Executive Director, Founder
Tony is an Army Veteran, rattlesnake conservationist, biologist, and husband and father. Tony provides strategic direction for the organization, promoting our programs, leading research projects, and instructing training courses. During his spare time, he enjoys "field herping", playing the piano, and spending time with his friends and family. He is also an avid traveler and always looking for new places to explore biodiversity.
Training Programs Coordinator
Eric is a trained fire fighter, paramedic and SWAT team medic from Charlotte, NC. Eric has a passion for critters of all varieties, and owns a sizeable collection of snakes, lizards and bugs. Eric's responsibilities include oversight of our training programs internally and with external partners.
Director of Operations
Tiffany is a Wilderness EMT, NREMT, Florida Master Naturalist, and PLT Outdoor Educator with expertise in natural resources advocacy, fundraising, event planning, marketing, educational programs, and community outreach. Tiffany believes that providing environmental education and instilling a love for nature in children plays a vital role in conservation.
Chief of Staff
Robert is a Master Gardener and native Floridian who has a passion for education, the outdoors, and wildlife. He's an avid hiker, forager, and kayaker who has extensive experience in professional sales and non-profit mentorship. He cares for our captive collection as well as maintains and helped build our public exhibit and classroom space!
Alec is a biologist with a specialization in reptiles and amphibians, with experience in a number of species from rattlesnakes to sea turtles. He received a B.S. in Biology from Armstrong Atlantic University and a M.S. in Environmental Management from American Public University System. Alec leads our field research programs and is an avid field herper and artist.
The Rattlesnake Conservancy
is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that is dedicated to education, research, and partnership. Our research programs are dedicated to making meaningful, long lasting impacts for rattlesnakes and our education programs change the narrative towards conservation.
Our education programs are designed to change the way people think about these animals, cultivate a deep connection to the natural world, and instill a sense of ownership in conservation!
Our research programs are focused to ensure on-the-ground conservation benefit for rattlesnakes. In addition to carrying out research programs ourselves, we fund venomous reptile research every year. Very little funding is available for research of venomous reptile conservation and we pride ourselves on our ability to provide needed funding to projects internationally every year.
Our training programs have been taught throughout the United States since 2015 to thousands of students and set the industry standard in safe venomous handling practices!
To advance the protection of rattlesnakes, and their habitat, through research and education
board of directors
Jekyll Island Conservation Authority
Joseph grew up in Columbia, SC, and is a Marine Corps Veteran. Wildlife conservation is in Joseph's blood, having attended University of South Carolina for his undergraduate and University of Georgia for his M.S. in Biology. Joseph has a wealth of field experience working with eastern diamondback rattlesnakes, having developed a comprehensive rattlesnake radiotracking program and community outreach program in his job as the Wildlife Manager for Jekyll Island Conservation Authority. Joseph is also a member of the Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake Working Group.
Jill Rials began her involvement with reptiles as an exotic boa and python enthusiast over twenty years ago. Eventually, her focus shifted to the native reptiles and amphibians of the Sonoran Desert. She currently works for Rattlesnake Solutions, where she has worked for the last 6 years, assisting homeowners and unwanted reptiles to part ways unharmed. Jill maintains a collection of 20 different snake species that she uses for education and outreach programs for Rattlesnake Solutions. Jill is also a member of the Montane Rattlesnakes Working Group.
South Carolina Partners in Amphibian and Reptile Conservation (SCPARC)
Tess is a trained wildlife biologist, field scientist, environmental scientist, lab researcher, and educator. Her passion for reptiles is evident in her work creating the South Carolina Partners in Amphibian and Reptile Conservation (SCPARC) and her active participation in the Southeast PARC as the education task team leader. She is currently completing her doctoral research at North Carolina State University on adult nonformal education, specifically in the sciences. Her previous graduate research was on the role of skinks in the Lyme disease cycle! Her favorite interaction with a rattlesnake is when she found a gestation site with several female timber rattlesnakes and their young in the North Carolina mountains. She puts all of her skills, experiences, and knowledge to use in her various roles as a university instructor, naturalist guide, and environmental science consultant.
