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Our team

HELENA KRIEL

Founder and President

Helena Kriel was born in Johannesburg, South Africa.
As a child, holidays were spent in the bush, and she developed a deep love for animals.
She worked in television and theater in South Africa before going to Los Angeles. She won a Steven Spielberg award and became a working screenwriter, with two produced movies to her credit. She mentors screenwriters in the Spalding University MFA program

She founded her first non-profit Walk for the Underdog. An annual event brought thousands of people together to raise awareness for abused and homeless dogs and raising substantial funds for dog rescue.

She loves animals, and has worked with baby birds, skunks. possums, chimpanzees and has spent time with the remarkable pangolin. But her commitment is to rhinos and she has spent many hundreds of hours in their company.

BRR INTERNATIONAL WORKING GROUP

DAVID WALKER

Co-Founder, Board Treasurer

A passion for nature and respect for all wild creatures are the common threads linking the multiple phases of David Walker’s personal and professional life, which included: a career as an award-winning journalist, writer and editor, media relations consultant, a non-profit association manager and director, Peace Corps Volunteer and environmentalist. This father of two sons is deeply committed to preserving ecosystems and saving from extinction the planet’s iconic species, including Rhinos.

RENE BREIER PHD

Co-Founder, Board Vice President

Having grown up in Johannesburg, South Africa, Rene became intimately connected to nature from an early age. Frequent visits to the Kruger National Park cemented her love for Africa’s wildlife. She currently lives in Portland, Oregon where she is actively involved in a number of environmental issues, most particularly through the Master Gardener program and as a volunteer with Portland Audubon’s Backyard Habitat program. She has also volunteered in the Wildlife Care Center and completed courses in wildlife care. She worked with Helena Kriel to develop Walk for the Underdog in Los Angeles, She calls on everyone to make a difference. Rene holds several degrees including a Ph.D in English literature. She is devoted to Baby Rhino Rescue’s mission to save the rhino from extinction.

COOPER WARNER

Board: Legal Counsel, Social Media

A Rhode Island native and Oregon transplant, Cooper received her Juris Doctor from Lewis & Clark Law School with a certificate in Environmental and Natural Resources Law. She received her Bachelor of Science in Animal Science and Technology from the University of Rhode Island. During her third year at Lewis & Clark, Cooper wrote her thesis on synthetic wildlife products. Her paper explores the intersection of existing U.S. wildlife laws and regulations and this cutting edge science, using synthetic rhinoceros horn as a case study to understand the broader implications of synthetic wildlife products on wildlife trade.

For as long as she can remember, Cooper’s compassion and deep love for animals has influenced every ambition and decision. She is driven, both personally and professionally, to provide a voice for the voiceless by protecting and promoting the welfare of vulnerable species.

Cooper most enjoys hiking in the Pacific Northwest, her vinyasa yoga practice, and taking nature and wildlife photographs.

CARLA MELUCCI

Board: Grants

Carla is a native New Englander who currently manages an organic farm stand. She holds a BS in Biology and an MS in Zoology and has been passionate about wildlife conservation her entire adult life. In Nov 2016, she volunteered at CFW and was lucky enough to be the “mom” to Jemu, a female orphan whose soulful eyes stole Carla’s heart.

KELLY WEATHERMAN

Board: Events, Social Media

A Colorado native and recent transplant to Washington Kelly has always had a passion for wildlife conservation. She received her bachelor of science from Colorado State in Natural Resource Management and spent time in Washington DC working with agencies on wildlife protection and management. More recently she is involved with local animal rescue programs in the Seattle area.

Kelly also loves to travel internationally and volunteered at Kariega Game Reserve where she fell in love with rhinos. She is determined to help protect these animals by bringing people together through education and awareness.

RACHEL STARK

Graphic Designer

Rachel is currently residing in Philadelphia as a Marketing Manager at FreedomPay, Inc. With a strong background and BA in Graphic Design, she works heavily with graphics, print design and advertisements for FreedomPay, as well developing her own company for print invitations called StarkInvites. She has been passionate about animals her whole life and rescuing dogs has been a life changing experience. Her hobbies include health and fitness, especially with her dogs, where she spends her free time exploring the Delaware Valley for new trails to hike with her pups!

BRR SOUTH AFRICAN WORKING GROUP

CAROL LYNNE WATT

Project Leader S.A

Carol is trained in Finance, and after a profession as an accountant started Bagz For Pawz: a tee shirt company, designing tees for charities and wildlife organizations.

Carol is dedicated to wildlife and has been a SANParks Honorary Ranger for 5 years, working in the Kruger Park, at every opportunity. Carol does whatever is
required, doing road patrols, camp and gate duties and assisting rangers on the ground.

She has headed the Honorary Rangers fundraising portfolio for the JHB region for the past 2 years.

Carol has long been devoted to rhinos and is committed to making whatever difference she can to their plight.

