPAS summer of 2020.

Joined the BPAS team as a Lead Keeper summer of 2021 and became Commissary Manager in June 2022

Studied abroad in Costa Rica in 2019 studying wildlife diversity.

Trey Mariner

Lead Keeper

Bachelors of Science in Business Management from Indiana University

Started as an intern at Black Pine in 2021

One year volunteering at Soaring Hawk Raptor Rehab as a bird handler, avian care provider, doing bird rescues, and in the ICU.

Enjoys building with LEGO, playing video games and reading.

Kim Huth

Lead Keeper

Graduated from Purdue University West Lafayette in 2014 with a degree in Wildlife Biology and a minor in Spanish.

Previous experience includes Primate and Bird Keeper at the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo, Education Assistant at Columbian Park Zoo, Veterinary Assistant at St. Joe Center Veterinary Hospital and Rehab Assistant at Canine Rehab at NIVES

Interned at Black Pine Animal Sanctuary in 2014 and completely fell in love with the mission (and the animals, of course!)

Was honored to be hired as a Lead Keeper of Black Pine Animal Sanctuary in June 2019

Spends her free time with her husband, family, friends and her 3 perfectly wonderful domestic cats. She also loves to tap dance, travel and visit accredited sanctuaries and zoos.

Madison Macke

Lead Keeper

Graduated from Purdue University specializing in Wildlife Management

Background is mostly working and studying native amphibians.

“Black Pine has given me a great opportunity to work and learn more about managing exotic wildlife. I look forward to continuing my services for these animals as well as spreading awareness on the negatives of owning wildlife as pets.” ~Maddie

Whitney Tilley

Lead Keeper

Began animal care journey as a Lead Barn Hand at Camp Red Cedar in Fort Wayne, Indiana

Former Kennel Attendant and Barn Manager, as well as previous management experience as a shift leader at Starbucks

Joined BPAS as a Lead Keeper in October 2022

Enjoys riding motorcycles and proud plant mom.

Henry Pflueger

Lead Keeper

Graduated from Bishop Dwenger in 2021

Prior experience in reptile rehab, and education

Member of the Turtle and Tortoise Preservation Group

Actively assisting Hoosier Turtle and Tortoise Sanctuary

Lydia Berg

Lead Keeper

Graduated from Wittenberg University in 2021 with a Bachelor’s degree in Biology

Previous experience with large carnivores, including big cats and tigers

Interned for 3 months at The Wild Animal Sanctuary-Texas in Boyd, TX and for 6 months at Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge in Eureka Springs, AR

Through experience, has fallen in love with the animals and the mission, to rescue and provide peaceful, happy lives for exotic animals in need –  happy to have landed here at BPAS!


Laura Landgrebe

Vet Tech

BS in Veterinary Technology from Michigan State University, and LVT for over 20yrs, working the majority of that time in the zoo/sanctuary world.

Runs a personal nonprofit organization called International Veterinary Care, Inc.

Enjoys international travel and learning new and exciting animal conservation work.

Diane Current

Fund Development Specialist

Joined Black Pine December 2022.  Fort Wayne native with a BA in Broadcast Communications/Journalism from Purdue University.  Formally known as the Queen of Fort Wayne Talk Radio and Promotions Director at WOWO and WGL.

Volunteered at the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo and spent a summer as the weekend education coordinator.

Enjoys road trips, beaches, CSI, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Fort Wayne Komets, and cat mom to 5.

Goal in life is to become a professional beach bum.

Becky Graves

Guest Services, Part Time Lead Keeper

Graduated from University of Nebraska Omaha with a Biology Degree in 2014

Background includes Prairie Management Internship, Callitrichid Enrichment volunteer, Gorilla Behavior Research Project assistant, Management and Training

Joined the Black Pine team as a Part Time Lead Keeper and Guest Services Manager in August of 2022

Lived and worked at the Thai Street Paws Rescue in Songkhla, Thailand while living abroad.

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