Florida Parrot Rescue is an all volunteer run organization, and that includes not only our fosters, but our officers, managers, and coordinators. Most of our managing team hold full time jobs and have families to care for in addition to volunteering for the rescue anywhere from 20-40 hours a week, so this is one dedicated (and multi-tasking) group of people!
Nicole Bennett – President/Director (Registered Officer)
Nicole is the Director of Florida Parrot Rescue and currently also fills the role of Southwest Florida Foster Coordinator. Nicole has been with the rescue since early 2011. She and her husband Jake joined the rescue to foster birds and to volunteer. She fosters medium and large birds and is responsible for recruiting fosters, coordinating the intake of birds into rescue in her area, and communicating with her fosters. Nicole also plans and executes many community events in her area in order to spread the word about FPR. She has been happily married since 1995 and has one daughter and a house full of rescues including one Shar-Pei/Lab mix, a Burmese cat, a Patagonian conure, a Blue and Gold Macaw, a Congo African Grey, and a hermit crab. She has always had a soft spot in her heart for all animals and starting bringing home “lost animals” as a child. In addition to volunteering for the rescue, Nicole works full time as a Registered Nurse. Her responsibilities include fundraising, recruiting, communicating with potential adopters and fosters, helping at community events, speaking with the media, and managing the rest of the officers, managers, and coordinators. You can reach Nicole at firstname.lastname@example.org
Christi S – Central & South Florida Foster Coordinator
Hello, my name is Christi and I am the foster coordinator for the Central and South Florida area. I have lived in Orlando my entire life. I work for a Real Estate Company I am the manager for the sales department. I found FPR by googling adoptable birds. I wanted to adopt, but after seeing what FPR does, I decided to foster. It has been the best choice for me, the birds I have fostered have been amazing. The people who have adopted from me have equally been amazing. My fosters have been African Greys, Cockatoos and a beautiful Amazon. It is so exciting to bring a bird into our home and discover the different personalities and attitudes of each bird. My job for FPR is overseeing the current fosters in the Central Florida area, assisting with any issues they may face with their foster birds. As the coordinator I also process applications for potential volunteers and fosters in my area who wish to join our rescue. When not at work or working with FPR I enjoy my animals on my small farm. I have two rescue horses, two donkeys a lamb.
Gladys S. – Southwest Florida Foster Coordinator
Gladys is the foster coordinator for Southwest Florida, which encompasses the following counties: Lee, Collier, Charlotte, Sarasota, Hardee, DeSoto, Manatee, Hillsborough, Pinellas and Pasco. Within her volunteer position, she oversees current fosters in her counties, answers questions, and helps them solve many of their concerns. She works as a Notary Signing Agent in her own business so her time is pretty flexible. After working as a Volunteer since approximately 2009, she began fostering in approximately 2010. Gladys enjoys conducting home visits with potential adoptive parronts or potential foster parronts. She feels it is so rewarding to discuss bird care with others and guide them into making the appropriate decision for them, on bird choice, feeding and care, and general Parrot Rescue philosophies. She has her own African Grey, Zazu; a Yellow Naped Amazon named Lola, and her new foster failure, Rocket, who is a male Eclectus. And, we cannot forget Ruby, her little Teacup Yorkie who is a senior! Gladys loves working with her birds and getting them used to eating proper foods and getting to know their specific personalities.
Sharon O – Relinquishment Coordinator
Sharon works with the owners that apply to surrender their birds. There are many reasons people have to make the difficult choice to relinquish and she tries to be sensitive to that fact by finding a good foster family that will match that particular bird’s situation.
Sharon has been with the rescue since 2013 when she adopted her first pair of budgies from FPR and started fostering soon after. Sharon’s husband is also interested in learning about birds and has been very helpful when fosters come in and also with their own personal birds. Sharon and her husband also have their two furry pups, Frosty and Willie and Eddie the cat. Sharon has always had an interest in birds but after moving from New York to Florida has found her “home” with FPR. Her very first bird back in 2001 was a canary, “Tweety” who inspired her love of birds when she and her then 7-year-old son heard his first song come and after that as they was history.