ALAN GLASS

Community Education, Media & Outreach

Alan is a Producer, Event Producer, Published Author, Songwriter, and the co-creator of the South African musical hit for children Beautiful Creatures. With his co-creators they have released seven albums and have achieved two platinum and four gold albums in South Africa, and have been acknowledged by the music and theatre industry with two SAMA nominations and a Naledi award.

SABINE ANDERSON

Rhino Warrior education

Sabine Anderson lives in Johannesburg, South Africa and is a passionate rhino warrior. She is married with children and grandchildren with her pets constituting family too! She has worked as a nursery/preschool school teacher for the past 29 years and has made a point of educating the young ones about the plight of the rhinos, with great success! Sabine is turning her four and five year old students into active rhino warriors, and future leaders.

CECILE PAPENFUS

Rhino Warrior education

Cecile was born in Pretoria, where she still lives. She received an honors degree in Actuarial Science from the University of Stellenbosch and is currently a lecturer at The University of South Africa (Unisa). Cecile is a member of the Actuarial Society of South Africa and busy completing her master’s degree.

Cecile has been passionate about animals for as long as she can remember. She started horse riding at the age of 9 and has been riding ever since. As a child she spent many holidays on the farm where the highlight for her would be to see the wild animals. She has always had a love and respect for the larger animals of Africa such as rhinos, elephants and the big cats.

One of her other hobbies is chess, and she received the title of Women’s International Master when she was 15.

Cecile spent a week volunteering at Care for Wild in March 2019. Working so closely with these magnificent rhinos made her realize once again what an important role we have to play in saving these animals from extinction.

ROBIN LEUCI

Video Content Creator

Robin is very passionate about what he does, his approach has always been hands on; being involved every step of the way, including client communications, project planning, filming, post-production and media management. Robin graduated with a BA in film in 2007, Over the years he has furthered his experience by working with many great industry professionals, giving him the opportunity to express his creativity and work ethic with the insights, skills, and knowledge shared with others along the way.

Robin’s life has always been intertwined with nature and animals, spending a lot of time outdoors with family and friends involved in nature conservation and animal welfare

He has a great respect and love for all animal life and the environment, his goal has always been to bring his two passions together, video production and nature. Robin has been fortunate enough to be involved in numerous nature and animal projects, furthering his reach towards helping with wildlife conservation and making a difference is one of his key focuses.

ROWAN VAN DER MERWE

Production Assistant

Rowan has four years of experience in assisting with camera work, and has taken on lead roles in filming. His experience includes a wide variety of projects, from music videos and investigative journalism, to advertising and corporate promotions. Rowan enjoys working in this field, and would like to take it further by filming more nature and outdoor themes. Rowan’s hobbies include mountain climbing, swimming, cycling, exploring nature trails, game drives and helping with animal care. What interests him the most is trying to capture his outdoor activities, the beauty of nature, and putting it into a video in order to share his experiences with others.

CONTRIBUTORS

JORDAN SADLER

Logo Design

Jordan Sadler is a designer and artist from the United States who is currently living in Vietnam. He has always looked to connect the dots between the creative arts and positive social change. After the success of a small pangolin art campaign, he was inspired to start an endangered animal series, which then lead into his fascination of rhinos.

ELLI KRIEL

Education

Elli is an Educator who has worked in universities in South Africa and Dubai. She has been committed to building the Rhino Warrior team, preparing Rhino Warriors for leadership roles, facilitating opportunities at schools, and creating wonderful educational resources for Rhino Warriors and teachers alike. Elli is of the firm belief that one does not need to be an adult to have a say in matters of the world.

JAMI POWELL

Website Designer

Jami is a writer and web designer.
She grew up surrounded by animals and quiet wooded landscapes, so she jumps at any chance to serve in the cause of nature ​and animal protection.

DANA CONNORS

Switzerland

Dana has been teaching for the past 10 years and truly believes that children are our warriors in this battle against extinction. She has helped create resources and activities with Baby Rhino Rescue for teachers and students all over the world. Her hope is that with these tools, they they will be able to make a difference in our future.

MATTHEW J. DONNELLY

Security & Solutions

Matthew Donnelly is the Vice President of Security & Solutions at FreedomPay and has been with the company since 2012, driving security enhancements and new product development for FreedomPay’s portfolio of PCI-validated payment solutions. Matthew received his Masters of Science in Computer Information Systems, with a concentration in IT Security, from Boston University and his Bachelors of Arts from Albright College.

SALLY SHORKEND

Photographer

Sally has photographed some of South Africa’s most important artistic, historical and political figures including Winnie Mandela, William Kentridge, Thabo Mbeki and Jacob Zuma. Photographing the magnificent baby rhinos at Care for Wild Africa was an extraordinary experience for her.

LEI’LA’ BRYANT

Social Media

A lifelong lover of nature, Lei’La’ considers respect for all the beautiful creatures on this earth as a primary goal for humanity. The author and educator believes that in nature, we can find infinite inspiration for our imaginative endeavors, and in our imaginations, we can find as many solutions to protect and preserve the natural world around us.