Basic Course for New Jersey Wildlife Rehabilitators and Friends of Wildlife Instructors:

Giselle Chazotte Smisko, The Avian Wildlife Center 

Giselle Chazotte Smisko has been actively involved in wildlife rehabilitation since 1979.  She has specialized in avian rehabilitation for the past three decades.  She began working with Len and Diane Soucy at The Raptor Trust and later established the Avian Wildlife Center located in Sussex County, New Jersey, which she directs with the help of her husband, John Smisko.  Over this time she has rehabilitated several thousand injured and young birds, has been involved with research projects on wild populations, studied incidences of West Nile Virus and pesticide poisoning in birds, and established a conservation program for Chimney Swifts.

Aside from her work with rehabilitation, she has worked as a naturalist for the Morris County Park Commission and Union County Department of Parks and Recreation teaching about a variety of natural history topics.  She is also a Master Bird Bander and directs a research project on migrating raptors, is a volunteer with New Jersey’s Nongame and Endangered Species Program, and serves on the Board of Trustees for the Friends of Wallkill River National Wildlife Refuge.

Harriet Forrester, Turtle Rescue of New Jersey

Harriet Forrester is a New Jersey licensed wildlife rehabilitator who specializes in turtles.  She founded Turtle Rescue of New Jersey, a non-profit organization dedicated to the rehabilitation of turtles, and to the education of the people who care for them.

In 2003, Harriet invented a non-invasive method of turtle shell repair that is now used worldwide; the method first appeared in print in the peer-reviewed veterinary magazine Exotic DVM.  She runs an annual 10-session intensive workshop on turtle rehabilitation for animal professionals.  At the request of (NJAWR) the New Jersey Association of Wildlife Rehabilitators, she developed a turtle rehabilitation training program for apprentice wildlife rehabilitators.

She delivers a variety of lectures, wet labs, workshops and “Turtle Talks” around the country.  She lectures for the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine’s Wildlife Medicine Series for first year veterinary students.  Her Introduction to Turtle Rehabilitation presentation is part of the Animal Basics Course for both the National Wildlife Rehabilitators Association and the New York State Wildlife Rehabilitation Council. 

Marjorie Ford, New Jersey Wildlife Rehabilitator (retired)

Marjorie Ford was a licensed New Jersey wildlife rehabilitator for 19 years. From 1997 to 2006, Margie was the founder and Director of Brookview Wildlife Center, a registered 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization located in Boonton Twp., NJ. The Center provided care to native NJ mammals and offered a variety of education programs to the public (adult and children), veterinarians and Police Departments. Margie participated in St. Hubert’s Animal Welfare Center’s Pet Assisted Therapy program for many years and served on their Board of Directors for eight years. In addition, Margie was part of a team that conducted a trial immunocontraception program on White-tailed deer at the Frelinghuysen Arboretum from 1997 through 2001 in cooperation with the Morris County Park Commission and the Humane Society of the United States. She is a past president of (NJAWR) New Jersey Association of Wildlife Rehabilitators, and a member of the National Wildlife Rehabilitators Association. Margie was the 2006 recipient of the Animal Welfare Federation of NJ (AWFNJ) “Hero to Animals” award. She has given seminar presentations for St. Hubert’s Animal Welfare and AWFNJ, in addition to teaching the wildlife section of the Animal Control Officer Certification course at several New Jersey colleges. In addition, she offers public programs on Humane Solutions to Dealing with Wildlife and Gardening.

Margie and her husband Bill live with two shelter adopted English bulldogs (Bertha & Klaus) and two cats, Sam & Gracie.  The Fords own and operate Brookview Farm, and sell Christmas trees during the Holidays.

Tracy Leaver, Woodlands Wildlife Refuge, Inc.

A lifelong New Jersey resident, Tracy Leaver is founder, past President and current Executive Director of Woodlands Wildlife Refuge, Inc., Pittstown, NJ. Started in 1986, Woodlands Wildlife Refuge, Inc. is a successful 501c3 wildlife rehabilitation facility handling 800 or so animals each year and conducting numerous public education programs annually.
In 1995, Tracy created and implemented the first black bear rehabilitation program in New Jersey. Working closely with the Division of Fish and Wildlife’s Black Bear Team 65 bears have been cared for, 53 successfully released with 7 pending. This program and collaborative research effort has gained national and international interest due to its documented success. This program was highlighted at an international conference on bear rehabilitation in Russia in 2007 by Dr. John Beecham.

In 1991 Tracy formed an Ad-Hoc committee that later became the New Jersey Association of Wildlife Rehabilitators (NJAWR) of which she is the current President and Chair of Legislative/Regulatory Committee. She was a Board Member of the National Wildlife Rehabilitator’s Association and Chair of the Standards Committee from 2001 to 2008.

Tracy has presented various education programs including the success of Woodlands’ Black Bear Rehabilitation, Release and Research Program throughout the country and Canada for New York State Wildlife Rehabilitation Council, National Wildlife Rehabilitator’s Association, Advanced Bear Care Group and the Eastern Black Bear Conference.

In 2006, she 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.

Colin T. Campbell, D.V.M, C.P.M

Dr. Colin Campbell graduated from the University of Illinois, College of Veterinary Medicine in 1984 after three years of undergraduate study at Bradley University.  After practicing in a mixed-animal, “all creatures great and small” veterinary practice, he joined the Mid-Atlantic Equine medical Center in central New Jersey.  Dr. Campbell worked for the New Jersey Department of Agriculture for several years and in 1999 he completed the Fairleigh Dickinson University Certified Public Managers Program. 
Dr. Campbell lectures on issues of rabies and zoonotic diseases in animals and people, as well as their control and prevention.  His four cats allow him and his wife to stay in their house in southern New Jersey.

Dr. Karen Dashfield, DVM

Karen is an experienced veterinarian who has spent over 19 years designing disease control programs for shelters, kennels and wildlife rehabilitation facilities throughout New Jersey. She has trained and evaluated search and rescue dogs as well as therapy dogs. She designed the original agility program at a leading animal welfare organization She has treated and monitored over 250 infected dogs in a single facility during a canine influenza outbreak and has worked with numerous facilities to identify, treat and control outbreaks of disease. As director of Sussex County Animal Response, she initiated and ran a shelter for Hurricane Katrina Dogs that received, re-homed and reunited over 200 animals. She was a house call veterinarian who provided regular on-site care for the animals of BARKS (Byram Animal Rescue and Kindness Squad) and Antler Ridge Wildlife Sanctuary.
Currently she serves as the on-staff veterinarian for Antler Ridge Wildlife Sanctuary. Through BARKS she runs a pet-food pantry that distributes pet food to human food pantries and needy families throughout Sussex County, N.J. Karen is also a consultant for Best Friends Animal Society, working on the Best Friends Search and Service Dog Program. For many years she responded to incidents like 9/11 with her dog Sophie. Her down to earth style has made her a sought after speaker for Best Friends, Petfinder, the AWFNJ, St Hubert’s and especially for us as instructor for CDI. She shares her home with her four dogs Red, Dusty, Bella and Sadie, and a cat named Princess. Sadie, a rescued Springer Spaniel, is a search dog in training.


Career Development Institute
Post Office Box 5024
Kendall Park, NJ 08824