Our Team

Carol Burgess, Founder

Carol became a licensed wildlife rehabilitator in 1986, in Plano, Texas. She founded Tennessee's Harmony Wildlife Rehabilitation Center in 1992. Carol is a licensed wildlife rehabilitator with the State of Tennessee and a member of the National Wildlife Rehabilitators Association.

In Her Own Words:

One of the most memorable events in all my years as a wildlife rehabilitator was when I had a litter of gray fox kits—five I think—and I was letting them run loose in the animal room for some play time. I had forgotten that the floor registers were being cleaned and had a piece of cardboard laying over them. When I went in to check on the kits, they were nowhere to be found. After quite some time looking for them, I finally noticed the cardboard was moved and all five kits were having a big time running through our AC ducts. It took a lot of patience and treats to catch them all.

Anastasia Kudrez, Executive Director

Stasia started working with wildlife in 2000 as a volunteer for Harmony. Fast forward 22 years and she spearheaded an effort to reopen Harmony in Nashville, Tenn. Stasia is a licensed wildlife rehabilitator with the State of Tennessee and a member of the National Wildlife Rehabilitators Association and Bat Conservation International.

In Her Own Words:

I had no idea opening a rehab and a nonprofit could be so difficult but I do love a challenge. Harmony has taught me new skills ranging from rezoning property to composting. It's my privilege to help, in this small way, to protect animals and contribute to Tennessee's conservation efforts.

Laurie Campbell, Animal Care Director

Laurie began working with wildlife in 2009 as a volunteer with Walden's Puddle and immediately fell in love with wildlife rehabilitation. After many years there as an Animal Care Supervisor, she made the move to Harmony in March 2022. Laurie is a Certified Tennessee Naturalist, a licensed wildlife rehabilitator with the State of Tennessee and a member of National Wildlife Rehabilitators Association.

In Her Own Words:

It seems like every day is full of memorable moments when working with wildlife, but one that will always be special to me is a very recent one. After several snags in releasing a group of juvenile raccoons we hand-raised since infancy, we were so excited when their release day finally arrived. We packed them all up with plenty of snacks, made the drive to the property and arrived at the most beautiful, perfect raccoon habitat we could have imagined. As always, the raccoons immediately began interacting with their environment - all of them joyfully romping, climbing and foraging together. Eventually, they made it down to the gently-flowing river and one by one, began paddling and swimming with their fluffy tails afloat like they had been doing it their whole lives. Of course, they always had a kiddie pool, but to see them confidently take to the water like that was incredible! Some just let the current carry them, others paddled all the way across to see what adventures were awaiting them on the other side. All releases are special and make the hard work worth it, but these little paddlers made this release one of my all-time favorites!

Melody Ryan, Facilities Director

Melody is a Tennessee native and has always had a passion for animals and the outdoors. She earned a degree in Animal Biology from MTSU in 2008 and completed an internship at the Nashville Zoo where she cared for the primates, porcupines, and meerkats. After graduating, Melody began working with domestics as a veterinary technician and started volunteering at Walden’s Puddle where she found her calling in wildlife rehabilitation. Melody worked as an animal care supervisor and lead vet tech at Walden’s Puddle for two years before parting ways and creating Music City Wildlife Center, a nonprofit focused on building a new wildlife rehab center in Middle TN. During that time, Melody met “Harmony,” and the two organizations merged.

Melody is a licensed wildlife rehabilitator with the State of Tennessee and a member of the TN Ornithological Society, TN Bat Working Group, and National Wildlife Rehabilitators Association.

In Her Own Words

One of my most memorable moments in wildlife rehab was releasing a black vulture after caring for it for two months after he had been hit by a car. He came in on Christmas morning, and I bonded with him right away and spent a lot of extra time with him during his recovery. When he was ready for release, I took him back to where he was originally found, hoping to reunite him with his family. Only moments after he hopped out of the carrier and flew off into some trees, other black vultures started flying in from all directions towards the trees he was in. He flew up to meet them, and they all circled directly above me a few times before flying away together. It was such a beautiful and rewarding moment!

Peggy Reiling, Volunteer Director

Peggy thought she wanted to be a wildlife photographer for National Geographic or a veterinarian. But, when she started volunteering at Willowbrook Wildlife in 2009 she realized that helping wildlife was her passion and calling. After Willowbrook, she volunteered at the Chattahoochee Nature Center, working with injured raptors, reptiles, and amphibians as well as caring for their 75+ educational and non-releasable animals. Peggy is a licensed wildlife rehabilitator with the State of Tennessee.

In Her Own Words:

The most satisfying part of wildlife rehab for me is helping an injured animal and then releasing it back into the wild.