Ryan has spent the past 20 years working with reptiles and amphibians in professional capacity, including his current role the Animal Care Manager of Herps at Birds at Zoo Miami. Ryan is an avid outdoorsman who loves hiking, boating, camping and he is a massive college football fan (Go Canes!). Ryan is also an Air Force Veteran and comes from a long, proud history of military members in his family. Ryan has been involved with organizing the Venomous Herpetology Symposium and a huge asset to our team!
Stephen is a digital marketing expert and reptile enthusiast. He has helped grow companies rapidly through his expertise. He is also involved with several wildlife preservation organizations and is a graduate of our venomous training programs, where he first garnered interest in joining our team. Stephen joined the board to help grow the organization and promote our mission. His skills in digital marketing and networking are a great asset to our team!
other staff members
Chase is the Collections Manager for Ashton Biological Preserve, where he lives and spends most of his time. Chase has worked with The Rattlesnake Conservancy since 2015, and was one of the first instructors with our Executive Director to teach the Level 1 Venomous Handling Course. Chase has a lifelong passion for working with wildlife, especially reptiles and amphibians, with a particular fondness for gopher tortoises. He now assists our team by managing our current venomous collection until our new facility opens and as an instructor for our training courses.
Derek has had a life long love of reptiles and currently works with the Reptile Preservation Instsitute. He has a degree in Zoo Animal Science from Santa Fe College Teaching Zoo and has worked for our team as an educator, collections manager, and supervisor of our internship program. Derek has been a Venomous Instructor with our organization for years and his love of our training and education programs is apparent with any interaction you have with him.
Jake has been a part of our team for several years, having originally been an intern and eventually building his skillset to become a venomous handling instructor. Jake now works for the Orianne Center for Indigo Conservation as a keeper and helps our team out as an Assistant Instructor when we need an extra hand. Fun fact, the facility he works at is home to Edgar, the largest eastern diamondback rattlesnake in captivity, coming in at just over 7 feet in length!
Reptile Preservation Institute
Ashton Biological Preserve
Sean is an avid field herper, knowledgeable venomous handling practitioner, passionate educator, and a graduate student at the University of Florida. He has volunteered with The Rattlesnake Conservancy for several years and helped with organizing fundraising events, outreach and education, and is certified by The Rattlesnake Conservancy in Level 1 and Level 2 Venomous Handling and as a Venomous Handling Instructor.
Maryann is a certified Venomous Handling Instructor with years of experience in working with wildlife, native and exotic snake species, and as an educator. She is an instructor for The Amphibian Foundation's Junior Master Herpetologist program and leads our Venomous Handling Certification Course at that location and others.
A native of South Florida, Joseph is passionate about snakes. He has over a decade of experience working with venomous snakes in captivity and has completed TRC's Venomous Handling Instructor course.
Joseph also specializes in breeding of some of Florida's wild snake species.
Research Associate, Venomous Instructor
Travis is a U.S. Army Veteran who was born and raised in South Carolina. He got his B.S. in Biology and M.S. in Coastal Marine and Wetland Studies from Coastal Carolina University. He works as a project manager for an environmental consulting firm that specializes in stream and wetland delineations. Travis is certified by The Rattlesnake Conservancy in Level 1 and Level 2 Venomous Handling and as a Venomous Handling Instructor.
Adam Austin is a PhD candidate and Instructor at Western Michigan University researching wetland community ecology and herpetology. A former Navy mass communication specialist, he now serves as a communication specialist for Partners in Amphibian and Reptile Conservation (PARC). Adam is an active member of the Eastern Massasauga Species Recovery Working Group, and leads The Rattlesnake Conservancy's training programs in Michigan at the Kalamazoo Nature Center.