Donna Lampkins – Fundraising Coordinator
Donna joined FPR as a foster volunteer in 2017. She currently live in Ocala Florida with her husband Thomas s retired railroad engineer. I am a retired Mental Health and Addictions counselor who currently works part time as a florist for Winn-Dixie. We are parents to three human children and two feathered kids – a Sulphur Crested Cockatoo named Frieda Marie and a Sunday Conure name Rafiki who was a member of our foster flock and ended up stealing our hearts so we decided to give him his forever home. We have a very active foster home with three fosters currently and have had as many as six fosters in the past. It is such an honor and a pleasure to be a part of these wonderful creatures’ lives and to help facilitate their happy endings when they finally find their forever homes. I also do home visits, volunteer at events when I can and I am now the fundraising coordinator and grant writer for FPR.
Ashley D – Wishlist, PetFinder, and Social Media Manager
Ashley D is our Amazon wish list coordinator and Social Media manager and her role with FPR is to keep our PetFinder and Facebook page updated with all of our birds that are available for adoption. She helps write bios of each bird and also makes sure to thank our Wishlist donors for their generous gifts! Ashley has been with FPR since early 2017 and currently lives in Orlando where she works as a travel agent. She has two parrots of her own – a Quaker named Calliope and a rescue Eclectus named Toby. In her spare time she enjoys birdwatching, traveling, and spending time with her family.
Jennifer S – Database Manager
Jennifer joined Florida Parrot Rescue in June 2009 with her husband Mike, to foster birds and volunteer for events. Jennifer’s role as FPR Database Manager was created as it became necessary with the growth in volunteers and the larger numbers of fosters coming into the rescue. Jennifer and Mike are owned by their feathered kids: Julie the Senegal, Lois the lovebird, Charlie the Quaker, TJ the cockatiel, Petey & Penny (cockatiels), and the fosters that have come and moved on to forever homes throughout the years. Jennifer grew up with birds and animals in the household. Her curiosity of birds started to develop when her mom brought home Snafu the Cockatiel when Jennifer was 10 years. Mike knew very little of parrots until he met Jennifer and now he can hold his own when asked questions. Jennifer and Mike have regular full time jobs outside, but like many FPR members, we wish our only jobs were to help the rescue full time!
Kathy Fiorentino – Adoptions Coordinator
Jennifer James – Secretary (Registered Officer)
Jennifer is one of the original founders of Florida Parrot Rescue and for 9 years held the role of President/Director. She now currently serves as Secretary for the rescue and helps advise the current President and Vice President. She not only holds a full time job managing a local veterinary practice, but she also is happily married with 3 children and a flock of her own (consisting of dogs, cats, and whatever foster passes through her home).
Laura Bebko – Treasurer (Registered Officer)
Currently the Treasurer of Florida Parrot Rescue, Laura has been volunteering since 2010 assisting with all financial aspects of the organisation. She graduated from Washington and Jefferson College with a degree in Accounting and has been working in the field for over 10 years.
Dr John Merladet
Dr. Merladet has been in practice since 2001 working with humans across the life span supporting their growth and change. When he became a parrot owner and began to connect with other owners, caregivers, and facilities, he soon realized that the humans and the parrots were getting stuck and began to see the consequences of this: guilt, frustration, re-homing, feather picking, loud squawking, biting, etc… Eventually, the companion animal’s day to day functional behaviors lead to undesired outcomes and much distress on the part of the companion. Thus, Dr. Merladet also has obtained over the years supervised training by doctoral level animal behavioral clinicians where his work was critiqued and reviewed and has combined this with his experience in helping the human change too. Dr. Merladet focuses on the human-animal bond together using scientific principals of behavior analysis, positive reinforcement, species specific traits and evidenced based human change techniques to help the human-parrot improve their quality of life together. Dr. Merladet has worked on cases involving biting, anxiety, aggression, loud screeching and calling behavior, mate seeking behaviors, environmental enrichment. He has helped the companion parrot owner get past stuck points such as handling fear, letting go, grief, anger, passivity, neglect, buying too many parrots, and making time for one’s companion bird(s) and one’s self. Dr. Merladet is a member of American Psychological Association’s Division 17, Human-Animal Interaction special interest subdivision and in the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants, Parrot Division. He is a board certified specialist in the field of psychology and a licensed psychologist in Florida as well. He works exclusively pro-bono for Florida Parrot Rescue and is committed to helping fosters, new owners, and the parrots themselves find sustainable forever relationships with each other.