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.
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.
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 programs are dedicated to making meaningful, long lasting impacts for rattlesnakes and education programs that change the narrative towards conservation.
Based in Jacksonville, our organization delivers inclusive youth education programs to stimulate curiosity, encourage life long learning, 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 set the industry standard for safely working with venomous reptiles. With over 350 students having attended our training courses, we pride ourselves in delivering quality training courses that prepare students to work with and relocate rattlesnakes. Training individuals how to relocate venomous reptiles supports our mission by putting more people on the landscape that can safely remove rattlesnakes (or any snake) from situations that would otherwise may have ended in mortality of the snake.
To advance the protection of rattlesnakes, and their habitat, through research and education
Training Programs Coordinator
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.
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.
Robert has a passion for the outdoors and native wildlife. He's an avid hiker, forager, and kayaker. He has volunteered with our organization for years and helped develop our main classroom space. Rob is certified by The Rattlesnake Conservancy in Level 1 and Level 2 Venomous Handling and as a Venomous Handling Instructor.
Michael has volunteered with our organization in outreach and events for several years. He received his B.S. in Wildlife Sciences from the UGA Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources where he served as the president of the UGA herpetological society. Michael is certified by The Rattlesnake Conservancy in Level 1 and Level 2 Venomous Handling and as a Venomous Handling Instructor.
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.
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.