A Lifelong Passion Project

For Gabe Ligon and Josh Mueller, what began as just a seed of passion for animals and education has grown into a thriving haven for exotic animals, conservation initiatives, and educational programs. 

What sets Barn Hill apart from other zoos and zoological facilities is that we place an emphasis on the animal's quality of life and their environment. You won't find a ton of concrete and observation glass at our facility, but rather open fields and grasslands that mimic natural environments that our animal ambassadors are used to. 

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The Crew

One comment we get very often is how our animals seem very happy, and our caretakers play a big part in that happiness. 

Most, if not all of our animal caretakers have previous zoo experience or have formal education & training through a bachelor's degree, or equivalent experience. 

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Josh Mueller

Owner

2012

Josh is a graduate from Louisiana State University with a degree in Wildlife Ecology. He grew up in the small town of Bethany Beach on the eastern shores of Delaware. He achieved the rank of Eagle Scout at the age of 18 and was active until moving to Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

 

He worked under Dr. Mike Metzier as a Veterinarian Technician for four years where his love for animals took root. Josh’s love and understanding of wildlife continues to grow while working at the Barn Hill Animal Preserve.

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Samantha Prestia

Animal Care Manager

November 2018

Samantha has a BS in wildlife conservation and ecology from the University of Delaware. Since graduating, she has worked various jobs in the field of wildlife conservation, including performing bat population surveys in West Virginia and completing internships at wildlife rehabilitation centers and state parks. 

She has loved animals since an early age and that love was inspired by watching many educational shows and videos about wildlife. Working at Barn Hill Preserve first as a mobile educator, and now as the animal care manager has been an amazing opportunity for Samantha because she can inspire a new generation of kids to love and respect wildlife and their habitat. (And having tons of cute, furry animal children is just an added bonus!!!)

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Rachel Ejzak

Outreach Manager 

November 2018

Rachel graduated from Saint Vincent College in Pennsylvania with a BS in Biology. She dreamed of being a teacher since her first day of preschool and developed a love of animals and the outdoors throughout the years. A Boy Scout summer camp gave her an opportunity to combine these passions in their Ecology-Conservation Area, and this led to similar jobs with the Pennsylvania Game Commission and the Pittsburgh Zoo.

Rachel's position at Barn Hill Preserve combines everything she loves (wildlife, teaching, and traveling) and gives her an opportunity to educate, inspire, and bring joy to people of all ages.

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Katelyn Lee

Lead Keeper

June 2021

Katelyn graduated from the University of a Lynchburg, with her BA in historical ecology. During her time at school, Katelyn traveled to South Africa to study abroad and volunteer at various game preserves around the country such as; Kruger National Park, Addo Elephant Park and Sibuya Game Reserve working with a variety of exotic animals like Africa’s big 5!

 

Prior to coming to Barn Hill Preserve she worked with livestock and horses, where her passion and love for working with animals grew from a very early age. Katelyn’s position at Barn Hill has given her the ability to educate individuals about the amazing animals we work with, while also informing them about how we can preserve and protect their natural habitats

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Bryanna Garnett

Mobile Crew Educator

June 2021

Bryanna graduated from Delaware Valley University in Pennsylvania with a BS in Zoo Science and a minor in Education. She wanted to combine her desire to become a teacher with her passion for animals and decided to pursue a degree that would prepare her for becoming an animal educator. During her time at DelVal, she participated in many hands-on animal experiences, including working with livestock, training a chicken, and performing educational programs about small reptiles.

She also participated in internships at the Elmwood Park Zoo and Philadelphia Zoo. These experiences allowed her to work with animal species she only dreamed of working with (like birds of prey!) and allowed her to work closely with and learn from other animal educators. Bryanna’s position at Barn Hill Preserve allows her to continue educating others about the importance of wildlife conservation and she hopes to inspire people of all ages to become animal conservationists and be a voice for our wildlife.

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Jackson Alexander

Mobile Crew Educator

November 2021

Jackson graduated from Huntingdon college in Montgomery Alabama with a major in biology. He is dedicated to teaching and inspiring the next generation about animals so more people want to protect the environment and its wildlife. Jackson's hobbies are exploring nature, fishing, riding his motorcycle and video games.

