Yvonne graduated with a degree in English while working as a probate paralegal. Her plan to attend law school was circumvented by an accident that orphaned a nest of rabbits, leading to her becoming licensed as a wildlife rehabilitator and later incorporating the nonprofit Fellow Mortals Wildlife Hospital with her husband. Fellow Mortals has provided care for nearly 70,000 individuals since that time.
Though she left the legal field, Yvonne never lost her interest in the law and has been able to use her legal skills routinely in her work, including collecting evidence for USFWS related to the death of hundreds of Canada geese by lead-poisoning, that eventually resulted in a Superfund cleanup; negotiating language legalizing wildlife rehabilitation in Wisconsin and helping draft the rules that followed; collaborating with the Wisconsin legislature on a bill to save white-tailed deer threatened by unnecessary euthanasia; and serving six years as chair of a statutorily-created council to advise the DNR on wildlife issues.
Working with USFWS Region 3, Yvonne pioneered the now licensed activity of using non-releasable wild birds as surrogates for conspecific orphans. A chapter on her work with common nighthawks is included in Dr. Gretchen Newberry’s doctoral thesis and in her book, ‘The Nighthawk’s Evening.’
Inextricably interwoven with Yvonne’s work as a licensed wildlife rehabilitator is her work in representing the realities of wildlife rehabilitation work to those who promulgate rules, legislate, or enforce wildlife rehabilitation activities on a state and federal level.
Yvonne is a full-time wildlife rehabilitator and manages most aspects of the wildlife hospital, which provides care for any species of migratory bird and nonpredatory wild mammals, including eagles and all endangered avian species. She enjoys the challenge of working in multiple disciplines on a daily basis and is constantly striving to advance and improve the organization and the field as a whole.