MEET OUR INSTRUCTORS


Presented in Alphabetical Order  

Sunny Cooper is the Hospital Manager at the Carolina Raptor Center. She is dedicated to the daily care of patients, general operations of the hospital, avian ambassador health checks, and managing hospital volunteer and internship programs. Sunny has a B.S. in Biology and Environmental Studies with a concentration in Conservation Biology from Warren Wilson College. She has been teaching hands-on environmental education and outdoor leadership in addition to working with raptors for the past 10 years.  

Kristin Dean, CPBT-KA, is the Director of Birds at the Carolina Raptor Center. She has been working with birds, primarily raptors, for over 16 years. Currently, Kristin oversees the Raptor Rehabilitation Program and avian ambassador programs at the Carolina Raptor Center. Her experience in rehabilitating, training, and caring for raptors has resulted in a depth of raptor specific knowledge. She has worked alongside Avian Veterinarians and has performed thousands of physical exams, diagnostics, lab work, medical procedures, and necropsies, routine coping, equipment changes, talon trims and feather exams. She uses information gathered from health examinations to improve raptor welfare by suggesting habitat improvements, treatment options, and training plans. Kristin is driven to help improve the welfare of animals in human care. She shares information through CRC seminars, NEI’s TEC Talks, and IAATE papers, presentations, and articles. She currently serves as a general board member on IAATE Board of Directors and serves on the Conservation Committee and Professional Development Committee. 

Mathias Engelmann is the Senior Rehabilitation Coordinator at the Carolina Raptor Center. He is involved in the daily care of patients at the Raptor Rescue hospital, including new patient admissions, supervising volunteers and interns, and cage maintenance and repairs. Mathias specializes in cage design and construction and manages the banding database. Mathias earned a B.A. in Biology from UNCC and has worked at the Raptor Center since 1983. Over the past 30+ years, he has attended and presented at numerous regional and national professional wildlife meetings. He has also co-hosted numerous on-site rehabilitation seminars at the Jim Arthur Raptor Medical Center.  

Colleen Hartman, CPBT-KA, is the Curator of Birds at the Carolina Raptor Center. She has been working with a variety of species including raptors and non-raptor birds of prey for over 8 years. Colleen is responsible for the care and management of the entire collection of avian ambassadors at the Carolina Raptor Center as well as implementing the most up-to-date training practices. She has experience working with birds of prey in dynamic show settings as well as training foundation behaviors for husbandry and educational presentations. Colleen has been hosting raptor training and husbandry seminars since 2016 and has aided other facilities in their understanding and application of raptor behavior, training, husbandry care, and overall welfare through the teaching of formal classes, workshops, and consultation work. 

Hailey Patton is the Bird Keeper and Trainer at Carolina Raptor Center. She has been working with a variety of species including raptors and non-raptor birds of prey for over 4 years. Hailey assists in training and husbandry of avian ambassadors and helps to ensure the proper care and treatment of the department’s animal life. She also manages and trains volunteers in the Avian Ambassador Team department. Hailey has a B.S. in Wildlife Biology with a concentration in Wildlife Rehabilitation from Lees-McRae College, NC.

McKenna Schaffer is the Lead Trainer of Birds at Carolina Raptor Center. She leads training of avian ambassadors and helps to ensure the proper care and treatment of the department's animal life. McKenna assists with husbandry tasks in the Avian Ambassador Team. She has experience working with a variety of different birds including raptors, non-raptor birds of prey, and parrots. McKenna has been in the field since 2016 learning and implementing the most up-to-date training practices for dynamic shows, educational programs, and daily husbandry tasks.