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Sherri Jackson

Mobile Crew Educator

July 2022

Sherri graduated from the University of Delaware with her bachelor's degree in animal science in May of 2022. During her time in college, she got hands-on experience with many different animals all while working at her schools USDA regulated Beneficial Insectary Lab.


Working at Barn Hill Preserve has allowed her to teach others about wildlife and what we can do to protect them. She hopes to inspire others to treat animals kindly. She can usually be found with an armadillo in her hands.

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Jessica Volkert

Mobile Crew Educator

August 2022

Jessica graduated from Cornerstone University with a bachelor's in biology with a focus on wildlife. She is enthusiastic about learning and teaching others about how awesome both native and exotic wildlife are. At Barn Hill Preserve, Jessica is on the mobile crew where she travels to schools and teaches kids about the amazing animal world. She hopes to inspire others, regardless of age, to get excited about nature.

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Kylie Thompson

Keeper

September 2021

Kylie graduated from Indian River High School in 2022 with an animal science pathway. She now attends University of Delaware as a natural resources, wildlife, and conservation major. Kylie's passion for animals started at a young age working with horses and she is very glad to be able to continue that passion with the animal ambassadors at Barn Hill Preserve. Kylie loves having the ability to work with such amazing animals while also teaching and inspiring guests who visit the park.

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Robin Wright

Animal Caregiver

May 2022

Robin graduated from the University of Delaware with a bachelor's degree in human service. She fulfilled her dream to work with neglected children. Robin also achieved becoming a Vet Tech and manager of a local animal hospital which inspired her to continue her education in Biology and Laboratory studies. At Barn Hill Preserve, Robin is able to care for the many unique species of animal ambassadors and help those animals create memorable connections with the guests that visit our park.

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Ashlyn Janiszewski

Administrative Assistant

November 2018

Ashlyn graduated from Sussex Central High school in 2012, with animal science as her pathway. She handles all the office duties including, but not limited to: phone calls, emails and even booking schools programs. 

Ashlyn was raised in Sussex County, and currently lives in Laurel, DE.  Where she raises her 5 children, who LOVE visiting Barn Hill Preserve because “it’s the coolest job ever!” Ashlyn has always had a soft spot for animals. In her spare time, she enjoys football, racing, and spending her time with family.

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Zach Bova

Brand Manager

May 2022

Zach has worked in a variety of creative fields: Animation, Graphic Design, Photography, Video and Motion Graphics, Video Game Production, Web and Print Media and more all over the country. He is always informed on the latest creative, tech and entertainment trends. 

Zach is a graduate of Ringling College of Art and Design with a BFA in Computer Animation and a graduate of Animation Mentor with a certified diploma of “Advanced Studies in Character Animation.” He passionate about film and video games and enjoys spending time with his family, especially his two boys who love building legos and creating imaginative games.

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Our
Conservation
Efforts

Barn Hill's passion for protecting wildlife doesn't stop at the border. Many of our staff members take regular trips around the world to assist in emergency conservation efforts.

This picture was taken of our founder sending a drone up to survey Australian lands ravaged by the 2020 wildfires, searching for animals that survived the blaze. 

KSTR
Wildlife
Rescue

KSTR Wildlife Rescue is a beautiful wildlife sanctuary with over 50 species  where guests can learn about wildlife native to Costa Rica’s Pacific Coast. All proceeds go towards our rescue, rehabilitation, release, and restoration projects!

KSTR is a US 501(c)3 Organization with a number of projects worth donating to such as: wildlife bridges for 22 species located in Costa Rica, protection of Sea Turtle eggs from poachers or upgrading equipment in the wildlife clinic like a new ambulance to aid in the rescue and rehabilitation of indigenous wildlife across Costa Rica

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Global 
Wildlife
Support

In addition to protecting and serving wildlife in danger, we also wanted to create a more direct connection between people and the wild animals they care about, whether they live in different countries or on different continents. So Global Wildlife Support was created.

A 501C-3, the main goal of Global Wildlife Support is to aid wildlife across our ever-changing planet and to help individuals and organizations who share a similar vision. 

To date GWS has donated over $100,000 to conservation efforts in Australia, Guyana and Costa Rica, and has also provided hands on relief after the 2020 Australian bush fires.