Our Team

Owner David Mifsud

David Mifsud “Turtle Dave” is a certified professional wetland scientist through the International Society of Wetland Scientists, a certified professional ecologist through the Ecological Society of America, and Certified professional Wildlife Biologist through the Wildlife Society. He has worked for over 20 years in wildlife biology, wetland ecology, and habitat conservation and management, with an emphasis on herpetofauna. He is an authority in Michigan on conservation and management of amphibians and reptiles.

Learn More About Dave

Aidan Navarre

Aidan Navarre is a graduate of Central Michigan University and was a member of the Applied Technology in Conservation Genetics Lab. Aidan has conducted undergraduate research pertaining to camera trapping and animal behavior studies of White-tailed Deer. In addition, Aidan was a receiver of the 2020 Michigan Sea Grant Internship in which he developed maps of habitat suitability for rare herpetofauna of Michigan utilizing land cover data and species’ occurrences with the MaxEnt modelling software. As a wildlife biologist and field lead for HRM, Aidan has extensive experience in herpetological field surveys, geospatial information systems (GIS), and animal husbandry. Aidan seeks to further his career through continued involvement with HRM as well as through a GIS focused graduate program in the future.

Melissa Sano

Melissa has been a part of HRM’s team since 2018. She is HRM’s Senior Manager and Human Resources Specialist  she assists with general operations, animals care, and field surveys. She is formally a zookeeper at Potter Park Zoo, and  Supervisor at Emergent Biosolutions. She has a Bachelors in Zoology from Michigan State University and a Masters in Conservation Biology from Prescott University.

Sam Lisak

Sam is a graduate of the University of Michigan where he completed his Master of Science. His research focused on assessing the impact of a railway on the mammalian community of the Terai Arc Landscape in western Nepal. He graduated from Kenyon College with Biology and Environmental Studies majors. Sam has previous experiences with radio telemetry, camera trapping, as well as herpetological and mammalian field surveys. Sam hopes to further his goals of becoming a Wildlife Biologist through his work at HRM.

Autumn Baker

Autumn Baker is our social media coordinator. She has had a love and fascination for amphibians and reptiles since childhood. When she is not working as a veterinary assistant at a busy clinic in Central Michigan, she enjoys time in nature. In her spare time, she volunteers with several Michigan conservation organizations including Chippewa Watershed Conservancy, Little Forks Conservancy, Michigan Nature Association, the Vernal Pool Patrol and of course the Michigan Herp Atlas.

Anthony Ye

Anthony is a recent graduate of University of San Diego with a Bachelor’s of Science in Ecology, Behavior and Evolution. Anthony’s interests in herpetology started during my study abroad in Costa Rica and grew when he returned to California. His favorites are salamanders and snakes. Anthony has done research with the University of Michigan modeling European starlings decline and has participated in many field programs. He has worked in conservation with the UC San Diego Center on Global Justice using plants to improve communities in Tijuana, Mexico. Anthony enjoys hiking, botany, mycology, and entomology on the side.


Calvin Olson

Calvin is a graduate of Michigan State University with a degree in Wildlife Biology and Management. From Grand Rapids, he spent his childhood exploring wooded areas behind his house catching frogs, salamanders and turtles. His love of herps lead him to the field of wildlife and natural resources conservation. Calvin looks to grow and continue his love for helping natural communities and the herpetofauna in them. In his free time Calvin enjoys playing sports, cooking, and various outdoor recreation activities.

Scott Metzger

Scott is a graduate of the University of Michigan with a Bachelor of Science in Environment, with a concentration in Conservation Biology. With an interest in Wildlife Conservation instilled in him from an early age by TV shows, friends, and family, Scott has found a passion for keeping our wild places wild and enriching the earth’s biodiversity on all levels. Scott also advocates keeping hunting and fishing opportunities open for everyone and supports non-profits that protect and enrich the wild areas we all enjoy. In his free time, Scott enjoys finding spots in nature nobody has seen before, photographing any wildlife he can find, and telling anybody he can about what “cool animals” he saw and what they can do to help make sure future generations can see them.

Kristin Pagel

Kristin is a recent graduate from University Wisconsin Stevens Point with a Bachelor’s of Science in Biology, with a minor in Neuroscience and Behavior. Her interest in herptafauna started at a young age catching frogs and snakes near her house. This led Kristin to pursue an degree in biology to further work with these amazing creatures. She has worked with the University of Wisconsin Stevens Point on lizard research in the Grand Canyon as well as some other lab research. Kristin enjoys painting, arts and crafts as well as socializing with her own reptiles in her free time.

Gregory Brown

Gregory is a graduate of Ohio Northern University with a bachelor’s degree in Environmental and Field Biology. He has previously worked for a variety of organizations conducting herpetological research from New Mexico to Maine. Gregory also has experience working in the fields of invasive species management, white-tailed deer management, and restoration ecology. Outside of work, Gregory also enjoys hiking, fishing, and playing basketball.

Hayley Mellon

Hayley is a graduate of Lake Superior State University with a Bachelor’s degree in Biology. She is from Jackson, Michigan and participated in 4-H, STEM clubs, and volunteering during her childhood. Raising livestock jump-started her love for animals and community outreach. In her undergrad studies, she conducted a surveying project on American Kestrels in the Eastern Upper Peninsula. From her project, she was awarded Biology student of the year from Lake Superior State University. After her undergrad, she moved to Arizona for a year and participated in training at Arizona’s Conservation Corps. She has a love for all animals, but especially her dog, Layla, and her bearded dragon, Smaug. Hayley looks to further her knowledge in wildlife conservation practices and native herpetofauna in Michigan.